by Mike Boening
Going to the zoo for the day can pose many different obstacles when trying to capture images of animals. Zoo patrons and animals behind glass can make it a challenge to find that great image. So sometimes with the end thought in mind a great capture can still be made. I know it is a challenge to capture animals that are behind glass so I thought if I can get as sharp as image as possible, maybe a black and white can add some edgy-ness to the photo in post processing. That is what I tried to do with this crocodile.
This creature was behind glass, lucky for me, and I knew that shooting an animal behind glass can be a challenge because of light glare, reflections and even how clean the glass is, streaks/spots etc. I first changed my angle over and over taking multiple shots to avoid the glare and reflection. Next I wanted to get as close as possible so I had my lens hood right up on the glass, I think I discarded about 15 shots to capture this one, but it was worth it when I downloaded them into Aperture 3.3.
After Aperture I went straight over to Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 and started working it from the default level. I wanted that older edgy look for this croc so I brought some of the brightness down and amplified the blacks and added 27% structure to enhance the skin. I also spent some time on the eye to make it more brilliant. I wanted that to be the focus point and then lead down to the teeth which I worked on to keep as white as possible. I used many control points to achieve this but it was needed in order to keep other adjustments from spilling over to other areas. In the end I added a #2 vignette and burned the top edge to get a few bright spots out.
The image was captured with a Nikon D7000 and a 70-200 lens shot at ISO 250, 1/125 shutter speed.
A Chinese proverb to end the post…
Don’t insult a crocodile till you have crossed the river…