Instant Inspiration (20) – Backlit Fountain

Backlit Fountain Street Photography

1/125 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 200

“Instant Inspiration”  is my series for you if you feel you suffer from “Photographer’s Block”  or simply want to shoot something that you have never tried. Or at least not recently. Read the posts, become inspired, take your camera, head out and have fun! After a summer break I now bring you episode 20, where I work the scene around a fountain backlit by a late afternoon sun. For the how-to and the rest of the photos continue after the jump….

Backlit Fountain Street Photography

1/250 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 250

Many occasional photographers always try to have the sun in their back. There are good reasons to it. The colors of the scenery you are shooting are much more intense being lit by the sun. The sky is much more blue. People are nicely lit and don’t have shadows on their bodies. You avoid reflections in your lens. When you are new to shooting, you avoid pointing your camera towards the sun.

But there are as many reasons to do just that. Many pro photographers let their subjects stand in front of the sun when shooting portraits. The backlight creates great glows around the hairs and bodies, and they use reflectors or fill in flash do light up the shadows in the faces. But backlight portraiture I leave for another episode of “Instant Inspiration”

Shooting towards the sun is useful when you want to create silhouettes in your photos. It helps of you are after high contrast motives often found in street- or architectural photography.

When I was in Nuremberg’s Old Town last Saturday for an hour of late afternoon shooting, I passed the Stockzahn-Brunnen (fountain) at the Heilig-Geist-Spital where the splashing water was nicely backlit by the late afternoon sun. So I positioned myself in a way that the fountain was between myself and the sun, cleaned my lens (to minimize reflections on the glass) and waited what would happen in front of my camera.

Backlit Fountain Street Photography

1/250 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 400

Camera in all photos was my Olympus PEN-F with the mZuiko 14-150mm travel zoom. I shot in P-Mode with Auto-ISO on. That way I never worried about the settings but just snapped away as the scenes happened. The only variable was the focus I set, sometimes on the water droplets, sometimes on the subjects behind the water. I used center point focussing only to ensure a quick locking of the focus point exactly where I wanted it.

Backlit Fountain Street Photography

1/250 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 320

Backlit Fountain Street Photography

1/160 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 200

Backlit Fountain Street Photography

1/160 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 320

Backlit Fountain Street Photography

1/250 sec @ f/6.3, ISO 200

Backlit Fountain Street Photography

1/250 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 250

Backlit Fountain Street Photography

1/250 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 250

Backlit Fountain Street Photography

1/250 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 400

 

The RAW files were concerted in Adobe Lightroom CC.

So if you feel inspired to give backlighting photography a chance,  take your camera and head out. You are invited to ping back to this post and show your results by linking to your photos in the comment section below.

For all other episodes of my instant inspirations and many more photography tips (like my Street Photography Quick Tips series)  visit my Learning Center.

Related Posts:

Instant Inspiration (11) – Change of Perspective

Street Photography Quick Tip 7 – Work the Scene

Apocalyptic Fountain

Some thoughts on monochrome shooting

26 comments

  1. Great pictures! In p-mode your camera seem to choose for F5.6 most of the time. You are not afraid to have the sunlit background over exposed, wich is good. I myself have the tendency to not let over exposure happen, but seeing this I want to experiment with it more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Peter, so much appreciated. Yes, in P-Mode and with the 14-150mm f/4-5.6 the PEN-F seems to stay around 5.6 – 6.3 and rather keep the ISO at bay, which is fine with me, because image quality is sublime. I have no issues with overexposed background in B&W / street photography, in all landscape work I tend to underexpose a tad and rather correct it in post production.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My favorite pictures are second, third and fourth ones. Often, it has been said that breaking the rule is helpful for you to learn and grow. I clicked photo yesterday when I found that grass was looking amazing with sun coming just behind it during late afternoon. Probably, I will post it in some post.

    Liked by 1 person

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