It has been a really hectic week, and when I sat down to start writing, I really didn’t have a good idea in mind. Hoping to kick start my limited imagination I went back through the last sets of pictures I have shot. While we were visiting the New Orleans zoo, they brought this very lovely Indian elephant out and up close so that people could pet her. It always amazes me how they can form such deep bonds with humans and with other elephants. For me, elephants have such patient, old eyes. As they are so monochromatic anyway, and have such interesting textures, I knew this photo would look better in black and white. Roger and I both have raved about Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro2 before (like just last week), and it really is such a great creative tool, it really allows you to change the mood of your images, and experiment. I processed the photo three different ways to try and show a bit of what is possible. Silver Efex is a plug-in and runs directly from Lightroom or from Photoshop. It automatically saves what you have created as a new image alongside your original, allowing you to play with them forever. Advice: delete the ones you don’t like.
High key is a deliberate technique to push the background to the highest possible brightness and emphasize the highlights. This preset then adds a yellowish tint to the overall image. I think it works better on super models.
Full spectrum processing really tries to smooth out the differences in contrast between the darks and the lights; revealing a lot more of the fine detail in your image. In my eyes, it leads to a fairly flat image.
The one I wound up liking the best, is a preset called “Wet Rocks”. It brought out the detail in the elephant's skin, but kept the brooding quality of the shadows as well. I did apply a slight yellow antique look as well. Silver Efex lets you play around until you get yelled at to get off of the computer and do something useful.
Folks, I would greatly appreciate it if you commented on which hefelump photo you liked best. We really are interested in your feedback.