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Site Updated: 5/17/10
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In The Last Day

Book Reviews

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On rare occasion we actually have time to sit down and read a book or two. Below are brief reviews/comments on relevant photography books, if you disagree with our rating or opinion, please feel free to add your own.

Link: Book Review: Rating/Comments:

Understanding Close-up Photography: Creative Close Encounters with or without a Macro Lens

by Bryan Peterson

Good overall coverage of macro and close-up photography, covering techniques and gear typically used for such. Covers critical concepts like aperture and depth of field in depth, as well as offering tips and suggestions for home macro-studio setups.

If you are interested in learning more about macro or close up photography, this book is definitely worth a look and offers some good example photographs.

Our Rating:

Understanding Shutter Speed: Creative Action and Low-Light Photography Beyond 1/125 Second

by Bryan Peterson

While Peterson's 'Understanding Exposure' is generally considered one of the best books of all time on photographic exposure, we found "Understanding Shutter Speed" fell a little short. While the book does contain some useful information, we also felt there was excessive padding and a few too many over-generalizations, when what we hoped for was more in-depth coverage.

If your a Peterson fan you may still enjoy this book, but it doesn't compare to his excellent "Understanding Exposure".

Our Rating:

Light: Science and Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting

by Fil Hunter, Steven Biver, Paul Fuqua

If you are interested in flash or studio photography, this book is your bible. Covers how to light assorted different, and often challenging subjects (glass bottles, shiny metal etc) as well as people and other objects. Detailed drawings, example photos and in-depth explanations are given throughout. This is by a margin the best book on lighting we've come across.

Our Rating:

The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes

by Joe McNally

A good photograph tells a story. In this book a great photographer tells the story behind the photographs, in this case pictures taken using small flashguns.

Beautifully illustrated, the book is also a very engaging read, and goes into some detail about how the shot was actually made, and provides some basic descriptions of the gear used.

Also makes a great coffee table book. Highly recommended, especially if you are interested in flash photography.

Our Rating:

The Moment It Clicks: Photography secrets from one of the world's top shooters

by Joe McNally

A good photograph tells a story. Just like in McNally's hot shoe diaries, in this book a great photographer tells the story behind the photographs, including insights into how the photograph was made.

Beautifully illustrated, the book is also a very engaging read, and goes into some detail about how the shot was actually made. It also provides some basic descriptions of the gear used. Covers general topics including lighting and composure.

Also makes a great coffee table book. Highly recommended.

Our Rating:

The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos

by Michael Freeman

An interesting book tackling a critical subject often ignored by photographers: composition. It does cover the topic very well with some great example photographs. However we found the book a very dry and technical read, much like a college text book.

Our Rating:

The Digital Photography Book

by Scott Kelby

Great book for the beginner, offering tips and advice covering basic gear, how to take sharp photos, how to shoot flowers, basic wedding photography, as well as shooting landscapes, sports, people and travel photography. The book also offers general advice for photography pitfalls to avoid, and how to make best use of digital cameras. The book ends with a "how to print like a pro" chapter, followed with a "photo recipes" section detailing how to get specific shots.

The book is formatted with a picture on most pages, with a paragraph or two under the picture offering the advice, sometimes followed by specific gear recommendations. Because of the huge number of photographic topics covered, The Digital Photography Book doesn't go into detail or give explanations, instead if offers high level, more generic advice. As such, it is a great resource for new photographers, and even someone with years of photographic experience could pick up a tip or three. However if you are looking for in-depth topic coverage or to gain a deeper understanding of photographic processes, this isn't the book for you.

Our Rating:

The Digital Photography Book, Vol 2

by Scott Kelby

Following on from the popular The Digital Photography Book, volume 2 continues with the same basic format of typically a picture per page, with a paragraph or two below offering advice, often accompanies by gear recommendations.

As in the first book, a huge range of topics is covered, making this book an amazing resource for a beginner. If however you are seeking a deeper understanding of photography, it's lacking in-depth explanations and descriptions.

Topics covered include new topics like using flash guns, building a studio, shooting portraits, macro, as well as expanding on topics from the first book including photographing landscapes, weddings and travel.

The book ends with several pages of more general advice, followed by more "photo recipes" - basically brief descriptions of "how to get a shot like this".

Our Rating:

National Audubon Society Guide to Landscape Photography

by Tim Fitzharris

Beautifully illustrated book covering all aspects of landscape photography, from outfitting (both yourself and your gear bag), to composition and even shooting locations. Offers a wealth of information to even the most seasoned photographers, highly recommended.

Our Rating:

National Audubon Society Guide to Nature Photography: Digital Edition

by Tim Fitzharris

Another beautifully illustrated book covering all aspects of nature photography, covering gear, techniques (both cameras and dealing with wildlife), basic composition, using light, and Macro. Offers a wealth of information to even the most seasoned photographers, highly recommended.

Our Rating:


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