Playing around…

I have been playing around a little too much recently to keep up with the blog, including spending a few days up on the north shore of Lake Superior near the Canadian border where we were completely off the grid with no services.  So that’s my lame excuse for not posting on the blog recently.

Now back home again, I hosted one grandson for a few days of fun, and took some animal photos during our trip to the Como Zoo this week.  I have been playing around with learning more about black and white photography recently, to see if I can make animal photos, in particular, a little more dramatic and create more viewer interest.  I would love your opinion on the effects I’ve tried to create below.  Click on any of the photos to get a full frame view. Thanks.

orangutan mom and baby

Primates are such good moms, carrying their little ones close to their bodies until they are old enough to fend for themselves. It helps that those babies have well-developed hands and arm muscles to hold on tightly when mom gets active.  I love the relaxed position of mom’s arms and hands in this scene — so reminiscent of the way we sometimes sit.

orangutan mom and baby-

A tighter crop emphasizing the faces of mom and baby in this B&W conversion. Does this speak to you more than the color version?

orangutan mom and baby-color

Having that youngster holding on by itself frees up mom’s hands for other tasks, like scratching…

orangutan mom and baby-

I’m trying to focus on those eyes and facial expressions. Does the B&W conversion make a difference here?

And last, the grandson that prompted this grand experiment.

gorilla statue and grandson

He really wanted his picture taken with the gorilla mom and baby statue. But I thought he deserved to be in color…


11 thoughts on “Playing around…

  1. I love the colour but there’s no doubt that the black and white are more powerful. I think that’s partly to do with the crops and image selection – I imagine they’d still be as strong in colour, though perhaps not so timeless.

  2. I love the shots, Sue, especially the black and white ones. Yes, the tighter crop helps to focus our attention, but I think it is much more than that. The bright orange hair color tends to draw some of our attention away from the facial expressions and from the eyes. Additionally, the background is much less distracting in the black and white images. (I think the green grass in the first image would have been distracting in a color version, even with the tighter crop). In my eyes, the last black and white image is particularly effective with a more pronounced contrast between the darkest and lightest part of the images. (The tonal range seemed narrower in the first black and white image.)

    • Those are great comments, Mike, and I really appreciate your insights. My inclination for converting to B&W was, in fact, to minimize those distractions — especially that bright russet-orange hair of the orangutan mom. Initially, I was satisfied just to get some photos with the female orangutan’s eyes open and looking my way, but the B&W conversion added another dimension to the image, I thought.

  3. HI Sue – I’ve sent you some emails, but suspect they are languishing at your college email address. I’ll forward them if you send me your current email. We saw a bald eagle while riding today! Terry

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