It wasn’t so long ago that tribal warriors in the far north-eastern Indian state of Nagaland practiced head hunting as a favorite pastime. Fortunately for me, this fierce-looking gentleman gave up such macabre endeavors long ago.
The remote Tuensang area of Nagaland was a grueling 12-hour journey that refreshed my memory of many other “bus-rides-from-hell,” a rocky ride navigating pothole-strewn roads through thick dust clouds that never seemed to end.
The photo on the right shows the unlit version of the image. Notice the flat ambient light on the warrior’s face and the overly bright exposure in the bottom of the frame.
In the photo on the left my Indian assistant, Pintu, stood outside this “morong” tribal hut. He handheld a Manfrotto 680B monopod to which we had attached one Canon 580EX II and two 430EX II Speedlites and a Westcott 43-inch collapsible umbrella using a FourSquare mounting block. On camera I used a Ray Ring Flash for fill light set to minus three f/stops. All strobe units were triggered using Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 radios with the AC3 Zone Controller. I used manual exposure mode and set the ambient light down about three stops so the strobe light would be more dramatic. I had the warrior rotate the spear for a brilliant strobe light reflection.
To create an even more accentuated lighting effect for the final image at the top I used the High Pass filter strategies in my Photoshop 3-D Workflow Action to isolate tonal boosts only in the shadows and highlights.
Click the photos below for info about some of the gear I used for images in this blog post.