rené van bakel

rené van bakel

Portrait of Winegrower Luigi Fabbro

As this is going to be my first blog post, I want it to be special. That is why I chose this portrait of my good friend, winegrower Luigi Fabbro. Gigi, as his friends call him, creates extraordinary, great wines. Together with his English wife Katia Nussbaum, they manage their San Polino vineyards in Montalcino as a biodynamic permaculture. The way the Etruscans did, without using chemicals.

This portrait came into being during an interview and photo-shooting at the San Polino premises. As a matter of fact, we were outside and Gigi was just opening this bottle when a thunderstorm came upon us. We hurried into the house and at the moment we sat down at the kitchen table – the window blinds half closed – this gloriously soft light fell in and I had to act quickly to catch it, as from experience I know that a light like this vanishes just as quickly as it occurs. Instinctively I grabbed my Nikkor 35 mm F/1.4 lens and mounted it upon my Nikon D810. I chose it because I wanted to show the entire scene but not without being able to play with the depth of field. As you can see it has a nice, soft bouquet in the unsharpness. My camera is always in manual mode as I don’t want to risk the exposure settings to change automatically. So I quickly set the aperture on F/1.8 (as I don’t want to use full opening), and the shutter speed on 1/40 s (just enough to avoid in-motion unsharpness). The ISO sensitivity, I set to 400 as I wanted to keep the amount of graining as low as possible (although even in higher ISO values the Nikon D810 provides good results). The yellowish, greenish soft light coming through the window was a mixture of the setting sun, softly filtered through the thunderstorm clouds. Gigi made a perfect model as he was stoically turning the wine in his glass, mustering the smell and taste. He hardly moved. Still, I was only able to take 7 images before the light was gone again. All in all, it did not even take one minute to recognize and execute the shot. San Polino is also one of the venues we visit during my photo workshop “Visual Storytelling” in Tuscany and Umbria around Lago Trasimeno.

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