This page was started to put some of the “artsy” silhouettes I have prepared from images taken over the years. But silhouettes can be used for many educational purposes. Removing color and detail from images tends to emphasize the shape and outlines of subjects. Many of the subjects below can be identified by their shapes. No color is needed.

Silhouettes are valuable because often a subject is seen backlight – and appears mostly as a silhouette. This is common in birding, but can also be true for mammals or trees in the distance. For plants, the silhouette emphasizes the growth form (habit) of the plant – this can be an important characteristic for identification.

The silhouettes shown here (some are not strictly silhouettes – they are grayscale images with high contrast) are made by converting the original color images to grayscale, and then manipulating the histograms to increase the contrast. Many different image manipulation applications (here Aperture or Graphic Converter have been used) can be used produce similar results.