Black And White African Wildlife Photography

By | 31/07/2022

Lion, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

Last Updated on Feb 4, 2021

Lion, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa
Lion, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

Black & white wildlife photography is making a big comeback, although monochrome aficionados volition argue that it never went abroad. Many photographers are rediscovering black & white’s timeless and classical look, which has the ability to portray more emotion through forms, tones, and bold compositions.

Color is oft an essential function of the story of an image, such as an elk against the vibrance of autumn colours. Simply this isn’t always the case. Sometimes the photograph is about the animate being in its environment, simply sometimes it’south more about the animal itself, and the setting is incidental. Accept away colour and your eye is drawn to the detail and texture.

Bison, Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan.
Bison, Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan.
White rhino, Marakele National Park, South Africa.
White rhino, Marakele National Park, Southward Africa.
Zebra, Etosha National Park #Namibia
What could be more black & white than a zebra? Etosha National Park, Namibia.

Choosing Your Subject

Some subjects work meliorate than others for blackness & white. Big critters such as bison, lions, rhinos, and elephants are often the most pop, but practically any brute can make a nifty discipline if conditions are right. Bird photography is more challenging in black & white, since the brilliant colours and subtle shades are often what makes birds then bonny for photography. Big powerful birds, such as eagles and hawks seem to work best in monochrome, since the shape of the bird is more important than subtle colour variations. Birds in flight ofttimes work well, especially when photographed against a clear sky free of distractions.

Composition

Limerick is important in all photography, merely especially so in blackness & white where the biggest issue is normally separating your subject from the groundwork. A cherry-red fox will stand out confronting a backdrop of light-green foliage in a colour image, but when you lot convert to black & white, the tones may be similar enough that the image becomes mushy or flat. It’s best to have as uncomplicated a background as possible. It also helps to utilize a shallow depth of field in order to throw the groundwork out of focus. If only your subject is in focus, it will stand out better.

Bald eagle, Alberta Birds of Prey Centre, Coaldale, Alberta.
Bald hawkeye, Alberta Birds of Prey Center, Coaldale, Alberta.
Red-tailed hawk, Thickwood Hills, Saskatchewan
Cerise-tailed hawk, Thickwood Hills, Saskatchewan

Gloomy, cloudy days aren’t ever ideal for color photography, but may well be fine for black & white because nosotros’re more concerned with textures than color. The harsh, overly contrasty calorie-free of midday is normally the worst time for colour photography. Nevertheless, it is much less of an issue for black & white, where we often want images with strong contrast.

Leopard, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
Leopard descending from a tree, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

Sometimes a photograph can be improved when converted to black & white. The leopard image, for example, was okay in color, but lacking in bear upon. The light was muted and the colour of the background sky rather drab. In other words, colour didn’t seem to add together much to the image. By taking away the color, the paradigm was simplified to concentrate on the shape and tones of the leopard and the tree.

Another way to deal with distracting backgrounds is get in close and crop out the groundwork. Some of our favourite black & white wildlife images are frame-filling portraits. This not merely solves the background outcome but can increase the touch on of the image equally well.

Lion, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa
Lion, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa
A baby harp seal on snow and ice is almost all black & white to begin with. Gulf of St. Lawrence near Magdalen Islands, Quebec
A baby harp seal on snow and ice is almost all black & white to begin with. Gulf of St. Lawrence nearly Magdalen Islands, Quebec
Snowy owl west of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Snowy owl west of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Converting to Blackness & White

One of the biggest factors in the resurgence of black & white is that it is no longer an either/or pick when deciding between color and monochrome. Back in the film days, yous had to decide whether to load your camera with color or blackness & white film. Merely with today’s digital cameras, especially those capable of shooting RAW, you can essentially shoot both at the aforementioned time.

Giraffe, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Giraffe, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. This is a very simple limerick to begin with, and converting to black & white simplified it even more than. Giraffes mostly feed on trees, so this one looked rather odd equally information technology wandered across the plains with no copse in sight.
Pronghorn, southern Saskatchewan
Pronghorn, southern Saskatchewan
African wild dog, Kruger National Park, South Africa.
African wild dog, Kruger National Park, South Africa. The dog is lying on a road which, while not a natural setting, makes for a clean background.

Some photographers who specialize in black & white set their cameras to capture monochrome images. Merely the more common method is to accept photos in color then catechumen to black & white using Photoshop or other software. Photoshop will provide a “default” monochrome image when yous catechumen. This may or may not be the best choice, simply it’s usually a practiced starting bespeak. Information technology’s always best, plus a lot of fun, to play around with the other colour filters that change the tone of the black & white image. The differences can exist quite dramatic, and this is where yous tin make adjustments to assist the field of study stand out from the background, or create the mood you want – soft and subtle, bold and contrasty, dark and moody. At that place is no correct and wrong result. The “correct” prototype is the 1 that gives the look that you like best.

White-tailed deer buck, Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan.
White-tailed deer buck, Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan.
Black rhino, Etosha National Park, Namibia
Blackness rhino, Etosha National Park, Namibia

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Source: https://photojourneys.ca/2018/10/wildlife-photography-in-black-white/