With the launch of this new website and blog, the intentions are to post regularly with various photographic tips and techniques to help others improve their photographic creativity and knowledge. As part of this, I feel that taking great images is one thing, but also being able to edit those photos is all part of the creative process. Not everyone will agree with changing the way in which the photo looks compared to how you naturally saw it, but as photography is an art, the creator should have full freedom to be able to create what they set out for in their certain style. Now I will also add that all of the editing for this image took place in Lightroom, and not in Photoshop. Therefore it’s more of an enhancement rather than manipulation. As with all trades, using the tools available to you will only help you along the way! I will use the ‘Behind The Shot’ as a theme throughout, whereby I will take you through the steps of how certain images were taken and how I edited them for the end result. For this post, I will look at the image Giraffe Patterns and Textures. This to me, is one of my favourite monochrome wildlife photographs as I have always been intrigued by both the high key and low key photographs, with this one being a low key photograph having the fully black background. This effect helps to make the subject stand out more and engage the viewers attention further. Aiding this is the fact that the Giraffe photograph was taken with a close crop, giving an already abstract view prior to the editing. This is how the photograph looked as a raw image:
EXIF info of the RAW photo: Canon EOS 450D ; f5.6 ; 1/1250 ss ; ISO 400 ; Focal Length: 400mm

From the above data you will notice that the photograph was taken with a canon 450D, which even when I got this camera 8 years ago for my 16th Birthday, it was still a beginners DSLR. I only upgraded to the Canon 7D mkii at the beginning of this year, and therefore all of my photographs prior to this year were all taken with the 450D. This goes to show that even with a basic DSLR you are able to create beautiful images, and you are only limited by your ability and willingness to learn. The photos may not be as sharp as that of the 1DX, but if you’re not going to be printing massive images, then all that really matters is you going out, following your passion and enjoying the beautiful outdoors that surrounds us. This image was taken in Namibia at the Erindi Private Game Reserve, one of the largest private game reserves in Southern Africa at just over 70 000ha, it provides an incredible experience and game viewing opportunity. So, back to the image. On one of the afternoon game drives, we came to an open section in the bush where there were 4 or 5 Giraffe and a few Impala that were scattered around. As for the Giraffe, it was one of those moments where there wasn’t much going on as far as photographic opportunities are concerned with no real interactions to be captured. There was however this one bull that was roughly 20 or 30 meters to the right of our vehicle that was just slowly moving along, and having had the Canon 100-400mm, I thought it could be a great opportunity to be more creative and capture something different. I decided to crop in close to the main bulk of its body as this is where most of the beautiful spots and colourings were, along with the revers S shape line of its neck and back. I immediately saw the potential for a great black and white photograph and couldn’t wait to get back and start to edit. Yes, this will most definitely also work well as a colour photograph due to the contrast in colours from the blue sky to the creamy yellow and brown colours of the Giraffe. Have I edited this photo to be colour? No I have not. Strange to think, maybe this is something that I will do, but for me those exact contrasts that would make this a beautiful colour image, is exactly what would make it a beautiful black and white/monochromatic image. With the light areas made lighter and the dark areas made darker, that’s what speaks to readers and jumps out from the photo, and with the sky in the background also made black allows for the subject to really stand out and create this beautiful image.

Till next time! Regards, Carel