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Silhouettes with a Panasonic Point-and-Shoot

A silhouette like this one is typically difficult to expose correctly. It is one thing to meter for a rich sky, casting the unlit subject into darkness, but it’s quite another to also maintain detail and color in the composition’s foreground. The Panasonic DMC-TZ3 did just this. By setting the meter in Simple Mode the camera took account of foreground, subject, and sky and chose an exposure that did not compromise the integrity of each.

The position of the buffalo in front of the slate-blue mountain range, on the open prairie, establishes both a sense of timelessness and environmental history.  Notice how the roundness of the buffalo’s head and curving lines of its body strike a cord in union with the shape of the mountains—creating a visual sense of harmony in form.  This harmony is given added depth by the surrounding prairie grasses and wildflowers, which the movement of buffalo herds has helped to sustain over the centuries.

The coexistence of animal and landscape in the image is also thematically-drawn by the placement of the buffalo in the front one-third of the frame. This placement leaves space all around the subject, so that the viewer is free to move visually through that great expanse of earth and sky, observing the stillness of the prairie as the sun falls behind the bison, while silhouetting the buffalo calls attention to its near-extinction.

Angilee Tip

© Angilee Wilkerson, Dallas DPA Instructor

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