With the sky changing quite quickly I moved back to the open grave, knowing that the client wanted that to be the main image. This time I asked my subject to sit by the grave and set my main Lumedyne light two metres off to the side at about 40 degrees from the axis of the lens and about 10 degrees above his eyeline. I placed a second flash unit (a Canon Spedlight) on a small clamp inside the lip of the grave itself and then two further flash units amongst the gravestones and memorials behind him just to pick up some details.
The correct reading for the sky was 1/180th at f8 and so I had to make all four flash units give the right amount of power individually to match this. The main light was on 1/16th power with no light modifier. Flash 2 was on 1/64th power and 3 and 4 were on 1/16th power as well. I had initially put flash 2 on a higher setting but it just looked odd with too much light coming from inside the grave. The more lights that you use, the more time takes to set up and then adjust them all in relation to each other. Four, on the whole, is too many for me when I am working alone. I would prefer to have one or two lights and then make use of the ambient for the rest of the shot but I like the fact that I can break my own guidelines from time to time.
The LCD screens on the back of the latest batch of digital SLRs are amazing. They offer easily enough detail to judge exposure, lighting balance and even a good degree of white balance too. I am currently using a combination of a Canon EOS5D MkII and an EOS 50D. They have the same screen and I find that they help me out a great deal. The ability to judge colour is especially important when you are using more than one brand of flash equipment. The difference between the Canon, Vivitar and Lumedyne units used here is big. Add a light modifier such as a slightly faded (and therefore warm) shoot through umbrella and you have more still to deal with.
I hope that you agree that the whole shot works rather well. Using quite so many light sources is a huge departure for me and not something I do very often - especially in a cemetery after dark!