Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Behind the Lens: Get to Know Endurance Ride Photographer Steve Bradley

by Merri
March 31 2020

In my "Behind the Lens" series, readers and endurance riders get a glimpse of members of the Endurance Ride Photographers Guild.

The ERPG was formed in 2019, and consists of a group of two dozen professional, skilled photographers from around the USA dedicated to documenting AERC endurance ride events in the USA.

Steve Bradley, of the aptly named Stevesphoto, was sort of roped into endurance ride photography by his wife Cindy. Since spouses are usually part of endurance, photographing the rides was a perfect option.

His photos have been published in Endurance News, Arabian Horse and the now defunct Trail Blazer magazine. "It is both exciting and humbling," Steve says, "to see your photo on a cover or included in a story line."

Where do you live?
Idaho and Arizona, hate the snow and love the warm after 30+ years of shoveling snow.

What is your profession?

Retired from Law Enforcement (just in time)

How did you first get into photography?

I have had a camera around me since High School. I worked as a wildland firefighter and carried a Kodak 110 and took a lot of fire pictures. I started shooting horses after I met my wife who is crazy about Morgan horses. She was into the show horse scene and I kind of naturally started shooting her in the various show classes.

What equipment do you normally shoot with?

Nikon D500, Sigma f 2.8 80-200 and 18-300 Nikon lens, heavy but built like a tank.

When did you start shooting endurance rides?

1999 was my first ride, it was at the “Purple Passion” ride in Eagle, Idaho.

Why do you like shooting endurance rides?

I like the challenge that shooting endurance rides give me. I try to shoot with great background, good footing for the horses, (most of the time) and show the smiles of the riders as they go by me. My goal is to show the connection between the horse and the rider. I have hiked miles up the trails or rode my motorcycle or mountain bike on the same trails that the horses use to get the best shot of the riders that I can.

What are challenges you find in shooting endurance rides?

Lighting, it is very difficult sometimes to get appropriate light, the trails dictate where we must go to shoot and then there are the days when the sun is shining and clouds come over and we have to quickly change the setting on the camera to compensate for that change, ( I shoot manual and do not use any auto settings so got to be fast on the dials).

Another challenge is when ride management has to split the different distances and I try to make sure that all riders that pay an entry get a photo.

What are one or two of your favorite ride shooting stories/adventures/misadventures?

I like to tell people how I got into shooting rides. Cindy (my wife) decided that she wanted to try endurance riding. She was trying to tell me what fun it would be (for her) to ride endurance and I could come and hang out in camp. I just couldn’t see sitting around camp and she figured that out pretty fast (cuz I told her so). So at the Purple Passion ride I had worked a graveyard shift and I went to camp to see Cindy. To my surprise she brought my camera gear down and told Pam, the ride manager I could take photos. So I got the good news when I arrived in camp. I had a Canon AE-1 that was manual everything, no stress there. I think I sold those shots for $2.00 each just to cover developing expenses this was BD, (before digital).

One more story, years ago we traveled all the way from Idaho to Arizona so I could shoot the Old Pueblo ride south of Tucson and Cindy could ride it. I bought a new camera and did not take a lot of time to get familiar with it. End result was I shot 6 rolls of 35MM film, all were under exposed as the light setting was set wrong, I gave that camera away shortly after. Bot the camera's fault, but it made me feel better.

And any other pertinent info you’d like to share with us?
Just want the riders to know all of the ride photographers do the best they can to show both rider and horse in the best light as they go down the trails. If you have a ride photographer at your ride don’t hesitate to ask questions and ask if there is anything we can do to make outstanding photos of you and your equine partner. At the same time please respect our work and follow the rules pertaining to copyright on our photos.

Below are a couple of Steve's favorite shots and rides over the years.

Cindy Bradley and Bogar Tucker at the Owyhee Fandango, Idaho

Dave Rabe and Kerry Redente at Mt Carmel, Utah. It's one of 12 shots that Steve took of those 2 galloping by him. The series of pics really shows how in sync the two were running down the trail.


Behind the Lens: Becky Pearman profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Dave Honan profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Linda Sherrill
profile is here:

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