Photo of the Week: Midlands Sheep

I was so glad to get out of the cities by the time I got to the English Midlands. I stayed with a really good friend in a small town well outside of Birmingham and felt much more at ease after dealing with the grind of cities for about a month. As we drove from the train station to the house we passed a field of sheep and my words were clear “I want to take pictures of the sheep at sunset!” In the end, that’s exactly what I did. I don’t know why, but I feel like this picture captures how I felt about staying outside of the city.  I might have been 5 minutes from town, and 2 minutes from a pub, but after being in nothing but cities for weeks if felt as if I was in the middle of nowhere. It’s one of my favourite photos from England so far.

How I Got this Shot

Shooting into the sunset means all sorts of exposure issues. If you expose the subject properly, the sheep in this case, it means that the sky will be overexposed an blown out (pure white). However, if you expose the sky properly the sheep will be too dark. Moreover, if you try to compensate you can actually get both problems at once. Sometimes the only way of correcting this issue is by pasting together a couple images. Now, I’m not talking about an HDR. I’m talking about melding together the foreground and background. There are plenty of YouTube videos that will teach you how to do it. But basically you take two images, one with the sky properly exposed and one with the subject properly exposed and then paste one image onto the other in photo shop and then use a gradient tool to get the proper exposure throughout the image. You’ll be amazed at how doing this will correct so many of the issues you may have with exposure in this situation.

For the interested photographers.  I photographed “Midlands Sheep” with a Canon 200mm f/2.8 prime lens.  The image of the sheep is f/2.8 at 1/8seconds.  The second exposure for the sky was f/5.6 at 1/50 seconds.


Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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  1. A fairly standard technique for subjects of this type. It adds a bit of extra work in post, but it looks like the results turned out well. It’s hard to tell that the paste job was done 🙂
    Cheers from the UK

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    • @Jeremy – yes, if you use a gradient it shouldn’t show at all. If you do an HDR you’ll get all sorts of ghosting. Cheers!

      Post a Reply
  2. Awe, I love looking at you work. But yeah, that’s a pretty sweet technique. Thanks for the hints.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks Elise, I’m glad you like it 😀

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  3. That is really a great shot. I should learn to take a picture like that.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks Rashmi, I’m glad you like the shot!

      Post a Reply

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