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drew doty
(drewdoty1444) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz, CA
Good books on nature photography on 01/20/2011 12:48:54 MST Print View

just got a new GF1 with the 20mm pancake and interested in any guides on how to best capture nature shots. anybody know of some well put together books?

drew

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Good books on nature photography on 01/20/2011 12:54:17 MST Print View

Nature photography is such a broad field that there are thousands of good books on the subject. Your avatar shows a California newt.

--B.G.--

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Good books on nature photography on 01/20/2011 13:49:59 MST Print View

I have something like 125 credit hours in photography. I've seen a LOT of photo instruction books and IMHO, photo books are generally useless unless you want to cover the absolute basics. Go to the library. It is all on the web too. Ken Rockwell is a hoot on camers and techniques-- read his stuff: http://www.kenrockwell.com/index.htm

You should understand the relationship to shutter speed and lens aperature, focusing techniques(read up on hyperfocal distance), macro photo techniques, and using flash (thou shalt know thy Inverse Square Law). With digital stuff, understand how "noise" is created and how to use it or avoid it. Understand dynamic range and how your camera can be tweaked to get what you want from it.

1) Go to the library, pull a dozen books off the shelf on the subjet matter you want to photograph and look at them all. Then go get some more..... rinse and repeat :) Every time I took on a different subject matter, I found experts in that field who were really good at making photographs, because they knew what was important-- say, the differences in petal color patterns between two kinds of orchids, or the behavior of the Western Ice Worm. Someone trained as a photographer *might* have a leg up on the creative side--- composition and such, but those experts know what works and they have seen forty zillion photos on their subject.

2) Old National Geographics will teach you a lot. Those folk are really good at making and *editing* images.

4) Don't just thumb through images: study them, take them apart, analyze them and know why some work and some don't. Pay attention to camera angle, angle of view, color, exposure, natural and added lighting. If you can't figure out how the photos were made, then you can ask some questions.

5) Take LOTS of photos, varying angle, exposue, focus and focal length. Analyze them just like you did with the photos others made. Be brutally honest with yourself. Learn from seeing and doing.

Basic nature photo things to know? Use a tripod and remote release. Study the light--- that means getting up VERY early. Know how to use a flash for fill light. Know how to use a reflector for the same. Know how to do good macro work. Know how filters work-- polarizers are big.

Have fun too!

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: Tokyo, Japan
Galen Rowell, John Shaw, Ansel Adams on 01/20/2011 19:30:54 MST Print View

Galen Rowell should be the patron saint of lightweight nature photography. While his tragic death on the cusp of the digital revolution makes his writings on gear seem dated, his technique and ideas are still quite illuminating. The writings of John Shaw are also good. Ansel Adams is the grand daddy of it all.

Edited by rmjapan on 01/20/2011 19:31:36 MST.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Galen Rowell, John Shaw, Ansel Adams on 01/20/2011 20:01:15 MST Print View

All you need to know about Rowell is in his images. Awesome, in the true meaning of the word.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: Tokyo, Japan
Rowell on 01/20/2011 23:32:27 MST Print View

His website still has good stuff too.

http://www.mountainlight.com/articles.html

carl becker
(carlbecker) - F

Locale: Northern Virginia
Re: Good books on nature photography on 01/21/2011 06:53:46 MST Print View

Know your tools well, study light and composition then be there.

Peter Scherpelz
(kpscherpelz) - MLife

Locale: The Mountainless Midwest...
Michael Frye on 01/21/2011 12:51:08 MST Print View

One current, great photographer (primarily of the Sierras) is Michael Frye, and he has a recent book that I liked a lot, "Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Masters." Some of the techniques are a bit more advanced, but he covers the basics pretty well too. His blog is very informative too, with great bi-weekly critiques of other people's photographs:
http://www.michaelfrye.com/landscape-photography-blog/

drew doty
(drewdoty1444) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz, CA
these are great! on 01/21/2011 23:11:48 MST Print View

i checked out rockwell's site and it is very informative. been to galen's gallery and was blown away. this is my first camera that is not a point and shoot so i am excited to see where i can go with this. it might change the way i backpack a little.

also, how do you shoot star trails. my camera has bulb mode, which from talking to a friend is ideal. ive heard stacking photos is another way. but what if i want to have my tent lit in the foreground. do i need to have a constant light on in there for over an hour to get the lighting right? can i walk around with a headlamp on while the lens is open or should it be completely dark?

thanks for the input

drew

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: these are great! on 01/22/2011 00:08:23 MST Print View

You will need to experiment, but a couple seconds should be more than enough to light the tent. The stars will revolve around the North Star, IIRC

Check this site out--- the guy gives some starting exposures:

http://www.astropix.com/HTML/I_ASTROP/TRIPOD/TRIPOD2.HTM

Edited by dwambaugh on 01/22/2011 00:11:49 MST.