When it comes to wildlife and photography, I am a big fan of color, texture, detail, and lighting. But in the absence of color and with different rules for how lighting presents, do texture and detail still hold the same exact value? Do they hold less? Or Perhaps more? Curious about these questions, I did something I usually do not do, I turned my camera to black and white before shooting a few shots on a recent outing to a pond I have shot at dozens of times in color, but never in black and white. Shooting in black and white on a digital camera is almost pointless as taking a photo from color to black and white in post takes a second and does not rob any fidelity or detail, but there is still a point to doing so. Shooting in black and white, you can focus on crispness of details, how lighting effects the photograph (differently than when color is present), patterning, and textures visible in a shot, and in framing your subject, capturing it in an interesting pose or position and one that might play with lighting. It can be a fun challenge, but can also produce some truly beautiful shots.
First and foremost, to be clear and honest, I am not exactly the quintessential yoga type guy. I am not one to dismiss its benefits and have used some modified stretching in pre and post workouts that could be likened to yoga by those who have never actually taken a class, anyone actually familiar with yoga would call bullshit on my "poses" and form in a moment. However, in March of this year, I went from spending 5 days a week in the gym, workouts ranging from 30 minutes to over 2 hours each, to having the gym no longer an option to me. My gym was in my office and my office is still not open to this day (work from home is my reality at least until Corona virus cases are dropping nationally instead of rising).
If you want to get a dawn shot in northern Vermont close to the summer solstice, you have to get up early. This shot taken minutes before 6 AM on the 14th of June illustrates that point. The thick mists that can attend an early morning pre-dawn fishing trip or Kayak paddle are still crisply visible, the sun is already starting to climb for the day, not yet high enough to lend its light to the trees and hills in the background of the photo. Instead, it casts them as back-lit silhouettes, standing behind a mirrored pond that is already showing its color but still clinging to early morning mists that attend the march from night to day. The sun is just high enough to paint the sky a bright blue and reveal puffy clouds which will all appear white as the sun reaches a high enough point in the sky. As with most outdoor shots with limited processing, this photo tells a story of lighting in a natural world. A sun behind clouds sets them aglow and casts its light at the precise angle to make the pond's surface a near perfect mirror.