Lately I've been doing a silhouette shot an hour before sunset (on Super8). I had a hard time looking through the viewfinder because the sun was so bright. That's why I'm asking.
I would never look directly at the sun, nor look via a 'lensed' device, such as a spotmeter, or the reflex viewer on a D/SLR. Even if I had a telescope there would be piles of ND filters... think of what happens when one takes a magnifying glass and adjusts the lens/sun relationship such that pieces of paper start to burn...
That said, for 'sunset', and I mean a big reddish ball one or two fingers off the horizon (stretch out your arm and measure the number of fingers off the horizon the setting sun is...)... one could perhaps take a reading directly and then set the camera such that that value is 'very high', and anything else in the shot would be very dark.
Other wise you take your meter reading of the subject of the silhouette, set the f-stop such that the subject would be 'very dark', like 4-5 stops lower than the meter reading, and that may get you close to a starting setting, for a situation where the sun is higher in the sky.
Edited by John E Clark, 05 August 2016 - 11:34 AM.