Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Nearly Monochrome Zoo

Back in the summer, I took my better half's sister to Chester Zoo as she is very keen to learn about photography. I had already donated a camera to her, that I won as a competition prize, kitted her out with a 100-400mm lens and we were ready to go. The main purpose of this first trip was just to get her use to taking photographs and to think about framing the shot and getting around the obstacles present by the enclosures. Zoos are a great training ground for wildlife photography and I spent many happy hours in them when I first started. She really enjoyed the trip and on the next visit I intend to go a bit more in depth about the different camera settings.

When I got home I decided for a change that I would have some fun in Photoshop converting the images to black and white and also do some with selective desaturation. The latter is where you convert the image to black and white and then selectively bring back colour in parts of the image. This is a departure from my normal work in Photoshop as I usually do very little to my images beyond some minor adjustments and sharpening.

We started the visit with an easy large slow moving target, the Elephants. As usual they seemed to be enjoying themselves in the pool and waterfall. These are just straight black and white conversion. I must admit my experience of monochrome images is limited but I was once told the key is contrast.
The rest of the images in this post, except for the last, will now show selective desaturation. The effect on this first image is subtle as it has just changed the background colour on this Hornbill image from brown.
I like the use of this technique for birds that have bright eyes such as owls where only the colour of the eyes is retained. A Hawk Owl andthe strange looking Frogmouth.
For some images the technique produces a pleasing result. Flamingos with the water desaturated.


For others, such as this Giant Otter which had just killed a mallard that had flown by accident in to the enclosure, I am not so sure. I think this would have been a more pleasing image if the green water colour had been retained.
Chester Zoo have just acquired a pack of Painted Hunting Dogs and they were being fed as we arrived. Beautiful animals but you certainly would not want to be in the enclosure with them!
I will finish off this rather odd post with a full colour photo that has not been subject to any Photoshop treatment. Do not adjust your monitor :) While passing the bear enclosure the usual wild flock of jackdaws was milling around on the look out for any easy meals. Amongst the flock was a stunning looking leucistic bird. Natures own version of selective desaturation.


TexWisGirl said...

great set of photos! loved the baby elephants with their spiky hairs. and gorgeous edits on the birds, leaving only their eyes in color. wonderful job!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Those monochrome images are EXCELLENT, WOW speechless!


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