It’s not everyday that one ofÂ your clients calls and asks if you would mind photographing the U.S. distributor for South African wines. (Did someone say wine?) I was born in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. This area is known for it’s very flavorful wine, so when I was asked if I minded photographing the distributor for South African wines, I knew this was going to be good.
There was no pressure, the editor said that if the photo lended itself that it may be used on the cover and center spread of the magazine. In my head I had to make sure that I took both horizontal and verticals so the graphics department would have some options.
Terry lives on Boca Grande. Boca Grande is one of those places in the world that has the “see through teal water” like you see in movies and post cards. You have the feeling that you are on “island time” there. Not to mention that the Gasparilla Inn is located there. This is where the Bush’s stay when they are in town. This is truly paradise and I’m lucky enough to live just 30 short minutes away.
I got there ahead of the writer that was assigned to the story, so we took the opportunity to get “the lay of the land”. After looking at the outside bar that over looked the water and the pool area, we decided to do the photo shoot in the dining area. It was around noon, so the light outside was a bit harsh. I didn’t need any extra problems popping up due to the harsh light (and I left my shower curtain at home, but that’s another story)
The writer arrived and I got to work setting up my portable studio. I placed Terry at the center of the table and put some bottles around him. While I was finishing my set up and getting my exposure correct, the writer was interviewing him. I was offered some wine however, I thought maybe afterward. No one likes a loopy photographer with lame jokes!
The interview was over and it was show time. I had Terry pose as if he was opening a bottle of wine. All was to serious so I cracked a stupid joke and got the smile I was looking for. Sometimes that is all that it takes. I also took a few other photos of Terry putting gas into a wine bottle. I never knew this but, this is the preferred way to preserve the left over wine. (Who has left over wine?) I guess the layout department thought that the “cork screw” photo was the strongest as it ran on the cover and center spread.
Click on the thumbnail to see a bigger version of the lighting diagram. I know that Terry is a guy. I’m going to have to get the graphics department (oh, that’s me) to get a man icon.
Anyway, on camera left is a Nikon SB 800 on a light stand fitted with a 43″ shoot through umbrella. The flash was set at 1/2 power. Behind Terry at camera right is another Nikon SB800. This one is bare bulb, no diffusion material set at 1/4 power. I also zoomed the head out to 105 to get some nice harsh light for some separation. Usually, you can get away with this combo with guys.
To trigger the whole kit and kaboodle I used Nikon’s SU800 commander. If you’re not familiar with this device, it sits in the camera’s hot shoe and sends an inferred pulse to the flashes. Here’s the cool thing, with the SU800, I have total control of the flashes from the camera’s position. I tweaked the settings until I got it exactly where I wanted it and no one is none the wiser.
At the end of the day…
If you are looking for something different to try with your photos, give this layout a try. Don’t be afraid to experiment. As they say, pixels are free. Until next time…
Keep Your Glass Clean