Dusk Silhouettes

Here’s a little note on what happens when a plan comes together!

I came home from work early this afternoon, and arrived to the sight of a really crisp and clear dusk, with lots of nice silhouetting of trees. With about half an hour to spare, I knew that I wanted a shot of the beautiful sky with a strong subject in silhouette. My first idea was of trees, so I set off down the local farm footpath with my 60mm macro lens attached (good in lowish light and idea for a pretty standard angle of view so easy to previsualize a shot quickly).

 

I took some shots of some trees, but didn’t get the clean shot I was looking for, but all was not lost, since on walking back up the track I saw how crisply some powerlines stood out overhead against the blue and orange sky: I knew pretty much straightaway that this was going to be the shot I was after.

 

In total I took about 30 frames on my walk, and here are 3 that are representative. The killer shot I was after, in terms of dynamic lighting, contrast, and composition, is obviously the last frame in this sequence here. I’m pleased to say that it made its way straight into Ming Thein’s illustrious flickr group, and also into my ‘Shots of 2014’ album.

 

All shots here used spot metering at -2EV against the silhouettes to get the right contrast and dynamic range; I also made sure to shoot at a good aperture for maximum sharpness, along with a high enough shutter-speed for the D800E handheld.

 

Shot one: Dusk with Trees

 

DuskwithTrees1200

 

ISO 125 1/160 f/7.1

 

So so: nice light in the background, but the silhouetted trees and foreground are rather too cluttered.

 

Shot two: Dusk – Power – Lines (#2)

 

DuskTelegraph11024H

 

ISO 200 1/160 f/7.1

 

Here you see the idea coming together, but it isn’t quite there yet. Again, nice light, but foreground silhouette still a little cluttered. The bush gets in the way of the cloud and adds little by itself.

 

Shot three: Dusk – Power – Lines

 

DuskTelegraph1024H

 

ISO 200 1/160 f/7.1

 

The shot where everything came together. Here I worked carefully to edit the full-frame file to eliminate any distractions – e.g. the bush; the roofs of nearby houses; some vapour trails from passing airliners.  The simplicity of the composition highlights the flow of the lines in the image (verticals, obliques, the horizontal cloud pointing towards the distant pole); and it accentuates how the small pole in the distance sits in its own band of orange light, as a direct contrast with the dark blues at the top left of the frame.  Lovely!

 

 

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