Fine art wildlife photography.
I have always loved wildlife photos that lean more towards the artistic look. Turning a shot black and white can produce some dramatic results.
I'm going to stick my neck on the line and say that I coined the term ‘Toy Story sky’ in the photography world. What I mean by this is when the sky looks like Andy’s wallpaper from Toy Story. There’s nothing I dislike more than an incredibly blue sky when heading out to take photos of wildlife. Often it looks over-enhanced and fake. Yes, you can turn the saturation down in the edit, but even with this, blue skies still remain my pet peeve. What I love the most is a dramatic cloudy sky, either casting down great shadows or allowing for a spectacular backdrop. There is one thing that these big, moody, dramatic skies work for fantastically – fine art style photos.
A stunning African fish eagle waiting at a watering hole in Botswana.
I have always loved fine art style photography, but in particular black and white, contrasty, and minimalist shots. Two big inspirations behind pursuing this style of photography are Nick Brandt and David Yarrow, two photographers whose photos completely blow my mind. If you are not aware of these two photographers, definitely check them out!
There is no denying that the Natural World is a beautiful place with some spectacular wildlife and in my opinion fine art photography is an amazing way to illustrate the beauty of the Natural World. I think this is why I love the style so much, turning an image into a work of art to portray the beauty of whatever it happens to be, a portrait, an animal or whatever.
'Hitching a ride' - taken in Botswana.
Black and white;
I think anyone who takes photos loves the odd black and white shot. Some photos definitely just lend themselves to be turned into a simple black and white shot. They work best with a shot without much colour, there’s no point, and it would almost be a disservice, to turn a stunning shot of a hummingbird black and white, the beautiful colours just gone. However, a bald eagle, turned black and white doesn’t lose what a bald eagle is known for; piercing eyes, the sharp bill and those stunning head feathers.
Although the colour shot looks epic, the black and white one just has something more!
The ability to draw someone's eyes to the main part of the image remains the goal of every photographer, nailing the composition makes a photograph. Two people can see the same scene together, but can get two completely different shots from the composition they choose. I think the art of minimalism is so much more than 'simple', it’s the ability to show an animal in their habitat without all of the distraction, just the beauty of an animal as they should be.
'Lone ele' - taken in Botswana.
The black and white, the minimalism and the contrast - I LOVE IT.
Contrast almost comes hand in hand with black and white photography, well for the most part anyway. All three of the aspects that I have talked about in this blog work together, by producing a black and white image, you create potential for contrast, but by incorporating minimalism, you give the potential for even greater contrast. Take for example the moose photo below, a striking image which could be considered fine art. Albeit striking, it lacks much contrast vs the macaque, which due to the minimalist nature of the shot, boasts extreme contrast.
I love this shot, but the contrast isn't powerful.
The difference between the black and the white is striking.
Fine art wildlife photography is something that I most definitely aim to improve. I have a selection of these style of shots for sale already and a couple of them were available to buy at the Christmas fairs that I exhibited my work at. I love the power that these kinds of shots have, they can be so much more than a nice shot, they can be a powerful shot, a shot that conveys emotion, a shot that makes someone think.
A shot that tells a story.
Thank you for reading,