Punching Things, Lighting Things, with Mike

Originally Published February 10th, 2017

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” -Muhammad Ali

Several months ago, I was lucky enough to photograph two amazing people. A sort of “photo-triathlon”, capturing them together and separate on the same day. We began with a couples shoot. I photographed Mike and Ashley together, sharing tea and laughs. We followed those with a short portrait session of Ashley in her studio. Finally, I wrapped up the three hour shoot by photographing Mike.

Upon Ashley’s request, we shot a few portraits in his study. Slightly cramped, I carefully wiggled my 60 inch convertible umbrella into place. Using a canon 5D MKii & 50mm lens and shooting through a doorway, I captured these.

mike-ashley-54

mike-ashley-57

Mike is a super friendly, super chill guy. He has one of those laughs you can feel; loud and reverberating. We’ve only hung out a handful of times but I’ve always been fascinated by his career and travels. Mike climbs very tall things and repairs them. When he comes home after a rough day, he likes to hit things. That’s when the beast comes out. Motorcycles, tattoos, and a beat up duct taped punching bag; doesn’t get much cooler than this. I was ecstatic to walk into Mike’s neatly kept garage and see him sweaty and punching away, UFC glove clad.

For these portraits I set up two separate lights. One, a bare speed-light placed behind the bag. The other, an Octobox placed just outside the camera’s frame to the right.

mike-ashley-121

mike-ashley-123s

mike-ashley-115s

Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth. -Mike Tyson

I dragged my shutter, hoping to capture a ghosting effect as Mike quickly and powerfully struck the bag. I knew that even with a slower shutter speed, the flash would freeze the action.

mike-ashley-114

As Mike waled away at the bag, I attempted to time each shutter with his punch. I was using my Canon 5D again for these shots. Wait, punch, click. Wait, punch, click. Dodge bag, punch, click. Until finally, boom, we got the shot.

“A lot of times you have your frame very much in mind and you’re waiting for things to fall in place.” -Vincent Laforet

mike-ashley-122

Mike talked about his years in Vegas as a fighter. He told me, “what I really like is getting hit back.”

My voice cracked as I told him I wouldn’t like that very much.

Finally, I pulled out my Fujifilm X100T and positioned Mike in front of the bag. I wanted to create a high contrast look with light wrapping around him from both sides. I placed two octoboxes just outside the right and left of the frame.

mike-ashley-125

mike-ashley-127s

I learned two important lessons from my session with Mike. Lesson one: one light is great, two lights are pretty sweet too. Lesson two: if you like your face, don’t make Mike angry.

Cheers

-Tim

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s