Night and Low-Light Photography: Professional Techniques from Experts for Artistic and Commercial Success 1st Edition

24 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0817432416
ISBN-10: 0817432418
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jill Waterman is the editor of the ASMP Bulletin and photo editor for IPNstock, both at Photo District News. A distinguished teacher and artist, and the creator of The New Year’s Eve Project, she lives in New York City.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Amphoto Books; 1st edition (August 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0817432418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0817432416
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,367,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Nick on December 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is the fourth low light photography book I have purchased and I would rank it a distant fourth. It is the first photographic book I have felt like returning. I think the allure of a forward by Michael Kenna persuaded me to buy this. I have included a few points to explain my concerns.

There are some reasonable images in the book and even a few very good ones however the average is below par; pretentiousness creeps in at a level not expected in an beginner book such as this.

A surprising amount of space is devoted to techniques for developing film. In fact more space is devoted to "How a divided developer works" than is spent on equipment for light painting. I had to check that it was a recent publication as it started to look like something from the last decade.

One of the five star reviewers is one of the book's contributers!

The learning experience pales compared to books such as those by Lee Frost (The Complete Guide to Night and Low-Light Photography)

The very important technique of High Dynamic Range is mentioned but the book demonstrates little understanding or knowledge of the field

But the worst part of the book by far is the graphical layout. I will not repeat all the comments of Conrad J. Obregon but I agree with him; I have never seen a worse layout in any book never mind a photographic book.

This is not a pleasant reading experience.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Conrad J. Obregon VINE VOICE on September 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
Many photographers put away their cameras when the light grows dim or dark, thus forfeiting at least half the opportunity to take photographs. This book seems aimed at those photographers.

Jill Waterman has assembled a team of 30 top professionals to talk about low-light and night photography. The book begins with the usual mandatory discussion of equipment, although this chapter contains many tips on equipment use, such as stabilizing one's lens against glass if shooting through it. There are also some unusual pieces of equipment mentioned, like large portable spotlights for painting with light. Other chapters include discussions of color temperature; black and white photography, which emphasizes the role of the chemical darkroom in extending range; lighting techniques, which emphasizes light painting; weather, night time phenomena, like the aurora; and post production tools. There is a chapter that analyzes the styles of seven of the photographers and a final chapter that talks about the availability of workshops.

The difficult part of the project was probably wrangling the work and ideas of thirty different photographers into a coherent instructional body and it shows. The book lacks orderly development and approach to this kind of photography and often lapses into a kind of esoteric tip book. Occasionally there were interesting pieces of information that were never tied to anything else, like the distinctions between civil, nautical and astronomical twilight.

What I found strange was the feeling of having entered into a time warp with discussions of film, two-part developers and enlargers. A theme seems to be that film lends itself to a greater range of exposure values then digital, although that may require chemical processing to achieve.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Glynn Clapsaddle on February 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have gotten tired of flipping through books titled "Everything you could ever know about photography" that is only 120 pages of big fonts. THIS book does not fall into this category. It is well-written, laid out in a logical manner, and full of excellent instruction. It has examples by professional photographers on different techniques and subjects in night photography. Each example has a detailed explanation of how the shot was taken and what settings were used. I am seriously impressed with this and am beyond satisfied with my purchase. If low-light or night exposures are something you are getting into, this book is a Must-Have.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Sage Spirit on March 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There certainly aren't enough good books on the subject of low light/night photography, so I was pleased when I had an opportunity to read Jill Waterman's book. There are a lot of things to like about this book. The overall print quality is excellent--with a lot of excellent photo samples on every page. This alone makes the book worthwhile. Not only do we get exposed to the unique and varying style of each contributing artist (and there are many), each image is accompanied by a few nuggets of background information about the shot, along with some basic Exif data, such as camera, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc.

But my biggest issue with this book (and it is big in my opinion), is Jill Waterman's overt lack of information and insight about digital photography equipment and methodologies. Almost the entire book is dedicated to a film-based philosophy, from darkroom techniques to reciprocity failure. Having come from the film world myself, I get it. But in 2008--with the advent of highly capable low-light/high ISO cameras like the Nikon D3, this omission is just too big to ignore. It's almost as if the book were written in 2001 and published in 2008.

Undoubtedly, many contributors in this book continue to shoot using film. And film certainly offers some advantages in dynamic range over digital (which is important when trying to capture the full range of highlights and shadows in any given scene), although this gap is starting to close as sensors become more sophisticated. But ultimately, digital shooters reading Jill Waterman's book may feel that she does not go far enough to address their unique concerns and challenges.
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