≡ Menu

Life Before Photoshop: Sam Houston Raceway

Look ma, no Photoshop

Look ma, no Photoshop


I love to write these posts because they take me back to the really fun times in Photography when we had to figure things out without the use of a computer; when Adobe was a type of housing in the Southwest. Personal computers were a thing of the future and the only time I got close to a computer was when I was shooting them for a companies annual report to the stockholders.

Back then, every time I shot a report the company was so excited that they were computer savvy and ahead of the business curve, I was instructed to take pictures of these huge rooms…after I signed an agreement stating that I would not tell anyone what I saw. Back then an entire floor was crowded with these behemoths. with miles upon miles of wires under the flooring. now, my beefed iMac27 is probably as powerful.

But I digress.

As I tell my online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, I love the challenge of being a good photographer, not a good computer artist/digital technician. I try to do as much in the camera as I possibly can and use Photoshop for minor tweaking.  It’s kinda sad that the majority of my students and fellow photographers were introduced to photography during the digital era and think that the camera should do all your thinking, and Photoshop will pick up where the camera left off.

In the above photo, I was shooting an advertising campaign for Sam Houston Raceway, and showed up at sunrise one morning to see what photo opts availed themselves to me. The mornings are always the best time around the stables since all the care of the horses goes on very early.

I asked one of the trainers if I could take an action shot of one of the thoroughbreds during a workout, and he agreed (which was pretty amazing given what some of these horses are worth). I got in the back of a pickup and we started out together on the track. I had put on my 2omm lens and placed it on my a tripod. I wanted to create the feeling of movement so I was shooting at a 1/15th of a second. The reason why the number ‘3’ is sharp is because the saddle and I were traveling at the exact same speed. The horse’s legs are blurred because they were moving at a faster rate of speed. As we came around the final turn heading for the finish line the horse started racing the truck. It was an incredible feeling being so close to this amazing animal; close as in fifteen feet.

Btw, you’ll notice that there’s only sunlight on the back end of the horse. The reason is that we were passing in front of the grandstand that was almost blocking the early morning sunlight. The back end was the only part still in the light…and just for a split second.

What a thrill!!

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my updated 2014 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me in Maine July 27th, and in Jerusalem September 17th.

Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com.


Let people know you saw it here!
    { 2 comments… add one }
    • Eric April 16, 2014, 8:36 am

      Life before photoshop! I love these posts because the images are really great BUT isn’t calling your blog ‘digital photography’ a controversy then?!

      • Joe April 16, 2014, 9:06 am

        Hi Eric,

        I’m glad you like them as I do. Here’s the thing: Since I have twelve other categories that relate to Digital Photography, having one that doesn’t ( Life Before photoshop) I feel doesn’t mislead and therefore not really a controversy.

        Having said that, it does relate in a manner of speaking, since it was a time before the digital age. A time in the past compared to the present and obviously the future; a prelude as it were.

        Thanks for looking and I appreciate it,


    Leave a Comment