Author: Rob Sheppard

Publisher: Lark Photography Books (Sterling)

Review by Conrad J. Obregon

I would guess that at some time almost every photographer has tried to make a photograph of a landscape, and that often the results are disappointing. That is probably because, to paraphrase Rob Sheppard, the photographer tried to capture the scenery rather than take a photograph. Taking a landscape photograph is what The Magic of Digital Landscape Photography (Lark Photography Book) is about in elemental terms.

The book starts with the usual gear discussion, including advice on how to set up one’s camera. The author then discusses the nature of light and some simple rules of composition, followed by a chapter on the important elements of water and sky. After a brief discussion of capturing man’s presence in the landscape, there is a chapter on special techniques like black-and-white photography, panoramas and high dynamic range photography (“HDR”). The final chapter looks more closely at some of the themes of landscape photography like deserts, oceans and prairies, and includes a number of useful tips for different kinds of environments. The book concludes with a brief essay by conservation photography editor Miriam Stein on using landscape photos to change the world. Several profiles of noted landscape photographers are scattered throughout the book.

Even though the book is aimed at the beginning landscape photographer, there is little emphasis on technique so the reader should be acquainted with exposure, depth of field and the like. Instead Sheppard concentrates on the content of the image, although he does refer to technique as a method of explicating the image. Sheppard’s writing and images are clear and will help those who are just connecting with landscape, but will be unlikely to help more experienced landscape photographers.

The chapter on special techniques will mostly serve to let the reader know that HDR and the like exist, but actual experimenting with these tools will probably require reading some additional materials. There is little instruction on post-processing, although it is occasionally mentioned.

For the beginning landscape photographer who knows how to use his camera, this is an excellent way to ease into landscapes. It will prove far too simple for the experienced landscape photographer.

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