Studies in Champagne
New Year's Eve is traditionally a time of celebration and cheer, but with 2020 being the year that it was, general jubilance was maybe a bit muted, and for many, it was a time spent either alone or with a very small group. The weirdness of this holiday season inspired me to explore the use of the traditional drink of celebration - champagne, or sparkling wine - in portraying the end of this sideways year. Images from this study are below, with notes on my thought process as I was making them.
Aftermath 1. This image is actually what I had envisioned when I started thinking about how to portray the oddness of celebrating this new year. The lighting design is intended to evoke morning light coming through a partially-open window. As for the content/props - the small twist-top bottle of sparkling wine, the single glass, hat, and noisemaker - these were chosen to portray the small gathering sizes that most people experienced this year, as well as the hardship that many faced**. (**Aside: I couldn't bring myself to use Baby Duck for this shoot, despite it definitely being a cheap alcohol alternative. My intention was not to portray a high school party vibe!)
New Year's Aftermath 2. After I took the first "Aftermath" picture, I reviewed it on my computer, and decided that there were technical aspects of it that I didn't like. The glass was too dirty, the fact that the bottle was a twist-top wasn't readily apparent, and I'd allowed too much of the light source into my frame, causing too much flare. This was my second attempt at this image, using a cleaner glass and an HDR-type of technique to better control the highlights and shadows, and upon reflection I'm not sure that it's an improvement. Yes, in my mind it's a bit clearer, but it's almost *too* sanitized and loses some of the grunge of the first attempt.
What are your thoughts? What emotions did the above images evoke? How did you spend your New Year's Eve?
Keywords: champagne, concept, Henkell Trocken, sparkling wine
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