One of the first newspaper assignments I ever took, back when I was shooting high school sports exclusively was a basketball game in a very wealthy suburb of San Francisco. Early in the game, one of the referees had a heart attack during a play. I saw him fall through my viewfinder but didn’t think much of it until there was pandemonium in the gym. Several parents identified themselves as doctors and started working on the man, and the gym was evacuated. Being inexperienced, I evacuated as well, and called my editor to tell him had had happened. Let’s just say that he wasn’t happy that I didn’t keep shooting, as even though the game was over, there was now a news story.
This was an easy (if embarrassing) lesson to learn, so since then, I shoot until someone makes me stop, no matter how crazy it is. During Wednesday’s seventh-round performance, Wyoming bull rider Clayton Savage made the whistle on a bull named Early Bird. Savage scored 85 points, good enough to win the round, but when he dismounted, one of his spurs got tangled in his bull rope and Early Bird took him for a ride across the arena. I’ve seen things like this happen, and it usually ends with at least a broken leg, and often worse. While it was happening, the arena was filled with gasps and verbal expressions of horror. I knew I was there to shoot it, not to watch, so I ripped off 20 or so frames after the ride was over. Don’t stop shooting, no one can see the pictures you don’t take.
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