I'm starting at the end and working my way backward through some recent photo sessions. This shoot is from a few days ago in downtown San Angelo. It almost didn't happen. I managed to come down with a mild bit of food poisoning and had to bring in a replacement photographer. Toward the end of the day the decision was made for me to go ahead and attempt the shoot, alongside the replacement photographer. This turned out to be a good choice, with the session stretching to a little over an hour after full sunset. The deep shadows set the stage for a very moody lighting, ideal for conversion into black and white or some gritty color images.
Abigail Robertson stepped into the role of model for the evening, wearing a black dress and matching gloves for the contrast of elegance against the rough textures of San Angelo's aged storefronts. A native of San Angelo, she also models in Austin and other locations. This was the first opportunity I'd had to collaborate with her and she was wonderful to work with.
The first location was an open parking lot surrounded partially bordered by the rough stone wall of a commercial building. I went with the standard one light configuration, setting up a monolight inside a 22" Mola Demi beauty dish fitted with a 20 degree grid, no sock. To give just a tiny bit of detail in the far background for the first couple of shots, ISO was increased and the shutter speed was lowered to bring up the ambient. Once we moved to using the stone wall as the entire background, strobes provided all of the light in the scene and the higher ISO setting was no longer needed.
The second location wasn't very far from the first. We found a nice storefront window wrapped in a string of lights. These were sufficient at high ISO to act as a key light when Abigail looked inward toward the window or a rim light when she looked away. I attempted a little fill with the strobe but wasn't able to get an acceptable result even at the lowest power setting. The workaround was to shine a bright LED flashlight through a bit of diffusion material held near Abigail's face. It worked! Hey, whatever it takes to get the shot...
We moved up the sidewalk a little ways and did a handful of shots with Abigail sitting on a stool, illuminated by a 10-degree grid mounted in the standard strobe reflector. It worked remarkably well... The evening was rounded out by some shots against a wooden gate in a stone wall.
It turned out to be a great session.