Desert Warriors | Mounted Archers | Environmental Portraits

When you get the opportunity to work with the desert warriors, you jump on that!   Alex reached out to me with the idea for a fun day at the track/range where they practice a unique sport called mounted archery.  If you thought shooting a bow and arrow was tough, or maybe riding a horse a little difficult, try combing them.  These are some talented people!  

The craziest aspect of this shoot was definitely riding in the back of a speeding gator while the horses galloped full speed at us.  The amount of dust in the air from one run down the track was incredible.  I'm still finding patches of dust in and around my camera/lenses from this shoot. Though, it was totally worth it because that dust in the air added some amazing atmosphere to the shots. 

Shown above are environmental portraits of Hollywood stuntman Chris Yung.  These are lit with a single Profoto USA B1 strobe in a 4 foot Elinchrom Rotalux Octabox with a single layer of diffusion on.   My batteries in the Profoto air remote died on me and I didn't have an extra pair of AAAs so I switched to pocket wizards and threw on a .9ND filter to get the same look I was getting with the Profoto HSS (High Speed Sync).  

For the shots of Alex (below + intro) we used a mix of natural light and a single Profoto B1 moonlight.   Switching between the 3 outfits, we wanted to show a sporty equine look, and a more theatrical look (think modern Game of Thrones).  Alex is great to work with because as an artist herself, she's open to experimenting with many different looks and embracing the artistic process.  

The behind the scenes video was shot with a mix of DJI Mavic Pro footage and GoPro Here 4+ footage.  I loved the drone shots, and we actually found that hand holding the Mavic while in the back of the speeding gator gave us an amazing look.  Not to mention it was the perfect stabilized solution to the very bumpy ride. 


Phoenix commercial photographer, Brandon Tigrett produces fitness lifestyle and portrait photography for advertising and corporate clients nationwide.   His main area's of expertise are in active lifestyle, fitness portrait and headshot photography.