We are all naturalists out here in the heart of the bush. We strive to keep ourselves as close to the earth as possible. To hear the sounds and inhale the smells. We tend to get lost in this Eden we call home. A spectacle of nature, so intricately put together by Mother Nature herself to keep us all humble with our hearts close to the ground. She is a teacher, is Mother Nature and we learn from her each moment we spend in this vast wilderness. However, we do interfere and we do, as humans, play an important role in sharing her beauty and educating our audience to her wonders.
How many times have you ever looked at a magnificent scene of an Elephant drinking at sunset, or a herd of Buffalo in the fading light, Lions roaring in the early morning mist or a Leopard dappled with light in the fork of a Marula tree. For some it is more frequent than others, however, when you picture this in your mind, in a photographic sense, do you wish to capture that exact moment, the colours, the light and the clouds? Do you wish you could save that for all time? For most cases there is our memory, the strongest photographer of all. With a library, overflowing with images of scenes we shall never forget.
Fortunately, in this day and age, we have the ability to use Digital cameras, and capture thousands of images and only keep the ones we like. We can play with settings and try our best to get the most natural shot. There are some that “keep it old school,” the masters of the form, that use little or no post processing and have the ability to manipulate a camera to capture an image on a screen that is so close to what is unfolding in front of your eyes. However, we must not neglect technology in this generation we are living through. It is there at our disposal and there to be used.
For this reason, I chose to select an image I took this week, something different but something that is interesting, and to play around with the colours and the contrasts. Then to covert it to grey scale and see the impact the image had on me.
The first image is the original photograph which I took straight off my camera. When I took this image, my thought process was to try and use the road as a leading line toward the Giraffe, as well as incorporate the clouds for dramatic effect. Honestly, I am not the most technical photographer but some things spring to mind when taking a shot. Another thing on my mind, was whether or not in post processing, I could enhance the feeling of the clouds, and so when I shot this image, it was slightly overexposed to ensure the Giraffe were correctly exposed, then play with the highlights and colours later. Another thing I clearly remember when I took this image, was thinking whether or not it would work in a sepia tone or in greyscale.
Below are the same image in 3 forms, firstly the original, the second is a colour edited version, and the third the greyscale version highlighting the clouds.
It was interesting to feel how the image altered my mood in each edit. How each edit makes me feel something different and makes me critique the photo in different areas according to how it is edited.
I thought it would be an interesting idea to try and get some feedback on each image from you all, and to see what hits home with you as the viewer and reader. For me, the middle image certainly tells a great story and the colours are rich and vibrant. I feel that the greyscale image tends to become too complex and yet too distant which looses me as the viewer, although it enhances the mood in the sky, it is difficult to establish near/far relationships and depth of field.
It would be really great to see some responses to each image and whether or not any of them appeal to you as a reader.
Written and photographed by: Mike Sutherland