Lori relaxing with cigar and bourbon

Lori’s 60th birthday celebration picture with bourbon and cigar.

Lori has been a bit distressed about marking her 60th birthday: she’s reached middle age.  (She plans to live at least until 120.)  I wanted to commemorate it with a photo that emphasizes the spirit of how I would like her to approach it: with equanimity or indifference.  She’s too busy enjoying life to pay much attention to arbitrary chronological milestones.

I was a bit surprised when she agreed to the concept as I described it. A cigar and glass of bourbon were always part of the narrative but the venue changed from field of daisies to woods due to uncooperative weather.

A moderately wide aperture reduced depth of focus. A low ISO and 1/250th shutter speed enabled darker tones in the woods so that some lighting would help bring the subject out a bit more.

Lighting was via two studio strobes.  One was camera left in a pan reflector for a slightly diffused overall subject lighting.  Another strobe in a grid high camera right behind Lori brought up a little separation on her shadow side. Both were at very low power because of the wider aperture.

We are pleased with the results.  At least photographically.  We got many good poses to pick from.  Unfortunately the cheap cigar made Lori ill and it took her the rest of the day to recover from all the puffing to bring the shot to life.

So, aside from poisoning my wife on her birthday, I would say things went pretty well.  Lori may differ.