There is a lot to be said for building from a foundation of strength and knowledge (and using a reflector to lighten deep shadows and balance you exposure without resorting to HDR). It can be tricky to get exposure right on something this contrasty so using manual mode is a must.
Same image without the reflector just exposed for the highlights. I actually don’t mind this as there is still a hint of detail in the shadow and the diagonal line from the middle to bottom left is stronger but all that black makes it look top heavy to me. I could work if the image was square though.
Not sure who said it originally but the skills that make a good photographer require regular exercise, not just to maintain them but for any extension of ability. Ultimately it gives you creative choices and control.