I was looking through some older images when I found a folder where, a while ago, I was playing around with converting some of my wildlife images to black & white. I did not sit for hours with different filters but did a pretty straight forward change in Photoshop.
I have not set my camera to capture images in black & white yet, but I reckon you can make very striking images by doing so. If you look at some of the landscapes that Ansel Adams captured all those years ago you can see what is possible if you work with his zone system. Click here to see some of his iconic images.
The following description of the zone system was taken from The Luminous Landscape - "The zone system begins with a zone chart. Zone 1 is pure black; zone 9 is pure white; zone 5 can be described subjectively as middle gray. On paper, zone 5 corresponds to a reflectance of 18%. In a scene — in the field — each zone represents a doubling or halving of the luminance — the light reflected from the subject — or equivalently, a difference of one f-stop." Click here to read the complete informative article.
Must be honest, I have not really looked at my wildlife images like that but it is definitely something I would like to keep in mind when I return to Madikwe later this month. Even if you don't shoot black & white directly in camera I think it is an interesting exercise to change some of your images to black & white after the shoot to see how the different colors in an image would translate to shades of gray.
With some of the images I am faced with out in the field, especially in winter, it is sometimes difficult to see how the many shades of grays, yellows and brown would translate into shades of gray and how they would influence your final exposure throughout the entire image.
Just a thought... :)
Anyway, to end of with here are a few of my older black & white images.
Tlou Dam in Madikwe - I have not done a lot of landscapes in b&w but was quite pleased with the above image. Kind of messy but still moody at the same time. Plan to look into landscapes a bit more in future.
Ditaba - This is Ditaba, one of the largest and most dominant male lions in the Madikwe Game Reserve. You might have seen some of his images in previous posts. On this particular day he was not interested in posing at all as he was stuffed from a wildebeest kill earlier that day! Still gave us good opportunity to play with composition.
Lion King - This image was taken in the Kruger National Park and is still one of my own favorites. Not cropped, it was shot as is. I felt that the black & white gave it some kind of intensity which echoes the nature of the beast.
As always I look forward to hearing from you!