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Anyone Use Artificial Lighting for Landscapes?

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by NewBert, May 24, 2011.

  1. By artificial lighting, I mean either flash or a flashlight, etc to lighten up the foreground when shooting evening sunsets or early morning sunrises?

    For example, for an image like this one (with a dominant foreground), I feel that adding some light in the foreground (assuming this was shot at or near sunset) would enhance the image. I know that this effect can be achieved thru careful use of HDR techniques (and I shoot HDR a lot). But I'm wondering whether shooting with flash or lighting up the foreground with a flashlight of some kind would work even better?


    If so, what setting do you use for the flash and do you shoot off-camera or on-camera, etc?

    Also, if anyone has sample images using this idea (or similar) please post them in this thread with an explanation of what you did and why. I'm thinking of trying this technique and would like to pick up some tips about it.

  2. Yes, I have, but I think the more common method with landscapes would actually be to subtract light by use of filters... exposing for the darker foreground and making the sky darker. But, I don't do enough landscapes to buy a good filter set, so I've actually used my flash several times... unfortunately, by best example is not uploaded and I don't have access to it now, but here are a couple that I have also done...

    This one is hard to tell, but I did light the sign with a flash off camera... it was almost pitch black...
    [​IMG][/url] MissionSignbordered by Reptile Guy, on Flickr[/IMG]

    And this one is more obvious, however, I was goofing around and ended up liking the effect... this was taken at about 8 AM, so the sun was obviously much brighter than portrayed here... I stopped down so far as to darken the scene, and then caused the flowers shadow to go contrary to normal with my flash, again, off-camera...
    [​IMG][/url] Lupine shadow bordered by Reptile Guy, on Flickr[/IMG]

    And this one I used the flash on the foreground to balance out the specular highlights in the BG... unfortunately the scene was just a bit too mottled to be effective...
    [​IMG][/url] Dreamfallbordered by Reptile Guy, on Flickr[/IMG]
  3. Shaun, I particularly liked the effect you achieved in your first shot. Very nicely done.
    The secret to using flash to illuminate foregrounds in landscapes is to underpower the flash to make it look as if no flash has been used.
    I seldom use the technique but as you have seen it can be very effective.

    William Rodriguez
    Miami, Florida.
  4. bmell


    Feb 11, 2009
    I've done this a few times. I think you are looking for a more subtle result.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  5. Thank you. And that's excatly what I did with the flash in the 1st and 3rd examples. I included #2 simply to show what else one can do with it, when one is actually going for that noticable effect. :smile:
  6. Thanks for all the examples, guys. Keep 'em coming!

    I assume that all these were shot with flash on-camera (vs off-camera)?

    Shaun, I would have preferred the sign in #1 to be lit up just a tad more, but I get the idea.

  7. I can understand that... I guess it's what one would want to highlight in the picture. My goal was to focus on the sunrise... :smile:
  8. donski


    Jan 28, 2011
    I believe I used some flash on this first example to get some of the foreground to show.
    Back then I was applying what I've read online to almost all my shots. :smile:


    Sometimes I can get lucky with the processing and able to dodge and burn the foreground enough to my liking that I don't need the flash.
    There's that, and forgetting to use the flash all together. :biggrin:

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