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Fine Art Digital Nature Photography Paperback – January 8, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
There are some beautiful images - I hesitate to call them photographs since they have been so severely manipulated - and some insight into some areas I'd love to visit and photograph. But too much of the book reads like a catalog of plug-ins. It almost makes me wonder how much Sweet was compensated by the companies that produce the products.
I do love most of the images. And I'd have much preferred a book of insights into the planning and execution of the camera work, with far less concern for the post production instructions.
Sweet's previous books emphasized on what to do when planning and taking the picture, and at this he's a master. Also, even though he uses a Nikon and I use a Canon, the techniques were not camera-specific, and I found them very useful.
This book, however, emphasizes what he does post-production. That is, once he's taken a picture, he uses various Photoshop plug-ins and other software programs to modify the picture. Okay, this type of information is generally useful, but there are other sources that do it much better. Also, it lends itself well to video teaching more than reading.
Sweet's presentation emphasizes programs that the average user isn't likely to have (stuff in addition to Photoshop), and to buy them all would cost probably close to $1,000. Unfortunately, his explanation of why he used a particular technique isn't rich enough that I can then duplicate it using Photoshop.
Sweet is a master at taking pictures, and his previous books about how to do so have invaluable tips. He is very good at post-production, but his methods are somewhat idiosyncratic, and it's not clear how much one learns from them.
I am impressed with Sweet's ability to come up with so many terrific ideas on how to easily shoot things in a slightly different-than-usual way to completely change your photographs (e.g., shoot a flower with your camera on a tripod, then rotate the lens by a couple of degrees via the lens ring and shoot again. Repeat 9 times and combine all 10 photos in Photoshop to get a beautiful and highly unusual single photo, then add a Photoshop Plug-In...he explains which plug-in... to make the resulting picture truly unique).
I would characterize myself as an advanced amateur...I know my way around my Canon Mark III's, but my photos are pretty much plain. I bought this book because I wanted to learn how to make my photos more interesting, and I was pleased beyond all of my expectations. I shoot mostly aviation (airshows, air races, etc) and I can see how I can use Sweet's ideas to really make an entire series of spectacularly different photos.
I will definitely buy more of Tony Sweet's books. (In fact I just received the follow-up to this book.) Most of the techniques he discusses in a single paragraph, but the power of that single paragraph is immense. Normally I want a book that guides me, step-by-step, through the process of setting my camera up for the shot and then step-by-step on processing the image. I would not have purchased this book if I was told it did not do this, but I am so happy I ordered it before the reviews came out. It really has shown me a simple way to make my photographs unique.
I've given up hope that I can get this extra dimension from any one source. I don't think anyone can. Instead, I'm constantly on the look for small nuggests of technique, in the hope that if I'm patient and work hard enough, I'll eventualy earn the status I seek.
With this in mind, I bought Tony's book, hoping to find even one or two small of these small nuggets. I'd be willing to overlook all sorts of useless information, if only I came away feeling inspired and energized to try something a new way, especially if it's something that opens up whole new paths for me, technique so different from what I do today that it wouldn't have ever occurred to me.
So does the book deliver? Yes and no.
Yes, there were a few small nuggets that got me thinking about why I do things a certain way. And yes, seeing Tony plug all the software and tools, I found myself mentally replaying and defending the various choices I've made. So I suppose there were a few positive take-aways for me. But I wouldn't say that I feel like a better artist as a result. Still, at the same time, I don't know that any book can give you that. Maybe there's also value in simply reassuring yourself that you know more than you might think you do.
In the end, I gave the book four stars. It's clean, well edited, easy to follow, and mostly reveals a high level of mastery over the subject matter. In my book, that's worth four stars, even if it might not be a blueprint for getting on the next cover of National Geographic.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's a great Nik tools tutorial, with some examples that let you see the way a pro works. Specially with color efex 3, which covers more than 50% of the book. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Alejandro
It's an interesting book, but deals in large part with post processing. I was also disappointed that he uses a $250 filter (for sale under his name) to achieve some of the photos... Read morePublished on January 24, 2013 by Leslie Lusk
I use software to complete my photos, so I'm very interested in learning as much as I can about the subject. This book is right on target. Read morePublished on May 14, 2010 by Peter R. Dinella
Tony Sweet provides good detailed information on how he achieves his results, starting with a good digital image and ending with a piece of artwork. Read morePublished on March 25, 2010 by D. L. Mcdermott
Tony outlines all of the filters he uses and the exact settings and the reasons why for all of these images.... Read morePublished on December 3, 2009 by David in Vermont
An absolutely fantastic book, his pictures and writing are clear & understandable. It's given me new ideas on what to do with my digital camera. Read morePublished on August 7, 2009 by Mary L. Reynolds
Tony Sweet, author of the Fine Art Photography series, challenges every nature photographer to vision images through their mind's eye and turn that vision into reality. Read morePublished on July 12, 2009 by Marc Schoenholz
I have bought all of Tony Sweets books, videos etc and have loved each of them. I have also taken some classes of his at Better Photo. Read morePublished on May 1, 2009 by Terry G. Marecki