Sunday, 10 April 2011

The Story Behind the Fox Silhouette

In May last year I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to explore the Maritime region of Canada which included a 4 day trip to Prince Edward Island (PEI). I had not done a lot of research into the species I would encounter on PEI as I had only researched the Puffins of Nova Scotia. When we arrived at our destination which was close to the small town of North Rustico I came across a Red Fox in a field and this immediately got me thinking there must be more around the area. On the first night my wife and my parents took a walk along the beach towards the town and that's when I discovered the Fox I had encountered earlier in the day was not alone. Fox's are one of my favorite mammals so I was thrilled when I came across a family living on the edge of town.

Lesson: Enhancing a silhouette
More often than not us photographers aren't always in the right place at the right time. In this case I had the Fox in the right place but where was the golden sunset to compliment the Fox looking at me from the dunes?

I had to make do with the scene in front of me knowing I could probably apply a few tweaks in Photoshop to get the image I wanted.

Original File

Final Enhanced Version

Techs: 200MM @ f3.5 // ISO3200 // 1/400 // Exp comp 0
Canon 7D with 70 - 200mm F2.8 IS L
Image Copyright J M Douglas Photography 2010

Creating the Silhouette...

  • First step was to open the RAW file in DPP (Digital Photo Professional) which is the free editing software package that comes free with your Canon camera.
  • In DPP I reduced the Brightness Adjustment to create the dark foreground look against the sky. I also reduced the Contrast to keep the detail in the foreground grass.
  • Next step was to export the TIFF file to Photoshop.

  • In Photoshop I ran a weak Noise Reduction and cropped the image to my liking.
  • I then ran Curve Adjustment to make sure the foreground was dark enough and not too contrasty.
  • At this point I had the silhouette but really wanted to lose the grey sky and create a sunset look.
  • Creating the intense sky was done simply by applying a Warming Filter (85) and setting it to 100%.

I hope you enjoyed this lesson and good luck going out to create your own silhouettes.

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