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Monday, September 21, 2015


I love to travel and I love to make portraits of the people I meet along the way. It’s always special, but these portraits are extra special because this is my grand Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Ken. Aunt Bonnie is my grandpa’s sister, the aunt of my dad and his siblings. She’s always lived in Alaska since I’ve known her and we don’t see her very often as a result, even though she’s always been special because she’s the much younger and better looking only sister of my grandpa and their brother. Bonnie and Ken graciously hosted my cousin and I on our great Alaskan roadtrip when we were in Fairbanks for a day and a half, showing us some warm Alaskan hospitality. They gave us the family treatment, complete with hot breakfasts for two mornings and two hot showers each. It was a relief after driving relentlessly for just over 4 days. They shared some fantastic stories about my grandpa and my dad’s generation, and they made time to sit for me briefly before taking us out to dinner. I’m very happy to have been able to make these portraits of my family and these portraits will always remind me of the importance of having beautiful photos of the people you love, and I’ll never take it for granted. Thank you for sitting for me Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Ken, and thanks for the hospitality you showed us!

Tips for photographers: These photos are lit using window light with no modifiers of any kind. The room was basically white, but we closed all of the other windows and doors and there was enough distance behind the subject for the light to falloff into black. This was only possible because I made the falloff extremely fast by placing the subject as close to the light source as possible, which was basically in my lap. Yes these were intimate portraits in more ways than one. Looking back at these photos I noticed they looked a little different, with Ken’s having more contrast and detail and Bonnie’s being a little softer. The apertures are 2.8 for Ken and 2.2 for Bonnie, so I thought that was it. But then I noticed that I actually changed lenses between these two portraits (which seems crazy remembering how fast these were made), using the Zeiss 55mm 1.8 for Ken and the Zeiss Loxia 35mm 2 for Bonnie. The differences are pretty obvious so I’ll just leave it up to you to decide which look you prefer. www.portraits.paulbellinger.com

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