My third stab at it was to use a very long lens (70-200 f2.8 with a 1.4x converter) wide open to throw the background out of focus on a shot of a Royal Naval diver in his dry suit and underwater breathing apparatus. Each of these images worked, but I wanted drama so I settled on shooting an Engineer with his remote controlled robot from below using a winter sky as my backdrop.
We were in an alley, but the wind was still a factor so I had limited options for using light modifiers. I decided to use a Lumedyne head with a simple diffuser over the reflector - directed onto the soldier. I took a reading from the sky and calculated that I would need to shoot at 1/250th at f22 on 200 ISO to get the kind of dark sky that I wanted. The flash was set to at about thirty degrees from the axis of the lens and on the eyeline of the subject. I guessed that a power output of 100 joules (watt seconds) would be about right and used a Pocket Wizard to trigger it , composing the photograph before shooting a test frame. The soldiers face was still a little overexposed, but the sky was fine so I turned the flash power down to 50 joules and tried again.
This time the exposure was good, but the LCD screen told me that something was missing so I asked the soldier to turn on the halogen headlamps on the robot. This gave me two bright yellow spots against the sky.
I only had one Lumedyne with me so I attached a spare Pocket Wizard receiver to a Canon 550ex flash unit to add some light to the machine itself and placed the flash on the floor with a Sto-fen omni-bounce looking straight up at the robot arm. This light caught the camouflaged sleeve of the soldier and filled in under his chin as well. 1/4 power on the speedlight was perfect and I shot a few more frames, the last of which you see here. The image as a whole is part intention, part accident and part making use of what's there.
The whole process took quite a while and it helped to have a patient subject while I fiddled around with power settings and lighting angles. I was pleased with the whole set, but especially so with this image.