Father and daughter backstage before ceremony at South Congress Hotel Austin Wedding Ceremony and reception L1008704
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Father and daughter – December’s Photo of the Month

As we come to the end of 2022, I reflect on the year, like most of us. So, I’m restarting a new series of images. This photograph is very dear to me. I’m always drawn to these two subjects: Fathers and their daughters. Because I’m a dad, too, I cannot believe my girls have grown into two amazing teenagers! I captured this image inside the entrance of the swanky Otoko restaurant in the South Congress Hotel in Austin, Texas. They were in hiding for the start of the wedding ceremony, along with the wedding planner, restaurant manager, and myself. It was a tight little space! As we waited in the dark entranceway lit by one single lamp, the doors would open any moment for the father to walk his daughter down the steps to the ceremony.

As is often with the uninterrupted flow of documentary images, I worked the angles in a tight space, avoiding guests crossing the frame and the restaurant manager in the background. I’m always looking for a touch, a look, an unexpected moment, or a gesture, and keeping an open mind.
There are multiple things to watch out for at any time. But if I detect emotion brewing, then I’ll, of course, I’ll stick around patiently. Nothing is contrived or forced by me to make things happen; otherwise, I’ll feel like I’m the one changing the narrative. It’s also okay not to capture anything at all!

How to shoot

Earlier in the year, a photographer, after observing me capture, asked me how I anticipated moments and seemingly appeared just at the right time. Well, there are a few things happening. One, recognizing body language, and two, knowing my camera’s shutter, aperture, and focus ring without looking. Any photographer should know how to operate their camera with their eyes closed. Three, you should know the frame lines and the focal length – typically, for me, a 35mm lens. Four, do not rest for a moment; continue to move into a position ready to capture, avoiding distractions in the composition. Five, train the brain to pre-visualize the shot vs. reacting. Lastly. while that is all going on, I have the Leica manually prefocused with my forefinger just before pressing the shutter, knowing that a little tweak on the focus ring is all I need to nail focus through the rangefinder.

Photo captured with a Leica M10 Monochrom + 35 lens shot around f1.4 at ISO 25,000. Next week I’ll recap all my favorite images from 2022. There’s a lot more like this here and here. Below are more links.

Father and daughter backstage before ceremony at South Congress Hotel Austin Wedding Ceremony and reception L1008704