Think high key/ low key can not be used in wildlife photos? Seeking your verdict...
I used to think these techniques are not for Wildlife clicks. Used to always look for good light conditions and 'golden hour'. It was not always possible. I encountered conditions, where I had slogged for hours to track a bird or an animal and suddenly found it but with the most horrible of light conditions. In spite of this, I managed to take some images...
If you want something to look interesting, don't light all of it - John Loengard
I used to read this quote and think - 'meh - all this stuff is for studio portrait photos'
I found out, through experience, that I could do this in wildlife photos too!
The pretty Sirkeer Malkoha in a red leaf plant
It was almost 4pm when I finally located this pretty bird with a red beak, sitting in a red leaf tree. I felt elated for having located the bird but felt dejected because it was sitting with a background of grey dull sky - totally against light and with light rain starting to fall.
I did not want to lose the opportunity to photograph the bird and with the light almost gone, I was not going to get another chance to find it on a better perch. So I shot this pic with enough exposure to get a high key image with the grey sky blowing out to almost bright white but the bird exposed correctly.
Makes a real pretty picture - almost like a painting don't you think?
Spur fowl in total dark under thick jungle canopy
I wanted to click painted spurfowls. The problem was these shy birds are always in thick forests. I spotted couple of them but the forest canopy was so thick that I could not get a shot even at very very low shutter speeds.
So, I decided to wait for one of them to wander into a spot of sun ray shining through the canopy and take a low key shot with just the bird exposed correctly. This was necessary to get some decent shutter speed, needed for a hand held shot. The result was the image below...
The background went totally dark and the bird looked like being on stage in spotlight. 😀
Black-naped monarch High key and low key on the same day!
This pretty blue bird flits in and out of forest canopies in spit seconds. It never stops in one place for more that 2-3 seconds most of the times. So, I have to try to click it when I see it - unless I am prepared to wait for that lucky moment when it perches on a clean branch with nice green bokeh background. Well, I am still waiting for my luck to work for that shot but in the meanwhile, I clicked the bird in bright sunshine against light and in dark forest canopy to get these high key and low key close up shots...
This is the high key image and here is the low key one...
Same bird but looks different with high key and low key techniques - doesn't it?
Pretty common iora in yellow flowers setting
Last but not the least - This was a totally unintentional high key image. The bird landed on such a pretty perch but the background was a stark white compound wall! I decided to take a shot and it turned out high key like!! 😀
I think the high key emphasizes the yellow of the bird and the matching flowers and works actually better than a green bokeh.
What do you think about the high key and low key technique for wildlife/bird photos? Do you think they make it possible to take interesting photos even in non-ideal light conditions?
Hope you enjoyed seeing the images. I will try to bring many different types of wildlife photos/macro/Astro posts to the community. Feedback and comments are welcome,. I am still learning many techniques and always value feedback from experts in this community.
Have a nice day everyone. Cheers!