Nesting Great Egrets in Black and White

Great Egrets Nesting - Black and White

Some subjects while beautiful in color are so tempting work on in black and white. I know I’ll be a bit compulsive with the Great Egrets or White Egrets but thought I’d share this treatment now. Patience is not my strong suit!!  On my computer screen I was favoring a much closer up treatment that showed the softness and texure of the feathers but I liked the drape of some of the leaves falling beneath the nest and so went with this composition. The egrets are truly at the height of their beauty with the aigrettes at their most luxuriant. I hope you might enjoy this treatment  and the soft symmetry of the nesting pair but any thoughts are welcomed!!



~ by Judy on May 24, 2013.

11 Responses to “Nesting Great Egrets in Black and White”

  1. Considering that most of us don’t see in black and white, why does it work so well in pictures such as this one?

    • I think it must be that it reveals the tonal relationships in ways that color distracts from which is emotionally pleasing. Pencil drawings where the artist is deft at the application of shade and shadow are wonderful so I guess it is a similar thing. The lush curvature of the blacks, whites and intermediate shading is even more tangible.

      It is about light and shadow that plays with our sense of mystery. What is hidden in those shadows hinted at where light reveals the high points or selected detail? It is why black and white movies are so wonderfully effective as a vehicle for suspense. So much is conveyed in light and shade. I can remember scuba diving at night and only seeing what the flash light revealed. Everything else was hinted at swishing out there in the dark void. Figured if you night dive you have to have the attitude…if you can’t see it; its not there!!

      We see in color but I guess we do connect with the shapes and shadows of things just as much.

  2. These elegant beauties look wonderful in B&W! Nicely done.

  3. You know, one of my photographer friends who really is quite good often has the light “just right” in her end product. When I asked her how she did it, especially when retouching antique family portraits, she said she always turns everything into black and white first, and then adjusts her levels. Then, if she wants, she goes back to the sepia or color. I suspect what you say about the effectiveness of black and white up above helps to explain her success.

    These birds are just so gorgeous. And what a pose. They look as though they’re knotted together.

    • I love the idea of your friend’s method which makes complete sense. Generally if I do any toned image, it starts with black and white for the basic lighting contrasts first. Never really thought of it that way though.

      Thanks for the comment on the birds and the pose as I enjoyed working on it as the pair look so intently together tending the nest. Love your phrasing that they’re knotted together and the curves of the necks lend that impression. With all of the nautical knots you have seen, I can see they are reminiscent.

  4. What a gorgeous composition and image, altogether… Love this in b&w. The feathery plumes stand out all the more, and the nest looks otherworldly!

    • Thanks so much!! The birds are just so beautiful and I love observing them. Black and white with its hints of leaves coming out of the dark, does seem magical and I think ‘otherworldly’ is a great word!! Glad to have conveyed some mystery and magic!! 🙂

  5. Wow. So incredible!

  6. […] at Janthina Images is a magician when it comes to egret photography. Phil of Phil Lanoue Photography is a maestro of […]

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