May appears to be the month of photography books based on the last two book recollections and (wait for it…) this post as well. However, unlike the previous two, today’s offering is less on food for the left side of brain and more on providing inspiration for the right hemisphere. What better way to do that then to review the creative work of National Geographic, the premier photography body that has been wowing us since it was founded in 1888. By the way, I had no idea that National Geographic is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. It was also founded to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge. There, come for the witty banter and leave with real knowledge, it’s like going to see Piranha 3D and learning that outboard motors can be used to fend off prehistoric flesh eating fish. Speaking of photography (and my friends say my segues suck), Annie Griffiths brings us Simply Beautiful Photographs. This book is a collection of images from the National Geographic Image Collection (holding images back to the 1800s by the way), that fits Annie’s 6 key photographic components – Light, Composition, Moment, Time, Pallet and Wonder). Annie takes us through each of these areas and provides an eloquent introduction into the nuances of the area proceeded by numerous examples of photographs that visually demonstrates that chapter’s topic. In fact, so many images that this book tops in at 1.5 inches thick which sadly again doesn’t put a dent into the reading pile because… yeah, another gift for Linda (I was expecting Rapture to save me from my reading commitment, but apparently I’ve been a bad boy or just maybe that predictor was bat shit crazy). Speaking of crazy, how about the crazy pictures in this collection (I try, I really really do).
As I was going through this collection, I tried to look at each picture individually and assess their impact on me. At first I was keeping two sets of markers, one for images that had a positive effect on me and ones that I thought were total crap (per my wife’s favorite saying). After awhile I decided that I was not qualified to make the call on what was a bad picture so from that point forward just focused on the shots that impressed me. By my definition, this was an image that caught my attention through an interesting visual, a creative composition or success in conditions I know that are difficult to photograph based on my less than stellar attempts. After reaching the back cover, I had marked 29 Wildlife and 17 Landscape images that I thought stood out among the rest. I also marked 6 images that I had put in the “you’re kidding” category (might have been more, but again, stopped that marking). I decided to challenge myself and select my top five Wildlife and top five Landscape images. This turned out to be an extremely difficult task and made me appreciate what judges must go through for photography competitions. After the second pass I was down to 31 images with 19 left after a third pass. I probably spent another hour getting down to 10.
Hit the jump to see my top five list of Wildlife shots and the top five Landscape images