Shooting into the Light

Canon 1D Mark II camera and Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L series lens. Exposure Details: 1/8 second @ f11 ISO 200

Wilsons Promontory is, to my mind, the jewel in the crown for landscapes in the state of Victoria. Probably the most commonly visited location at the prom is Tidal River, where the above image was made.

Shooting into the light can produce very dramatic results, often rendering land-based subject matter darker than expected, even to the extent of a silhouette, while producing a more spectacular sky.

One way to overcome this problem (outside of the new technique, HDR) is to bias your framing so that the vast majority of your composition is sky. Any land-based subject matter will tend to act as a point of reference (e.g. scale) by which to better make sense of the sky. As any trees or buildings now fill such a small part of the frame, the fact that they may be rendered as silhouettes is no longer a problem.

An alternative approach, as illustrated in the above photo, is to allow backlit areas (e.g. mountains or trees) to go black and use them as design elements (dark shapes or lines) within the frame. This approach can make for a visually interesting, image.

The above photo was processed in Adobe Camera RAW and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography
Glenn Guy