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The Smaller Majority
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I'm a friend of the author and have been with him in the field for some of the shots in this book. I can say Piotr is a driven man - at the end of a long day of hiking, entomologizing, and shooting - when it's time to quit he invariably pushes on, stretching his words "just 5 more minutes!" into another hour or so. Of course, it's in those last 5 minutes of that extra two hours that he gets the shot he wants - which he will invariably describe as being merely "OK". (He's also terribly humble).

I've been learning macrophotography from Piotr which has given me an insider's perspective on his work. For example, I once spent 8 hours trying to replicate a photograph he had taken 4 years earlier (of the dolichopodid fly on page 165). His photograph is simply perfect - the light, the resolution of detail - and those flies are both very small and very flighty! My efforts were often frustrated by slight breezes that would ruin my shot (moving the leaf the fly rested on). After the day of shooting (hundreds of shots) my best shot was simply not close to matching the quality of Piotr's. Sometimes he gets lucky with a shot, but most of the photos in this book are the result of incredible effort, patience, knowledge, and vision.

Often books of such great photography have little to offer in the text, The Smaller Majority is an exception. Piotr has written about the subjects of his photographs with authoritative detail. He has also included anecdotes describing some of his experiences with these animals. These explain his passion, for Piotr is first and foremost a biologist. His masterful photography grew out of his scientific love of biodiversity.

The photographs are stunning but, as Naskrecki explains in the text, it is the animals themselves and their habitats that are truly incredible - and it is these priceless works of evolutionary art that our species is exterminating - due in large part to ignorance. This book is thus less of a collection of surperb photographs and more of an effort to inform, inspire, and remind people that we have ample reasons to keep on sharing our planet with all of its myriad life forms.

This book is perfect in every important way - the photos and text are plainly awesome, but the quality of the printing, the paper and even the price are simply remarkable.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Professor Naskrecki has something to teach us all with this gorgeous "bug" book. His macro photography of the insect and animal world truly captures a beauty that we rarely can appreciate. Printed using a gorgeous 6 color hexachrome process, the photos within it's 278 pages jump forth with vivid and lush clarity.

It is obvious a lot of love went into the making of this book. To get shots of a pygmy chameleon, he spent a week hiking, canoeing and hacking through the jungle just to reach the place where they lived. Was it worth all that effort? Most definitely. This is one book that should appeal to everyone for the beauty of the photos alone, no matter if you may be squemish over the subject matter. His personable writting style only adds to the appeal.

Pick this one up!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Naskrecki, with his wise words and great pictures shows the incredible beauty of smaller animals and their significance in the biodiversity realm. Amazing, up close photos with text that will pique basic interest as well as inform those who are scientifically bent. Great for the young ones too.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Being an obessed Macro photographer I love looking at pictures. ANY kind. I had recived this book as a wonderful gift from my aunt. It makes you realize there are smaller things out there to take photographs of. After going through the entire book and drooling over the photographs for over an hour I wanted to grab my camera and go look for bugs just like those! You can probably find similar bugs in your own backyard!

As a macro photographer I found this book inspiring and makes me less afraid of spiders that's for sure! 400 up-close and personal photographs of all types of bugs. You will not be disappointed with this book. The photographs and information on the bugs and creatures is fasinating and entertaining to read!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The things one notices in life often depends on our point of view. In some cases, this is literally true. For humans living in the modern world of concrete and steel, we are often oblivious to the ecosystems that occur in other locales on different scales of space. This book opens a window to this world through beautiful photographs and wonderful text. Focusing on those environments lying within the tropics: deserts, tropical rain forests and African savannahs, the author uses incredible photography to show the beauty and intricacy of life among smaller creatures.

The author presents the life forms of each environment using exquisite photographs, with accompanying text that describes the lifestyles, habitat, and life cycle of each, and how they interact with their fellow denizens. All the various animals are covered: crustaceans, spiders, scorpions, lizards, frogs, katydids, beetles, etc... The author also goes out of the way to show those species that are the rarest of their kind, and gets them in their native environments. Hence the reader can test himself by trying to locate the camouflaged butterfly sitting on a treebark, or the walking stick swaying among leaves and branches. The book also gives a good background of how man affects the different species, and how many of these ecosystems can be measured in square footage.

Overall, a great book to read, or just to flip through. The text is simple enough for non-scientists to appreciate, yet it contains enough illustrations and facts to intrigue any nature-lover. I highly recommend this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is outstanding... Period! The work that went into this book results in a standard that will be incredibly hard to beat. Even though this is a serious work in natural history I certainly WOULD recommend this as a gift for a younger child, because they would be thrilled with the photographs all by themselves. Fun to read, this book is primarily a book of nature photography. And Oh, what photographs... the book would be worth every penny just for the photos of these small animals. If nothing else have your local library obtain this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is fantastic! First and foremost it's a photo book full of beautifully detailed photos of katydids, frogs, spiders, worms, lizards, ants, and other smaller creatures. The species selection shows off how wonderfully diverse our planet is and will please any nature lover.

Beyond the stunning 400+ photographs the author also provides tidbits of fascinating information. Since so many species are covered there's no way to give a comprehensive overview of them all, but there is enough to whet your appetite for more. In that regard I think this book would make a perfect gift to stimulate an interest in nature for a younger reader.

I love this book and can't recommend it enough.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have been sincerely amazed by this work. Pictures are excellent and very innovative (great use of wide angle!) and the text extremely intriguing. It's not a specialistic book and will be a wonderful read for any nature lover. Hope this nice product will put, at last, bugs and other small creatures in good light.

Francesco Tomasinelli, Italy
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2006
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
If you don't already have this book, get it. It will not be a duplicate of something you already have. My wife and I saw critters we didn't know existed, and we're both passionate about critters. The author has a great writing style, the photography is excellent, the book covers a broad diversity of fauna. It's not a field guide, not a biology text, it's fun and it's top notch. I envy a previous reviewer that has been out on field trips with this guy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2008
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Excellent choice of subjects (small living creatures) and excellent photography. The editing, printing, and text are very good. Makes an interesting and attractive coffee table book that becomes a content book when you pick it up. And, a reasonable price. Highly recommended.
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