Maritime Photography in back-light and high contrast
Backlight photography is when you have the light in front in the direction where the camera is pointed. When encountering this kind of photography the light source must be considered as part of the image, outlining the subject and creating detailed silhouettes. This kind of light shows but does not expose, defining specific and particular characteristics of the individuals and objects in the image.
The golden hour is ideal for this kind of photography. The special, warm light of sunrise and sunset offers a strong back-light with powerful and magical color, with or without clouds. This type of situation and light offers the capture of high contrast images where all the color is found in the background and the action or movement in the silhouetted subject.
The correct exposure will define, without question, the intention and final result of your image. The best way to apply this technique is by using a light reading based on the entire situation, and then creatively composing the image. When possible take several images changing the composition. Having lost detail in the subject due to back-light a good composition in fundamental. To capture a good photograph, the image must be found. There is always a different angle waiting, either a bit more to the left or right or up or down, but it must be looked for and found in order to produce a unique image
Very often, when photographing marine wildlife, sunlight will reflect off the surface of the sea, offering an unusual and interesting texture to your image.
These back-light situations, with a high concentration of light entering directly through the lens, allow the use of high shutter speeds without limiting f/stop, guaranteeing excellent depth of field. Ideal for freezing a drop of water in movement or the spout produced by a breathing whale in an expression of great detail with perfect focus. For the photographer with a bit of experience it is hard to go wrong in this type of situation.
If each and every moment in life is unique and without repetition, a close encounter with creatures of the sea is even more so. Understanding how to measure light, apply the correct settings, obtain focus and shoot is a short time frame requires practice and dedication and this is obtained by presence and familiarization with the situation. Perseverance and patience are inseparable traits for those who wish to enjoy maritime wildlife photography and not just look the part. Like an open invitation, understanding that Valdes Peninsula is here and will remain here, allows a new opportunity to capture “that special image” with each visit. A healthy challenge for integration into the savage world of pristine nature that is waiting to be discovered.