Photographing the Fort Worth Stockyards

If you like the wild west and country music then you have to visit The Stockyards in Fort Worth, TX. There are beautiful photography opportunities around every corner, and the smell of smoked meat fills the air. I took three Sigma lenses to accompany me on this trip: the brand new 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM | Art24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Art, and 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary lenses.

14-24mm | 24mm | 1/40 sec & 1/500 sec (Multiple exposures combined in Photoshop), f/11, ISO 1000 | © Danielle Rischawy 2018
Getting up early to capture this sunrise with the 14-24mm Art lens was totally worth it. The light spilling through the clouds is breathtaking.

When I have a work trip, I always look up places to line dance and hear live music. So, when I had a trip in Fort Worth, I immediately got excited because I hear that The Stockyards are perfect for all of the above. I did some research and found out that they have a cattle drive along the brick streets with actual cowboys wrangling up the cattle…so I had to check it out!

During the cattle drive, it can be a little dangerous, so they want the spectators to stay out of the street. I couldn’t get too close…that’s why I chose to shoot this with the Sigma 100-400mm Contemporary lens. I was able to capture sharp images and stay out of the way of the cattle. Also, the temperature was in the 90s, and I didn’t want to lug around a lot of gear. The 100-400mm lens was absolutely perfect because it’s light enough for me to carry.

100-400mm | 251mm | 1/1600 sec, f/8, ISO 1000 | © Danielle Rischawy 2018
The 100-400mm lens was perfect for this shot from a distance. I was able to stay out of the way, and got some great shots.

Aside from the cattle drive which draws a huge crowd, The Stockyards have such an incredible history. The railroad opened up in 1876 and helped to make the livestock business booming in Fort Worth. Millions of livestock walked down these corrals to be sold for meat.

I got up as the sun was rising, and The Stockyards were completely empty. I imagine a hundred years ago this place was probably noisy and smelled like livestock. Although, when I went it was quiet and kind of peaceful with beautiful light peeking through the alleys and spilling across the brick walkways.

14-24mm | 24mm | 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 16000 | © Danielle Rischawy 2018
I used the 14-24mm Art lens to capture the corrals that millions of livestock walked through.

I took a few shots with the Sigma 24-70mm lens when I first got there. I’ve shot with this lens quite a bit, and it never fails. The edge to edge sharpness is amazing, and I can shoot handheld thanks to the Optical Stabilizer (OS).

24-70mm | 70mm | 1/60 sec, f/11, ISO 1000 | © Danielle Rischawy 2018
This image is shot with the 24-70mm Art lens. I turned on OS and shot this handheld. Shooting at f/11 kept the sign in the foreground and the details in the background in focus.

Since, I have used the 24-70mm a lot, I quickly threw on the Sigma 14-24mm lens to test it out since I’m not as familiar with it…and I never took it off my camera. I was incredibly happy with how this lens performed in high contrast situations such as the stairs below.

14-24mm | 14mm | 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 16000 | © Danielle Rischawy 2018
I shot this with the 14-24mm Art lens at the widest focal length, 14mm. I love the lines, and the contrast between light and shadow.

The Sigma 14-24mm isn’t just great at wide-angle shots. You can also get close…really close. I shot this at f/3.2 to test out the shallow depth of field on this lens, and I wasn’t disappointed. I love the details in the wood grain, and the gradual way the blur takes over.

14-24mm | 24mm | 1/2000 sec, f/3.2, ISO 6400 | © Danielle Rischawy 2018
I love how close I can get with the 14-24mm Art lens. Even though this is a wide-angle lens, it sure looks nice and sharp with close-up shots.

When I see long-horned steer (Texas longhorn) in movies there’s usually a stampede involved with hooves pounding and dirt flying. Well, that’s not quite the experience I had. The cattle were laying down in the sun, and relaxing. There was an area on the side for people to view the cattle in their corral. The cattle were all the way at the other end, so I took pictures with the Sigma 100-400mm Contemporary lens since I couldn’t get close to them. I love how they’re just lazily bathing in the sun.

100-400mm | 400mm | 1/400 sec, f/11, ISO 800 | © Danielle Rischawy 2018
The 100-400mm lens captured the cattle sleeping from far away. No tripod needed, I just turned on OS and leaned on a fence.

This is the cowboy (girl) version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, aptly named The Texas Trail of Fame. The names on the stars pay homage to the men and women who made an impact on the Western way of life. I used the 14-24mm lens to shoot this because I was able to stand right above it and get the whole star in the frame.

14-24mm | 24mm | 1/40 sec, f/11, ISO 1000 | © Danielle Rischawy 2018
Shooting this with the 14-24mm Art lens was the best choice. I was able to get close thanks to the nice wide-angle.

The 100-400mm was a great lens for photographing the moving cattle. The cowboy and the cattle were getting ready to do the cattle drive, so I shot this at 1/1000 sec. to freeze the action.

100-400mm | 227mm | 1/1000 sec, f/11, ISO 800 | © Danielle Rischawy 2018
I couldn’t get close to the cattle, so the 100-400mm lens let me zoom into the action.

Again, the 14-24mm captures details beautifully. I shot this handheld while I was strolling along the hallways in The Stockyards. Wearing cowboy boots and walking on these bricks makes for a wobbly stroll, but I really love the character that these bricks have.

14-24mm | 24mm | 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 16000 | © Danielle Rischawy 2018
The 14-24mm Art lens captured the details in the brick walkway with beautiful clarity.

This was the last shot I took at The Stockyards with the 100-400mm lens. The cattle drive was so quick, and before I knew it they were on their way back to the corral to finish lounging in the sun. The whole trip was quick to be honest. I went honky tonking at a place that played country music from the 1950s and 1960s and tried elk for the first time, which was juicy with a nice smoky undertone. If you like country music, bbq and the Western life style, then you have to visit The Fort Worth Stockyards. Bring some Sigma lenses with you, there are too many photography opportunities to pass up 🙂

100-400mm | 100mm | 1/1000 sec, f/8, ISO 1000 | © Danielle Rischawy 2018
The 100-400mm lens captured this fleeting moment at the end of the cattle drive. The moving cattle are sharp and the colors look true to life.
Comments (2)
  1. Deb Sobel says:

    Great job, partner! Beautiful shots! I love the early sunrise the best 🙂 bit the animals are fun too. So crisp and feels like I was there!

  2. Danielle Rischawy says:

    Thanks so much Deb :))

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