August 11th, 2012 , Comments Off
I love Otters and when I saw the cover of this book I immediately was interested. For less than 15 Euros, there was not much too loose and I always get some inspiration out of wildlife and nature photography books.
After finishing the book, I was not disappointed. It really is a good book. It is aimed (in my opinion) mostly at beginning and intermediate nature photographers who are serious about learning about their craft.
In every nature photography book I look at the pictures first to see how good the photographer is. Here I can say that Steve and Ann Toon are very skilled photographers and the pictures alone are an inspiration.
Having been in South Africa this year for the first time, I was happy to see so many pictures from that place. In fact most pictures in the book are either from South Africa or the UK. But don’t let that bother you, all the things you can learn from the book can also be applied to all the other great places like Yellowstone or a Tiger reserve in India.
The book covers equipment, how to use a camera and other technical gear, composition, wildlife photography in the field and a little about the digital darkroom. At the end of the book, the authors even have some tips on how to become a professional photographer.
Of course the authors can’t go into every detail in a 175 page book, particularly not when it comes to the digital darkroom but it gives the reader an idea on what the authors do at the computer.
The main subjects in the book are mammals, often large ones like Lions or Elephants, followed by birds and a few insects. Macro photography (e.g. of insects) is only covered a little and you will definitely need more literature about this fascinating area of nature photography.
The writing in the book is easy to follow and always interesting when the authors write about their personal experience.
If you are an advanced wildlife photographer, you probably won’t get much out of the text but the pictures can still be a fantastic inspiration.
If you are a beginning or intermediate wildlife photographer, then I highly recommend this book!
Buy from amazon
July 30th, 2012 , Comments Off
Doug Brown and Arash Hazeghi are two of the most skilled bird photographers with a special focus on birds in flight.
They both recently published reviews of the new Canon EF 4/600L IS II which looks like the best lens for bird photography Canon has ever made. Incredibly sharp and with a weight of only ca. 3.9kg – which is about 27% lighter than the old version about about the weight of my Canon EF 4/500L IS (the new EF 4/500L IS II is about 3.2 kg).
Too see there reviews click on the following two links:
Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II field review by Arash Hazeghi
The New Canon 600mm f/4 II Has Arrived!!! by Doug Brown
July 21st, 2012 , Comments Off
One of the first reviews of the new Canon EOS 1DX:
Canon 1DX First impressions Mini Review
Except for the lack of AF at f8 (this really, really sucks when you want to use a 2x extender with an f4 lens like a 4/500 or 4/600 for birds), the Canon EOS 1DX seems be be an awesome camera.
18 Megapixels is enough even for landscape shots. Of course for really large prints, more pixels are better (like the 36 MP of the Nikon D800) but up to A2, 18 MP should be more than fine – when good (and expensive) – lenses are used.
And 12 frames per second is a dream for action photography like birds in flights, sports or even playing children, particularly with the new and apparently absolutely awesome AF system.
Of course an EOS 7D will give you many more pixels for distant animals but when you can get close enough, the EOS 1DX will have a much better image quality.
And the EOS 1DX will work much better at higher ISO settings than an EOS 7D.
I think the EOS 1DX + EOS 7D would make a fantastic combination for the bird and wildlife photographer and will also work very well for macro and landscape work.
If you shoot mostly landscapes, the EOS 5D III is probably the better option because it has 4 MP more and costs only about 50% of the EOS 1DX.
Canon will probably introduce another DSLR in the coming weeks because they always do before Photokina which is in September.
July 17th, 2012 , Comments Off
July 26th, 2010 , Comments Off
About two years ago, I reviewed The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book by Martin Evening which I consider to be the best book in Lightroom 2.
Now with Lightroom 3 out, I upgrade my software and absolutely love it. Lightroom 3 rocks!
Of course I also ordered the latest edition of Martin Evening’s Lightroom book which now covers Lightroom 3. And the 3rd edition of the book is as great as the 2 edition. It remains the best book on Lightroom.
I may order one or two other Lightroom books, because you can always learn something new about workflow from a different photographer. But right now I am happy with Martin’s book and I won’t get any other book before I haven’t completely finished this one.
Martin’s book has over 670 pages and contains more detail than any other Lightroom book. But it is still very readable and never boring. If there is something about Lightroom you can’t find in this book, it probably doesn’t exist!
After a very detailed coverage of the Library module, the book devotes more than 250 pages to the Develop module and how to interact with Photoshop. This is one of the best treatments on how to develop raw pictures I’ve found in any book. If you shoot RAW but don’t yet know how to get the best out of your shots, you will learn it here. Martin describes everything in great detail without being to technical or overwhelming the reader (basis photographic knowledge should be available, though).
The other features of Lightroom like printing or sideshows are also covered in great detail.
The whole book is full with Martin’s great pictures. He is not only a skilled writer but also a great photographer.
I read a lot of technical books, both about photography and also about software development (I work as a programmer) but many technical books are so boring that it’s hard to read for more than 10 pages. Others are just crap. But some are really great books and Martin Evening’s Lightroom book is one of them.
If you are a digital photographer, I highly recommend using Lightroom 3. The workflow and the raw processor are fantastic. I don’t need Photoshop that often any more since I started using Lightroom.
And to get the most out of Lightroom 3, I highly recommend this book. It is the best on Lightroom 3. You won’t find anything better!
Buy from amazon
April 11th, 2010 , 1 Comment »
This book is a basic introduction into digital flower photography. On a little more than 140 pages it covers the basics of flower photography with a digital SLR camera.
After an overview of necessary equipment like cameras or lenses the book covers exposure, depth of field, light, colour, choosing the right background, composition and digital image processing. It also has two case studies, one about cherry blossoms, the other about crocuses. All this is illustrated with many pictures taken by the author.
I like this book but it could have been better. The text is very basic and mostly targeted at beginners. If you are already an experienced photographer, you won’t find much new information. Also, the text does not go into too much detail and often a beginner might want more information. For example, the text on choosing a macro lens is not even half a page and is very basic. It mentions that a longer focal length has different benefits but the book does not explain the advantages and disadvantages of the different telephoto macro lens. For example a Nikon photographer might wonder if it is better to buy the 105mm or the 200mm macro lens from Nikon. The book does not mention that most manufactures have telephoto macro lenses in those ranges (Canon has 100mm and 180mm) and what are the advantages and disadvantages (See my article Choosing a lens for macro and close-up photography for a much more detailed explanation).
Similar the chapter on flashes. Nikon and Canon offer a large selection of flashes incl. specialised macro flashes. After reading the book you won’t know what to buy!
The chapters on colour, light and composition are better and although not as detailed as in other books, they offer many useful tips for the beginning and intermediate photographer.
For me the best part of the book are the awesome images. Sue Bishop is a world class flower photographer and the fantastic images are a clear proof of that. The images are a great inspiration for every flower and nature photographer, no matter your skill level and I enjoy browsing through the images and looking for inspiration for my own flower photographs.
Overall I think the text could have been better (and much more detailed, especially when it comes to technique and equipment), but the pictures alone may be worth the price of the book for many photographers – it definitely was worth it for me.
So, if you are mostly looking for detailed technical explanations for flower photography, look elsewhere but if you want a beautifully illustrated book with fantastic flower photographs as a inspiration for your own photography, this book is a good investment.
Buy the book from amazon:
April 4th, 2010 , Comments Off
Arthur Morris, one of the best bird photographers in the world is also famous for many books and e-books he has published including user guides for Canon DSLRs.
Now two new guides covering the EOS 7D and the EOS 1D Mark IV will be available very soon. I already ordered my EOS 7D guide and can’t wait to read it.
This won’t be just some copied information from the manual (as some other worthless books do) but written by someone who really uses the camera in the field and also actually know how to get the best results from it.
The EOS 7D is BY FAR the best middle range DSLR for bird and nature photographers Canon has ever built so far and the 1D Mark IV is probably the best pro model so far (I have not yet used the 1D Mark IV as I prefer spending the money on a good trip or two).
For more information about the new e-books by Arthur Morris, click here:
Canon EOS-7D User’s Guide
I will publish a review about the EOS 7D guide here once I’ve finished reading it.
April 4th, 2010 , Comments Off
I just finished reading the The Ultimate Guide to Digital Nature Photography published by the Mountain Trail Photo Team. I really like this book. It may not be “ultimate” but no book can be. For example, you could write a whole book only on bird or butterfly photography and fill more pages than this book has (192). So, not everything is covered in great detail (for example photographing birds in flight or how to best use a hide to photograph shy animals).
But there is a lot to like in this book. First of all are the absolutely stunning pictures from various photographers. I’ve read many nature photography book but this one belongs to the top 5 when it’s comes to the quality of the images presented. The printing quality is stunning and it is just a joy watching all those amazing photographs and become inspired by them. The pictures alone are worth the price of the book.
The text is mostly written for beginning and intermediate nature photographers. It covers equipment, exposure or how to use light. The chapter on composition is one of the best treatments of this subject I’ve read. It may not be as detailed as in some other books but has many clear explanations illustrated with awesome images and it also covers stuff not found in many other books like using triangles, S- and C-cuvers or Zig-Zags.
One chapter covers special effects like using HDR, multiple exposures, night exposures are using flash. Here more details, especially for using flash would have been great but there is still a lot of useful information to be found. The HDR information is also only basic but given that this is such a big subject, the reader will probably have to buy a separate book on HDR anyway.
In the chapter “Making magical images” the reader can find many tips on how to improve his photography organised by various subjects like landscape, macro or wildlife.
The chapter on digital workflow covers the basics of how to work with your images in the digital darkroom. Given that topics like Lightroom or Photoshop are very complex, again, here only the basics are presented and you will need more detailed books covering those topics.
At the end there is one page with some thoughts on turning pro, a photographic calendar covering interesting locations in North America and some small tutorials on specific topics like photographing autumn color, waterfalls or birds in flight (as I wrote above, the coverage here is basic for some topics. 5 small paragraphs on how to photograph birds in flight are a good start but won’t be enough to make you an expert – but becoming an expert in birds in flight photography can only be done with lots of practice, anyway.
Overall I liked the book a lot. The text is great for beginning and intermediate nature photographers and the pictures are so good that even advanced and professional nature photographers can learn something from them or become inspired by them.
Buy the book from amazon:
April 1st, 2010 , Comments Off
dpreview has just published a review of the Canon EOS 550D / Rebel T2i . The review is very good and it seems that Canon really has produced a great entry level DSLR.
I personally do not recommend this camera for serious nature photographers, at least not as your main body. It would make a good backup body for an existing EOS 7D, though.
If you mostly shoot close-up, the 550D might be enough. For birds and other animals, the 7D is a much better choice due to it’s weather sealing, much faster frame rate and better AF system.
If you just start with nature photography and have a limited budget, the 550D may be a good option. When in doubt, it is better to spend more money on good lenses. For example, it is better for close-up photography to have a 550D and a high quality macro lens than a 7D and a mediocre lens.
dpreview review of the Canon EOS 550D / Rebel T2i
Choosing a digital SRL camera for bird photography
Choosing a Canon DSLR for nature photography
March 16th, 2010 , Comments Off
I recently had the change to read Alan Murphy’s “Guide to Songbird Set-up Photography”, an E-book written by Alan Murphy, one of the best bird photographers in the world and published by Arthur Morris’ Birds as Art Store.
Alan Murphy has become famous for all his amazing pictures of song birds and other species which he attracts to prepared perches.
This book, which is only available on CD, covers in detail how Alan does create his fantastic images. The only focus of the book is on how to create the perfect set-ups for attracting and photographing birds. It is not a beginners guide to bird photography. You should know how to handle a DSLR and a telephoto lens.
The title is not entirely correct as the book does not only cover song birds but also some other groups like hummingbirds, woodpeckers, ducks or grouse.
A few topics covered in the book are:
- Hummingbirds in flight
- photographing woodpeckers
- birds in a cactus
- photographing Bluebirds
- attracting birds to feeders
- using water or fruits to attract birds
- how to choose the right perches
- ground birds on stumps
- water birds
- birds in flight
Every topic is explained in detail with pictures of the set-ups Alan uses and what he does to get the perfect shot. This all is illustrated with many of the best bird pictures ever published in a book about nature photography.
The writing style is very easy to follow and very inspiring.
On a little more than 100 pages, the book contains more practical tips than most other books on nature photography.
Don’t worry if you don’t live in North America. The tips and tricks can be applied everywhere in the world. I try to use a lot of Alan’s tips during this spring and summer and I already found a few places where I will create my own set-ups.
I live in southern Germany and there we don’t have all the species described in the books. But what works for Bluebirds in North America can also work for a European Robin, a Song Thrush or a Blue Tit.
Alan’s Book is one of the best publications on bird photography I’ve read. I highly recommend this outstanding E-book to every bird and nature photographer, no matter how experienced you are. You will definitely learn something from Alan.
Product Description at the Birds as Art store
Alan Murphy’s website. Be sure to visit. The Website has many amazing images and a very interesting blog. Alan also offers workshops where you can learn from the master himself.