We challenged our Lowepro Storytellers with the mission of finding light that illuminates their subject from behind, backlight. An image lit from behind can be tricky and extremely rewarding when successfully done. The images shared for this mission are stunning and very powerful all because of backlighting. How about you go out and give it a try for yourself?
Backlight = My Favorite Light
I’ll shoot backlit all day everyday given the chance. Whether its landscape, action or portraits I love using backlight to separate objects and subjects within a scene. It can add a lot of drama to your imagery. Just use it.
3 stop Singh Ray GND filter to balance the bright sky with the foreground
The theme for this shot was to capture the athlete out for an early morning sunrise run. Well the clouds rolled in and down came the rain. I’m sure we all know that photography saying, “When life throws you raindrops, backlight it!
Shooting into the sun, and using backlight as a visual effect, is a compositional and lighting technique that I have been experimenting with for much of my career. It goes against one of the most fundamental “rules” of photography – to always have the sun behind/beside the photographer – but I love the softness of the subject created by backlighting my subject and allowing the sun’s flare to creep into my lens. It’s this ethereal, evocative effect that moves me to keep practicing this photographic technique in my editorial, commercial and personal work – like this photograph of a DPRK soldier at the Samjiyon Grand Monument, a 15m (50ft) effigy of a 27-year-old Kim Il-sung, erected near Mount Paektu in Ryanggang Province near the border between North Korea and China. See more of my photography from inside the Hermit Kingdom at http://scottawoodward.com/portfolio/hermit-kingdom-part-i/.
One of the most exciting things about outdoor photography is working with natural light. Every day brings new opportunities and when shooting during sunset I love to find a way to work the final moments of light into my photos for a unique effect.
Happy Feet! Can’t stop smiling when looking at this one!
Gentoo penguin – The Neck – Saunders Island – Falkland has been shot in very low light conditions waiting for the subject to be back lit by the last beams of sunshine and under exposing in order to get rid of al the details in the shadows.
It was the year snowfall shut down Heathrow airport. We couldn’t believe our flights to shoot a wedding in India were canceled by snow! Thankfully, after almost 48hrs of diverted flights, we managed to arrive just before celebrations began. I remember running through the streets chasing the groom on his carriage, and thankful for the backlit sun to cast the intricate shadows on the cobblestone road. Exhausted, but adrenaline, beauty, and love carried us through one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve had the honor to shoot.
It’s amazing how the simplest things become beautiful during that last hour before sunset. I had been near this road all day, but as the sun was setting the traveling silhouettes started telling a totally different story.
Location – Sandema, Northern Ghana
I was deep in the Hoh Rainforest of Olympic National Park on a cloudy day in December. The humidity in the rainforest made the cool air thick with the smell of damp wood. I sat quietly on a stump and waited. At long last, a tiny opening in the clouds revealed a beam of light as it blasted between the trees and illuminated the dense air and the carpet of moss in front of me. Just as quickly as the moment had occurred, it disappeared. I picked up my ProTactic 450 AW and began my hike out with the shot that I had come here to capture.
As I sat and watched the Northern Lights dance this particular evening in Iceland I was in complete awe how they shifted and moved around and above the Vestrahorn mountain. At one point the lights began rising from behind the peaks creating a perfectly backlit scene with an incredible silhouette. The lights were so bright in fact I was able to get a foreground image of the grasses as well. I had to focus stack 5 images for the foreground to be able to have perfect sharpness within the frame and then I had the final image of the peaks and sky for the background. It’s really hard to stack images this way due to shooting at f/2.8 and your depth of field being so shallow, very little in your frame will be perfectly sharp so more images at varying focal lengths are required to make the stack.”
Shutter Speed: varied: 8 seconds, 10 seconds
The reason I like backlight so much is that it creates a silhouette. I believe that a silhouette is one of the most beautiful and truly simple techniques we have in Photography. On this Morning in Yellowstone National Park, I woke up and positioned myself to shoot the sun as it rose directly in front of my lens. The warm waters of the river met the frigid morning air to create the mist and just as the sun was peeking into the sky this small group of Canadian Geese flew through my frame. The exact silhouette feature I was looking for.
What better backlight for your image than a Sri Lankan sunset? Luckily for us the only natural light source on this planet creates an abundance of colors and textures as it sinks below the horizon. I felt this orange hued sunset was the perfect dramatic backlight for this yogi in her most striking Wild Thing pose.
New York City – one of the strongest, most resilient and amazing cities in the world. We had an opportunity to visit recently and it quickly became one of our favorite cities. The clouds on the East Coast were amazing, filled with character and drama. The cityscape and clouds were the perfect setting for the drama unfolding in this image.
Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 24-70 f/2.8L Mark II @ f/6.3
I took photos of some toy tie fighters separately and layered them into the image during post.