We all know that sunsets are the best time to create silhouette shots. So how do we go about this? Keep an eye out for distinct shapes, forms and outlines, or you can use silhouettes to frame an image. If you can’t nail it in manual, use the “sunset” mode (one of your camera’s preset shooting modes) that way your camera does all the analyzing to get the right white balance, exposure and other optimal settings for sunset situations.
Another week and another picture series, this time on one of my all-time favorite subjects – sunsets.
I wrote this piece titled Do The Math on April 27, 2013 and I’m reposting it.
Those few minutes before the sun finally dips into the horizon will give you some deep contrast. It’s where the darkness of ensuing night conquers the last remaining light of day. And depending on the weather, cloud formation and where the rays fall, it can give you an exquisite canvas of colors, light, silhouettes and shadows.
I have said before that I’m not a morning guy, hence I have just a few sunrise shots. But I have a whole collection of sunset scenes – reminders of the cyclical nature of life, of the eternal passing of time divided into a 24-hour day. I remember this quote from American photographer Galen Rowell:
“There are only a fixed number of sunrises and sunsets to be enjoyed in a lifetime. The wise photographer will do the math and not waste any of them.”
I would like to think that the wise photographer is the thinking photographer that we should all strive to be. Whether we have reached that level or not yet, it would add to our experience, satisfaction and skill to capture one of the most spectacular displays of nature afforded us on a daily basis. When the opportunity to photograph a great sunset is there, yes, we should not pass it up. We should “do the math.”
Wishing you all a splendid week ahead!
Composition does not just happen; there must be a need for expression, and substance cannot be divorced from form. – Henri Cartier-Bresson
Sometimes we work so fast that we don’t really understand what’s going on in front of the camera. We just kind of sense that, ‘Oh my God, it’s significant!’ and photograph impulsively while trying to get the exposure right. Exposure occupies my mind while intuition frames the images.~Minor White
I often find it useful to consider landscape images as comprising three areas, foreground, middle-ground and background. While our human perception tends to focus more on foreground details and objects in our near vicinity, the camera makes no such distinctions. Foreground rocks that the photographer could reach out and touch while at the scene are rendered with the same presence as distant clouds in the final image. When visualising, I think it pays to try to see background and foreground details with equal importance.~Pete Bridgwood
There’s the element of timelessness. Black and white images come across as dreamlike, almost unreal. And that’s an artistic choice you have in today’s digital imaging technology. Unlike before in the early years of photography where your only choice was a black and white roll of film, today you can easily shift from black and white to color in your digital camera. Again we go back to the photographer’s judgment. As I said in a previous post, its the photographer’s choice. How he presents his image, from the full glory and splendor of color to the mysterious and dramatic effect of black and white, is a decision he has to determine. The primary consideration is why should we shoot in black and white?
1. To go back to the roots. You have to move forward in your photographic journey and improve and better yourself. But you have to be aware and look back from whence the medium came from, and that is in the world of black and white photography. Give homage and reverence from where it all started.
2. To heighten our senses and photographic awareness. The lack of natural color forces us to see the interesting and essential – forms, shapes, texture, patterns, light. That’s basically all we have to look out for.
3. To engage our creative and artistic side. Because we are compelled to look for primary elements, we strive to be imaginative in our composition and innovative in our presentation.
There may be many other reasons why we should go for monochrome, and these reasons can be diverse and far-ranging. I have proclaimed before that I am a disciple of color but at the same time I’m also an avid practitioner of the art of black and white. Which is why to organize my blog postings here I have reserved Saturdays and Sundays as “monograph weekends.” This is to give myself the space and opportunity to go back to a revered medium, to challenge myself, and to explore further the world and boundaries beyond color.
Article Excerpt: The principles of composition evolved for a good reason: they address the human need for unity, order, and emotional expression. They activate the mind’s natural ability to make sense out of things by stimulating associations from everyday life, by encouraging us to ask, “What does this remind me of?”~John Suler from his article The Psychology of Composition