BACK-LIGHTING AND SILHOUETTES — EASY PHOTO TRICKS

There are serious techniques in photography, but there are also “tricks.” I learned most of the serious stuff, but eventually I also learned a few tricks that have saved a lot of otherwise useless photographs and turned them into “art.”

Late twilight by Lake Otsego – backlighting at work

One of the very first “tricks” I learned in photography was how to create a dark frame around a picture. All you need to do is stand in shadow and shoot into light. You will create a dark “frame” around your picture. It has become a standard “thing” for me. It looks surprisingly elegant and requires zero skill.

More back-lighting

The second was in response to the bane of back-lighting. If you want decent detail on your foreground, back-lighting tends to make that difficult. For what I would assume are obvious reasons. Sometimes, you simply can’t make it work because the different between the items in front of that very bright sky are too intense to get any decent details without a lot more work than you are willing to put into that picture.

Okay — yes, it’s true. Not every single photograph is worth hours of effort. Sometimes, it’s a nice shot, but this isn’t your day to spend the afternoon messing with it to make it perfect.

For those of us who take a lot of pictures, imperfect is where most of them will be. Not every shot has to be an award-winner — and anyway, is someone giving out awards? I haven’t gotten one in years!

Date palms under a dome of sky

For this, there are silhouettes. This can really make a very crisp, clean photograph. Just don’t let too much clutter mess up your lines!

That’s it for the day. Two little tips that if you didn’t already know them, are easy and fun.

SILHOUETTES AND SHADOW SHOWS

There was a dance with the name “Silhouette” back in the very early 1960s … or maybe it was the very late 1950s. 

Okay, looked it up again — 1957 was the original by The Rays, but other groups put out versions of it too — Herman’s Hermits and the Ronettes — both 1965. And the Nylons in 1981. I missed the 1981 version — I was in Israel by then.

It was a line dance. It may have been the very first of all line dances. I liked it because I could actually perform it and you couldn’t say that about me and other dances — of any kind. It had steps that anyone who could walk could probably master, except most of the guys I knew who barely managed walking without stumbling. It wasn’t drinking, either. They just had problems with managing their feet.

I seem to have found a lot of non-dancing partners through the decades.

These days, “silhouette” is a type of black & white photograph.

When I was a child, though, it meant a shadow show, fingers and a bright light behind a white sheet. Every kid learned to make a rabbit and maybe a horse. And of course, a silly talking face.

Sometimes, on a bad day as I try to have an intelligent conversation with one of the dogs, I feel like I’m one of those “pretend” talking shadows.

You know what I mean?

EVENING APPROACHES – VERMONT

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Long shadows across the grass. Evening is beginning earlier and it seems very sudden. The leaves are mostly not changing yet up here.

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Color will come late this year. Hard to know how Autumn will be. So many factors. We need just the right amount of rain and a cold snap with chilly night and cool days.

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The last two fall seasons were glorious, but before then, we had a series of washouts with lots of hurricanes coming up the coast and dropping tons of rain and blowing the leaves right off the trees.

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This year, the problem down our way is not enough rain plus continuing summery temperatures.

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We’ll have to wait and see. When change comes, it comes in a big hurry.

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SHADOWS AND REFLECTIONS – BLACK & WHITE

CEE’S BLACK & WHITE PHOTO CHALLENGE: REFLECTIONS AND SHADOWS

I did each of these in a different style. The first is high-contrast black and white. The second is a duo-tone version. The third is an antique-style yellow-sepia with analog effects.

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All were taken at the creek just over the Rhode Island border on a very green day in mid-August.

Shadows are dominant on land, reflections in the river. All taken on an Olympus PEN, probably with the new f1.8 25mm.

REFLECTION AND SHADOW — BLACK AND WHITE

Cee’s Black & White Challenge: Reflections and Shadows

Shadows

The bare branches of the cherry trees make a shadow show against the gray stone. Hard to tell where the branches end and the shadows start. The church is on Main Street in Amherst, Massachusetts.

amherst stone church shadows BW

Reflections

The water of the Blackstone River formed strange reflections. Abstract though they appear, they are actually distorted reflections of trees along the banks. The pictures were naturally almost black and white, so it took very little to complete the process.

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OUT BACK

A bright sunny day, a lazy day with a friend looking for stuff to shoot without driving anywhere. For me, finding something to shoot that doesn’t require I put on shoes.

shadows on the deck

The shadows on the deck. An ant on the railing.

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Wild grape vines trying overgrow the forsythia.

wild grape vine

And a friend with her camera. Just a lazy afternoon.

Cherrie shooting