“10 B&W Wildlife Images” by Ossian Lindholm
“I believe that if black-and-white photography is done correctly, it can convey much more emotion and a deeper meaning than color ever could. It’s as if by subtracting color, the viewer is forced to add his own emotion to the images. Color 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
Vicuña: One of the four camelids that are found in South America. Vicuñas are wild, and live in the Andes at an average altitude of 4,000 meters (12,000 feet) above sea level. They produce an extremely high quality wool. Previously illegal hunting reduced its population to critical levels and was declared endangered 1974, but now the population has recovered and we can observe and photograph vicuñas in their natural environment during our Vision and Vine Argentina Northwest Photo Tour f/6 1/1250 ISO640 @400mm
As I shared in a previous newsletter
, a B&W photo can provoke more intense sensations than one in color.
Usually in wildlife photography, color is very important, sometimes spectacular, and sometimes necessary when for example we have a bird with colorful plumage, or when we need color to describe the environment where that animal lives.
Jaguar: The third largest cat in the world, the Jaguar is listed as near threatened and its numbers are declining. In Pantanal – Mato Grosso, Brazil – is probably the only place where it can be observed and photographed; Capture the Jaguar on our Pantanal Explorer Photo Tour. f/6.3 1/1250 ISO3200 @600mm
But sometimes color distracts, and the B&W helps draw our attention towards the wildlife subject. And that is when textures, shapes, lights and shadows become important. Furthermore, not having the color to balance an image, we have to be more careful with the composition.
South American Sea Lion: (or Patagonian Sea Lion) They form important colonies on the coasts of Argentina Patagonia and they are one of the main wildlife attractions in the Peninsula Valdes. Enjoy them up close on our Whales and Penguins Photo Tour . f/6.3 1/400 ISO1600 @125mm Cocoi Heron: This is the largest of South American herons with a wingspan of 1.7 meters (5.6 feet). As we can observe in this photo, it fishes using its beak as a spear. You enjoy the heron and other unique birds on our Pantanal Explorer Photo Tour. f/6.3 1/800 ISO6400 @600mm
Sometimes with B&W we can add more drama and excitement, even to a “boring” image. In addition, while color is very important during the “the golden hours”, B&W works very well within a wider range of lighting conditions, even in the harsh midday light that could be fatal for a color photograph.
African Elephant: There are two species in Africa–the forest elephant and the bush elephant. The one in this photo is the bush elephant and is the largest living terrestrial animal in the world– A male can weight up to six tons. They are also among the world’s most intelligent species. We will enjoy then up-close on our Tanzania wildlife Safari
f/8 1/1250 ISO360 @220mm
In general, shooting in RAW is important to get optimal results in digital photography, however, for B&W photography it becomes essential because we need to achieve the maximum dynamic range and tonal range in order to get an excellent range of shades grays.
African Lion (male): The second biggest cat in the world after the tiger, lions are the only cats that live in groups, which are called prides. Males defend the pride’s territory, while female lions are the pride’s primary hunters. You will treasure the photos you capture of them on our Tanzania wildlife Safari
f/6.3 1/1600 ISO2500 @900mm
Overcast conditions can create a soft and diffuse light that makes gentle images without shadows.
Puma, Cougar, Mountain lion: The cat with the largest territorial distribution in the world, inhabits the American continent from Alaska to the Magellan Strait. They are a crafty and timid animal and are hard to see, however, in Patagonia during our The Best of Patagonia Photo Tour we will, with our expert trakkers, observe and photograph the puma in one of the most beautiful landscapes you will ever experience.
f/9 1/1000 ISO2500 @300mm
Galapagos Land Iguana: Land iguanas are primarily herbivorous, however some individuals have shown that they are opportunistic carnivores supplementing their diet with insects and carrion. On our Galapagos Magic Photo Tour you will see them amidst the multitude of fascinating island creatures. f/18 1/1000 ISO3200 @600m Brown Pelican. This is a bird that feeds diving in the water, has a wingspan of 2.03 to 2.28 m (6 ft 8 in to 7 ft 6 in)
. It is very common to observe this bird in Galapagos and it is one of my favorites subjects to teach and practice “Birds in Flight” techniques. Galapagos Magic Photo Tour. f/6. 1/2500 ISO360 @460mm
Southern Right Whale. An adult female is 15 m (49 ft) long and can weigh up to 47 tons. The Peninsula Valdes in Argentina Patagonia is a paradise for this magnificent whale. They come every year from August to December to mate and breed their calves. The whale watching experience here is amazing and probably the best in the world; You can be a part of it on our Whales and Penguins Photo Tour f/10 1/3200 ISO720 @220mm
My flow to achieve a B&W photo
Always bear in mind that a nice B&W photo comes from a very good color one.1. Always shoot in RAW. These files have all the information obtained in the camera sensor. In RAW we have a greater dynamic and tonal range, something extremely important in a B&W photo. Remember that we work with shades of gray, the more tones we have greater aesthetic possibilities. A greater dynamic range give us more information in the shades and in the highlights.
2. Shoot in color. We need to save all the color information. More colors, more shades of gray.
3. Like you do for color photography start the process in camera RAW or Lightroom, like you do for a color photography. For this part of the process it is important to conserve all the possible colors and tones from the photo and avoid contrasting the photo much.
4. Open the photo in Photoshop and work like you would in a color photography, using levels, layers, masks etc. But remember to keep all the colors and tones. The photo may look like it needs more contrast, but that is fine.
5. Process to B&W. Bear in mind that tones and textures is what will make the photo attractive. There are many ways to achieve this, but for me the best is the use of the filter Silver Effect Pro2 (NIK Collection), a complete tool that allows a high customized work.