Who would of thought – and I hadn’t realised that this is my first ever black and white image I’ve used for a pic of the week. This is mainly because as photographers, we all love that natural golden light, but let’s face it – in wildlife photography, your subjects are not always in the best light.
For this image, it was late one morning drive and we came across this group of male elephants feeding. The light was harsh but with a bit of previsualization, I could see that this type of light and subject was great for a black and white image. The light was harsh enough to bring out the contrast and texture of the skin which is vital in telling the story.
The reason why I think this image works so well is because of the composition as well as utilising blur and depth of field. The out of focus elephant in the background tells you what the subject is, while the focus is on the key appendages of an elephant’s anatomy, the trunk and tusks. The grass adds an extra element, highlighting how an elephant uses its tusk and trunk to feed. I personally love the delicacy shown by the elephant in holding the bundle of grass.
- Camera – Nikon D4S
- Lens and Focal length – Nikkor 200-400mm F4 VRII @290mm
Settings used to capture this image
- ISO – 1000
- Aperture –f4.5
- Shutter – 1/5000
Editing used on this image
First things first – in the treatment window, change the image from colour to black and white. This gives you a base to work from and after that it becomes what is aesthetically pleasing to your eye. I pushed up the exposure a little to blow out the highlights in between the elephants and coupled it with increasing the highlights slider.
My preference is to use the contrast slider in black and white images as it works by enhancing the different light and bringing out texture. The clarity slider was also used to bring out the texture in the skin of the trunk.
You have all the tools to create great black and white images in Adobe Lightroom, however, pre- visualise your image first and then create something special.