Last week I was sent by the Washington City Paper to cover the opening night of the brand-new U Street Music Hall. However, the owners of the club are not allowing any photography during their events, which made my task a bit more challenging. Instead of shooting the actual opening night, I showed up before doors to do a quick portrait of the owners, local DJs Will Eastman and Jesse Tittsworth. I had an idea of using a gridded light on them in the middle of the dance floor, with a logo or light show in the background.
When I got there it was clear that this was going to work nicely: there was indeed a lit logo I could use as a background; even better, there was a large stepladder sitting in the middle of the floor that I could use to get a nice high angle on the two DJs and the shadows that they would cast from my light. I didn’t actually grid it, just zoomed it a bit; and after a bit of deliberation I also added two SB-600s to the exposure. Even before it opened, U Street Music Hall was becoming known for an incredible sound system, and I highlighted this a bit by using my SB-600s to paint a little light on the two speakers at the base of the stage. In the above shot they’re not fully visible, but a horizontal version of the photo ran in the City Paper, and without that additional light the sides of the photos would have gone totally dark and boring.