Home | Hong Kong | Backlit and beautiful: Hong Kong in silhouette

Backlit and beautiful: Hong Kong in silhouette


Wisdom Path, Ngong Ping, Lantau

Silhouettes. I can’t get enough of them. When the light is just right and the opportunity presents itself, it’s as if some celestial spectacle has been brought into being just for you and your camera.

With the lighting tricky to balance and the subject nicely backlit, there’s often nothing better than to use it to your advantage and expose for the silhouette. It can give a picture that added bit of atmosphere it’s lacking – that little extra punch it needs to make it stand out.

Sometimes it’s the silhouette that draws you to the photo. It jumps out at you, begging you to take it. So you dial down your exposure, wait for the right moment, and 3, 2, 1, you’ve got yourself a keeper. It’s the silhouette that makes the scene. The girls by the windows below, for example, or the couple in the tunnel.

Other times, it’s more fortuitous. It is the scene itself, not the silhouette, that gets you raising your camera. Maybe the lighting doesn’t seem to offer much more than you can see. But after you take the first photo and notice the foreground is underexposed, you dial down a little more just to see what you can get. The first photo in the set was like this – much brighter with the naked eye, but surprisingly lovely on the camera.


A fiery sky as the sun sets behind IFC


IFC & Sunbeams

Amah Rock, Lion Rock Country Park

Amah Rock, Lion Rock Country Park

Silhouette of the Ngong Ping Big Buddha at sunset, Lantau, Hong Kong

Silhouette of the Ngong Ping Big Buddha at sunset, Lantau

On the 43rd floor of the Bank of China Tower

On the 43rd floor of the Bank of China Tower

I’m never a big fan of forcing a photo. If two girls are taking a photograph of Victoria Harbour from the darkness of a covered walkway, to ‘pap’ them with flash, or worse, blow out the background when compensating for the subject, just doesn’t make sense. The scene is in silhouette so why not shoot it as such? There’s no need for any great camera trickery or an hour spent post-processing. And besides, silhouettes just look cool.

We’ve got plenty of city silhouettes here and little bit of nature. We’ve got people smoking, people staring, and people taking photos. We’ve also got a very photogenic IFC that has managed to find its way into a good majority of these photos. Hong Kong has a tendency to look good whatever the weather and wherever you look. When seen in silhouette, it doesn’t disappoint. Enjoy!

Prints & Downloads: All photos are available for purchase as prints or downloads in my Hong Kong Galleries.

Related Posts: Visit my post Sunsets & Summits: China in Silhouette for more shadowy goodness.


Up in the sky lobby at Central Plaza


At Wan Chai ferry pier

Having a smoke on TST promenade

Having a smoke on TST promenade

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