Silhouette secrets

How good are you at creating silhouette photographs? This is a fairly simple technique that brings in some spectacular results. In fact some of my very best photographs are silhouettes in a beautifully colored background by mother nature. The first step is to have your subject backlit and to underexpose by two or three stops…

Wood Stork silhouette - Florida bird photo tour

Wood Stork silhouette – Fort Desoto, Florida
ISO 400 | f/5.6 | 1/400 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focusing
This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens (Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM review), the Canon EOS 5D mark III handheld while seated on the sand. Have a look at the equipment I typically carry with me.

The Wood Stork silhouette above was created at Fort Desoto Park, during one of my Florida photography workshops. When creating a silhouette I try to capture the most beautiful colors possible. In this case, the red glow comes from the reflection of the sun on the water, afew seconds before the actual sunrise. That color was around for about one minute top. Recognizing the opportunity I positioned myself so that the glow would be just behind my subject.

Great Blue Heron silhouette at sunset - Florida photography workshop

Great Blue Heron silhouette – Fort Desoto, Florida
ISO 800 | f/4 | 1/2000 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focusing
This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens (Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM review), the Canon EOS 5D mark III handheld. Have a look at the equipment I typically carry with me.

In the Great Blue Heron silhouette photograph above I aimed at composition. It was very important to me that the sun would end up in the lower left third corner, while the bird would be in the upper right corner, creating balance. As often, the shooting angle is what is going to make it or break it. That is one of the thrills of wildlife photography, one has little time to think everything through, yet good educated thinking makes a world of difference. The key: experience, practice and trying out new techniques!

Reddish Egret silhouette - Florida photography tour

Reddish Egret silhouette – Fort Desoto, Florida
ISO 100 | f/5.6 | 1/2000 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focusing
This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens (Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM review), the Canon EOS 5D mark III handheld. Have a look at the equipment I typically carry with me.

And then sometimes something unplanned comes about! While working on sihlouettes of the Reddish Egret above at sunrise with a client who flew in from New York, the bird dunked its head to catch a fish. Though the attempt was unsuccessful, it created a beautiful water jet spilling upward with the water being backlit, which created a stream of light.

Spoonbills and shorebirds instructional photography tour / $980 / limit 5 people / Feb 28th to Mar 2nd:

Only 3 spots left! Hurry not to miss photographing our pink friends with breeding colors!

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Steven

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