f/8 – 1/80 – ISO 800
A favorite Z 7 shot of late has been of Nancy De Santis, out on the plains, with one of her favorite horses. Nancy is one of the most amazing people I know, and I’ve been lucky enough to ask her to step in front of my lens on occasion. We had a special time out in New Mexico recently, with Nancy, and her husband Rick, who collectively run a program called Horses for Heroes. In the program, they work with veterans who have experienced combat trauma, and emotionally bond them with horses, and acquaint them with the healing, peaceful aspects of ranch life, and the way of the horse.
Some folks have asked about this pic, and the BTS aspects of it. It was done quite simply, at the end of a day of shooting, in about five minutes, with one flash. The key is that it wasn’t a lot of flash. The main light is the sun, still faintly powerful, lingering on the horizon. The luck of the shot was that I was able to place, in hand-held fashion, a light off to camera right, firing in the same direction as the sun, and just lifting Nancy out of the overall exposure scene in a subtle, hopefully not too noticeable a way. This is a beautiful scene in front of the lens, and one of the myriad ways you can ruin it is to bigfoot your way through the picture with too much white light flash. This is one of those lovely, delicate scenes where, at the camera, I am reminded of that physician’s mandate, “First, do no harm.” In other words, treat this carefully, and try not to screw it up.
A different strategy is deployed below, of course. There is no natural light on Nancy. There’s barely any light anywhere, even the sky, which, incidentally is about to open up and drive us off the roof. Here, quite clearly, I am definitively, absolutely, lighting her. It’s not a dance with the sunset wisps of light. Here, you have to push the light, and shape your subject, relative to the background. It’s not a whisper of light, it’s more of a shout.
f/8 – 1/125 – ISO 100
All images here shot with the Nikon Z 7 camera, fitted with the Z series 24-70mm lens. Lighting is super basic. For the sunset shot up above, it’s a single large flash, with a 1×3 gridded soft box. Same below, except there’s also a raw bounce off the white-painted roof Nancy is standing on.
Can’t mention Nancy without mentioning Rick. He’s a veteran and an ordained minister, and an extraordinary individual. They have a small chapel on their property, used by incoming vets for prayer, solitude and meetings.
f/1.8 – 1/8000 – ISO 100
Blessed to know these two amazing people….more tk….