Above: A narrow beam of sun shines through a window and illuminates just a small portion of a Fan Palm. By underexposing the background, it falls to black and further enhances the contrast. For maximum depth of field an aperture of f22 was used. Shutter speed was at 1/125, with the camera tripod mounted. Lens was the Canon 100mm macro. By working with the light in this way, I was able to create something that emphasized the shape and pattern of the palm.
To get an idea of just how much of an impact light can have, here's the same plant later in the day when lit by unnattractive flat light. The patterns are all still there, but it lacks the tension or moodiness of the image above. Regardless of what you're shooting, whether it be plants or people, the trick is to look for, and recognize the different ways light interacts with the subject. Once you see it, the way you choose to work with it is ultimately your artistic decision. Some may prefer more of a realistic approach like the image to the left. For botanists, or record keeping purposes, this image actually has more merit since it shows more of the actual plant. Personally, I find the top photo more appealing. What do you think?
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