Paul’s Silhouette Success

Esther BeatonPhoto Critiques, Photography Books

One of my favorite topics to post is a photo from a student. I was chatting to Paul Collis after he and his wife came back from the Kimberley, Western Australia. They had printed out a selection of recipes from my photography cookbook to take along on their travels. Paul specifically wanted to try one of the step-by-step recipes on making silhouettes.

As you can see from this image, Paul did the right thing. Most amateurs go out and shoot what they stumble upon. But Paul has learned about planning. Knowing he would be in Broome, he specifically wanted to photograph the camel rides along Cable Beach. Paul explains his motivation, “I’ve seen promotional photos of camels walking on the beach and I got in mind to get a silhouette with the sun behind them. I was not sure I would actually get it. I’ve tried it before but never got away with it.”

Needless to say, he was completely successful. Not only did he capture the mood which the silhouette technique is so good for, but he also recorded the beautiful texture and color in the sky and as well as some lovely shadows in the foreground. What resulted in his success was following a method:

  1. He decided first what he wanted to shoot,
  2. He pre-visualized – he planned the shot in his mind first (with a little help from my recipe),
  3. He executed his plan – he put himself in the right place at the right time.

Paul thinks his results are good too. “The book helped very much. Using your instructions, I practiced earlier on some palm trees. I didn’t realized I’d get it so defined, so strong, as I did.”

So OK- this blog might sound like cold-blooded promo for my book. But, truly, I’m even happier than Paul about the results. I get very excited to hear about things working out for students. And it’s shots like these that keeps interest high in the great outdoors and encourages people to keep recording the beauty of our planet. Go for it, Paul!

PS. Thank you all who read my last newsletter and sent me your condolences. It feels good to get the pat on the back; thanks for the comfort.