Wednesday, February 23, 2011

22/52 Martin Orellana

For my first portrait in Guatemala, I had the opportunity to meet, sit down with, and photograph a great man. Character like this isn't something you just have, it's something you earn.

Martin Orellana is Wendy's Grandfather. I first met him on his 93rd birthday, when Wendy and I arrived in his hometown of AsunciĆ³n Mita, Jutiapa, Guatemala. He lives with his wife of 65 years Marta. They own an amazing home together with a giant patio and garden. In his younger years he worked as both a carpenter and a farmer. In recent years, he had a nearly fatal encounter with Addison's syndrome. In 2007 he was discharged from the hospital in a coma, the doctors giving him a prognosis of certain death. Whether by miracle or sheer fortitude and determination, he came out of the coma and with the help of his family was nursed back to health. He's been healthy and well ever since. He has been a father figure to Wendy and her siblings, looking over them and teaching them life skills along the way.

Meeting Martin was an amazing experience alone. He's a great man who has seen more of life than I can imagine. It was truly a pleasure to have the ability to take his portrait. I photographed him in the outdoor area of his house. The house is a giant L shape, with the short end of the L bordering the street, the long end extending back on the right, and the remaining area occupied by a beautiful garden with an outdoor kitchen. I wanted to capture the feeling of sitting on the sunlit patio in the photo. 

For lights, I used one SB-800 as my main, off to camera right with a white-over-silver umbrella. I used an sb-600 back camera left with 1/2 CTO as an edge, to replicate the sun which streams into the patio in late day.

Here's a photo of the setup from the reverse angle. 

For the portrait, his posture made it difficult to show the garden in the background. I thought it was more important to see him in totality rather than capture the background and not show his full form. Despite the cane pictured, he is still very much mobile and moves everywhere with a steady determination. 

Strobist Info:
SB-800 camera right through white-over-silver umbrella
SB-600 back camera left with 1/2 CTO

Camera Settings:
1/60 f/5.6 at ISO 400
Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 @38mm

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