Ralph Lee Hopkins' book helps to smooth the progress of someone who is somewhat familiar with cameras and photography, but not the expert. He gives skills and creative hints, describes how to understand the camera and related equipment Most of his advice is common sense, but is brought together in one place to help a person who wishes to photograph nature be organized and be prepared. He tells of some of his personal experiences and mistakes. You learn what is in his camera bag, equipment hints, processing, and archiving among other recommendations. There are examples of before and after photos, with filters and without, night shooting, the rule of thirds. There is a special section on macro photography.
Probably his best advice, is that , especially nature photography is not about what is convenient or comfortable.
There is a small index and with a few exceptions the photos are in colour. They have a description of where they were taken, equipment used, film, exposure and filters.
This is good simple guidance, but not always thought of even by a photographer that has been taking pictures for years. Whether you are photographing in your back yard or venturing into the artic, you could probably learn something from this book and enjoy some of the spectacular shots of nature.
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."
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 one's 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 author's 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. It's 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, here's 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.
on April 1, 2012
Since I've used my Nikon D100 almost exclusively in the auto mode, I wanted to learn how to use it with manual settings for my upcoming trip to Alaska's inside passage. The author of this book, Ralph Lee Hopkins, may be the photographer on this expedition, so I figured I'd buy his book. I'm very happy I purchased it. It covers digital photography very thoroughly in language the amateur can understand. It not only deals with the camera itself but also with accessories, how to plan for a variety of geographic locations, what to pack, how to travel with photo equipment, and much more. The book is packed with photos taken by the author, and it shows how different exposure settings affect the results you'll obtain. It explains aperture, shutter speed, ISO, JPEG, RAW, and exposure compensation very simply and clearly. While devoted mainly to wildlife and landscape photography, it is a wonderful resource for any budding photographer who wants to go beyond point-and-shoot.
on October 3, 2013
I had the opportunity to participate in a photo workshop with Ralph Hopkins at Camp Denali. If you are not lucky enough to learn from Ralph in person, then buy the book. You will not be disappointed. The book has wonderful technical advice, beatiful photos, and inspiration.
on October 30, 2010
If you are an experienced wildlife photographer, you will know most of this information. But buy the book anyway for the gorgeous, inspiring images made around the globe. If you're a newbie to wildlife photography and/or the digital image, you will find this well-written book very helpful in getting you up to speed. Makes me want to get out and start shooting.