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The Art of Photographing Nature Paperback – July 7, 1993

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill (July 7, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517880342
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517880340
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #274,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The first how-to book by Art Wolfe, America's most renowned nature photographer, written in collaboration with the former photography editor of Audubon magazine. Together, they help everyone from novice to experienced amateur to see like a photography professional. Full-color photographs.

Customer Reviews

Therefore, I highly recommend this book for everybody.
This book is for anyone that is interested to see how different compositions will impact viewers or how an art director/editor evaluates pictures for publications.
The Art of Photographing Nature is a unique photography book.
Joseph Boone

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Conrad J. Obregon VINE VOICE on January 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
The Art of Photographing Nature is probably not for the beginning photographer, but once you?ve learned how to manipulate the camera well enough to consistently make good, properly focussed exposures, you ought to look at this book if you?re interested in nature photography. And I do mean look, because that?s the way this book teaches.
This is a book about photographic composition, which is something a photographer must know well to make pictures that are more than snapshots. Technique is referred to, but if you want a how-to book get John Shaw?s ?Nature Photography Field Guide?
Although Hill claims the writing credits and Wolfe the photography credits, this is somewhat misleading. The form the book takes is to show a picture taken by Wolfe, or more often two, and then have both comment on the compositional choices. Since Wolfe is one of the greatest living nature photographers and since Hill is the former picture editor of Audubon Magazine, their commentary is illuminating. I found the comparison between two pictures of the same or similar subject matter, including why they found one better than the other, to be particularly insightful. It also adds to the discussion that each of them brings a slightly different sensibility to the pictures. There are even a few sets where the two disagree as to the better picture.
As I said before, this is not a technique book, but technique is examined as a way to enhance the composition. For example, in the section called ?Reading the Light?, the authors talk about how to find 18% gray, to get a standard exposure from a light meter. But than they talk about how to use that information to make pictures lighter or darker to enhance the subject.
There are various methods of teaching.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 27, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really liked this book. The photographic images are well reproduced and fascinating. The dual presentations of the two authors (photographer and photography editor) allowed for different perspectives that really increased my understanding of the creative process of taking and analyzing these images. The use of multiple photographs of the same subject (some that worked well, some that didn't work as well) and the related discussion was very helpful. The text went beyond the typical photographic techniques recitation to present artistic concepts and how this impacted the "success" of the captured image. I wish the book was even longer with more excellent photographs.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By on July 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
This was my 3rd book on Photography. When I compared with other 2 books, I really find it an EXCELLENT book on the very basic or Fundamentals of Photography. This book tells you how you should isolate your subject, what color situations to choose, how to frame the picture, how to read light, how to set Shutter speed and Aperture to achieve Depth of Field or Isolation of a Subject etc. This book is almost free of technical jargons but explains evrything you want to know about photography. When I started reading it, I was a little disappointed because of not so amazing photographs but as I continue to read I found that the photographs really tell you the basics. Moreover, the book is not too verbose so you can read it fast and at the same time build up your knowledge. I read the complete book in 3-4 days cause it's so gripping and interesting. Oh, I forgot to tell one thing. This book also contains various aspect of photography for a magazines or for a story etc. Martha Hill happened to be the Picture Editor of Auduban. Therefore, I highly recommend this book for everybody.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kevin S. Holder on September 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
I purchased my copy of this book in 1997 and have read it more than once. Art Wolfe's photography is outstanding and the inclusion of two or more takes, with explanatory verbiage, on the images is of great value in understanding how he got the shots and what goes into making the best shots.

Martha Hill also provides interesting insight for the photographer on the inner workings of a publication or at least the photo editing function. This can be useful to those determined to sell their work for publication.

Both Art's & Martha's explanations on why they like a certain image in a comparative spread are illuminating and they occasionally disagree as to which image is best. This is, of course, perfectly acceptable as the individual perspective that each brings to the table, Art's artistic perspective, and Martha's publication-oriented perspective, as well as their personal tastes all come into play in determining what is the "best" image.

An otherwise good effort is marred by poor text editing. This book, or at least the version that I have - last date 1993 - could have benefited from a text editor. There are many instances in which the technical information - lens length, aperture, f stop or shutter speed - provided in the image caption and that provided in the text disagree. The first of these occurs on pages 6 & 7. The image caption notes that the shutter speed for the Adelie penguins was 1/250, but the text indicates 1/500. (I provided this citation so that you can see if the version of the book you are looking at has been updated. Hopefully, any newer printings would have rectified this issue.)

The frequent inconsistency of the technical information relating to how an image was captured should have been caught in the editorial process.
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More About the Author

"Art Wolfe's photographs are a superb evocation of some of the most breathtaking spectacles in the world." -- Sir David Attenborough

The son of commercial artists, Art Wolfe was born on September 13, 1951 in Seattle, Washington, and still calls the city home. He graduated from the University of Washington with Bachelor's degrees in fine arts and art education in 1975. His photography career has spanned five decades, a remarkable testament to the durability and demand for his images, his expertise, and his passionate advocacy for the environment and indigenous culture. During that time he has worked on every continent, in hundreds of locations, and on a dazzling array of projects.

"Art Wolfe's work tells a story that is overwhelming, breathtaking, and vast."
- Robert Redford

Wolfe's photographic mission is multi-faceted. By employing artistic and journalistic styles, he documents his subjects and educates the viewer. His unique approach to photography is based on his training in the arts and his love of the environment. His goal has always been to win support for conservation issues by "focusing on what's beautiful on the Earth." Hailed by William Conway, former president of the Wildlife Conservation Society, as "the most prolific and sensitive recorder of a rapidly vanishing natural world," Wolfe has taken an estimated two million images in his lifetime and travels nearly nine months out of the year photographing for new projects, leading photographic tours and seminars, and giving inspirational presentations to corporate, educational, conservation and spiritual groups.

"There's a stunning clarity and vibrancy in Art Wolfe's wildlife portraits, which are careful, often haunting, compositions." - The New York Times Book Review

In 1978 he published his first book Indian Baskets of the Northwest Coast with the late Dr. Allan Lobb, a close friend and mentor, who also gave Wolfe a start by putting the young photographer's work into patients' rooms at Swedish Medical Center. Wolfe was soon photographing for the world's top magazines such as National Geographic, Smithsonian, Audubon, GEO, and Terre Sauvage. Magazines all over the world publish his photographs and stories, and his work is licensed for retail products and advertising.

Numerous US and international venues have featured monographs of his work as well his traveling exhibits, Travels to the Edge and Beyond the Lens. He has had four major shows at Seattle's Frye Art Museum, including One World, One Vision. Today his work is available at the Art Wolfe Gallery in Seattle, Rotella Gallery™ in Las Vegas and New York City, as well as online at

"Art has the broadest range of excellence of any nature photographer I know."
- Galen Rowell

Since 1989 he has published at least one book a year--1997 alone saw seven titles in the United States and abroad. He has released over eighty books, including award-winning The High Himalaya, Water: Worlds between Heaven & Earth, Tribes, Rainforests of the World, Pacific Northwest, Land of Light and Water, as well as numerous children's titles, including O is for Orca and Animal Action Alphabet. Graphis included his books Light on the Land and the controversial Migrations on its list of the 100 best books published in the 1990s. His books have sold over 500,000 copies and have been translated into eight languages.

In 2000 he formed Wildlands Press and subsequently published much of his signature work: The Living Wild, which has more than 70,000 copies in print worldwide and garnered awards from the National Outdoor Book Awards, Independent Publisher, Applied Arts and Graphis; Africa (2001) and Edge of the EarthCorner of the Sky (2003), both of which captured significant publishing awards, including IPPY (Independent Publishers), Benjamin Franklin (Publishers Marketing Association), and National Outdoor Book Award. Wolfe's latest books are Human Canvas, Graphis Photography Annual 2014 gold medal winner; and two instructional texts published by Amphoto Books: an updated edition of the bestselling Art of Photographing Nature and The Art of the Photograph with author Rob Sheppard. Coming in 2014 is the Art's encyclopedic Earth Is My Witness with Insight Editions and an eagerly anticipated second edition of Vanishing Act (Cameron + Company).

"The intensity, texture, and strange density of Art Wolfe's photographs are truly astonishing." -- Peter Matthiessen

Wolfe has ventured into the world of television production with "On Location with Art Wolfe," "Techniques of the Masters" and as host of "American Photo's Safari", which aired on ESPN 1993-1995. In May 2007 Art made his public television debut with the high definition series "Art Wolfe's Travels to the Edge," an intimate and upbeat series that offers unique insights on nature, culture, and the realm of digital photography. The thirteen-episode first season garnered American Public Television's 2007 Programming Excellence Award--unprecedented for a first season show. The thirteen-episode second season garnered five Silver Telly Awards, their highest honor, for outstanding achievement. It has been broadcast hundreds of thousands times in the United States and is in syndication throughout the world.

"It is in the wild places, where the edge of the earth meets the corners of the sky, the human spirit is fed." -- Art Wolfe

Along with his numerous book and television awards, Wolfe is the proud recipient of the Nature's Best Photographer of the Year Award, the North American Nature Photography Association's Lifetime Achievement Award and the Photographic Society of America's Progress Medal for his contribution to the advancement of the art and science of photography; he has been awarded with a coveted Alfred Eisenstaedt Magazine Photography Award. The National Audubon Society recognized Wolfe's work in support of the national wildlife refuge system with its first-ever Rachel Carson Award. In 1999 he was named to the UW Alumni Association's magazine list of 100 "most famous, fascinating and influential" alumni of the 20th century. He is a member of the American Society of Media Photographers; he is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and has served on the advisory boards for the Wildlife Conservation Society. Wolfe has been a member of Canon's elite list of renowned photographers Explorers of Light, Microsoft's Icons of Imaging, Fujifilm's Talent Team, and Nikon's NPS Pros.

Wolfe maintains his gallery, stock agency, and production company in Seattle's Pioneer Square neighborhood.