And it doesn’t sound easy …
Last summer, when we printed an extensive list of activities to do in and near our neighborhood, photographer Danny Fulgencio was charged with capturing what most of us agreed was the coolest and most aesthetically pleasing of the catalogued pastimes — archery.
“Archery was one of those things I’d always wanted to photograph but never had the chance,” Danny says.
It turned out to be tougher than he’d envisioned, yet a learning opportunity.
He had a precise plan for how the archery photo would look — “a horizontal shot,” he says, “the camera slightly ahead and left of the archer, extreme concentration flashing in her eyes; the focus: the arrowhead: suspended in stunning detail with a glint of light snapping off its tip …”
But the best-laid plans sometimes go the way of a novice archer’s arrow.
Danny met at the Texas Archery Academy Range with archers Robyn Pope and Chris Dion, who listened to his plan and tried their best to accommodate.
Without access to the sort of sound or laser-activated shutter mechanism used in those photos we sometimes see of, say, a bullet penetrating an apple, Danny says, he attempted to capture arrows flying off the arch at some 200 miles per hour.
Danny notes that he previously had drawn correlations between the Zen of archery and photography.
“Both demand intense timing, precision and accuracy to deliver the desired result,” he says. Yet the two actions are “yin and yang,” you could say, one rooted in destruction and the other preservation.
But after several vain attempts, and instructions from a range officer to please not stand downwind of flying deadly arrows, Danny’s Zen zeroed out until he decided that he — as his models with their arrows — must let go (of the obsessive focus on that ideal preconceived shot, that is).
“Conceptually, maybe there comes a point when it’s best to let an immature idea miss its mark, accept the reality and simply let it go,” our photographer concedes.
“And so I let go. I chose instead to focus my camera on the archer’s release, that moment just before the grip loosens and the arrow heads toward its destiny.”