Wednesday, June 8, 2011

36/52 Daniel Schneeweiss

So I get a call from Jaime Salas,  the east coast brand ambassador of Milagro tequila. He says "hey, this is going to sound crazy, but would you like to go to Mexico with Milagro in a week and a half to visit our distillery?" Um, yes. Yes I would.

Daniel (Danny) Schneeweiss is the co-founder of Milagro Tequila. Along with his partner Moises (Moy) Guindi, Danny set out to create a world class tequila that was both refined and accessible. Milagro was introduced to the world in 1997, and since then has gained recognition as a truly elegant Tequila with a very attractive price point. I got to see first hand the results of Danny and Moy's hard work: attention to detail at every step of production. From closed fermentation tanks to a sophisticated final step of column distillation to further cut heads and tails without raising the spirit's proof (a little info for all you spirits dorks out there), care and precision result in a beautiful blanco tequila that stands up on it's own and takes age well. Oh, and it makes a great margarita. Danny has come a long way from his Mexico City roots, now an international businessman with global aspirations. As tequila enjoys a renaissance, his brand continues to grow.

Dany and Moy were extremely gracious hosts. Not only did they put us up, feed us, take great care of us, and show us basically their entire production, Danny was kind enough to pose for my weekly portrait. We enjoyed lunch in the middle of one of Milagro's agave fields, and afterward we did the portrait. I placed Danny at the edge of the shade of a large tree as to reduce the ambient exposure. I exposed for the background and lit him with a silver-over-white umbrella with an SB-600 on full power. The result is a pretty good match in exposure between the subject and the background, as well as much more flattering light on Danny's face. You can see in the foreground the area that was in shade, as it's slightly dimmer than the area lit by the sun. Unfortunately a little speedlight can't keep up with the power of the sun, but the difference is barely noticeable. 

In this frame you can see the sunlight peeking through the tree branches and lighting up spots on his shirt. While I don't terribly mind this, I would have ideally had more comprehensive shade on the subject. Not bad considering the amount of tequila that was floating at the lunch immediately preceding the shoot. 

I quite like this slightly wider frame as well. It was a tough decision as to which to make the official photo of the week.

I also shot a few comrades who came along for the trip. Chris Hudnall of Miami had requested a portrait of him "meditating in an agave field." And who am I to not comply with the requests of a certified Master Blender?

One other highlight was a few pictures I caught of a mariachi band drinking Milagro's SBR reposado directly from it's beautiful hand-blown bottle. 

You can check out the rest of my pics from our awesome trip right here, including more mariachi tequila-drinking madness. 

Strobist Info:
SB-800 high camera left silver-over-white umbrella

Camera Settings:
1/250 f/8 at ISO 100
Tamron 17-50 f/2.8@ 24mm

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