Just wanted to touch base on foreground lighting and subject focusing issues.
Ever notice that no matter what lens or settings you may use, you either have a focal point in the foreground or the background.. never the two together.. It seems to be an issue that SLR’s just cannot seem to pull together.
Well.. this is a good thing in most cases. Your subject doesn’t matter, but your focal point does in creating the ultimate shot.
Check out this image of the Monarch Butterfly I did back in ’09. Notice the crisp clear colors of not only the butterfly but of the surrounding flora as well. The choice her was to focus on the butterfly or on the flowers..alternatively I could just as easily focused on the background pulling in crisp grass blades and muting the floral area..so the choice of your subject matter has to be made and your technique and lighting options adjusted to suit it.
Using the hard light from the sun to pull the natural colors of the butterfly and flora, this left the muted background with a softer transmitted light effect still being able to utilize the color in the background to make the foreground “pop” with crisp, clear lines and detail.
Pay attention to your overall lighting choices and options to capture the truest of colors as they present themselves. The best time for blending light and using shadows is 1/2 hour or so before sunrise and after sunsets. This will usually give you all the elements needed to compose a great shot. You will get the hard light from the suns rays, the softer palatable light from a slightly overcast sky with cloud cover, reflective light from surfaces such as table tops, water, even snow, etc.. and the transmitted, softer light for the overall effect.