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?
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