"Nice Guys Finish First"
© David A. Ziser
I've been giving the girls top billing in my Image of the Day posts these last several days. Today I'm giving the guys a chance. Here's another image I made during my Napa Valley workshop just a few weeks ago. Again, it was made at the Beringer Winery where the grounds offered wonderful opportunities for so many different kinds of portraits. A few days ago I posted an image entitled the “Beautiful Lines” [link]. It was a portrait of Megan on one of the walkways at Beringer. As I pointed out in that post I love how all the lines led to our beautiful subject.
This image was made in exactly the same location but from the top of that walkway looking back in the opposite direction. Once again the background of the scene supports a portrait of our handsome young man, Sammy, quite well.
The main challenge of this portrait was to make him look his best in his portrait. He was carrying a few extra pounds around his middle and wearing a suit that was just tugging a bit at its buttons. I decided to position him leaning back slightly on the railing you see in the foreground. This, in effect, slimmed him down quite nicely and with this congenial expression, I think we pulled off a pretty nice portrait of him.
I brought the light in from camera right, my Quantum through my Zumbrella, at 1/4 power. It was simply a matter of balancing the flash illumination with the ambient light to obtain my final result.
Compositionally I decided to put him right in the middle of the image area flanked by the fall foliage on the left and the Pavilion on the right. Look closely and you'll see those railings in the background leading the viewer’s eye right to our main subject. Even though I was shooting at F5 .6 I was still able to throw the background significantly out of focus so that the viewer’s attention remains on our main subject.
DAZNOTE: I occasionally get questions about why I am using my 18 – 200 MM lens for so many of my images. The answer to that question is this; When I'm in a training session as I am in all my workshops and master classes, the 18 – 200 MM lens is a perfect optic for a training situation. It allows me a full range of focal lengths from wide-angle to telephoto which allows me to work, and teach, very quickly and efficiently.
Had I been making this portrait under normal conditions I, of course, would have been using my 70 – 200 MM lens at a wider aperture. So, even though you see this lens referenced a lot in my daily posts at DigitalProTalk, know that a lot of the time these images are made under teaching conditions where I will be using my favorite teaching lens the 18 – 200 MM lens.
Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 90mm, F5.6 @ 1/250 second, ISO 800. Enjoy! -David