Filters for black and white wildlife photography?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by bryanphoto, Apr 23, 2011.

  1. bryanphoto

    bryanphoto Guest

    Can anyone suggest uses for certain filters in black and white wildlife photography? I am not very experienced with black and white photography, having worked mainly with color, but am interested in trying it. Example situations and suggested filters and their effects would be helpful. For example, what filters, if any, would you imagine using to photograph mountain gorillas in the their dense dark green environment? Thank you.
     
  2. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Polarizing or yellow will help with contrast. You will need to use a really fast film, as the filters will cut exposure and slow down shutter speed or require larger apertures, or a combination of both.
     
  3. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    I tend to think of color filters for BW photography as a game of matching colors. The more similar the color of the filter, that color in the scene will be recorded lighter than without the filter, and then of course, the opposite is true for it's counterpart. Ex, if you are shooting landscape and put on a green filter, the foliage would be lighter and the magentas/red will be darker.
     
  4. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    Supposing the gorillas are dark grey, and the foliage is dark green, which is also going to be rendered as dark grey in the picture, you might want to use a green filter so as to lighten the foliage, with the intent of having the darker gorillas stand out against the lighter background. In colour vision you separate gorillas and foliage by colours. In B&W vision you have to create the separation by differentiating the shades of grey.
     
  5. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Photography is always a balancing act, and even more so when shooting film. Can you afford to block light in order to change tonal relationships? It depends on the light, the lens, the movement of yourself and the subject, etc.

    A Wratten #11 (Hoya XO is equivalent) might be my suggestion if you can afford the light loss (1-1/2 stops). http://www.hoyafilter.com/products/hoya/cf-09.html. It is a great general-purpose b/w filter IMO. I usually use one when on a tripod.
     
  6. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    If you have been used to photographing animals in colour then unless it is zebras, pandas or other black white and grey animals I think you will be disappointed no matter what filters you use. Give it a try by all means but animals as the main subject needs colour unless they meet the requirements as stated above.

    pentaxuser
     
  7. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    For B&W start out with Yellow than orange, and then red.

    Jeff
     
  8. bryanphoto

    bryanphoto Guest

    Thanks for the suggestions. I imagine it a pretty tough prospect to photograph most wildlife in black and white, but have been considering trying some work like this. I had been thinking, for something like the gorilla situation mentioned above, that a green filter might be a good one to try. I might experiment in some different situations with some of the filters you all have mentioned. Thank you.