Egret landing, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Colour vs monochrome?

Another shot from my Botswana adventure.    An egret,  wings outstretched and feet forward,  about to land in a tree.  The question is whether it works best as a colour image or a monochrome.  I kind of like both but,  what do you think?

Little egret landing in tree.
Little egret landing in tree. SFX

Using Google Silver Efex Pro

Update 7.11.15:      Revisiting this image,  I decided to reprocess the image in Lightroom to arrive at the colour image shown above.   Contrast was difficult given the extremely white highlights on the egret’s feathers.    Having got the colour image to a point I was happy with,  I then created a virtual copy which I then took into Photoshop so that I could do the black and white conversion using Silver Efex Pro (SFX).

My normal practice is to convert the image to a smart object before activating the plugin so that I have full flexibility to reopen the image in SFX after the event to redo or rethink the processing.    Having started with a “neutral” b&w preset,  I then increased the overall brightness of the image slightly to try and lighten the sky.   I placed control points on the bird to add a little “fine structure” to bring up the feather detail some more whilst pulling down the highlights on the feathers a little.

I then experimented with the film filter effect presets to approximate the effect of using a colour filter on the camera whilst shooting monochrome film.    By using the blue filter I was able to lighten the sky further whilst leaving the foliage and tree branches unaffected.    One of the other effects of the blue filter however is that it darkened down the feet of the bird.    If you look at the colour image you’ll see why.     The legs of the bird are black but the feet are yellow.    Blue and yellow,  being on opposite sides of the colour wheel,  are sometimes referred to as “complementary colours”.   This terminology is to my mind misleading,  they are actually contrasting colours.   So a blue filter whilst lightening the blues in the sky,  has the opposite effect,  darkening the yellows in the feet.

If anyone requires any further information/guidance on this,  just let me know!    ~KD.