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The Visual Toolbox: 60 Lessons for Stronger Photographs by David duChemin

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Lesson 34. Light: Silhouettes

Silhouettes are an underused way to isolate, turning otherwise chaotic scenes and blown-out skies into pure shape, gesture, and light. When other attempts to work with a high-key scene fail because colors aren’t working well, or that one dude’s got a funny look on his face, or the sky isn’t doing it for you, try exposing for the sky and letting the rest of the frame go to shape and form. Whereas others are trying to eliminate the shadows with HDR techniques, try taking advantage of them. Silhouettes simplify and abstract. They turn individuals, recognized by their features, into anyone. They turn buildings into nothing more than their iconic outlines.

Nikon D3s, 22mm, 1/2500 @ f/18, ISO 200A pilgrim is silhouetted ...

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