To flash or not to flash … or Sometimes you feel like a flash, sometimes you don’t …
When confronted with nighttime photography that can be captured without supplemental lighting (a flash perhaps), the question of which type of lighting moves to the forefront of thought.
Both methods work … both methods create a different feel … both methods are right … it’s a matter of taste, preference, and the message that a photographer intends to convey to the audience.
Case in point: California wildfire, pitch dark night except for the massive flames and the glow against the smoke.
Provided that there’s enough ambient light to outline the subjects in total, the silhouette dramatizes the fire’s glow.
The added light not only brings in the firemen, but any additional elements in the scene that were previously hidden in the shadows. Sometimes this means unwanted items that detract from the photographer’s focus or just become distracting to the viewer.
In my view, there’s really nothing of compelling interest in the foreground of this image that I want the viewer to see. Additionally, there is sufficient negative space in the image to create a full silhouette without distractions.