Vacation perchance?

On a recent luxurious vacation (a.k.a. a weekend getaway to Portsmouth, NH & Kittery, ME at this point in life), Jennifer and I again started the trip by buying some new music. I love this idea (not our own, but we tend to do it often) of creating the "soundtrack" to a memorable event while it is happening, because every time you hear that music in the future, the memories come rolling back along with it.

In this case, we bought 2 albums by the Zac Brown Band, introduced to me by my brother. It is kinda Country, kinda Reggae, and a refreshing "something different" all at once. Highly recommended.

Our room in the old Victorian inn we stayed at had a really cool look in the afternoon, as indirect sunlight poured in through two big windows and I liked the way it mixed with the "warmer" lights on the wall behind the bed.

Unfortunately, the sunlight and room lights didn't balance very well in the camera. The room lights were too bright compared to the sunlight coming across the bed from camera left and to a lesser extent, through the other window behind the camera.

ambient, full exposure
ambient exposure, 2 stops down

So, I concentrated on making the room and room lights look the way I wanted, which turned out to be underexposed by 2 stops (which totally killed the light coming in through the window). Then I recreated the (camera left) side window light with a flash to make things look more the way my eyes saw them.

Once I was happy with the lighting, I asked my wonderful wife to just lay down on the bed to read instead of sitting in the chair in the corner. Her response went something like: "No thanks."

Ummm, but I just got the lighting all set up?!?! (What to do?) Luckily, the area we were staying in has a terrific supply of gorgeous models available for just these kinds of situations. Once she saw the model in place, she was so taken aback that she grabbed the camera and actually ended up shooting this frame herself!

Is it a better photo to have someone in it, rather than just a shot of the empty room? Probably. Even if I have to be the subject? Arguably. In the past I probably would have ended up with just a photo of the empty room, but this year I'm taking more chances/risks, big and small, when it comes to photography. It will either make for better photos or make me look ridiculous, but at this point in life I only care about the former.

Or as Zac Brown sings:

But you only get one chance in life to leave your mark upon it. When the pony, he comes riding by, you'd better sit your sweet ass on it!
Strobist info: The only flash lighting the scene is an SB-800 with a 1/4 CTO gel from camera left, just out of the frame, in a Lumiquest Softbox III zoomed to 50mm and fired at 1/32nd power. The shadow side of my the model's face is filled by the light from a second window directly behind the camera, 2 stops down.