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By paulbroad  
I like silhouettes, as those who see my work will know. This caught my eye a couple of weeks ago in Bridlington. It is actually a crop from a bigger image with the parents on the right, but they were just a black lump so I've cropped to just the kids. Does it work, or should there be something there for them to be looking at?

EOS 7D. 70/300 USM IS with IS on. 1/2000 @ f8 on manual. Whole image darkened to give the sand texture.


Tags: Holiday Beach Sand Sun Kids Silhouette Portraits and people


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Sooty_1 10 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
12 Oct 2011 10:50AM
As above. Not much to critique here, except maybe the unsharpness in the background. Can't see why if you had such a high shutter speed, unless it interacted with the IS in some really don't need the IS on with speeds this high.

paulbroad 13 131 1289 United Kingdom
12 Oct 2011 12:51PM
IS is a strange thing. The blurb with this lens suggests to leave it on - it says the lens will sense the use of a tripod and not then use IS automatically. I've tried shots with and without IS and must say it is difficult to see much difference, but if it can be left on safely, you might as well as then you don't forget to switch it on or off. I have IS on four different lenses, two Canon and Two Sigma and remain unconvinced. I am capable of shaking at any speed it seems!

What it does do is increase battery drain, but I use a power grip so am not too bothered. Background unsharpness is surely required here? Open to discussion of course but the figures then stand out better. I tend to use f8 a lot, controlling exposure with shutter speed - this due to f8 (ish) usually being considered to be the sweet spot in terms of sharpness for most conventional lenses. (Not true macro though.)

When I look closely at this 600 pixel image big on the screen, I'm not now sure the whole image is actually terribly sharp. I think, because the kids are in silhouette they LOOK very sharp, but look really closely and there outlines are not that crisp.

Sooty_1 10 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
12 Oct 2011 3:24PM
Background blur is all very well, but you want it completely blurred rather than just a little, and this looks like shake rather than shallow depth of field (looking at the highlight texture of the beach). Besides, at this range at f/8, I would expect it all to be sharp anyway if you focussed on the kids.

If the whole image has shake, I would suggest doing some comparative tests with IS and without, on a tripod and hand-held.

banehawi Plus
16 2.2k 4149 Canada
12 Oct 2011 4:26PM
Only comparitive testing can tell the tale, and I suspect Paul will find little difference except with handheld.

From a purely practical point of view, there is absolutely no way for any lens to "know" its on a tripod, and the image stabilization gear is all still working (if you listen to the Canon IS lens you can hear the gyro motors).

I like the image as it is, and would suspect a whole lot of light diffraction from the beach to add to the sharpness impression.

paulbroad 13 131 1289 United Kingdom
12 Oct 2011 4:30PM
I have, and can see no difference. Tripod shots are sharper, but the lenses, with or without IS, seem to perform the same. I think it is shake too - the whole image is not sharp - kids too, when viewed large. I've had a look at the original and it's not crisp.

It might be the lens itself. This was at 480mm in effect and hand held - well, resting on a fence post actually. I am not convinced this lens is very sharp at it's full focal length at any time. I agree that at f8 the depth of field should have been rather greater and that confirms movement - at 1/2000 sec!

So, as you say, could the IS be actually causing the effect? Canon, in the lens manual, say not - but I think it needs a bit of investigation. Will try some shots on the tripod with IS on and off using the same subject of course, but it does need to be at 480mm to get the shake magnification at that focal length.

I will also try some shooting without IS as I would have had to do years ago anyway.

xwang 11 56 8
13 Oct 2011 10:48AM
I knew it was yours... you do superb children's silhouettes with fairy tale elements..I believe that it'd started from your love of your own children when they were this age..I could 'see' the emotion in your photos, not only technique.
I don't know the technical stuff,...I'll let you to sort it out...( as I say the blokes' jobGrin), but composition wise, once you said:"or should there be something there for them to be looking at?" , mm..I'm not sure, actually. Maybe you should, maybe you shouldn't...Obviously, there was something that drew their attentions there..the straight forward way is to put an object there to tell the viewer 'see' that this was the 'thing' they were looking at... or just leave it as a mystery, leave the viewer to imagine.It's like in our life, the more you cover it up, the more attraction is drawn to it ..It perhaps works as a veil, to set the curiosity free... This is a "wondering" ( and curious)age, it could be something there or nothing, but it is the most charming part of human life- the childhood wondering.Smile

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