In this Behind the Image feature, Ian Lloyd tells of his best laid plans going awry in the growing twilight. Ian Lloyd is an award-winning professional travel photographer based in Sydney, Australia. You can also read our interview or see more of his work in the gallery.
This image was taken in Samoa on assignment for Islands magazine. I met this big Samoan man on a beach and was fascinated by all the traditional tattoos he had on his back and legs. I started talking to him and asked him if he had a family. He had a son, so I asked him to bring him along too and come back just before sunset. The idea was that by shooting in the late afternoon, I would be able to control the light to ensure that the tattoos would be captured to maximum advantage.
Time concepts in Samoa are a bit rubbery and he came out quite late, so we were really just past sunset with only a small amount of fading light left in the sky. I scrambled to improvise and came up with a small portable flash with a light sphere dome held just to one side of both father and son. The light mimics a big studio setup and does it quite well actually. It wasn’t the shot I was planning to take, but you work with what is available when travelling and sometimes encounter happy accidents.