Black And White Nature Photography

July 13, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Just thought I'd post about one of my favourite subjects; Black & White Nature Photography.

a red deer stag faces the viewer for a high key portrait

On the surface of it, shooting for black and white seems a little pretentious these days. We have the best equipment available for colour that we've ever had, and the popular trend in natural history style is for vibrant, popping colours. Yet some photographers still 'revert' to black & white. Is it just a longing for a simpler time, or is there more to it that that?

I think I enjoy it so much because by taking colour away from the subject, it leaves more room for interpretation by the viewer. It creates space, and simplifies a photo.

By using original black & white compositions, I'm better able to create something different from what others are doing, and to further develop my own style.

black and white portrait of a mute swan

Although I tend to focus on British wildlife, I also get the opportunity to experiment with more exotic fauna from abroad. Zebras & Giraffes are a favourite subject of mine, because they're so well suited to black & white and abstract photography. I love to use eye-contact to draw the viewer in, combined with the natural patterning, producing an image which isn't immediately obvious.

black and white fine art portrait of a zebra a low-key photo of a giraffe head, making eye-contact with the viewer

I love black and white photography for the power it wields in creative processing. The shot below was taken in a strong low sunlight. It looked nice in colour. But by converting to black and white, and darkening the background, I was able to create something much more striking. 

low-key photo of a red deer on a black background

Finally, I think black and white nature will always be a popular style for me because these prints look great in any environment. You don't need to know if the colours will match the room - With black and white they always do :-)


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Post by George Wheelhouse, 2012.


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