Authors: Steve and Ann Toon
Publisher: Photographers’ Institute Press
Review by Conrad J. Obregon
Wildlife photography is just different enough from other photography genres that it would probably pay for even an experienced image maker to learn something about it before setting forth to the field for the first time. Steve and Ann Toon aim to help you.
The chapters of the book include a description of appropriate equipment, a discussion of techniques for wildlife photography, tips on composition including a chapter on photography in the field (which seems an extension of the composition chapter), digital post-processing and selling your images.
Not surprisingly, the authors like digital SLRs, tripods, a variety of lenses of different lengths (especially telephotos) and so forth. Experienced photographers may find this information unnecessary, but I suspect there are photographers out there who don’t realize that a compact camera won’t do the trick for wildlife photography. The authors don’t spend much time explaining exposure so if you don’t understand the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO, you won’t learn it here. On the other hand they do explain what makes wildlife exposures different from other exposures.
The chapters on composition and photography in the field are quite excellent for the new wildlife photographer who may not quite have thought out what he or she wants to get in the frame.
I am always skeptical when a genre book tries to explain post processing, since whole books have been written about the subject and only scratched the surface. The authors do a competent job of explaining how a few Photoshop tools have special application to wildlife photography, but they don’t try to be comprehensive. However, one of the appendices on further reading provides recommendations for a few more specialized books that I have found to be the cream of the crop. The marketing chapter is a broad overview, but I know at least one inexperienced photographer who thought the world would come knocking at his door based upon a few good shots and who would have benefited from reading this chapter.
All-in-all, this is a good book for someone just about to get into wildlife photography. Those with experience will find little new here, but a look at the authors pictures might provide at least one composition that can be pressed into service.