This cluster of palm trees sits across from the Gulf State Park in Alabama and has always stood out to me while driving along the beach highway. I really like the composition of the trees and decided to use them as a lighting experiment. The challenge was to light the subjects in three very distinct ways while rendering the form of the trees in a clear manner.
The first photo is taken with natural light only, and I chose to take it in the late afternoon to get nicely defined shadows on the trees themselves. This technique definitely gives more saturated colors and an overall warm color palette to the image.
The second image was taken at dusk with a single, handheld speedlight. I used the artificial light to separate the trees in the foreground from the dark, cloudy sky in the background. This technique gives a lot of definition to the details near and around the trees, but the placement of the light creates some very unnatural shadows.
The third image was taken by light painting the trees with a speedlight and compositing the final images together in photoshop. Back lighting the center tree helped to create a focal point in the image and side lighting the opposing trees created a contour line that grounds the subjects.
Let me know which image is your favorite!
Thanks for reading :)