Michael and Tina Timmons are Sunset Print Award regulars, in one way or another. Both are past Sunset Print Award-winners for their outstanding photography, but have also printed award-winning images for other photographers across the country.
The Timmons’ most recent Sunset Print Award was earned by Michael at the Professional Photographers of Michigan competition for this slice-of-work image entitled The Bike Builder. It is a stellar example of capturing the essence of the subject and the environment in which that subject works.
The Bike Builder owns Arizona Thunder in Bisbee, Ariz. Michael stumbled upon the motorcycle repair and restoration shop during a road trip in the area following the Imaging USA show in Phoenix this past year.
“Being a motorcycle enthusiast, I noticed a big Harley-Davidson sign outside his shop. We were taking photos in town and stopped in to find out more. I asked him if I could take some photos and he agreed,” Michael recalls. “As soon as I saw the environment I knew I wanted to do something for competition, because of the clutter, the old parts and his character. At the time I got the capture we were having a conversation about his business. I had a tripod set up at the counter, so this scene is what you see from behind the counter when you walk into his shop. He had parts from all different makes, models and years in the shop with two or three bikes he was working on at the time.”
The image you see here is essentially what Michael captured with his Canon 5D Mark II with a 16-35mm lens on a tripod. The lighting is all natural light streaming through the window opposite the subject. The image was then converted in Photoshop with nik Silver Efex Pro 2 to black and white with some minor touchup with Silver Efex.
“When you’re working with someone in their environment, the key is to pull everything together and tell a story inside their everyday workspace. He’s real easygoing and laid back; this is what he does every day, so the story tells itself,” Michael says.
For the presentation at competition, Michael printed The Bike Builder on Sunset Photo eSatin Paper 300g, an inkjet photo paper he uses almost exclusively for competition printing.
“We’ve tested a lot of papers and found that the image quality on Sunset Photo eSatin surpasses other papers we’ve tested. We print competition images for people all over the country and everything that goes out is typically on Sunset Photo eSatin and Sunset Fibre Elite,” Michael explains. “The details, highlights and shadows print a lot better and the white point is a lot higher. We also like the weight and thickness of the paper; it’s easier to handle and it’s a lot more durable than other papers.”