Janine Krayer: Blog https://www.janinekrayerphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Janine Krayer janine@pangolinphoto.com (Janine Krayer) Fri, 07 Aug 2020 13:15:00 GMT Fri, 07 Aug 2020 13:15:00 GMT https://www.janinekrayerphotography.com/img/s/v-12/u957602723-o420900780-50.jpg Janine Krayer: Blog https://www.janinekrayerphotography.com/blog 120 80 The Eye of the Pangolin https://www.janinekrayerphotography.com/blog/2020/8/the-eye-of-the-pangolin The Eye of the Pangolin


About the film

Pangolin.Africa has partnered with Pangolin Photo Safaris, Biggest Leaf Travel and award-winning South African filmmakers Bruce Young and Johan Vermeulen to produce a powerful, awareness raising film about the critical situation facing the African pangolin.

From the co-director of Blood Lions, this powerful documentary is the story of two men on a mission to get all four species of African pangolin on camera for the very first time. As they travel the continent to learn more about those caring for and studying pangolins they are captivated by these strange, secretive creatures and document the race to save them from being poached to extinction.

The film premiered on Endangered Species Day, Friday 17 May, and is freely available online for worldwide viewing on YouTube.


Learn more about Pangolin.Africa

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janine@pangolinphoto.com (Janine Krayer) Conservation Documentary Education Pangolins Wildlife https://www.janinekrayerphotography.com/blog/2020/8/the-eye-of-the-pangolin Thu, 06 Aug 2020 07:06:10 GMT
How to Choose an Image for Black and White https://www.janinekrayerphotography.com/blog/2020/7/how-to-choose-an-image-for-black-and-white Black and White Editing 


In the video below you will watch Pangolin Photo Host Janine Krayer explain how she select pictures for Black and White editing, or which pictures lend themselves best.

Enjoy and we hope to see you on safari soon!


View the video transcript below

Black and White Editing

Hi guys! This is Janine from Pangolin Photo Safaris, and today I briefly want to touch on, how to choose pictures for black-and-white editing, OR…which pictures lend themselves best.

Before we get started, I first want to highlight that editing in black and white is a huge field….whether you shoot in black and white, or convert your images in post-production. How you like it is all up to your own imagination, and your own taste. So, it’s a vast field that needs to be covered.

Today, I briefly want to touch on which pictures lend themselves best for being turned into a black and white image.

All right, when we talk about a black and white image, the first thing that jumps to mind is…high contrast images.

That’s why I love turning leopards into black and white – with those black dots on the white (light) fur – and the black eyeliner in the lighter fur…it’s perfect! They just simply pop in black and white. But also images where you have a different contrast in your background, than what you have to your subjects, are great for black and white. This lioness was beautifully illuminated by the sun, with some dark deep shadows in the background…and I feel it looks absolutely gorgeous. Look how she stands out in front of that almost black background. Apart from that, patterns work really well for black and white images, for example wrinkles, tree trunks, skin patterns that are very deep and cast shadows over the skin. It looks absolutely awesome in black and white….and while we’re talking about contrast, any other type of colour variations or light variations on the skin, work perfectly well. So, here we have it both…we have the pattern and the wrinkles on the skin and the black and white just really enhances it. PLUS we have that beautiful white soil that he rubbed himself in, that makes him look like a clown. So, as we continue…you will see that my white balance in this image is totally off, and if I were to edit it in colour, I would try and make it a little bit cooler, even though I do love the golden hour. But looking at that image with that tone and wall against elephant, I find it almost a little bit boring. What’s striking is that white make-up all the way down his trunk…and that just screams black and white!

So let’s give it a quick try. If I turn this into black and white you’ll see it has a very grey filter all over it. I find personally that a black and white image really needs to be black and white, so as you edit, you can really pull your blacks and whites apart. It needs to get some contrast…as we said earlier. So, pull the blacks hard. You can always finely adjust it by pulling the shadows back a bit again. I want to bring the highlights down here, so that that white comes back out…and I need to bring that overall exposure down a little bit. He is extremely bright. And then you can choose. A black and white image works really well with clarity. The clarity just enhances the added contrast a little bit more, and here you can choose to just pull the clarity in your overall image, or be a bit more selective with your adjustment brush, and adjust the clarity and maybe even the sharpness in your subject…and you will see how beautifully the wrinkles on his trunk come back out. I am doing this very rough right now to save you guys time, but you get the point. He really starts popping out of the image. But not just high contrast situations, per se…also difficult light situations really lend themselves to black and white editing afterwards. If you shoot into the sun, and you struggle getting detail, and the colours are washed out because it’s the middle of the day…then black and white can really work so well. Here you need to be careful that you really make your blacks absolutely black, and your shadows black. What you don’t want is that little bit of detail, or maybe that little bit of colour, within your subject. That looks quite funny, so make sure it is a proper black and white image. Same here. You always need the profile for a nice silhouette. So, if I go back…you will see the initial image here already has perfectly black elephants, so if you shoot straight into the sun, this is what you get. Your shadow is really, really deep and you’ll be surprised. A silhouette such as that, you’re going to have to early expose by more than two, in order for you to get a nice bright sky. There is nothing worse than having a nice black silhouette, but then a sort of egg shell even grey toned sky. You want that sky to be really bright – to pop! You will see this even works halfway in colour, we turn that into black and white…boom! and it is done. Super easy to edit.

You will have noticed that all these subjects were fairly far away. Sometimes you might be a bit closer, and you still have the same problem. This image was shot at 12:30 (during the day) in really, really harsh light conditions. The sun was glaring off that little pond. I was sitting in a hide before lunch…and I could really not see much of that baby elephant, but it was so cute next to its mom. So, what I decided to do – in this instance – I over-exposed even more than for a silhouette. I over-exposed by +4, and you will see the initial raw file looks absolutely horrid. Washed out. There is no real colour. So what I did is I turned it into black and white, and make my whites even whiter, and I made my blacks super black. As I said, you can finely adjust it with your shadows. The same applies to this hippo. It was shot straight into the sun. You can see that the shadow is all over his face.You only have a little bit of sunlight on his back here. So, the only thing I could do was over-expose dramatically.

So much so, that I lost some of the water here…and turn it into a high key image. Please do remember though, not to crop high key images too tight. These things need space to breathe. If you do have a white background, make use of it. Give it space. It’s only when your backgrounds are super busy, that you try and avoid them. Otherwise, giving animals a bit of space is nice. But it is not just the really bad light situations, that you can turn into black and white. Sometimes, it’s just a really dull picture. So, this was (I would say) is a fairly mediocre picture, when I started off. I would have liked to shoot at lower, but didn’t have the option to…and, I wasn’t quite happy with the light. However, just by turning it into black and white, it feels way more dramatic. I do have the contrast in the dog, so that also helps to elevate him. But little imperfections in photographs can be covered up so beautifully in black and white images.

This image was shot way before sunrise, on a extremely low shutter, and I just didn’t get a perfectly sharp. You see there is some motion blur in the whiskers. There is some motion blur on the paw, and there is also quite a bit of noise happening here. So, between the beautiful pattern of the tree trunk, and the beautiful contrast in the leopard, and the darker background, I found it looked so much more interesting – in black and white – than what it did initially in colour. So, black and white can cover-up little flaws really beautifully.

Talking about in low-light conditions, let’s have a look. This image was shot on but I loved that scorched-earth with that lighter coloured lion walking across. So, if I zoom in, you’ll see noise is quite an issue. I have a very good camera, but on 20,000 ISO, even my camera does start to struggle. Black and white works extremely well with the noise…and the reason for that, is that it has this antique – almost old fashioned look – to it. It has a bit more grit, because there’s not all these colours, that extra bit of pattern noise, doesn’t disrupt so much. So again, if I just turn it into black and white, and everything is on 0, it all looks pretty unspectacular. If I turn a little bit more contrast here, you will see that beautiful contrast in the background with the diagonal lines…and suddenly, that noise, I don’t find it so distracting anymore. There’s actually quite a beautiful picture – despite all that noise. The same with this little image here…shot a 6,400 ISO – not quite as high,but if I zoom in a lot, you will see there are certain imperfections.There is a lot of noise, but then there’s also a bit of motion.I only shot it on a 1/100 sec…that’s almost not enough for water splashing.

On top of that, if I show you the original image, it doesn’t really have very interesting colour. All sort of one tone..a bit of a beige brown. Yes, there was evening light, but there’s half shadow on that baby elephant, so I wasn’t entirely happy with it. Turning it into black and white – in pulling the clarity a bit in that baby elephant – elevates the contrast that we need. Elevates those little patterns and the water splashes, and suddenly it’s a really gorgeous picture. But don’t think clarity, and black and white, saves everything. Black and white pictures have that stigma of being bad images. If you don’t have a good image, you turn it into black and white, and it saves everything. That’s not necessarily the case. This lion was shot very, very early in the morning, also on extremely high ISO of 32,000. There is a lot of noise, even though it is sharp. If I turn this into black and white, and try and get that contrast out, and pull the clarity, it makes your background also look incredibly busy. And even if I just pull the clarity in my lion, I don’t find this background extremely attractive. The black and white can do nothing to conceal that. It takes away from that gorgeous lion. However don’t turn every single image – that is shot on a high ISO – into a black and white image.

If you shoot a subject up close, noise is not always as disruptive. If you have a nice colour, keep it that way. There is a difference between having no light, as in flat light, and you just don’t get any colours out of it. Flat because it’s extremely overcast, or flat because it’s the middle of the day, and having low light…low gorgeous glowing light. So,  these images were shot in low light, on a very high ISO…but I love the orange glow the eyes, complementing the green – very stark contrast. The same with this image. It lives off its glow…yes, of course you could turn this into black and white. It could work. There is enough contrast around the eyes. Around the body. But really, it is so much more interesting with that beautiful glow after sunset. That purple hour of colours. So, if you do have nice evening colours, or nice colours in your subject – despite all the noise in the world – do not just turn it into black and white. A Blue Kingfisher lives of the blue in its feathers. So, I hope this gave you a little bit of an idea on how to choose images to convert them into black-and white. How to play with your images?…and what makes a really nice black and white picture.

If you are interested to learn more about black and white? The difference between monochrome and black-and-white? The difference between shooting in black-and-white and converting into black-and-white afterwards? There are more videos coming out in the future, so please stay tuned.

Until then, play around with your images.

I really hope you enjoyed this blog.


janine@pangolinphoto.com (Janine Krayer) Photo Photography Tips Travel https://www.janinekrayerphotography.com/blog/2020/7/how-to-choose-an-image-for-black-and-white Fri, 24 Jul 2020 08:47:49 GMT
Back Button Focus https://www.janinekrayerphotography.com/blog/2020/7/back-button-focus What is Back Button Focus? Why do we use it? 


View the video transcript below

What is Back Button Focus? Why do we use it?

Hey guys, this is Janine. Thanks for joining me today on the Chobe River. It’s going to be a stunning day. It looks like we got some fantastic cloud formations and today I want to show you how to use back button focus and what it is?

If you do enjoy our videos, please don’t forget to subscribe and press the bell button to get notifications whenever there’s a new video coming out.

So today I want to talk to you about back button focusing. What is it, when is it good to use and why would it be any better than using our front focus?

So, most of the time people focus up here on the top right-hand corner. You press halfway, in order to get focused, and you press full, in order to shoot. Back button focusing simply means that my focus button sits separate from my trigger button. So, I have my focus button – here the on the back of the camera – where my thumb falls naturally when I grip up around this camera, and then I trigger still with the same initial button…the top right button. So, while you press the AF-on button in, you’re busy continuously focusing, and you can track anything that moves around. As soon as you let go, it remembers the last point of focus for you. It is a little bit funny to get used to at the beginning. It’s like swapping from Windows to Mac, or from iPhone to Samsung, but if you give it a good two or three days, it feels like second nature.

If I pick up a camera nowadays, I struggle because I first have to remind myself, please focus on the top.

So why would I use back button focusing?

Well, the number one reason for that is because you can get your two autofocus drives basically combined in one button. In wildlife photography, we most of the time shoot on continuous focusing. With Canon, it would be AI-Servo rather than on one shot…because you want to track our animals, and we want to be able to move alongside, when there’s lots of  movement. That has a disadvantage that we’re going to have to shift our focus point in order to recompose our photograph. And that can take a lot of time, and a lot of time to get used to for quite a few photographers. So, if you have to shift your focus point, sometimes it just takes a while. We have a beautiful blue-cheeked bee-eater over here, and he’s actually a perfect example. I have quite a few reeds in the way, and it becomes difficult to focus. So, there are a few things you can do. If I’m on back button focusing, I can focus on my bird. And if the bird is stationary, and the boat is stationary, I let go and it will keep the focus. It will remember the focus from previously.

As long as none of the two parties is moving. I can now go straight back to him. I’ve just focused on him and actually shoot. He’ll still be in focus, which is phenomenal. So when you have trouble with fishing or your lens searching, because there’s lots of reeds in the way, and it finds it and it falls off, and it finds it and it falls off. I focus once. I let go of the button…and now I can just watch him and wait until he’s in the position. I want him to turn his head towards me. There we go. That I like! Without having to lose the focus all the time, which is really handy. With, respect to shuffling your focus point around, as I mentioned before. As you can see, um, a lot of the cameras have a limited focus point field. Some of them have 64 focus points, some less. Depending on what you shoot, some only have seven. So, you’re quite limited as to where you can position your bird within your screen. If you, and the animal is stationary. In this case, the blue-cheeked bee-eater. I can focus on it. And because it remembers the focus that I took. I cannot recompose my picture without having to shift my focus point. So, I can put him in the bottom right corner. Or, I can put him in the top right corner. Top left corner. Bottom left corner.

All the areas that the focus point can’t even reach. While I would take a tremendous time to shuffle my focus point around. I can now reach through back button focusing. I focus…and I can let go! Without having to switch to AF-S. Or one shot. I stay on AF-C the entire time, because as soon as I let that back button go, it remembers the last focus. Another really handy thing with back button focus, is that if you really have problems with focusing on something –  because there’s a lot of reeds in front – we usually tend to go to manual focus. We have another video on manual focusing. Check out the link in the description below.

It’s with Danielle. She did a great job on that. I don’t have to switch to manual focus anymore. I can just let go…and start manually focusing with my ring, at any given time. …and the reason being is, that when I trigger, I don’t activate my focus button again. So, I can trigger without trying to focus, and therefore, what I do with my manual focus, is completely independent of my trigger. Really handy thing. By the time you stopped to manual focus, usually the situation is over anyway. So, that helps tremendously. The last thing that I really enjoy with back button focusing, is that I can pre-focus. That little blue-cheeked bee-eater that’s sitting there. If I would want to catch him in flight – and he flies towards me – I’ll have no chance. Bee-eaters fly at such a rate, there no way I can actually refocus quick enough throughout the different layers. As it’s a bit cloudy today, I cannot push my f-stop any higher to gain a bigger depth of field. I’m shooting here on and yeah, I’m around 2000 ISO already. I don’t want to go to f/10 or f/11. So I don’t strain my ISO too much. So, if I assume he would fly towards me…maybe the wind is coming from that direction. I would find one of these reeds that’s just about 20 cm in front of the bird…and there’s plenty of that. I focus on it. I let go…and now I wait. The bird looks entirely out of focus at the moment. It looks pretty wrong, but I know if he happens to fly towards me…he’s gonna fly through the point of focus, that I just placed on the read in front of him…and I will have him sharp, despite me probably being too late. That’s how fast they are. Let’s see if he wants to fly. He’s been very patient with us, actually. He’s been sitting there for a good half an hour, so chances that he’s going to take-off right now, are very limited, but you get the concept.

Back button focusing is great, because you can use your trigger independently from your focus. That means, if you’re stationary and the animal is stationary. You can focus. Let go of your focus. It remembers the focus. You can recompose. You can sit there. Wait for something flying, without having to look through your viewfinder the whole time, because you know you’ve set your focus correctly. Just wait for it to fly. You can pre-focus on things and wait for them to fly into your focus. All these things are possible with back button focus. Give it a good two days of continuous shooting. And you will get used to it pretty quickly. Getting used to it as usually the biggest hurdle to overcome. If you want to know how to set your back button focus – both on your Canon, or on a Nikon, please check the videos we have done on setting up a Canon EOS-1D X, and setting up a Nikon D750, and you will see how to do it right there.

I hope you enjoyed this blog.

Have a great day!


janine@pangolinphoto.com (Janine Krayer) Back Button Focus Photo Photography Tips Travel Tutorial Wildlife https://www.janinekrayerphotography.com/blog/2020/7/back-button-focus Fri, 24 Jul 2020 08:44:22 GMT