Back Versions (2)
Modifications (5)
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Sheep Silhouettes

By Irishkate  
Awake early these mornings I love the silhouettes of the sheep on the hillside as seen from a back bedroom window. I do find it difficult to choose between Manual, Aperture or Shutter
modes to capture and expose properly for these scenes. I'll upload a few versions also for critique. Sometimes the sheep remain still, sometimes one of them moves which is when I see a possible composition - the shutter speed isn't right!
I did use a tripod from a difficult angle as my windows only open a little.
Many thanks for kind votes/comments for Fritillary (2).

Tags: Landscape and travel Wildlife and nature Sheep Dawn

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mrswoolybill Plus
13 2.1k 2210 United Kingdom
8 Apr 2020 9:43AM
Hi Kate, it's a nice idea, and the sheep are well positioned for you on the horizon. I don't think it works completely for a few of reasons. The sheep are too far away, there are too many of them, and a lot of them are lying down so they are just blobs on the horizon. Silhouettes work best when the viewer can easily imagine what's missing, and that needs some assistance.

The most interesting sheep (and sheep can be interesting... ) are towards the right where you have a nice little group with a rising and falling silhouette. If you see them like this again I would suggest increasing ISO considerably and using the full length of your lens on them. Aim for a few characterful poses in the frame rather than the whole line-up.

You're using a tripod and as you say sheep often don't move much, so I would suggest aperture priority but watch shutter speed like a hawk. Aim for no slower than this. And time your shots carefully.

I've uploaded a modification, it's a tiny crop so image quality is disastrous, but I think it shows the potential here.

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8 Apr 2020 10:13AM
I don't doubt that Moira is right, Kate but, I find that taking shots like this are best taken in bulk. Loads of images from different angles and compositions. Then sort them out on the computer when you get home. That's about as technical as I get. Wink

dudler Plus
16 1.2k 1646 England
8 Apr 2020 10:30AM
OK, Kate.

There are several different approaches, and I'll note a couple of them.

Tripod. An alternative is to handhold, and welly the ISO up. It's like the accelerator in your car - yo udon't want to be pressing it to the floor all the time, but sometimes, it works better if you really let it rip! This will free up composition.

Mode: this won't, in itself, make or break the exposure. Being aware of what affects exposure will, though, in any mode. If you have a large amount of brightness in the sky, and a fringe of ground/sheep, they will be silhouettes, as the camera exposes for hte sky. Move to include more ground, and the cmaera will expose more fully, and there will be detail in the sheep.

So you can take an exposure reading from whichever area you want, and either lock the exposure in an auto mode, or simply use manual. Don't alter the exposure when you recompose, unless you want a different light/dark balance.

I'd tend to use Aperture priority if I was shooting quickly, off the cuff: maybe change to Manual if I was going to take a whole series of images.In Aperture priority, I use exposure compensation to tweak the look. It's important to look at the results, and the histogram.

But - as I've said so often - the real secret is to make use of every single click on the ISO scale...

My mod puts the sheep right on the edge. Loads of negative space.

dark_lord Plus
16 2.5k 664 England
8 Apr 2020 11:58AM
Moira's first sentence sums it up as to why it doesn't work for me.
It's hard to determine what the 'bumps. are.
You had the smells, sounds and feel of the spring when you took this and the image will remind you of those, but we don't have that, just the image.

I'm sure at some point more sheep will be standing up, like the one towards the right, and that would make a good silhoette image.
TrevBatWCC Plus
11 13 15 England
8 Apr 2020 1:03PM
I go for the lead as my fave, for the colouring in the sky. I do agree though with Moira about isolating just the sheep on the right. As fo using a tripod, it's not easy when up against a window, and I'd be upping the ISO to get a decent shutter speed and hand-holding. I almost always shoot Aperture Priority, keeping an eye on the shutter speed. With my Z6 mirrorless, I'm tending to use the exposure compensation a lot, as what you see in the viewfinder is what you get, and can adjust it so it looks how you want it - unlike with the DSLR where the viewfinder image remained the same.
Trev 🌝
chase Plus
14 1.6k 360 England
8 Apr 2020 1:45PM
Hi Kate,Well done for spotting this through your window.
You did have the option with your lens to get in a bit closer, to that end I rather like Moira' choice of crop, which for me is where the main action is, especially with the 2 sheep standing up.
Reckon you could have upped the ISO even more and still had a decent frame, increase shutter speed and then hand holding would be easier.
I would have used a tripod though as I am useless at hand holding, nothing is ever straight, never mind in any kind of focus !!
I suspect Aperture Priority would be the way forward as has been suggested.
Johns crop shows the whole scene with less of the very dark bottom part, better focus on the silhouettes, I would have gone even further with that, I will try a mod in that respect, will be drastic but something different for you to consider.
mac Plus
18 6 Scotland
8 Apr 2020 4:40PM
Hi Kate, As you have received quite a lot advice I will concentrate on using your images. I have added a new sky and also copied a sheep and reversed it and added it to the gap on the right-hand side. As your sheep had little details have made the foreground all black. See V4.
banehawi Plus
16 2.2k 4126 Canada
8 Apr 2020 5:41PM
A nice effort Kate.

To add to the above, I think the image is overly sharp, or too much clarity, making it a bit "spidery" and noise visible in the sky.

The IS "should" be ab;e to handle the slower speed, as long as your hands are steady. A tip here, - though the sheep are some distance away, you are essentially focusing on a straight line of sheep, so you could easily use f/4 - f/5.6, as you're not after depth really.

Ive added mod 5 to reduce spiders and noise, brighten sheep only, and crop to a wide format.

Hope this helps


dimalexa 3 5 Greece
8 Apr 2020 9:06PM
After all, to say and my opinion, Kate. First, with EOS 60D you can use ISO 2500 with exxcellent result, that means 3 stops benefit, so a shutter speed 1/250 sec in combination with IS works just fine for handheld shot with this lens, leaving the same aperture (sure not more open than 8 ). As camera in Program AE mode uses the less ISO, it's preferable to fix the ISO value, and use Shutter priority mode.
Second, about the light metering: as your desire is to caoture silhouettes, there is no matter to see a lot of details on the sheeps. In my opinion it's better to have a "strong" sky and on it the almost dark silhouettes and earth, so I suggest metering on the horizon line, to have effect from sky's light.
Third, about the composition: basically I agree with Moira, it would be better to have bigger objects at the vertical dimension, it makes more interesting the image. Nevertheless I like your lead image as a "special" composition for this scene.
Hope to help a little,

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