Tuesday, March 1, 2011

23/52 Luis Alas

Sometimes you have to come up with an idea for a shoot at the last minute. This is definitely one of those times.

Luis Alas is Wendy's older brother. He lives in Chiquimula, Chiquimula, Guatemala. He co-owns a cellphone shop with Wendy's sister Sheny. He's a great guy and he did everything he could to help us out while we were in town. When Wendy was laid up from having her wisdom teeth out, I got the chance to hang out with him one on one. I quickly got the impression that he knows just about everyone in town. While we were out and about we constantly encountered shouts of "Ouicho!", his nickname. He's a really good guy, and I'm glad to have met him and been able to spend time with him on our trip.

It's funny how quickly a week can go by when traveling abroad. We had originally planned on visiting Wendy's father's farm on Sunday morning, but between her resting after her surgery and the general chaos of travel, we ended up pushing back to Monday. I realized the implications that this had for my project sometime around 6pm on Sunday. I had to come up with a portrait, and fast. I ended up roping Wendy's brother into sitting for me and I shot him on his scooter, on which he can frequently be seen zipping around town.

The concept was simple: shoot him in the street on his bike. However, a factor never to be overlooked in Guatemala is the traffic. People drive fast, and they drive crazy. Shooting in the street at night is way more of an adventure than it seems. My lovely assistant Wendy had to man the umbrella, and every she saw a car she would yell and she and I would run out of the street. Sketchy? Yes. But surprisingly effective. 

I spent about 20 minutes carefully trying to color balance for a particularly nasty looking street lamp, which we ended up not shooting in front of. Instead we shot in front of the Pharmacy across the street, which provided a nice looking backdrop without much in the way of color balancing issues. The super green nasty lamp (two full window green gels and one 3/4 window green gel for you photo dorks out there) was behind us though, so I positioned the key to flag the light from his face. High ISO and dragging the shutter let me balance the exposure with the background. The frame could definitely use some separation from the left, but I'd rather skip that and not get hit by a car or have my gear run over.

"show me your outlaw biker face."

Setup shot:

Strobist Info:
SB-600 high camera right through white-over-silver umbrella

Camera Settings:
1/40 f/5.0 at ISO 1250
Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 @ 27mm

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