People often ask me if bears are color blind and the answer is no. They can see in color like humans, which really helps them locate certain types of vegetation and berries when browsing. Other predators like dogs and cats are colorblind, however, for a reason—color can be a distraction when locating moving or camouflaged prey. In fact, the army once used color blind troops to see enemy bunkers that were camouflaged by colors, because they could distinguish shapes more easily.” With black and white animals in a relatively colorless landscape like that of an Arctic winter, monochromatic images can hold more power and definition. But in an Alaska summer, where colors stun the eyes, they hold little value—or do they? Here is what came from playing around on Adobe Lightroom to create images that hold a unique atmosphere and mood. This post will focus on up close and personal bear portraits, while in the future I will concentrate on landscapes. All images taken while guiding expeditions on the coast of Katmai National Park for Natural Habitat Adventures.
Recently I have become more and more attracted to black and white images, which can sometimes hold more power, romance and mystery than color images, as one can focus only on the contrast, lines and shapes, and not be distracted by colors. Subjects that are either black or white work very well, as does an either dark or very light landscape because you are looking for contrast. Converting an image to black and white in Adobe Lightroom is as simple as the click of a mouse. When post processing, focus on emphasizing contrast by darkening the darks, and brighting the highlights.
It sometimes seems a shame to take away the amazing color from the Alaskan summer landscape and wildlife. Sometimes, however, the vivid colors mask moods and atmospheres of such a harsh place and the stoic animals that can be better explained through monochrome. Photography is only art, and is only what each individual taste prefers
Keep Exploring! Brad