My favorite shot (click to enlarge) of the entire parade was of this woman to the right. Her warm smile, shy turn of her face, and the brilliant feathers of her costume were simply breathtaking.
The lesson of Carnaval? Fill flash. The sun was bright, so I knew I didn’t need to worry about shutter speed and camera shake. It was early (9am), though, so I brought my flash in case the shadows from the buildings were deep. They weren’t, so after 30 minutes or so, I took my flash gun off and just started shooting.
It was only around 11:00 am that my mistake finally registered. It wasn’t shadows from buildings I should have been worried about. It was shadows from noses, hats, eye sockets, feathers, you name it. So many of my pictures from Carnaval are marred by shadows and high contrasts. If I had left my flash on the entire time, those contrasty shadows would have been softened.
Take, for example, this photo (click to enlarge) of the woman in the green bikini: most of her body is facing away from the sun. Makes the picture dull. Her abs are the only part of her body with full light, and they draw the eye. While she does have magnificent abs, that wasn’t my intended subject.
In contrast, the second photo (click to enlarge) of a woman arms raised to the sun gets a full, brilliant glow of sunlight highlighting her skin. No bad contrasty spots.