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The Via Francegina

Early mornings and evenings are the best time for outdoor photography because the sun is low in the sky. Put the sun behind your subject for a dramatic silhouette with glowing rim light.

Here's the recipe for this photograph:


  • An early morning

  • A willing subject

  • An interesting location along the Via Francegina in the Tuscan countryside

1. Face the sun.

Without blinding yourself, point your camera directly into the sun. This will create the backlight for the image.

2. Refine the composition.

Try go beyond the first "obvious" photo. I walked along the road until I found the intersection, because the stripes in the pavement added more interest, and the tall sign gives a sense of location. (If you look closely, you can see that the signs point to Rome and Canterbury, the two end points of the ancient pilgrimage route). I also loved that there were people working in the fields across the street. After finding this spot, I crouched down to change my angle, so that my subject would show up in the clear sky, rather than get lost in the busier texture of trees and bushes.

3. Direct your subject to walk through the frame.

Aim to catch your subject mid-stride, as this gives the most interesting shape to the silhouette. Don't worry if it takes a few tries to get it right. It's worth it.


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