Anatomy of a Photo #60: Harbor seal silhouette

Sometimes when shooting wildlife or in adverse lighting conditions, ou have to center your subject

Normally I wouldn’t try to photograph wildlife by shooting into the sun (or the suns reflection), but rules are made to be broken. Silhouettes are created by facing towards the light source and throwing all we’ve learned about proper lighting to the wind.

This image was an experiment. I had no die how it would turn out, and I had very little time for experimentation, harbor seals being prone to surface and then dive again during a fairly short time span. That details are visible in the seals face, and that the water isn’t totally blown out by the suns reflections was very fortunate.

There was one very simple tool however that I could not have taken this image without- a hood on my lens. While a hood is nearly indispensable already in kayak photography (protects the lens from stray water droplets), on this day it was especially important because it prevented some very unsightly lens flare. Facing towards the sun the way I was, the sun would have hit the glass of my lens and caused some pretty severe flare, if I had not had my hood in place.

One other consideration I had to make while taking this photograph was to center the harbor seal in the image. The bright light that was being reflected causes havoc with the cameras autofocus system. The center focusing point however is the most sensitive and accurate, and can sometimes over come such adversity.

Happy shooting

With a little cropping however, the subject is no longer as centered, and the image flows better

ISO 100, 420mm lens, 1/800th shutter speed, f/5.6

About Galen Leeds Photography

Nature and wildlife photographer, exploring the world on his feet and from his kayak. Among other genres, he is one of the leading kayak photographers in Northern California. To learn more about him, visit him on his website-
This entry was posted in Anatomy of a photo, How To, kayak photography, nature photography, photography, seals, SLR, wildlife photography and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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