Each year I pull together a collection of images that summarize all of the wildlife photography and wildlife encounters I had this past year. This year I thought I would try a theme of Black and White / Monochrome.
There are many tools that will help you process your digital images into monochromatic images; Photoshop, Lightroom, and numerous third party and plugin softwares. Even within Photoshop and Lightroom there are dozens of ways to achieve the black and white look and spirit.
For this collection of images I challenged myself to use many of the different techniques available to me in the Photoshop and Lightroom toolset.
The first challenge was which images to choose: not every image is powerful in monochrome / Black & White. Contrast, range of tonality (black to highlights), sharpness , and separation of subject and background / features are all important for making a successful monochrome image. Color can be necessary to understand the subject and the setting, but sometimes it is just a distraction. It is these times when the image can be elevated by removing the color (or most of it)
Here are the highlights of my year and a bit about how I processed the images.
March: Tiger Sharks and Caribbean Reef Shark, Bahamas
Processed in Photoshop: I want to use Quadtone: 4 colors assigned according to tonal range Black, shadows, whites, highlights. First change to 8 bit and Greyscale mode. Then choose Duotone Mode. I set 4 colors all in grays and browns and set the curves of each to assign them to a tonal range. I then used a Highpass filter to sharpen. Convert back to RGB before saving.
April – May: South Africa
June: Wild Dolphins in the Bahamas
July: Whale Sharks in Mexico
Sept – Oct: South Africa
I hope this has sparked your creativity and you will start to experiment and explore ways to enhance your photos in the monochromatic realm.
Some other posts about Post Processing and Black & White