I really like shooting silhouettes and I realized the other day that I rarely do that. So, when I was shooting the sunrise off the Lost Mine Trail in Big Bend National Park the other day I decided this was a perfect opportunity. Looking east (obviously) across Pine Canyon onto Nugent Mountain I noticed the gap and was hoping the sun would light up the back side but the clouds did not allow that. It did, however, provide with a very nice silhouette opportunity which I quickly took advantage of. The black silhouette contrasting against the fiery sky made for a good image.
So, how does one do this? It’s actually quite simple. All modern cameras have a meter which tells the camera what exposure settings to use. Even in manual mode the camera can guide you to the right settings. It determines these settings by the amount of light entering the sensor. Point the camera to something dark and the settings will accommodate for the darkness. Point it to something bright and the settings will adjust to the brightness. The problems start when you have a very wide range of light (as was the case with the image below). So, you have to either “shoot for the middle” or choose one or the other (bright or dark area). Had I chosen the lower side of the image the sky would have been “blown out”. That is to say, the colors would not be there and it would have looked very white. But, you would have been able to make out the detail in the lower portion. Conversely, if I pointed the camera and used the sky settings, the sky would look good but the bottom would be in complete darkness. I chose the latter. Buy the way, if your camera (or phone) has a flash make sure it’s off. There is a bit more to this technique but I think you get the idea.
This image was taken with my Canon EOS 5D Mark III using my Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 Lens set on 105 mm. The camera was set on Aperture priority mode with the aperture set at f/5.6, shutter speed at 1/800th of a second and the ISO set at 100. This is a single image processed in Lightroom.
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