Leica Experiences: Texas Rodeo
Eight seconds may not sound like a long time to wait for anything. It only takes eight seconds before the barista calls out your name and your coffee is ready. That is fast. Now ask a bull rider how long he thinks eight seconds is and thoughts such as eternity and time just stops will likely emerge. For a bull rider, eight seconds means straddling a bull weighing well over a thousand pounds. Pure muscle, brute force, lightning agility, and snorting temper come together to earn names such as “widowmaker,” “bushwhacker,” and “tornado.” It is no wonder then that riders turn to a higher power at the back of the chutes moments before a ride. Rodeos in Texas have come to epitomize the Lone Star culture.
Whether the spotlight is from a small hometown or a big city stadium, the cowboy dream will always be as big as the state. Join Austin-native and Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Rodolfo (Rudy) Gonzalez in documenting the grit and determination of the rodeo cowboy.
Why take this experience
- Get unhinged access and behind-the-scenes photo ops contestants, family members, rodeo clowns
- Rub shoulders with cowboys and bull riders as they warm up, prepare, stare eye-to-eye with near one-ton bulls and high-energy bucking horses
- Experience and document the Central Texas weekend experience that is so inherently a lifestyle of the local community
- Work side-by-side with Rudy Gonzalez as he shares his approach to breaking the ice with cowboys, working backstage, and spotting key moments as the rodeo action unfolds
- Partake in some of the most iconic Texas BBQ along with the experience (before or after) and bands playing two-stepping, boot-scootin’ music for an authentic Central Texas experience
- Going beyond the single image to shape a visual story
- Seeing and shooting moments before the moment
- Developing your own “rodeo” aesthetic
- Breaking the ice and engaging with cowboys behind-the-scenes
- Working with the Leica M rangefinder system in a fast-paced environment (optional)
Location: Austin, Texas
Participants: 1 only
Duration: approx. 6 hours (depending on rodeo events)
Inclusions: entry fees and donations, permits, and a Texan-style BBQ dinner
Exclusions: travel to and from Austin, accommodation, and local transportation
Gear Recommendation: fast lens (f/1.8 or faster), wide-angle preferred, a second body with a telephoto will be handy
Rodolfo (Rudy) Gonzalez A Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist with 30 years of experience, Rodolfo (Rudy) Gonzalez is now an independent photographer who prefers to work with the Leica M System Rangefinder, specializing in documentary, portraits, travel, food, fashion, and sports photography.
Rudy was a member of the Rocky Mountain News photography staff that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. He has also won a National Headliner Award, a Texas Headliner Award, the Barbara Jordan Media Award, and numerous Texas Associated Press Managing Editors awards among others. From 2000-2016, Rudy was on staff at the Austin American-Statesman, a daily newspaper of Austin, the capital city of Texas.
A native of San Antonio, Texas, Rudy studied journalism, photography and mass communication at San Antonio College. He is on faculty at Texas State University’s School of Journalism & Mass Communication
All images ©Rudy Gonzalez