SHINE Photo+Design | focus52|2012 {week forty} september 30 to october 6
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focus52|2012 {week forty} september 30 to october 6

Week forty! And tomorrow marks the first of October. Unbelievable. This year is flying by, I swear. I hope you all enjoyed your ‘free’ week last week. A few of you took me way too literally and decided to take the entire week off! That wasn’t the idea, bad apples. LOL! Naughty, naughty.

I’ve been keeping my eye on the calendar, searching for the right time to enjoy a Fall Colors week here at focus52. We’ve been discussing the state of colors in your area of the world over on our facebook page. Come and weigh in with what’s going on in your neck of the woods, or leave a comment here if you have a moment. Ideally, I’d like to time it best for everybody, but I know that’s a crazy thought. Here in Southern Ontario, this week saw the start of gorgeous color and it’s happening fast. I’m thinking next week might be a nice time to get the color show started here.

So this week, I’ve juggled the focus52 schedule around a wee bit, while Mama Nature gets herself pretty.

Silhouettes are a fun and relatively easy photography exercise. You’ve been learning the fundamentals of lighting your subject and setting a proper exposure, right? Well, you’re going to shake up the rule book a wee bit and do the opposite of what you’ve been learning. You’re going to light your subject from behind.

There’s no doubt that dawn or dusk is the best and easiest time for setting up your silhouette scene, but any bright light will do the trick. Find a strong subject – something that will show nice definition – and position your subject in front of your light source. Now, instead of setting your exposure for your subject, you’re going to expose for the light behind your subject. Aim your camera towards a medium/strong brightness near your subject, set your exposure and lock it in. Then simply focus on your subject and press the shutter. You may have to fiddle around with your exposure a bit until you get your shot just the way you like it.

If you’re using a point and shoot, your camera is going to want to expose for your subject, or worse, insist on popping up your flash. The good news is that most compacts on the market these days have a ‘sunset’ setting, and if you have it, you’re in luck. Shoot away and experiment. I have to admit I’m not up to speed with what’s out there for compact cameras, so a quick google search will help you out a lot better than I can. I have taken a few silhouette shots with my iPhone with great success. There are a quite a few camera apps out there that allow you to set your exposure point, separate from your focal point. Personally, I love camera+ and rarely use anything else to take my initial shot. It rocks.

So, a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Find a strong subject.
  2. Dawn and/or dusk = awesome light.
  3. Watch your focus! Your subject should have clean, crisp lines.
  4. Expose for the light behind your subject.
  5. Playing with light and positioning can produce beautiful effects such as rim light, a glow around your subject.
  6. As always, composition is key. Simple scenes work well for silhouettes.
  7. Use a fast shutter speed to avoid camera shake in a low light situation.
  8. Experiment.
  9. Have fun!

I hope you decide to experiment with silhouettes this week, but whatever you decide to do for your project, please come back here and share your work with us when you’re done (weeks run Sunday to Saturday, don’t forget!). Links must be to the direct URL of your actual work, not just to the site it’s posted in, and may be a link to your blog post or to your flickr photo (again, the actual photo, not your entire flickr stream). It’s a fact that those who link up early, get the most interaction on their work, so get the photos in!  Also, please don’t link and run – try to find some time to visit at least a few of your fellow 52’ers. That’s half the fun!  And don’t forget the focus52 flickr pool.

Have fun, 52’rs! I can’t wait to see what you come up with.




psssttt… looking for last week’s link up? click here

7 Comments
  • Gwen
    Posted at 12:39h, 30 September Reply

    Silhouettes, one of my favorite things to shoot!!!! Will have to try something new to me on this one. (but first I need to get last week’s images processed and shared).

    • janice
      Posted at 13:56h, 30 September Reply

      They’re fun, aren’t they? Glad you like the prompt :)

  • Laura Scarborough
    Posted at 11:26h, 06 October Reply

    I think I made this one harder than it should be. Still it was fun. As always, thank you for the prompts.

    • janice
      Posted at 18:25h, 06 October Reply

      I’m guilty of overthinking a LOT! LOL ;)

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