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Chris' Camera Bag

A Photo Web log by Chris Young

Shooting into the Sun

November 10, 2007 at 01:07 PM

Illinois Outdoors

It’s a rule that goes all the way back to the days of film. Always keep the sun over your shoulder. There was even a diagram of this printed on the instructions that came inside the film box.

But shooting backlit, or against the sun, can give your pictures a different look. The main challenge is to get the advantages of backlighting without having the sun ruin the picture with lens flare. Try to find something to put between the camera and the sun, such as a tree trunk or branches. In this case, I shot around the corner in a canyon at Matthiessen State Park to highlight the couple hiking, use the dark canyon walls as a frame and keep the flare to a minimum. The canyon walls and the trees clinging to the canyon walls blocked the sun just enough.

Backlighting also can put a pleasing ring of light around a subject. In the case of fall colors, backlighting is especially helpful to intensify colors. Leaves are at least a little bit transluscent, and sunlight coming through them helps bring out the maximum amount of color available.

Illinois Outdoors

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