Old 06-12-2008, 04:07 PM   #1
Mike Walsh
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Hi guys,

name's Mike Walsh. I'm from St. Louis, but go to school in Rochester, New York.

I thought I'd make my first post on RP.net forums about this shot that I took last night around twilight. I tried to take this shot, but it just might be there wasn't enough sunlight left.. I don't know, to be honest. I don't understand how everyone accomplishes these shots with the golden sky and a train as the subject (backlit, that is).


If anyone could make suggestions, it'd be greatly appreciated.


Mike Walsh
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Old 06-12-2008, 04:14 PM   #2
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The train is too bright, you'd need to make the train look pitch black. In addition, darken the highlights of this photo. That is usually helpful to me. That'll make that washed-out white color become more of a darker color. I don't know though. This photo may also not be salvageable because the train is cut-off. Usually silhouette shots consist of more than just part of the locomotive.
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Old 06-12-2008, 04:45 PM   #3
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For silhouettes the trick is to properly expose the shot for the background, in this case the sunset, not expose for the the locomotive. Some even expose for the sunset and close down the aperture a stop or two insuring the locomotive will be dark. That also prevents the background from being washed out as it will be underexposed...

You can also try (if your camera has these) "AEB" or exposure bracketing to take a shot lighter and a shot a little darker then the exposure you set.

After you may have to play with levels, shadows and brightness in photoshop to achieve the desired affect but with proper exposure you should have less work to do and an easier time with that.

As for the cropping I personally like it but it is hit or miss, sometimes cropping like that will get accepted some may need to be wider to include more of the locomotive.

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Old 06-12-2008, 05:02 PM   #4
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You've gotten some good advice about exposure. But let's talk about composition. You are excited about the light - exactly! But unfortunately you are hiding most of it behind the engine. Especially since you apparently have some sky that not only has color but some cloud definition. Next time, step a bit to the right and pull out more of those clouds. The reduced exposure will hopefully bring back some color to the upper sky. Maybe also aim a bit higher and get rid of some of the foreground in favor of more sky up top; again, more of the color.

Cropped engines aren't a no-no if done well; here's a favorite (done at night, however, so not silhouette):
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Old 06-13-2008, 07:20 PM   #5
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You need a spot meter reading about 10 degrees away from the sun, but you may have to set your camera on manual. Take the light meter reading first, then focus on the train. A lot of cameras want to meter where you focus. (Like your image)
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