I’ve written about this subject before. The previous article was concerned with using fill flash to help illuminate the shadowed portions of wildlife in extremely bright situations. What about when the light is almost gone?
This Bighorn Sheep at Badlands National Park conveniently posed at dusk-last night-right next to the roadway. The sky was much brighter than the ram and any attempt to bump exposure would have resulted in a total loss of detail in the sky areas. He was still enough to perform some HDR magic but I preferred to get it right in-camera if I could.
Shooting on manual is the first key here. Find the exposure that holds the sky detail. The second key is to bounce enough light into the sheep without making it look like a flash picture. I started at full power and then dialed it back to half for a more natural appearance.
I had no remote flash triggers with me so I was forced to use an on-camera flash. It made the light a little flatter than I would have liked but it did put good detail into the shot. I can now see the ram much more clearly and I have a better place from which to begin when I do take this to software.
Remember: fill flash is a great tool for adding light to shadows. It is also a great tool for illumination in very low ambient light conditions.
Rikk Flohr © 2010