Ever wished you could reach out and touch the golden and orange light of a sunset? Indian photographer Mitesh Patil has figured out a way to do just that through the magic of silhouette photography.
Patil, a 22-year-old mechanical engineering student from Dahanu, north of Mumbai, has come up with a method of photography to combine the setting sun with figures in his photographs to create spectacular illusions. The creative and innovative works speak for themselves:
With good-quality cameras, and a little help from Adobe Lightroom photo-editing software, Patil is able to enhance the natural silhouettes of his beachside subjects and use them to good effect next to golden setting suns amidst pink and yellow skies.
“I love silhouettes taken during a sunset so that’s when I take most of my photos,” Patil said. “I only get a few minutes to get a perfect shot. If I miss the moment then obviously I have to wait until another day.”
In some of his perfectly positioned pictures, figures hold the sun on their backs or pass it between each other as though it were a glowing hot beach ball. Still other photos feature the sun creatively interacting with everyday objects, like a light bulb or a lantern, bringing them to life.
But it’s not just about fancy Photoshopping; the photographer has to be completely in tune with the light and timing. “The best time to photograph a sunset is half an hour before and after the sunset,” Patil explains. “Fifteen minutes before the sunset is the time for a perfect golden yellow and orange color.”
What makes shooting silhouettes so interesting is the unpredictability and spontaneity of the process. He has figured out a technique that works, though the best time to shoot “may vary depending on the weather. For example if the environment is hazy the sun sets 10 minutes before it touches the horizon,” he says.
The silhouette photographer also dabbles in subjects unrelated to illusionism, and with some success; Patil won first prize for a photography contest on the website Halla for an image of a boy trying to catch a drop of water with his mouth from a beachside faucet. “The photo itself talks about the story behind it, to save our resources,” Patil shared.
Patil has been gratified by lots of positive responses on his Instagram account and other social media. “I receive many messages all over the world in appreciation of my art,” he explained. “It feels so good to read them and I try to reply to them all. I don’t understand how to express my gratitude towards people.”
His advice to up-and-coming photographers is to work hard and love what you do. “Practice as much as you can, the more you practice the more you learn. Photography is a field where you need to be patient, as it may take you days and even months to get a perfect shot,” he said.