The Muse


\”Wow, how does it feel to find out you\’ve won Best Overall in the Cowboys & Indians Annual Photo Contest?”

That was the question I posed to Billie-Jean Duff upon hearing her photo had been chosen as the overall winner in the magazine\’s prestigious annual photography competition.

“Surreal. Exciting. Awesome. Humbling. I anticipated Muse (the title of the photo) would do well in it\’s category, but I never expected to be chosen for the top prize. Seeing the spread yesterday for the first time certainly made it \’real\’, so much so, I almost cried,” she related.
I\’d been working with Duff, a southern-Alberta based rodeo photographer on a Buck Brannaman piece she was working up for the Jan/Feb issue of the magazine, when she initially divulged her win to me. Out of deference to the magazine\’s newsstand date and the element of surprise, we kept her news under wraps until the C&I issue released.
Billie-Jean operates out of Rough Stock Studio, just outside of Claresholm, Alberta, and when she isn\’t at her day-job, she\’s shooting rodeos and western events.
The Muse was shot at the Rainmaker – an amateur rodeo in St. Albert. Duff relates she had been spending time behind the chutes that day, testing out a new wide angle lens she had recently purchased, when she came across young bull rider, Clayton, mentally preparing for his ride.
“Without disturbing his preparation, and without hardly two words said, I looked to him, motioned to my camera in hand, looking for his permission to shoot while he was so focused. With a quick nod, he gave me the go ahead.”
She only snapped one frame.





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