Barrel Racing with Lightroom

Last weekend we went to photograph Mikalla Tweedie at the Skyline Corral Speed Show at the Tioga County Fairgrounds. Having never been to a barrel race here in NY, the first thing that struck me was that the arena was quite a bit smaller than the arenas we were accustomed to in Colorado. But the spirit of competition and the talent of the riders was exactly the same.


For Mikalla’s three horses, I shot with the CanonR6’s electronic shutter (20 frames for seconds) and added up to 490 images. Needless to say, we put those into a gallery and let Mikalla sort through them. Some images she chose were ones we had picked as well, but I have to confess, image number 3492 of Mikalla and her favorite horse “Hippie” heading for home after the third barrel gave me pause.

"Before" editing in Lightroom professional photographer Michael Troxler

It was the conundrum of the “client” choosing the action they wanted , but what I considered one of the poorer images. By “poor” I mean that Hippie was running back through the cloud of dust he’d kicked up from the second barrel.

"After" Lightroom editing by professional photographer Michael Troxler

Fortunately, Lightroom (available as part of Adobe suite) has adjustment “sliders” that seem almost magical. For this shot I used almost all of them—10 of the 11— but leaned most heavily on the “Dehazing” filter and I think you can see that it was time well spent.

Lightroom settings for improving a raw image by professional photographer Michael Troxler

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