On Episode 21 of The Two Hosers Photo Show (available for free on iTunes) Adam and I discuss our entries for the week’s Photo Challenge. The topic was “Silhouette” and you can see both of our entries here.
I wish I could say I “pre-visioned” the final photo exactly as it ended up but, as is the case most every time, it was the product of the evolution of an idea. Here’s how it went.
Before I grabbed my camera I had the basic idea in my mind. Adam had already made an excellent photo down at the beach under ideal circumstances. Not to take anything away from Adam, but it’s pretty hard to mess up a sunset at Kits Beach. It’s one of my favourite places to be. On the other hand, he didn’t phone it in either. Instead he took a good situation and made it great by creating something really interesting and dynamic. Kudos to his subject as well for committing to the moment.
Sitting here in landlocked Germany I had to look elsewhere for inspiration and I had something specific in mind. Despite it being a silhouette I put on a suit and tie (it’s all in the details…..) and grabbed an old suitcase. My plan was to put the camera on a tripod and use the timer to grab this shot-
I knew this location would provide a bright backdrop with the foreground in heavy shadow- ideal conditions for a silhouette photo. Using full Manual mode I set the exposure for the graffiti wall and allowed the foreground to fall into shadow. My plan all along was to eventually crop it to give it a widescreen feel but this is essentially what I envisioned. However something wasn’t quite right so I made a couple of small adjustments by changing my pose and position.
The problem was that the story I had in mind was not being represented visually. The suitcase wasn’t translating and the whole thing was just rather flat. That’s when I decided to add movement to the image and I would walk through the frame.
This was ok but there was no way I was going to compete with Adam’s entry so I had to use the burst mode on my camera to ensure I got the right frame. To do this I needed to use a “Voice Activated Timer”. In other words, my wife. With Lena manning the shutter we shot a series of pictures of me walking through the frame.
Better, but something was still not right. I decided that I was walking a little too far away from the sunlight (i.e. too close to the camera) which caused my feet to disappear. By walking on the other side of the support beams I was getting closer to the edge of the shadow and including more of my feet in the sihouette.
Now this was more like what I had in mind but before we packed it up I decided to take it one step further. The camera was already set to the lowest possible ISO (100) so I dialled the aperture down as far as I could to f22 in order to achieve the slowest possible shutter speed I could get away with- 1/50th of second. Then we shot it one last time with me running through the frame (still using burst mode to capture multiple images).
In my humble opinion, a much better shot than I had originally envisioned.