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Exposing for a silhouette
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Monday, June 16, 2014
By Jim Zuckerman
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How do you expose for a silhouette?  It's easy.  Simply point your camera at the bright light source -- in this case the sunset sky -- and shoot.  No exposure compensation is needed.  The bright lit area of the composition will force the meter to underexpose the subject.  Hence, you'll get a silhouette.

Even though the sky was much brighter than the cheetah, the illumination was still not excessively bright.  I wanted as much depth of field as I could get to show definition in the sky, and that meant that my shutter speed wasn't fast enough to prevent the blur of the cat's left front leg.  I used f/16 and 1000 ISO, and the shutter ended up at 1/100th of a second.  I don't mind the blurred paw because it shows motion, but the truth is that if I had a choice, I would have preferred total sharpness.

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