Author: Ralph Lee Hopkins
Publisher: Lark Photography Books (Sterling Publishing)
Review by Conrad J. Obregon
Sometimes a book is perfectly fine for its purpose and is worth reading but doesn’t stand out above others in a crowded field. This is the case with Digital Masters: Nature Photography: Documenting the Wild World (A Lark Photography Book).
The author begins the book with an encouragement to photographers to find their passion in nature photography and then goes on to explain the gear that is appropriate for nature photographers. Next is a workflow chapter that discusses some of the basic camera settings that a nature photographer should use and the workflow to follow from the field to archiving which emphasizes backing up ones images. The author then discusses the nature of light, the elements of composition and the importance of capturing the moment. There are then chapters on landscape, wildlife and macro photography. The book is profusely illustrated with the authors excellent photographs and the organization is clear and logical.
The book is aimed at photographers who already understand the fundamentals of exposure and focusing, but have never given much consideration to nature photography. For the most part, the ideas presented are at the most general level without much specific advice. I often find something to disagree with in technical photography books. That wasn’t the case here, but I also couldn’t find anything to sink my teeth into. There is little technical information about capturing images, unless one considers the explanation of such things as the basic rules of composition technical. There are no details about post-processing. In fact an experienced nature photographer is unlikely to find anything new here. On the other hand, the competent camera user may find the book an excellent way to ease into nature photography. Its too bad that the author didn’t provide a bibliography of books that the photographer could read to follow up on the broad themes which he introduced.
In summary, heres a good book for someone just getting into nature photography to read to whet his or her appetite. He will still have to do a lot more learning to figure out all the tricks of the trade. Experienced nature photographers will have heard all of it before.