My October Featured Gallery are Elephant images from the Masai Mara in Kenya, and from private preserves in South Africa and Botswana. I processed these images in Black and white to give them a more dynamic look. The Gallery can be found right here. Enjoy!
Posts Categorized: Black and White
Sea Stacks of the Oregon Coast. Its -9 degrees here in Northwest Ohio. We are at a level 3 snow emergency which means that you better have a real good reason for driving on County roads or you get fined big time. So what to do? Hello Photoshop, my old friend. I took the time to update my catalogs, recalibrate my monitors. Open a beer and rework this image that I captured years ago while traveling the coast of Oregon. If you haven’t travelled to Oregon, then get there. From the Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls, to Lighthouses along the Coast, the photo opportunities are out of this world. There is a section south of Portland where you will find 26 Covered Bridges in a cluster. Great Photos and easy to get to. Along the Coast there are many Lighthouses. Near the California border in Bandon, these Sea Stacks are just waiting for you to wade into the surf and capture their grandeur.
A fair warning to the novice traveller, beware of sneaker waves. I never heard of them at all until I arrived in Bandon. I waded out into the surf with just a pair of waterproof hiking boots. Being cautious not to get out too far, I placed my tripod down and began composing an image. The waves moved out and then they moved in. Never going any higher than my ankles. The next thing I know, sneaker wave! The water was up to my thighs over the tops of my boots and I was soaked. My friends were laughing like fools surprised that I was unaware of this phenomenon. You never see it coming. I know there are photographs of me hip deep in the Pacific somewhere. I learned a valuable lesson.
When home on rainy and snowy days when Government Officials rule that you must stay inside, break out the computer and peruse your files for images that never made the grade in the past, but with a little photoshop magic can finally achieve the level of a second look. Enjoy!
Back in the Mix! Offline for a while working on several projects. In a few weeks I hope to post an opportunity for consumers to purchase one of several books illustrating my photography. Africa and Eagles of Kechemak Bay will be the first editions and I hope you will like them. In addition, for a limited time, I have rolled back the prices on my Fine Art prints. If there is a print that you were looking at, now would be a great time to order it. These Fine Art prints are printed on a state of the art Epson Pro 4900 printer Using Epson’s Signature Worthy papers. I have printed many images on this printer and they are fantastic. I also have a few prints made on a Metallic paper where the image really jumps off the print. So go to my galleries and see if there is a print that just screams to hang on the wall of your home and office. Give me a shout and I will print them up for you at a reduced cost from my normal rates.
This image is a Lioness from the Masai Mara Game Preserve in Kenya. Its in black and white with the color of the eyes coming through from the background. This is a pretty dynamic image and frames up well. If you have a safari motif somewhere in your home or office, any of my African prints would work for you. Watch for the roll out of my new print editions in the coming weeks. Thanks and Enjoy!
Its Wednesday! Cold weather, blowing snow, winter weather advisory. Yeah, it’s February people! Canvassing my winter wildlife photographs I came across the above image taken on a trip to Montana . We stopped off to photograph at a local game farm in Bozeman and then travelled to Yellowstone for a few days. As I looked at the finished image for this post, I mistakenly hit the wrong button on my key board and the image changed from color to black and white. Once I saw the impact of that error, I reopened the image in Photoshop and applied a Black and White conversion. Bam! It blew my socks off. It really took a great image and changed the dynamics considerably. I like the pose, the mountains in the background, and the fact that you can see the entire tail in this image.
I didn’t have any separation of the legs in this photograph but beggars can’t be choosers sometimes. Usually when shooting animals, I like to see some separation between the legs. Sepoaration on all four is optimum. The way this Snow Leopard if posing prevents the separation but adds to the overall quality of the image. Snow Leopards have rather large tails that help them keep their balance as they walk over the edge of rocks or climb in deep snow. This image illustrates the size of the tail and shows you how beautiful this Snow Leopard is. Her eyes are quite nice and sharp. This too is an area I try to enhance by focusing on the eyes to make sure they are the sharpest in the image. They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. Even shooting wildlife its important to have they eyes in sharp focus. If another part is a little soft , it may not matter. When the viewer looks at this image, they will usually go to the eyes first. A little trick to remember when photographing any animals, wild or domestic. Enjoy!
One final trip down memory lane and using black and white as the theme for my posting. This is an image I call Elephant Trio. It illustrates three elephants, one of which is a young one, moving across the plain in the Masai Mara located along the border of Kenya and Tanzania in East Africa. We had many Elephant sightings during our trip and often times they came right up to our guide vehicles. We had many chances to photograph these creatures in an open setting showing off their environment as well as close up photos of the Elephants themselves. When you see the Masai Mara for the first time you are amazed at how open and flat it is. There are clusters of trees in some places, but open fields and wide plains dominate the landscape. Our guides were quick to point out that the lack of trees in the Mara was due to the activities of the Park’s Elephant population. Elephants do not move around trees in their travels, they just move over them and through them leaving the wide open plain in their wake. This was an interesting tidbit for our adventurous photographers.
Like many things in life, if you wait long enough, you can get what you want. While watching these Elephants graze in the dotted plains of the Mara, we waited patiently for them to give us a more dynamic image to capture. They originally all had their trunks down and were eating the grass. I waited until I saw one of the Elephants raise its trunk in order to capture this moment. When taking any photographs, waiting for just the right time to trip the shutter takes patience and determination. Someone once said that a good photographer knows when not to take a picture. That being said, shoot away! If you are shooting digital, what’s the cost of taking extra photos? Nothing. Sometimes a shot requires multiple exposures to ensure a quality image. Take the shot from different angles, under different light, or using different lenses to get the image that your looking for. Have patience, know your craft, and think positive thoughts before you “click” the shutter. Your images will improve over time as will your picture making abilities. Enjoy!
Along the coast of Oregon there are quite a few light houses. I have made this trip several times and will always go back when given the opportunity . This lighthouse was a bit of a challenge photographically insomuch as they were giving tours all throughout the day. To capture this image where there were not any people in the lighting portion of the structure was difficult. Once again, patience was the key and I was able to get it without the tourists. In addition, as they would come and go, they would open and close the door. I spent a while looking at this lighthouse and only arrived in the middle of the day. So I struggled with the lighting, exposure, and tourists. Giving some thought to using my black and white conversion I thought it would work quite well in this case. Structure was the key and helped to make this a dynamic photograph.
When using a black and white conversion tool you need to be aware of things like structure, contrast, and brightness. The structure tool effect things on a local level while the contrast is more of a global approach. The Nik software that I use allows for me to effect the detail in all or portions of this image. I reviewed the many black and white conversions that the software gave me and selected one that was really high on structure and texture. I liked the look of the black and white and applied a slight sepia tone to give it that antique picture quality I like to see in some images. I increased the brightness a little and cropped it slightly to fit into the frame I have used for this series of photographic images. All of these images are suitable for framing and available for purchase from this web site. All images will be printed on high quality archival paper by me using a top notch Epson printer. Take a look around my site and maybe you will find an image that might look great on the wall of your home or office. Enjoy!
As you can tell I am still having a little fun with my Black and White conversion capabilities in Photoshop. So far, I have posted the last two images to 500px which is a web site featuring great photography from around the world. The first one was a big hit and made it to the top of the heap in just a few short hours. The image above, Maligne Lake, Alberta, Canada, was just posted and it too is gaining a lot of attention. This image was photographed along the road to Jasper, Alberta in the Canadian Rockies. The best time to go to Jasper is the second or third week in September. However, it rained most of the time we were there. The good news is that when it wasn’t raining we had some spectacular cloud formations along with the great landscapes found in this part of the Country to the north.
Maligne Lake was a very beautiful spot and we found ourselves there late in the day waiting for a great sunset. While we ticked off the time watching the sun set over the mountains, I was intrigued by the way it lit up the top of this Mountain and caused a somewhat nice reflection in the lake. I grabbed a few images and then moved to the end of the lake waiting for a great sunset, that didn’t materialize. Too cloudy. We hoped for the best. After the sun dipped behind the mountains and twilight set in we were heading for our cars for a long drive back to the hotel when we realized that the clouds had cleared slightly and the moon was casting some great light on the lake. We broke out the gear and began shooting for another 30 to 40 minutes after sunset. Even though the sun goes down, twilight can be a great opportunity for some awesome images. This image was just a hint of what we might see as we waited along the shore line. Never give up, never give in. Sometimes Mother Nature is kind and caring and the magic light opens the doors to some great photography. Enjoy!
On one of my first of many trips to the Canadian Rockies, we arrived for an early morning shoot at Lake Moraine. The sun had yet to arrive and the lake was calm. There was a slight breeze coming through the trees and the main group climbed on top of a rock formation and began setting up their gear. I walked around a bit near the waters edge and saw what I thought would be a great composition. Having never been to this location before I was just hoping for a great shot when the sun appeared over the horizon. I was not disappointed. As the sun peeked over the mountains to the left of my position, it lit up the top of the Peak. I quickly realized the problem with my exposure. The light at the top of the peak was 2 stops brighter than the light along the shoreline. If I exposed for the light at the top of the mountain, I would underexpose the shoreline. If I exposed for the shoreline, the Mountain would be washed out. Lucky for me I had brought along my Split Graduated Neutral Density Filters.
These rectangular filters are dark at the top and gradually get lighter until the bottom of the filter is clear. I checked the exposure at the top and bottom of my viewfinder and found that, indeed, it was a two stop shift in the exposure. I took out my 2 stop graduated filter and exposed for the shoreline. Placing the filter so that the dark area was over the light on the top of the peek I knew this technique would yield the results I was looking for. A click of the shutter and a quick glance at my digital display and I knew I had a winner. The above image has been converted to black and white and yet the process for the original image capture remains the same. As it turned out, this image was an award winner qualifying for publication in the annual photo contest sponsored by the North American Nature Photography Association. These filters can be found at Singh Ray Filters. Click here for their website. Check out my landscape gallery to see this image in full color. Thanks for stopping by and Enjoy!
Continuing with my search for images that would fit into my ongoing review of Black and White photography. It seems really easy to find landscape photos that lend themselves to this process, but wildlife? I posted a couple of elephant pics and one of a lioness. As I was reviewing some of my bear photos to post in Google+ this Thursday, I thought why not give it a try? Voila, it works. I think the addition of the sepia toning seems to help the transition to black and white from color. In todays digital world is there still room for black and white? I think the answer is yes. It is the basic form for photography from back before color film even existed. Its clean, dynamic, and provides the artist with a wide range of tonalities to work with even in black and white.
The above image is a female Brown Bear or Grizzlie Bear found along the Cook Inlet in the state of Alaska. Across the inlet from Anchorage is Lake Clark National Park. Inside the park you will find many lodges and Bed and Breakfast places along the coast that cater to Fishing and Bear and wildlife photography. Near the Silver Salmon Creek you will find the Silver Salmon Creek Lodge owned by my friend David Coray. Along with his son Oliver, David has built a great place for salmon fishing and bear photography. The above image is from my third trip last year. Although we had to fight the elements most everyday, we did mange to see some beautiful bears and make some great images. See my Bear gallery from some of my best photos from Silver Salmon Creek Lodge and check out their website if you are interested in making the trip your self. You can find them right here. Enjoy the Image of the Brown Bear and have a great week!
As I was reviewing some of my images from Africa for a conversion to black and white, I came across one of the few images of a Male Lion. Male lions were not found as often as we liked while we were in the Masai Mara in 2010. When we did locate a few, they were often obscured by trees or tall grasses. This particular lion was resting in the shadow of a large tree along with another male who was totally hidden by the tree. Patience and opportunity provide me the chance to capture this image of the Lion as he looked right at us sitting a few yards away in our Land Rover. When I saw this image in color, I was attracted instantly to his eyes. They were a golden brown and were certainly one of the highlights of the image. I thought of the many images I have seen of Wedding photos where the groom’s photo was in black and white and his boutonniere was red. The photographer had finished the image in black and white and then removed the conversion from the flower allowing the color to show through. A quick visit to Nik Software and the conversion was complete. I then brushed away the conversion from his eyes and Voila!
One argument I know I will hear is that if the image is striking in color, why not leave it that way? No argument from me. But in the world of Fine Art Photography, experimentation is the rule of the day. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. If this doesn’t work for you, fine. If it does great. I would love to hear both sides of the argument. In a digital world where computer plug ins can drastically change an image then I think all bets are off. We can’t all be purists. Some of us have to push the envelop and see how these changes impact the image. Its like wandering through the wine section at the local wine store. Sometimes you find some great wine at affordable prices, sometimes you have to settle for something less. Enjoy!