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Friday, November 11, 2011

Face of An Archer

Close-ups of archery can provide very strong images, as I learned the first time I photographed the sport.

Archer never loses his concentration as the bow mangles his face during an archery championship at U. S. Olympic Festival (© Michael Maher).

The Photo:
I never shot archery before, and with little advance warning to do any preparation for the event, I had to learn as it unfolded. The first thing I noticed was how tightly the archers pull the strings against their faces before they shoot. All the world class archers in this event seemed to do it, although some made much more interesting pictures than others. I shot several photos of them releasing the arrows, and reacting to their shots, but I kept thinking back to the scrunched-up faces – there was nothing better visually that day to convey their intense concentration and the difficulty of the event. I found one archer who had the best face of all, for he never wavered in his concentration, no matter how much he distorted and abused his poor face with the bow string while aiming. I don’t remember his exact place in the event, but he was easily the top archer for concentration.

3 Tips:
1) Because archery is about shooting the arrows at a target far away, the best photos capture the archer, not the target.
2) Archers provide great photos as their faces concentrate very intently before shooting.
3) Another terrific photo is the archer in the act of letting the arrow fly, but avoid being in the line of fire.

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