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The Magic of Digital Nature Photography (A Lark Photography Book) Paperback – September 28, 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Rob Sheppard is editor of PCPhoto and Outdoor Photographer magazines and the author of numerous Lark Photography books: Epson Complete Guide to Digital Printing (2003), and PCPhoto Digital Zoom Camera Handbook (2005).

Product Details

  • Series: A Lark Photography Book
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Pixiq (September 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579907733
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579907730
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,476,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am proud of the work I have done as a photographer, author, naturalist and nature photographer, editor and videographer. I love the natural world, and that can be a native bee in my native plants garden as much as a visit to a national park. I am a husband of a beautiful and smart wife, a father to my outstanding son and daughter, and one who lived in Minnesota most of my life, but now loves the variety and very long growing season of Southern California.

I have written and photographed a lot of books and magazine articles but what is most important to me about them is knowing that I have helped people become better photographers and gain a better connection to nature. I work to help people connect with photography and nature through speaking and as a workshop leader, too. All of this has gained me a Fellow award with the North American Nature Photography Association. Many people knew me as the long-time, previous editor of Outdoor Photographer magazine.

A short list of some of the books I have done: Landscape Photography: From Snapshot to Great Shot, Magic of Digital Landscape Photography, The Magic of Digital Nature Photography, National Geographic Field Guide to Digital Photography, The Power of Black-and-White in Nature Photography and Reports from the Field (an iBook).

My website is at www.robsheppardphoto.com; my blogs are at www.natureandphotography.com and www.mirrorlessnature.com.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
For many years, I always recommended one book as the best for beginning nature photographers and that was "John Shaw's Nature Photography Field Guide". Since the development of digital cameras I've lamented the fact that Shaw has indicated that he does not intend to update the book to cover digital photography. Until now, no book has come close to the Field Guide as an introduction. But now Rob Sheppard has come close. Oh, not close enough to displace Shaw, but close enough to go on the shelf next to Shaw.

Sheppard's book is aimed at digital camera owners. After a brief pep-talk on nature photography, he launches into the customary discussion of gear. He follows up with a discussion of technical factors like exposure, raw processing and white balance. After examining the effects of light and color, he looks at specific nature subjects like landscapes, flowers and wildlife. He then looks further at close-ups and special techniques, like black and white and panoramas. He finishes up with a brief plea for the environment. At the close of each chapter, he provides a set of quick tips that photographers at all levels can apply to improve their pictures. He also includes portfolios and interviews by some of the great nature photographers, like Jack Dykinga.

Sheppard's writing is easy to understand and he tries to inspire the reader to take better nature photographs. Most beginning digital nature photographers will benefit from reading this book. But you may ask why Sheppard doesn't knock Shaw out of the box. It's mainly a matter of technical detail.
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At first glance, the book is amazing. It is very well written with all sorts of useful advice. It is useful for a beginner, but he never sounds as if he is talking down to anyone. It has plenty of more technical advice for the more advanced, but it never becomes overwhelming. And the photos are simply amazing.

But... I do have one problem with the book, and it is fairly glaring to me. As amazing as the photos are, the author makes little to no attempt to tie them into the text. There is no attempt to use the photos as a way to explain difficult or confusing topics. It is almost like the author wrote the entire book and then simply added a bunch of photos randomly throughout the text. Photographers by nature are visual learners. It would have been much more helpful if the author had use the photos to teach us and let the text add the details instead of relying so heavily on the text itself.

The end result is that many times the beautiful photos seem more of a distraction than helpful examples. This book is very good, but it easily could have been so much better.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the few photography books I have seen that starts off with simple point and shoot digital cameras rather than recommending you start with the fanciest Nikon from the beginning. In fact on an early page he says get a camera you like 'if you don't like your camera, no matter ... if it gets a top rating from 'Consumer Reports,' you won't use it as much as a camera that you truly enjoy using.'

Some of the best pictures are taken with very low end cameras simply because they are small enough, light enough (and inexpensive enough that you don't care much if they get lost or broken) that you have them with you when you want to take a picture.

Another point I like in this book is that he doesn't spend a lot of time talking about retouching your pictures using Photoshop. If you want to do Photoshop, get a Photoship book. This is a book on taking pictures, and at that it is excellent. His descriptions are good and to the point. His sample photographs are great and illustrate what he is talking about in the text.

Nature Photography is the most popular subject in photography, here's an excellent description on how to do it well.
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If you are looking for a helpful book on nature photography, keep looking. This book's focus is not on technique (or even nature photography) but mostly on gear and simplistic ABCs.

55% of the book is photos. None of the photos give detail of how it was shot or any twist on a technique used. This drops the page count from 207 pages to 93 functional pages. The first 61 pages offer nothing different than that of a camera's manual on shutter speed, white balance, etc. More wasted space is used on "gear" about tripods and cameras. Doing the math, we are now down to 66 pages. This process continues to where we have just a few pages that may offer some value.

Much of the remaining reduction comes in wasted space on "gear" which Sheppard rehashes multiple times. This book's only purpose would be to get someone not the slightest interested in photography to perhaps spark an interest. For any photographer at any level, the book offers nothing than what you find on camera manufacturer websites and manuals inside camera boxes. It is so basic that even beginners would be hard pressed to learn much. In the end, you are left wondering where the pages are about nature photography. Look elsewhere in Amazon for more suitable photography books.
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