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Going Grey for Animal Portraits

Tronhard
Elite
Elite

Going grey for animals can add the same focus on character that we tend to associate with similar images of people - very much demonstrated by Sabastio Salgado in his amazing book Genesis.EOS 5DsR, EF 100-400@267mm, f/6.3, 1/320sec, ISO-1000EOS 5DsR, EF 100-400@267mm, f/6.3, 1/320sec, ISO-1000  Almost B+W EOS 5DsR, Sigma 150-600@403mm, f/6.3, 1/500sec, ISO-320Almost B+W EOS 5DsR, Sigma 150-600@403mm, f/6.3, 1/500sec, ISO-320     EOS 5DsR, Sigma150-600@510mm, f/6.3, 1/500sec, ISO-1600EOS 5DsR, Sigma150-600@510mm, f/6.3, 1/500sec, ISO-1600 EOS 5DsR, Sigma150-600@410mm, f/6.3, 1/500sec, ISO-400EOS 5DsR, Sigma150-600@410mm, f/6.3, 1/500sec, ISO-400
EOS 5DsR, EF 100-400@267mm, f/6.3, 1/320sec, ISO-1000EOS 5DsR, EF 100-400@267mm, f/6.3, 1/320sec, ISO-1000


cheers, TREVOR

"The Amount of Misery expands to fill the space available"
"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
6 REPLIES 6

rs-eos
Elite
Elite

Nice work!

--
Ricky

Camera: EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L
Lighting: Profoto Lights & Modifiers

Tronhard
Elite
Elite

Thanks Rick! Much appreciated.


cheers, TREVOR

"The Amount of Misery expands to fill the space available"
"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

Tintype_18
Authority
Authority

Very nice. Shooting in B&W can have some intriguing effects. I can recall when that B&W was the only thing available. Have a box full of old photos from the distant past.

John
Canon EOS T7; EF-S 18-55mm IS; EF 28-135mm IS; EF 75-300mm; Sigma 150-600mm DG

Tintype_18
Authority
Authority

Trevor, pondering the title of your post. Is there a difference in grey and black & white? If so, is there a way to get the effect you display?

John
Canon EOS T7; EF-S 18-55mm IS; EF 28-135mm IS; EF 75-300mm; Sigma 150-600mm DG

Thanks for asking John.  I foreshortened the term Greyscale, I must admit, but the term is used carefully (some may say pedantically) - BTW, Adobe use the term in their menu system for PS, so it's not just me.  The terms monochrome, greyscale and black and white are used somewhat loosely and interchangeably, but they are actually different.  Let me explain...

We are creatures of colour. Our world is observed and mediated in colour during the day, but in the dark we actually see in the tones between black and white. As such, it is somewhat alien for us to see the world and express it using non-colour media, yet this is what the early photographers had to do.

As an exercise, shooting without colour offers benefits to us to really learn to understand metering, because the camera's meter does not so much consider colour as the reflectance of light from objects in the scene, which is essentially what the greyscale is about. We, on the other hand, can be fooled by our perception of the colour of the scenes we see, so it takes practise to improve our metering and work with tonal values rather than colour.  This is ably demonstrated by two image taken by Sandy Skoglund.  At first look, the fish appear brighter, but when the scene is stripped of its pigments, but otherwise untouched, the tonal differences are actually minimal.
Sandy Skoglund, 1981Sandy Skoglund, 1981 Sandy Skoglund, 1981Sandy Skoglund, 1981

So, because this does not come to us naturally, we have to concentrate on honing our skills in seeing without colour. A trick to assist may be to switch the camera's scenic mode to what it may call monochrome and you will see the images in tones of grey, which will be recorded on the JPG images. Some people shoot like that whenever they want to produce non-colour images, but if one can get used to it, one will have more flexibility by metering and shooting in colour and then using post processing to manipulate the RGB to precise control contrast and tonal values.  One solution is to shoot in both JPG for greyscale, as well as RAW, which will retain all the colour data for later processing.

Defining Terms:

MONOCHROME: literally means of one colour, and the critical thing here is that it CAN be in colour but only one.
Technically, white is not a single colour. It is the sum of all colours of the visible spectrum mixed together. Black, on the other hand, is not a colour because it lacks light to begin with.  In the two examples below, there is only one colour in various shades along with white and black - so these would be considered monochrome.

EOS 7D, 105mm, f/8, 1/3200, ISO-200EOS 7D, 105mm, f/8, 1/3200, ISO-200  EOS 60D, 500mm, f/10, 1/250sec, ISO-200EOS 60D, 500mm, f/10, 1/250sec, ISO-200

GREYSCALE: Defined a subset of monochrome, where there is no colour at all, but the tonal values range from white, through varying degrees of grey, to black. This is often less accurately called either monochrome or black and white, but I hope you understand the difference.  The images I posted are all considered greyscale.

Tronhard_0-1698428739381.png

BLACK & WHITE: This is a subset of Greyscale, where the are only two tones present: pure white, or pure black - no greys.  This is surprisingly hard to generate, as few objects are both so diverse and extreme at the same time. This concept is embraced by the Japanese idea of 'Notan', which means Light/Dark Harmony - and is notable by:
- Structured lights and darks
- An organic design
- An interesting pattern

Notan does allow for various degrees: that give some flexibility for tonal values, but in its strictest sense (which I take here) it is only pure black and pure white - no colour or grey tones at all.
Back-lit bus shelterBack-lit bus shelter

These all have one thing in common, although to varying degrees. By removing the impact of colour, we concentrate on tonal values, textures, patterns, form and play of light.

WATCH THIS VIDEO:


Although, Eileen Rafferty often uses the more colloquial term 'black and white', whereas by the definitions above, I would call most of her examples 'greyscale'. That said, the video is an excellent primer on the subject and worth the investment of your time.


cheers, TREVOR

"The Amount of Misery expands to fill the space available"
"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

shadowsports
Legend
Legend

Trevor,

Very nice!

~Rick
Bay Area - CA


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