Cafe Manzi's

Cafe Manzi's
Cafe Manzi's is a great, new diner in Worcester, MA that my wife's cousin and her fiancé have just recently opened. They have taken "diner food" to a whole new level. I'm talking about authentic-tasting, homemade meatball and Italian "gravy" in an omelet! I've had an "Italian omelet" before... but not like this! And don't get me started on the chocolate-chip pancakes...

I decided to capture their first weekend open (AFTER scarfing down some tasty food, of course) with a little photography practice of my own. The atmosphere is very warm and friendly inside, with tastefully clutter-free decor (i.e. photography-friendly) but has some challenging lighting to deal with, from a photography standpoint - traditional fluorescent ceiling lights (which make for really ugly light in pictures), relatively low-light levels in the back half of the seating area, and a beautiful but bright sun-lit seating area in the front.

This shot (of Brian) was taken with the gorgeous light pouring through the gigantic front windows to camera right, lighting the wall and the camera right side of him. I didn't want the shot to have too many deep, dramatic shadows. I was aiming for a more subtle look to capture him in his environment, like the way you would see it
if you were standing there when you go to the restaurant. I simply lit the camera left side of him with a flash/umbrella bright enough to just create a slight shadow on his camera right side which is filled in by the sunlight.

Do you like this look or is it too subtle? Let me know what you think, but either way I know you'll like the food!
Strobist info: SB-600 up high to camera left in a shoot-through umbrella at 1/4 power with a 1/4 CTO gel, just out of the frame. Balanced the exposure (1/100th) with sunlight coming through large windows to hard camera right.