In our new Sunday series on Digital Camera World, we select pictures by famous photographers and explain point by point what makes them work.
In our latest instalment award-winning wildlife photographer Richard Peters reveals the techniques behind this striking black and white image of an owl.
“A dark background helps your subject pop,” explains Richard. “I was shooting into the shade of distant trees, so it was already a dark green. Converting to mono turned it black.”
Richard knew that a family of owls lived on an area of Sussex farmland. He photographed one of them from a one-man pop-up hide as it perched on old farm machinery.
03 Mono conversion
“Mono is great for making texture and detail stand out,” says Richard. “The rusty detail of the machinery and the dark background suited a black-and-white conversion.”
04 Getting close
Richard photographed the owl from distance using a Nikon D4 fitted with a 600mm VR lens with a 1.4x teleconverter. It was mounted on a Gitzo carbon fibre tripod with a Wimberley Mark II head.
“For this shot,” says Richard, “it was important to position myself in such a way that I had a clean background, but also had good light on the subject.”
“Photographing birds in the wild can be tricky, but getting in position and staying there, allowing them to become comfortable, works far better than constantly moving around and following them. More co-operative birds are usually found in places where they are more used to human presence.”
Chris Rutter, technique editor
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