Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Shades Of Wildlife
South African photographer Heinrich van den Berg strips his dramatic wildlife images of color to create dimension and add emotion. They’re stunning, graphic, refined and evocative.
Van den Berg's style comes back to graphically simple and interesting compositions, combined with lighting that adds a level of polish that works wonderfully with his subjects.
"When photographing for black-and-white," he says, "one has to imagine what the scene would look like in black-and-white. It takes some time to get that right. Images with sidelighting work very well in black-and-white, and often images with a lot of contrast that wouldn't work in color at all. The normal frontlit images most of the time don't work."
Nowhere is van den Berg's affection for deliberately lit, stylized wildlife images more evident than in his image of a family of meerkats. (See Showcase in this issue of Outdoor Photographer.)
"Animal Planet on the Discovery Channel has a series titled Meerkat Manor," he explains, "and I was assigned to do the still photographs. The meerkats were obviously used to filming, so I could get very close. I placed three Qflashes around them. They were oblivious to people, and at one stage, one of them climbed onto my head to use me as a lookout point. They often use small trees as lookout points, and it saw me as a tree. It had a tick on it, and the tick climbed onto my nose and bit me, giving me terrible tick-bite fever a week later. While I had the fever, I didn't think the meerkats were that cute anymore."
You can see more of Heinrich van den Berg's photographs and order his books on his website, www.hphpublishing.com.
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