More Naga Headhunter Tribal Warriors

In olden days these Naga warriors in the far north-eastern reaches of India collected heads from fallen opponents and they proudly displayed their trophies above the entrance doors of their bamboo huts.

I’m extremely grateful I wasn’t part of their collection.

India, Nagaland, Tuensang, Naga tribal warrior

India, Nagaland, Tuensang, Naga tribal warrior

I could have asked these guys to smile . . . but that would have been out of character. So I gestured for one to tip his head up and the other to turn his expression down. (Up gives you proud. Down gives you ferocity.) Perhaps both expressions pay tribute to Naga legacy.

I decided not to mess with these guys. I’d get my photos and get outta there fast.

India, Nagaland, Tuensang, Naga tribal warrior

The above image was my strobe lighting setup shot.

My trusty Indian assistant, Pintu, seemed not to be scared.

He nonchalantly held a Manfrotto 680B Monopod onto which was dangling a LumiQuest LTp softbox that was strapped around a Canon 580EX II Speedlite set to normal exposure with no compensation. I triggered this unit with a Pocket Wizard TT5 radio receiver. Though my perseverance was being tested and my neck hairs were standing erect in fear, I tried to exude calmness when choosing manual mode for my Canon 5D Mark II and when placing the overcast sky’s ambient reading at minus two or three f/stops. I wanted deep saturation and a moody effect. On camera I used a Ray Ring Flash for fill that was set to minus 3 stops via my AC3 Zone Controller mounted in the hot shoe of my camera.

The “Holy Grail of Composition” (according to my Bible) is that backgrounds are as important as the subject. Of course, you must work with what you’ve got–and quickly in this case–if you don’t want your head taken.

In front of me were horizontal boards on one side of my shooting venue that I used for the first subject and behind me was a vertical stack of logs for the other guy. Perfect!  My shooting time for these two warriors was about ten minutes. Post-production took a bit longer.

At least, I kept my head.

Glen Allison

Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, 500px and Instagram to keep abreast of my adventures.

facebook twitter linkedin stumbleupon addthis

Share with your friends.


  1. says

    I’m curious to find out what blog platform you’re using?
    I’m experiencing some minor security problems with my latest website and I’d
    like to find something more secure. Do you have any solutions?

  2. Glen Allison says

    Hi Jordan again. In a follow-up to my previous reply regarding the ring flash being mounted under the camera with the Pocket Wizard in the camera’s hot shoe, here’s another image in a recent blog post that shows the setup using two Pocket Wizards, one on the camera and the other for the ring flash:

  3. Glen Allison says

    Hi Jordan. Indeed the Pocket Wizard is inserted into the camera’s hot shoe. But I mount the ring flash UNDER the camera with a rig that is screwed into the camera’s tripod threaded socket. The ring flash also has a Pocket Wizard attached. See the photo of this rig on one of my previous blog posts: Note that I now also attach the AC3 Zone Controller in the hot shoe of the PW transmitter in the camera’s hot shoe, which necessitates that the ring flash has it’s own PW receiver. In the photo of the rig in that blog post you will see that I was not using the AC3 so I simply fired the ring flash via an OC-E3 off-camera cord. Either way works fine. Hope this helps explain. Cheers, Glen

  4. says

    How did you fire the ray ring flash with the ac3 on your hot shoe? Handholding the 580 it was attached to and just looping it over the lens?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.