a silhouette in the afternoon: the how-to

As promised, I wanted to give some details on how I achieved my you capture picture for the week:


Did you happen to read this post on the MCP Actions blog? Wow! What a cool idea! Can you guess what time of day I snapped this picture? Maybe sunset? (OK, so you can see the sun straight overhead...) :-)
Here's another clue. I snapped these two pictures within minutes of each other.


My camera shows the time as 3:16pm. It also shows what you can do if you learn to shoot in manual mode. Disclaimer: I do not shoot in manual mode. It's not familiar to me, and I can't think that fast. If I'm shooting "things," I use AV mode to choose my aperture. If I'm shooting people, I use shutter priority to make sure I lock in a fast enough shutter speed.

To be honest, and I truly don't mean to offend, I found discussions of "shooting manual" a little off-putting. It kind of seemed like an ego-thing to me. Like "oh yeah, I shoot manual." Maybe my judgments were premature. :-) If you use AV or TV mode, your camera will give you what it thinks is correct exposure. But the camera's idea of correct vs. what you are trying to acheive might be two very different things.

I did shoot manual with my first picture. And what a difference, right?
My settings were:
Aperture: f18
Shutter speed: 1/320
ISO: 100

(I set my camera to "program mode" for the second picture. I don't use program mode, but I wanted to show how the camera thought the picture should be exposed. Collin's face is completely underexposed, which isn't really what I wanted).

The MCP Action post I linked above shows why this works. Jodi can explain it much better than I can, but here's the bottom line: you're reducing the amount of light that's coming into your camera. Start with a low ISO; I used 100. Jodi suggests using your smallest aperture (mine is f22, but I liked the effect from f18 better). Also, use a fast shutter speed (which won't allow time for too much light to come in), but enough to stop motion.

Also of interest, I'm using a L series lens in the picture, but I've heard that you can get an even better sun flare with your kit lens. One quality of better glass is that it reduces sun flare. (Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but that's what I've read). So I should definitely pull out the kit lens and give it another whirl.

You know what would be fun? I'm going to show you my processing of this picture next week for touch-up Tuesday. This will be a good one! I'll show you several variations, and explain what I did in CS4.

Happy silhouetting at 3:00 in the afternoon!

Seriously, read Jodi's post. She's much better at explaining things than little ole' me. :-)

And be sure and stop by next Tuesday, and I'll share what I did to process this picture.


Mama Hen said...

I love that first picture! Wow! You should blow that one up, put a great matting and frame it! Love it!

Mama Hen

The Mommy said...

Love your picture!! I'm just trying to gulp down every word you have written, a little too technical for me;)
I'm looking forward to reading the processing:)

pdbonnie said...

Great shot - magazine quality.