Exposure for Silhouettes

The exposure for this type of light is taken in exactly the same way as you would with the sunburst. Take a light reading to one side of the sun — not directly into it. Ensure that the exposure is not too dark. If the corners of the frame are reduced to dark blue with only the sun's rays in the middle, then the edges of the silhouetted subject will be hardly visible. The water needs to be bright all around the silhouette, but not so bright that it is overexposed and burnt out in the histogram. If you are lucky enough to have flat water with clear visibility, then take advantage of these conditions. Shooting silhouettes in this light will result in your subject blocking out the sun, with sharp sunbeams radiating out in all directions. A faster shutter speed in the region of 1/250th sec will emphasise these beams to great effect, but again, ensure the corners are not too dark.

Move out of the light, remain in the shade, but aim your camera back towards the sunbeams.

fig. 6.28 Silhouette opportunities tend to occur out of the blue (no pun intended). My trick is to:

• Guess-timate an aperture and a shutter speed.

• Place my left hand in front of my camera, take a shot and see how accurate it is. My settings were f11 at 1/250th sec with ISO 100 using a Tokina 10 mm—17 mm. Adjust the settings if you wish then move in for the silhouette shoot with your flashguns turned off, the subject blocking out the sun. The closer you get, the more contrast you achieve.

For great silhouettes, get as close as you can to the subject.

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