Sunday, June 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

All Eyes photo gallery: How I got these 12 shots of Rays pitcher Chris Archer

On Wednesday, Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer sat for a photo shoot at the Rays Spring Training facility in Port Charlotte.

We started kicking around ideas two months ago for these photos, which accompany Marc Topkin's cover story about Archer in our Rays preview section.

As often happens, those thoughts were back-burnered as we prepared to cover the team's annual trek to Port Charlotte for spring training. And we made a little trip to Cuba with the team that sort of refocused our energies. After that, things happened quickly, and I was glad for that conversation two months ago.

Archer's hair has been a topic of discussion, — and for many, envy — since he stopped keeping it short last year. We knew the photo had to feature it.

For the gearheads out there, I had three lights. Two large, gridded softboxes over each shoulder, and a smaller one centered, overhead. A reflector below gave some fill. I shot with a 24-70mm zoom lens, mostly at 70mm.

Then I just asked Archer to be himself.

He's a true pro. I'm in my third season covering the Rays and have worked with him several times. He always makes it easy.

We gave him the quick rundown of what we were trying to accomplish, namely getting a wide variety of expressions from serious to funny, and he was ready to roll.

As Topkin writes about him, "The 27-year-old All-Star pitcher with the fascinating mixed race backstory, indefatigable charitable spirit and charming personality has become one of the faces not just of the Rays but all of Major League Baseball.

" 'From our perspective," commissioner Rob Manfred told the Tampa Bay Times, "Chris Archer may be the sort of ideal major-league player — he's articulate, he's inquisitive, he's community-minded and he loves the game. You just can't ask for a better package than that.' "

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer was photographed at the Tampa Bay Rays Spring Training facility in Port Charlotte on Wednesday, March 30, 2016.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

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