Red has long been associated with royalty.
The Red Dzao hill tribe women of North Vietnam shave their foreheads and eyebrows.
The visual experience (for a naive Western eye) can be a bit disconcerting at first glance. For these women, their crowning glory is a folded red blanket atop their heads.
They are a happy people.
Manipulating tonal values is part of the fun . . . at least from my perspective.
So what did I do to augment drama under the midday sun?
Right off the bat, I dropped ambient exposure three or four f/stops. This makes the background venture toward black.
Then I empowered my three supplemental flash units and let them assume control.
My Vietnamese assistant, Tien, was standing under the full exposure of the hot sun. Notice the subdued glinting highlight on his forehead.
He held a Manfrotto 680B monopod onto which was attached a Canon 580EX II rigged into a LumiQuest LTp softbox. Off frame and to camera left was a Canon 430EX II fitted with a Harbor Digital 1/8-inch grid that illuminated the back of the headdress and the bamboo in the background. Using Pocket Wizard TT5 radios and the AC3 Zone Controller this unit was powered two f/stops lower than the softbox. On camera was a Ray Ring Flash set three f/stops down for just a hint of fill.
And so . . . drama prevailed despite relentless rays of the sun.
Click the photos below for info about some of the gear I used for images in this blog post.