Try Long Exposure. Long exposure shots may work really well in monochrome photography, especially where there’s moving water or clouds. During the exposure the highlights of the water, for example, are recorded across a wider area than they would with a short exposure and this can help enhance tonal contrast. The blurring of the movement also adds textural contrast with any solid objects in the frame. If compulsory , use a neutral density filter such as Lee Filters’ Big Stopper or Little Stopper to decrease exposure and extend shutter speed (by 10 and 4 stops respectively). typically , when exposures extend farther than concerning 1/60 sec a tripod is wanted to keep the camera still and avoid blurring. It’s also advisable to use a remote release and mirror lock-up to minimise vibration and produce super-sharp images.
Use Filters. Graduated neutral density (AKA ND grad) and polarizing filters are purely as advantageous in monochrome photography as they are in colour. In fact, because they manipulate image contrast they are arguably more advantageous . An ND grad is cooperative when you require to retain detail in a bright sky while a polarizing filter could be used to reduce reflections and boost contrast. Alternatively, judge taking two or more shots with unique exposures to create a high dynamic range (HDR) composite. Don’t be anxious to use a ND grad with a standard neural density filter if the sky is brighter than the foreground in a long exposure shot. Coloured filters, which are an essential tool for monochrome film photographers, may also be useful for manipulating contrast in digital images. They work by darkening objects of their opposite colour while lightening objects of her own. An orange filter, for example, will darken the blue of the sky while a green single will lighten foliage.
Take Control. Although coloured filters could still be used to manipulate contrast when shooting digital black and white images, it’s more common to save this work until the processing stage. Until a few years ago Photoshop’s Channel Mixer was the favorite means of turning colour images monochrome, but now Adobe Camera Raw has more forceful tools (in the HSL/Grayscale tab) that allow you to adjust the brightness of eight individual colours that make up the image. It’s possible to adjust single of these colours to make it anything from white to black with the sliding control. However, it’s important to keep an eye on the whole image when adjusting a particular colour as subtle gradations could become unnatural looking. And adjusting the brightness of a red or pinkish shirt with the red sliding control, for instance , will have an impact on the model’s skin, especially the lips. The Levels and Curves controls may also be used to manipulate tonal range and contrast, but the HSL/Grayscale controls allow you to create separation between objects of the same brightness but with diverse colours.
Shoot RAW + JPEG. The best monochrome conversions are ended up at by editing raw files which have the full colour information, but if you shoot raw and JPEG files simultaneously and set the camera to its monochrome photograph Style/Picture Control/Film Simulation mode you get an indication of how the image will look in black and white. As numerous photographers struggle to visualise a scene in black and white, these monochrome modes are an invaluable tool that will help with composition and scene assessment. many cameras are also capable of producing decent in-camera monochrome images these days and it’s worth experimenting with image parameters (usually contrast, sharpness, filter effects and toning) to find a look that you like. Because compact process cameras and compact cameras show the scene seen by the sensor with camera settings applied, users of these cameras are able to preview the monochrome image in the electronic viewfinder or on rear screen before taking the shot. DSLR users can also do this if they kick in their camera’s live impression idiosyncrasy , but the usually slower responses mean that most will find it preferable or check the image on the screen post-capture.
Look for Contrast, Shape and Texture. The complimentary and opposing colours that bring a colour image to life are all reduced to black and white or shades of grey in a monochrome image and you have to look for tonal contrast to make a shot stand out. In colour photography, for example, your eye would right away be drawn to a red object on a green background, but in monochrome photography these two areas are likely to have the same brightness, so the image looks flat and dowdy straight from the camera. providentially , it’s possible to work adjust the brightness of these two colours separately to introduce some contrast. However, a great starting point is to look for scenes with tonal contrast. There are always exceptions, but as a general rule look for scenes that contain some powerful blacks and whites. This should be achieved by the light or by the brightness (or tone) of the objects in the scene as well as the exposure settings that you use. The brightness of the bark of a silver birch tree for example, should inject some contrast (and interest) in to a woodland scene. Setting the exposure for these brighter areas also makes the shadows darker, so the highlights stand out even more. Look for shapes, patterns and textures in a scene and move around to find the greatest composition.
Dodge and Burn. Dodging and burning is a technique that comes from the traditional darkroom and is usually used to burn in or darken highlights and hold back (brighten) shadows. Photoshop’s Dodge and Burn tools allow a level of control that film photographers can only hope of because you should target the highlights, shadows or mid-tones with both. This means that you can use the Burn tool to darken highlights when they are too bright, or the Dodge tool to brighten up them to increase local contrast. It’s a good procedure of giving a sense of greater sharpness and enhancing texture. Plus, because you can set the opacity of the tools, you could build up his effect gradually so the impact is subtle and there are no hard edges.
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Cheetah in the early morning light – Sabi Sand Photo Credit: Johannes Ratemann
A scarred and half blind male lion looks for rest after feasting on a cape buffalo the night before Photo Credit: Gabriel Clark
The leap of faith Photo Credit: Karthik Bangalore Thirumala Raju
A leopard resting in a tree in the Sabi Sands Photo Credit: Justus van Dillen:
Mkanye staring straight on into the distance Photo Credit: Nicole Van Der Walt
Photo of a young male lion taken in Kruger National Park Photo Credit: Uwe Firnhaber
Thirsty trudge. Wildebeest searching for water in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park, South Africa Photo Credit: John Mullineux:
Elephants deserve to keep their tusks Photo Credit: Gurveer Sira
The sharp-end. A male lion giving a late afternoon yawn Photo Credit: Thinus Schoeman
Cheetah in Samara Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape of South Africa Photo Credit: Jean Goldston
A herd elephants standing together Photo Credit: Chase Wells
Feeling inspired to create black-and-white wildlife photography? Show us what you’ve got, by submitting your images on our website!
“I believe that if black-and-white photography is done correctly it can convey much more emotion and a deeper meaning than colour ever could. It’s as if by subtracting colour, the viewer is forced to add his own emotion to the images. Colour photography is like a novel that spells everything out in detail, whereas black-and-white photography is like poetry—its strength isn’t in what’s said; it’s in what’s left out.” – Heinrich van den Berg
black and white
One very playful Rhino looking for attention from the rest of the herd Photo Credit: Werner Kruse
Is it a yawn or is it a roar? Photo Credit: Camille Boerderie
Female rhino with baby rhino making a stop for drinking Sabi Sand. Aren’t they wonderful? Photo Credit: Johannes Ratemann
A leopard eyeing out his prey Photo Credit: Arnfinn Johansen
Heinrich’s description of wildlife photography in black-and-white accurately conveys the impact these images have on viewers. Submissions from Africa’s Photographer of the Year truly portray the impact these images can have on the viewer. Here are a few photographs from our talented photographers:
Dusty traveller. A herd of zebras trudge across the dusty plains of Ndutu Photo Credit: Zhayynn James
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