Behind the Shot: Self Portrait at Lake Superior

Hi everyone, this week’s assignment for the Outdoor Photography Guide Photo Challenge is something I like to call “Shooting Through.” In the meantime, I just wanted to add a few more thoughts on the subject, and share a recent shooting through photo example.

What do I mean by “shooting through?” It is quite simple, really: shooting through means putting something between you and your subject. Doing so adds depth to the photograph, and can make the composition more appealing.

For example, I took this self-portrait recently while inside a sandstone sea cave along the coast of Lake Superior (okay, I guess it should be called a “lake cave,” but I’m not in charge of the English language, so “sea cave” it is). Rather than just having a composition featuring me looking out of the cave, I selected a position behind this small circular opening. Because I was really close to the opening with a wide-angle lens, it looks a lot bigger than it really was (to get through the opening, I would have had to crawl), and I look a lot smaller in the background because I was farther away. After setting up the composition, I triggered the shutter button with the camera set to a 10-second delay, then dashed over to my other camera set up on a tripod and assumed an interesting pose (by the way, this photo is also a good example of an “artistic selfie,” which is the topic of week 9). By shooting through, I was able to make things more interesting than if I had chosen a straightforward approach.

Canon 5DIII, Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 800, f/16, 0.8 seconds.

I look forward to seeing your “shooting through” photos in this week’s assignment. Good luck!


About the author: World-renowned professional photographer and Tamron Image Master Ian Plant is a frequent contributor to several leading photo magazines and the author of numerous books and instructional videos. You can see more of Ian’s work at

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