Book Recollection: Nature Photography

Seems surprising I’ve actually had time to get through an item on my “to-read” list.  Been a little hectic around here as of late with the National Dog show last month in Denver and the upcoming Steamboat race, I’ve either been on the road traveling or on the road running.  Note sure where I picked up this latest Book Recollection but think it was a Christmas gift from Linda or one of my brothers.  If there is one topic that has garnered a lot of my research time it is definitely photography references.  This specific book (Nature Photography) by Chris Weston promised to provide Insider Secrets from the World’s top Digital Photography Professionals.  Maybe it is due to the amount of reading and personal investigation into this subject, but let’s assume the referenced professionals were holding their good stuff back – cuts down on the competition.  There were a number of tips described in the book, but most of those were pretty basic – know your camera, know your subject, exposure and creating depth.  If these are all new concepts to you, definitely grab this book.  Chris does a good job of simplifying the topic and writes in a clear easy to read manner.  In fact, so easy to ready I blasted through this book in about 2 days while Linda was driving.  If you have a pretty good grasp of those topics you still might get some enjoyment of the picture collection used throughout the book.  All in all pretty nice shots with the exception of two things.  First off, let’s collectively as photography enthusiasts stop trying to justify $#@%@$%@$% fully blurred pictures as intentional art.  NOBODY is going to hang a blurred image on their wall no matter how much you try to convince them you did it intentionally to give the viewer a sense of motion – BS – admit it, you f’d up (that was a clever photography pun by the way) and go and try it again.  The other issue is the paper choice in the book.  This is one of those tradeoffs between the cost of the book and the quality of the images.  I can understand making the conscious decision to go with the former, but keep in mind this has a definite impact when you are trying to compare the differences in two images – the cheaper paper will dilute the ink causing both images to look about the same regardless of how crisp or vibrant one looked over the other in the digital darkroom – take for example the antelope butts on page 65.  Say what you want, but both shots look similar printed on paper.  Oh, for the record, pg 207 mentions a zebra example but there are NO zebras in it.. a bear… but NO zebras.

I did appreciate the discussion on hyperfocal length presented in a manner I could finally understand although I did read it like 10 times before it started to sink in.  Chris confirmed that the worst thing you can do is underexpose, accurately reflects photography as the art of omission and of course chose to reference Joel Sartore (my favorite photographer) in his book.  Note, next time recommend using more of his pictures – think there was only like one or two paragraphs about Joel’s preparation for a shoot (he also gave me Joel’s website – the clever http://www.joelsartore.com/).   Not much else to say other than I liked the practice assignments compiled at the end book and the author’s favorite glass is the Nikon 200-400 f4 VR – great minds think alike.

Hit the jump to see some of the takeaways (or in this case more in the classification of reminders)

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