Here is an example of when to just let shadows do what they do best: be dark and moody! With all the excitement about HDR photography these days, and the incredible dynamic range that cameras have now, often times we can get caught up in the pursuit of achieving perfectly exposed details in every corner of our images. I don’t know about you, but I find it ironic that nowadays people might consider it “thinking outside the box” to capture a good old-fashioned silhouette!
The Euquipment and Settings
- Nikon D700
- Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AFS-G
- 1/6000 sec @ f/2 & ISO 200, hand-held
- Manual exposure, Manual WB, RAW
The Shooting Conditions
Orange County rarely gives you sunsets such as this one. And when such a striking scene does present itself, often times I go nuts with HDR techniques, or wireless flashes, etc. This image was taken during a photo shoot with a group of other local photographers, and many were using off-camera flash, on-camera flash, …pretty much every base was covered, I bet. Yet I really wanted to create a unique image, so what should I do?
Go for broke, I thought; just kill your flash and crank your shutter speed. This moment is not meant to be captured as a “smiling at the camera” image, with properly exposed faces and whatnot. The most impact, I felt, would come from letting the colors and contrast do all the talking.
Obviously this is just one vision of many, and I’m sure there are a dozen other ways you could approach this scene. Here is a photo of the crowd I was shooting with, and another image taken just minutes apart from this one with a whole different “mood”…
The Post Processing
Editing this image was tricky, because it was so tempting to over-edit! With simple images like this, where color and contrast are “doing all the talking”, you’re better off if those are the only 2-3 settings you adjust. Maybe warm up the white balance a touch, and go up a few clicks on the contrast and vibrance. You can play with the shadows / blacks a little bit if you want to, but don’t over-think these setting, and (in my opinion) keep the final result dark and moody.
Take care, and thanks for reading!
About The “Photo of the Day” Series
If you’ll notice, the SLR Lounge “Photo of the Day” articles are posted in the Photography / Shooting section of our website, not the Inspiration section. This is on purpose, because these images are simply meant to be a daily dose of “here’s how we shot a random cool photo!” …and not so much as “wow here’s the most incredible photo we’ve seen in 24 hours, it will blow your mind!” We wanted to escape from the typical inspirational photo type posts a little bit, because they are often lacking in helpful background information about the equipment used, camera settings, and details of the shooting conditions or the photographer’s thoughts. Hopefully you find these posts to be helpful insights into how you might approach a certain situation or style of shooting!