..."About The Author, Eh"
Last summer's workshop on Rabbit Island, in British Columbia provided lots of great nature photo ops. But, we were all pleasantly surprised to find out that June, our hostess, cook, and renaissance woman in-residence, was just completing work on an autobiography of her adventures in the Great White North.
Her publisher needed just one more item to complete the initial draft....a picture of June. Or, more specifically, an Environmental Portrait for the cover.
Perfect timing....I was there conducting a week long class, and had lots of anxious gaffers and grips ready to help make this happen. And, they worked cheap...no Hollywood "union scale" here, on a remote island. All they demanded for pay was yet another, decadent meal of fresh, local clams and oysters. So, an agreement was struck....June offered to prepare the meal, which was to be served-up during that evening's sunset cruise... aboard a World War 2 vintage, amphibious, beach-assault craft, while we all drifted aimlessly....just offshore of this small island.
So, I'm thinkin....not a bad trade for a simple headshot!
With an environmental portrait, the background is almost as significant as the subject themself. In fact, occasionally, even more so.
We picked a dramatic, yet typical mountainous backdrop, and positioned June with her back to the harsh afternoon light. I wanted to use the ambient light as a backlight, to create nice separation of June from the mountains. While, at the same time, giving a nice glow to her hair, and cheek.
With her face now in deep shadow, there was a need to bring the light level up to the overall brightness of the scene. We had a couple options here, and I opted to use a flash-fill. And to give the quality of the light a studio look, we shot the small Metz flash thru a translucent Westcott pop-up panel. By positioning the flash head about 3 feet back from the panel, the beam coverage was large enough to illuminate the entire surface of the fabric. This increased size of the light source is what gives the final image it's nice, soft, studio look.
A couple of technical items to be aware of here: When shooting directly into the sun, there's a big chance of lens flare. So, always use a lens shade....and make sure that there's no direct light striking the front element of your lens. And, with June posed with her back to the sun, she was a significantly more comfortable, and we avoided a lot of potential squinting.
June was pleased with the picture.....and the assistants ate well that nite.
Shot with the Fuji S-3 on a Manfrotto Neo-Tech tripod, using the Tamron 28-75mm zoom at 75mm focal length.
ISO was at 100 Exposure was f/11 at 1/125th second...using the flash on manual at 1/2 power. No exposure compensation.
No Canadians were harmed during the filming of this portrait . With one possible exception; Captain Hugh Jervis actually slipped on a wine bottle aboard the barge that evening. But ,then again, that doesn't count. He's a Kiwi.