When I told a friend of mine about my idea to do a late-evening portrait of a bassoon player in the middle of a grassy field, his reaction was “you need to find a better instrument.” This is my way of playfully thumbing my nose at him.
I’d originally imagined the scene with a full moon off to the side. Partly I was attracted to the challenge of properly exposing both the subject and the moon simultaneously. But when I had such awesome clouds, my subject and his bassoon, and my camera all at hand (not to mention a handy folding chair) I could hardly pass up the opportunity.
This was taken about 20 minutes after sunset and I used a single flash with a shoot-through umbrella to light the model. I added an orange gel to the flash to soften the natural coolness of the strobe light and provide a warm contrast between the foreground and background.
I did quite a lot of post work on this, mostly in Color Efex Pro 4, and mostly using the Darken/Lighten Center filter. I added three control points of various intensities to bring out the clouds, give the illusion of more light control than I actually had, and adding a tremendous amount of definition to the clouds without resorting to contrast sliders which would invariably brighten up the face too much. I also added a bit of a graduated filter in Lightroom from the bottom up to darken the bottom third of the picture, providing increased balance and a more solid base to the image.
I really didn’t tweak much with the colors at all, and one of the things I’m most pleased with is how the young man’s hair is nearly the same color as his bassoon, which is very close to his natural hair color. The gel on the flash helped greatly, though, to draw the hair and bassoon colors even more closely together.