Photo Of The Week: The Archer
Photo Of The Week: The Archer
‘The Archer’ is different to the other images I have in my collection. Why? Because it is of a person and it is a portrait of my dad, Dennis. I do not photograph people often, although I had to make an exception when it came to getting this image. Dad is a champion archer and is currently on his way to Alice Springs to compete in the Masters Games. I am really excited to have him, my mum Karen and Arnie (their cute little dog) coming to stay.
The Story Behind ‘The Archer’
Back in June 2015 I was visiting my parents in Boydtown, just south of Eden on the NSW South Coast. Dad is a champion archer and spent a lot of time working on his craft while I was there. It was the middle of winter and quite cold. To keep warm dad would wear the hat you can see in the picture. I knew if I didn’t photograph him in I would be missing out on a really cool opportunity to get a unique image.
There is a funny story behind this photo. I only had about 5 minutes to get a good shot. Dad was happy to oblige my request, but wanted to get it over with. Also he was wearing a striped jumper and had his car keys on a lanyard around his neck. Obviously this was not going to work for the photo. So I went inside and borrowed the throw blanket that my mother was using. I placed it around dad’s shoulders and it worked.
Dad ended up buying a t-shirt from my Print Shop with this image. It is all very meta when he wears the shirt and the hat at the same time.
Capturing ‘The Archer’
I hadn’t used my 35mm f/1.8 prime lens a lot and I wanted to get some practice with it. Today it is one of my favorite lenses. I love working with prime lenses, they are great for portraits. Out of all my lenses this was one going to be the best for capturing dad with a wide aperture. Having a shallow depth of field is really important if you want the focus to only be on the subject and nothing else.
I shot ‘The Archer’ only using available light, making sure I exposed the image for the highlights. Later in post I opened up the shadows. I did something a little strange for portrait photography, I shot in direct sunlight with a really wide aperture of f/1.8. This meant that my shutter speed had to be really high in order to compensate for the amount of light. The shutter speed was set to 1/6400 sec, which meant that I didn’t need to use a tripod.
The software program I used to edited the image was Adobe Lightroom. I sharpened up his eyes, beard and hat with the use of the brush tool. I also split-toned the image giving it a colder feel, which made his eyes to to pop a little.
It was hard to decide what level of contrast the image would have. Most portraits have very little contrast, but this was not a glamour shot. This was a portrait of a real person and I wanted to capture dad the way he really looks.
This will always be one of my favorite images. My dad has always been a character who has achieved many things throughout his life. There are many words that one could use to describe my father, but boring is not one of them.
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Camera Gear & Settings
ISO: 100 Focal Length: 35mm Aperature: f/1.8 Shutter Speed: 1/6400 sec