Book reviews:    The Nature Photographer's complete guide to Professional Field Techniques

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The Nature Photographer's complete guide to Professional Field Techniques
John Shaw
0 8174 5005 X (hb) or 0 8174 5006 8 (pb)
Amphoto Books
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John Shaw is a well known nature photographer who has published many books and videos on the subject of wildlife and nature photography. This book is one of his earlier books and the date of 1984 may appear outdated to some people. But be assured, the book is far from being outdated. Sure John Shaw is a Nikon user and he describes some Nikon equipment that he uses in this book that is not the very latest state of the art. But in my opinion if you like that kind of books, then you should buy a manual of a Nikon F5 or F100. This books deals with techniques for nature photography. These techniques are the basics of photography and are timeless.

The book starts with one of the most important subjects: exposure. What are the differences between direct and reflected light? How to measure light correctly? How to compensate for very light and dark subjects? Do these quaestions puzzle you as well? They are all answered in this first chapter.

Then there are the obvious chapters about equipment choice and lenses. But this book does not push you to buy the very latest and expensive equipment. It shows you what equipment you will need and what to look after for when buying it. John Shaw uses Nikon himself and some other brands are mentioned but all information is independent. He'll tell you the pro's and con's of a 200mm macro lens and how to use it properly but not which brand to buy.

Another chapter deals with composition, or as John Shaw mentions it: "learning to see". He tells you how to frame a subject and how to control things like depth of field and perspective. This chapter is different from the more technical chapters explaining how to use equipment. This one is about how to make beautiful images. Images that stand out.

Then there is a large chapter about Clope-up photography. There is lots of information on what kinds of equipment to use. How to measure light and expose correctly at short distances. How to use flash to freeze subjects and to fill-in the natural light. With special attention to flash angles etc.

If your interest is more into the bigger creatures, then there is another chapter about being out in the field. Coping with weather situations and natural light. How to use a portable blind or use your car as one. Ans how to approach your subject.

Conclusion:  A very nice general instruction book on nature photography, with a very nice practical approach. One I can really recommend.

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All text and images 1991 - 2011 Hans Martens