A picture is worth a thousand words (an old Chinese proverb). In terms of photography it may take a thousand words to explain the photo, or to tell about the photo. or where it was taken, or why it was taken.
Regarding this Photo of the Week” “Ocean Sunrise,” which some of you may have seen before on my website, there is a story I would like to pass on to you.
It was taken in February, 2010 near Marathon, FL shortly after sunrise. It was color digital file which I converted to black & white. It is one of my favorites. and have shown it at several exhibits and at gallery nights in Pensacola
At gallery nights I always have attendees register for a large photograph which I give away in a random drawing. This photograph was one of those. An employee at the gallery night business usually draws the name for the give away.
I will call the winner and tell the person that he or she has won the photograph and can pick it up at the business where I participated in gallery night. I normally never meet the winners.
Fast forward to this fall four years later when I held a two-month solo exhibit at the Navarre, FL Public Library. (About 40 miles away from my home). When we were taking down the exhibit, the librarian discovered that my wife also played the harp. She asked her if she would play for the volunteers Christmas Dinner which was several weeks away. My wife agreed.
At the dinner, when my wife was done playing for the event, we were invited to join the volunteers for the meal. I was chatting with two ladies who sat next to me. One lady asked me what I did and I replied that I did some photography and explained I had a recent photography exhibit at the library. This photograph was in that exhibit. “Oh,” she said, “are you Frank Brueske”? I replied that I was.
“She said. “I won one of your photographs at a gallery night in Pensacola a few years ago. I didn’t even know I had signed up for the drawing.”
“I just loved the photograph of the palm trees and I purchased a nice frame for it. “Then I hung it in my bedroom.”
“You know,” she said, “it is the very last thing that I see when I fall asleep at night and it is the very first thing I see when I awake every morning. I just love it.” She smiled at me as she placed her hand on my arm.”
I smiled back at her and hoped she could not see the tears which formed in the corner of my eyes and said very humbly, “That was very sweet of you to say that.”
That is the story of this photograph.
People who have known me for a while also know that silhouettes are my favorite type of photographs. Forgive me for this longer than normal blog and more photos than normal.
Go to my galleries and you see various kinds of silhouettes. Whether it is a tree, or a person or a boat, silhouettes make dramatic photographics and they are easy to take.
Basically a silhouette is a photograph shooting into the sun…or a light, but the subject is blocking the light source. I feel that silhouettes make the photograph more dramatic and they really stand out in a album or an exhibit. Silhouettes can also be taken at sunset or sunrise too.
How, here is the interesting part. Your sent your camera for exposure for the brightest part of the scene. If you set your exposure manually, you should do that. If you can’t do that you may have to move your subject to once side so that your meter will expose for the bright area…and not the shadow. Be sure your background is brighter than your subject or you will be disappointed with the results.
By doing that your subject will be underexposed and will become black…or almost black if the subject is not fully back lighted. Be sure that your subject can be recognized by the shape. Turn off your auto flash. Your camera may think there is not enough light for the subject and the flash will fire when you push the shutter.
Setting suns often lend to great silhouetted just after the sun has dropped below the horizon but the light is very bright in the sky.
I have included several photographs of silhouettes with this blog. They have taken over the years and are just as exciting to me today as the day I took them.
In the evening fishermen, the sun has already set, but the bright light from the sun is reflected into the sky and on the lake. The photograph was taken in 1955.
Sunset Beach Walk was taken on the Oregon Coast in 2002. although the sun is included in this scene, the subject on the beach is silhouetted by the sun’s reflection on the water.
Misty Morning Garden was taken in our back yard in Illinois in 2003. I exposed for the morning sun which captured the sun’s ray in the misty morning and nearly everything else turned black…except where the sun was reaching the ground.
Florida Keys Sunrise Before The Storm was taken in the Florida Keys in 2010. The sun was partially hidden behind the clouds and reflecting on the water which turned almost everything else into a silhouette.
Escambia Sunset was taken in 2006 just a few miles from my house in Florida. Again, I captured the sun behind the clouds. The storm weathered docks and the reeds on the shoreline turned black as the sun, although hidden, refected on the water.
Just to prove that a color silhouette can be just as dramatic as a black and white one, I am including the Sunrise Before The Storm. Here again, the sun most hidden by the clouds cast a brilliant reflection on the water and the palm trees and docks turn into a colorful silhouette. Photograph taken on the Florida Keys in 2010.
The Photo of the Week is another view of a sunrise on the Florida Keys. The rising sun coming through a broken layer of clouds gives a dramatic view of the two palm trees whose trunks have by curved the winds. It started to rain about 20 minutes after this scene was captured near Marathon, FL. Photo taken 2010.
Finding spots of lights in what might be a dark photograph helps to highlight the scene. You might find a spot of light coming through a shade tree…..or around the corner of a building which is mostly shaded. I have found spots of light more by accident that planning them out. But it takes time to walk around the area to find that special beam of light coming through.
In this street scene in Key West, FL., the artist was busy trying to sell his paintings to some potential customers. They are highlighted by a spot of sunlight coming through a couple of trees. The dark brick of the wall and the art on the street lead your eyes to the artist and his customers.They are almost incidental in the overall scene but the sun outlining the figures adds emphasis. Just beyond the people, you can see the darkness of the shade on the sidewalk again which also puts emphasis on the people. Photo taken 2010.