John Tabaczynski  

Taco Belle by John Tabaczynski

September 2020 - Taco Belle

September 2020 - John Tabaczynski


About the Image(s)

Nikon D5100 (DX) 1/80s @ f/8.0, ISO 3200 w EV +1, Nikkor 18-55mm @ 34 mm (FX eq >> 51mm), handheld
This image is an example of what I call my “slice of life” imagery, and was taken back in 2012 when we were traveling with a small group of our friends in Chiapas, MX. Our guide had setup a visit with a local family that ran a very nice fabric weaving and clothing business on the outskirts of the city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas. After the goodies had been purchased we were invited out back to the “kitchen” for some snacks. Their daughter made fresh tacos on “la plancha” that we had with their own fresh made cheese and homemade salsas. At that time my primary camera was the Nikon D200 (DX). I borrowed my wife's D5100 for this shot because it had better high ISO capability than the D200. It was very dark in the cook house, and I needed all the sensitivity I could get. I have a large 12x15 print at home that I made 7 years ago that I think shows a bit darker than this. I may be wrong, but I think the print conveys a bit better the darkness of the place and lets the warm light of the fire illuminate her arms and side of face in contrast to the cool daylight coming through the spaces between the wall boards. Those two were the only illumination sources in that room. I think if I were to put this into a PID competition I would spend some time trying to bring out some of those warm tones, and replicate the illumination balance I see in the print.

4 comments posted

Jim Horn   Jim Horn
"Tab" - What you have here has the warm tones and the illumination seems balanced - especially as I compare this to the original. Too bad I can't compare it to the print. The moment seems very real as the "Taco Belle" handles a hot taco carefully. The composition and exposure are well presented.
I do suggest that you burn/darken the slit of daylight on the right edge of the red cloth, because it's brighter than teh rest of the slits and draws attention. Jim   Posted: 09/03/2020 17:15:40

Thorro Jones   Thorro Jones
Tab - I think that you did a great job capturing this photo in such a dark location. I understand why you have this picture on display. The warm tones in the fire and vibrance in the colors of the daughter's dress are wonderful. The placement (rule of thirds) of the daughter and the fire are spot on. I do agree with Jim that the bright sunlight slits are a little distracting. I also think some of the white area details are lost on the cooktop. I tried to bring these out by adjusting the Tone Curve in Lightroom, see attached picture.   Posted: 09/04/2020 13:18:55
Comment Image

Steve Sampliner   Steve Sampliner
I think you captured a great image. Having a fire cooked hand-made tortilla is a rare pleasure. Just based on the image I have before me, I can't help but notice the "grain" variations the exist between her skin, clothes, the wooden background, areas where the sun is coming through the back wall and where the hand has been removed. Everything I am going to say is a just a matter of personal opinion and personal style choices. I will desperately try to avoid using ISO increases past 1200, even if my camera can perform well past that number. Also, since my early years of photography were all BW film, I look for the contrast of moments like this and would attempt to capture the binary that exists between the illuminated and the darkened. Slower shutter speed and lower ISO would illuminate the fire, that chaotic life giving and destructive force, while spreading across the floor, up her right arm, the lower part of her dress. The light glancing through the imperfect wooden wall would slice across the negative.   Posted: 09/06/2020 01:08:45

Sam Fernando   Sam Fernando

I can see your edited image is much better as compared to the original which is much grainy in appearance. It is a beautiful photo. Although we can't see the eyes of the girl, we can see her attentiveness.
Considering the fact that the original photo has been taken with high ISO, I think you have done a good job.
What is that patch on her right hand?   Posted: 09/11/2020 05:27:08


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