A minor change in lighting, a major effect

Here are two photographs depicting a bevy of young caterpillars skeletonizing a parsley leaf:

In the first, light is provided by two diffused strobes from above. In the second, the diffuser is removed, eliminating the even reflection off the surface of the leaf, and one of the strobes is shifted to bounce off a plain surface behind the leaf, effectively back-lighting the shot.

It seems that half my posts on photography concern lighting, but there’s a reason for that. Photography is all about capturing light, and the best photographers exercise obsessive control over illumination. The second shot conveys the effect of skeletonization much more strongly, in my opinion.

Incidentally, do any of you recognize the caterpillars? I have a terrible time identifying young lepidopterans.

7 thoughts on “A minor change in lighting, a major effect”

  1. I think the 2nd is definitely a clearer shot of the caterpillars, but the shadowy lighting on the 1st does a better job of showing what they’re doing to the leaf. You can see how much thickness they’ve eaten, and the 2nd shot makes it look like there’s nothing left of the leaf at all. Kinda depends what you’re trying to capture.

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