Winter is the perfect season to shoot trees against the sky, as a graphical and structural silhouette. You just need to find the right subject and the right setting.
By Franc Peret
This picture was shot in Burgundy, at the end of the day with a Sony A7M2 + adapter + 25 years old Nikon AIS 20 mm f/2.8 (Manual focus).
As usual in outdoor shots, I set my camera in Aperture priority mode and pointed it toward the subject without any exposure compensation (+/- @ 0).
Often I am having questions about sunset shot settings…
Answer: Just point and shoot and deal with the foreground as a silhouette.
1 – COMPOSITION
The idea was to fill up the frame with the branches net complexity and pattern of those trees while getting the sun partially hidden behind one of them. I adjusted my position accordingly to be at the right distance to get the complete scene and avoiding disturbing elements.
2 – CAMERA SET UP
- ISO 100:
Best quality and facing the sun with the right exposure of the sky, shutter speed is always fast enough.
- Aperture: f/8.
I a closing the aperture a lot, even I do not need that much depth of field for 3 reasons: 1 – interesting trees are on the same line (same distance from me). 2 – I am using a very wide lens and wider the lens, deeper is the depth of field by default. 3 – I am far from the trees (about 20 meters) and focusing away already deliver more depth of field. Somehow, at f/4 I would have enough DOF.
However, I closed down much more my aperture to get the best sharpness possible on the complete frame (corner to corner) out of my lens and this happens around f/8 or f/11 (for that generation of lenses).
More modern lenses are able to deliver full-frame sharpness earlier, but diffraction tends to come earlier too.
Never take the risk, shot this type of picture with a different aperture (f/5.6 – f/8 – f/11.) if you are not sure of the best one on the field.
- Related shutter speed: 1/160s.
As soon as there is no wind and you are stable, 1/30s would have been enough if the sun was lower because nothing is moving and I am using a wide lens (which tends less transmitting my potential move to the picture).
Former photo journalist, Film maker and ELC Shanghai Photography teacher, Franc Peret is teaching Essential Photography Classes, Advanced Photography Workshop and Film Making Classes in Shanghai, for the last 13 years.
If you wish to contact Franc, just drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org