Capturing a Silhouette
Silhouettes are great way to create mood in an image especially if you have some sort of attraction in the back ground.
In this image I have the setting sun which helped create this great silhouette.
In order to capture a silhouette and as with most types of photography there are a number of roads to the same destination.
Here is the road I follow:
First, you will need to place your camera in the Manual mode, as you want to tell the camera how to expose the image rather than the camera trying to expose the image as it thinks it should.
Now, with your camera set to Manual, you have the ability to change your ISO, your aperture and you shutter speed in order to get the desired exposure.
I suggest using an ISO in the region of 400-800 as a good starting point. You may need to adjust this according to the situation, then look through your view finder at the scene you want to capture. Now, in most DSLR cameras you will find a light meter scale and indicator either at the bottom or on the side of the view through the finder. What you want to do is expose the image for the background. This makes the subject dark and thereby creates a silhouette.
To get this exposure correct you will need to meter off the background (focus on the back ground by pressing the shutter button half way).
Now you will need to either adjust your aperture or shutter speed. As you make the adjustments still looking through the view finder you will see the indicator on the light meter scale move. You will need to adjust so that the indictor is on the “0” or in the middle of the light meter scale. At the same time, be careful not to make you shutter speed too slow as you may end up with a blurry image.
Once you have your settings re-compose your image focusing on the subject and take the picture.
I noticed this Fish eagle sitting on a low stump late one evening and immediately headed over towards it. The bird was very relaxed and allowed a relatively close approach. The shot I had envisaged was one with the sun directly behind the Eagle. We had to wait a few minutes for the sun to get low enough and we then manoeuvred the boat into the correct position for the shot. Remaining there was quite difficult but all worth it in the end.
This image was captured on an ODP Safari on the Nguni Voyager on the Chobe River.
Camera details and settings:
1/5000 sec @ f6.3