What time would you guess the images below were taken? Look carefully…
Sunrise? Sunset? A few hours before sunset? Just after sunrise? After dark?
Or might these silhouettes have been taken minutes after 2pm when the sun was high above – but under controlled lighting – using aperture, speed and ISO to create an illusion?
If you guessed 2pm, you were right. The sky was mostly sunny with a few patches of clouds. In fact this image was taken moments before the ones above:
Are you wondering how I controlled my light in this way for a rich sky and silhouettes of Jenna? How did I create the illusion of darkness and sunset? I controlled my light.
I was getting bored shooting Jenna on the play equipment. After 25 times across the money-bars, I wanted to spice things up. I had the need to create art rather than just capture the moment. To start, I used the patches of clouds floating by to cover part of the sun. I literally laid down in the wood chips and looked up to get an interesting angle. Yes, the sacrifices you make for a picture. With this new perspective, Jenna looked as if she was near the sky, when in actuality the monkey-bars are probably 8 feet high. I was using my Tamron 28-300 Lens, and shot these at 28mm on my Canon 5D MKII.
Next step, change my settings. I needed to reduce light. I shot at ISO 160. I actually thought I was at 100 but looking at my camera data, I must have moved that slightly by accident. Next, I wanted to reduce light by stopping down on my aperture. I usually shoot fairly wide open (the photo I shot prior to the silhouettes was at f/4.0, which is wide for this zoom lens). So I went from a 4.0 aperture to f22. Lastly I set my speed – I was metering for the sky, rather than the person. I chose 1/400. These speed is fast enough to get sharp shots even when Jenna was swinging on the bars.
Snap – Snap – Snap. I knew exactly what I wanted. I had a 90% keep ratio. I took 10 images, and kept 9 of them. I did check the back of my camera after the 1st to see that my settings worked just perfect. To get images like these, you need to learn to shoot manual, if you do not already. You need to understand how to control light through ISO, speed, and aperture. If the terms ISO, Aperture, and Speed confuse you, and want to learn how to control light and shoot manually with your camera, you will benefit from the following two readings: the Understanding Exposure Book and Photography Nuts and Bolts E-Book.
Now it is your turn, please share images where you controlled the light by using your camera settings, off camera flash, etc. I look forward to seeing your photographs too.