This was one of the more difficult portraits I’ve ever done. The lines of the architecture as well as the grungy atmosphere drew me to the place, but the low ceiling made shooting with a 43″ umbrella a challenge and it was dark enough that It was hard to focus on anything (yes, I forgot to bring a flashlight yet again). I pumped the ISO as high as my Rebel SX will go, not worrying about the noise. I wanted noise in this shot, and injected quite a bit in post-processing. More important to me was that I capture the depth of the area. The background all went to black about 10 feet behind my subject and I needed some way to bring it back with only one flash. I tried a number of techniques, and in the end I thought I had failed utterly at achieving the shot I wanted.
I was even more discouraged when I viewed the photo on my computer. there was absolutely no background to be seen, and worse there was an inappropriate word on the column he is leaning on. I made a couple of half-hearted attempts to pull something out of this but was unhappy with the results so I closed it down for a couple of weeks.
Today I opened it again and did some extreme processing on it. I got the background to come out and the lines that I had seen in my mind’s eye when I took the shot began to come out. The subject ended up badly over-exposed but I was able to correct that with graduated filter to pull the exposure back to acceptability. I still had to do a bit of Photoshop to add contrast to his face, and to edit out my camera bag which was carelessly left in the frame, but in the end I got exactly the photo I wanted.