Shooting amazing Silhouettes

Shooting Amazing Silhouettes.

Beautiful apricot clouds and rainbow with palm trees at Turtle Bay.

Beautiful apricot clouds and rainbow with palm trees at Turtle Bay.


Times have changed a lot with photography, particularly since the arrival of digital photography. There are just so many different cameras available these days for just about any kind of application, ranging from iPhones, to SLR’s, to mirrorless, even GoPros. The most innovative item I’ve seen in a while though is the new L16 camera ( L16 camera )from Light.co

These guys have managed to squeeze 16 different lens into a package, the same size as a smart phone and even better is that the camera has the ability to take the image from several of these lens at the same time, to create a whoppingly huge 52MB file and all in a package that can fit in one’s pocket. How cool is that? To me, this is the most innovative camera that I’ve seen thus far. To be able to carry what amounts to a whole camera kit in a package, the size of a smart phone is a total break through. It’s inevitable that you’ll see stunning random moments when you are out and about with friends or family and you can now capture all those moments from your pocket with this revolutionary design.

I’ve always been drawn to contrasty images ever since I was a kid, looking at photographs from the 60’s and 70’s by iconic Aussie beach photographer; Max Dupain. ( Max Dupain ) He quite obviously loved the contrasting results that he was able to get from shooting at the beach and he really carved out a niche for himself back then, although the vast majority of his work appeared to be black and white. I was influenced by his style of photography, although back then, I had no idea who he was.

Those strong contrasts have attracted my eye over the years, however I tend to shoot both black and white and color when doing so. In the 30 years or more that I’ve been photographing, strong colors and contrasts have remained a constant throughout my work. It really doesn’t matter what time of the day it is. There is just about always a way to create something with a lot of contrast and often a good dose of color as well. I do generally seek the early and late hours the most though, just because I really enjoy seeking the lower angle of light which is available at these times of the day, typically the 1st 2 hours and the last two hours, including the hour of twilight before and after the sun. Another amazing thing about shooting at these times is I often see other images that I had not intended to shoot and those images often end up being THE shot from that session. Basically, what I’m saying is that you should always keep an eye on what is going on around you because there is always other stuff going on in the background.

In this particular photograph’s case, there was a very low lying thunderstorm just before sunset time. The golden light from the sunset was bathing the thunderclouds in warm pastel tones and when it started raining, this beautiful rainbow appeared and actually stayed for about half an hour, amazingly enough. This picture Photo Galleries – Beach culture and surf photographyBeach culture and surf photography has gone on to become a top seller of mine.

Contrasts and color run through a large amount of my work, however I do have a collection specifically dedicated to these kind of images which I dubbed Shadowland. ( Shadowland) It’s a collection of images that contain or are silhouettes, shadows and often rich colors.

Another thing that I think makes my shadowland imagery so popular is that people are drawn to these images because the photos often have no identity. Perhaps subliminaly, people are able to imagine themselves in those images that contain people silhouettes in particular. The other thing that I like to do also is shoot from a low perspective. It just seems to give the scene a grander feel, so don’t be afraid to seek out the lowest angles that you can, because it’s often what makes an image pop or not. I was sitting on the ground to get this perspective.

Although the very nature of shooting silhouettes, go’s against some basics of photography, that’s what makes it interesting as well. It’s very important to keep the blacks as black as they can be, so you tend to expose a little on the darker side, but not always. The trick is to end up with the image relatively medium in exposure which will show the blacks as true black tones. Also never be afraid to try different methods, like in this particular case, I took 4 photographs on a Nikon D800 with a Zeiss 21mm lens and stitched them together, to achieve this cool panorama. The key is to always be open to what ever presents itself to you in the course of your work and do what you can with what you have on you at the time.

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