Two Very Different Portraits

Here are a couple of recent portraits, both of which I enjoyed working on, but which could not be more different.

The first image was taken a couple of years ago at Cantigny Park, in Wheaton, Illinois.  Cantigny is the former estate of Col Robert R. McCormick, who was publisher and editor of the Chicago Tribune until his death in 1955.  The estate features his mansion, gardens, and grounds, and also hosts the First Division Museum.  It is a venue for many events, including the Revolutionary War encampment and battle re-enactment that I attended on this occasion.  This particular image was taken on Kodak Portra 160 with available lighting on a Hasselblad 500CM and a 80mm Zeiss lens.  I scanned the negative on my Epson 700 flatbed scanner and processed the image in Capture One Pro and Photoshop; the image is heavily cropped to eliminate distracting modern elements and to simplify the composition.

Portrait of Revolutionary War Re-Enactor, Cantigny Park, 2015. Hasselblad 500CM, Zeiss 80mm f2.8, Kodak Portra 160

The next image was taken on Apr 23, 2017, at Independence Grove Forest Preserve, Libertyville Illinois, during a Outdoor Portrait Photography workshop conducted by Ken Mischke ( as part of the Lake County Camera Club’s (LCCC) small groups program.  The workshop was designed to introduce students to working with a model, and focused on outdoor portraits using available light and reflectors.  Ken did a great job guiding the photoshoot, and the model, Antoinette Stubbs ( convincingly channeled her inner Marilyn Monroe for our cameras.  This exercise was highly illuminating as it aptly demonstrated the power of the humble reflector to provide a dramatic key light on the model while using the early morning sunlight as a backlight.  We also saw the effective use of a diffusion panel as a scrim to soften the hard light of mid-day sun.  If it did nothing else, this workshop convinced me that I need to add a reflector to my photo bag.

Antoinette Stubbs portrait at Ken Mischke Outdoor Portrait workshop, Independence Grove Forest Preserve, Libertyville IL, Fuji XT-1, Fuji XF 50mm f2 lens, (1/1600 sec, f2.8)

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