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Galen Rowell's Inner Game of Outdoor Photography Hardcover – June 18, 2001

4.2 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

[Galen Rowell] was the real thing. . . . His skillful writings were a rare combination of engaging behind-the-scenes narrative and actionable photographic instruction. Everyone wants to explore in his shoes and see through his lens. --Steve D. Werner, publisher, Outdoor Photographer" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Galen Rowell, internationally renowned photographer and mountaineer, is the author of such acclaimed books as My Tibet (with His Holiness the Dalai Lama) and Mountains of the Middle Kingdom. His work regularly appears in Life, National Geographic, Outside, and Sports Illustrated.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition edition (June 18, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039304985X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393049855
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.1 x 10.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #562,764 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bukkene Bruse VINE VOICE on May 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover
"Galen Rowell's Inner Game of Outdoor Photography" is a collection of articles written for Outdoor Photographer magazine organized into four broad categories. Interspersed between the articles are sections of photographs. Each article is cross-listed with relevant photographs, and vice-verse. This cross listing is an effective device; coming back to various photographs as I read the essays forced me to really think about them.
The first section deals with "creative and cognitive processes." These range from the inner desire needed to go out and get that shot to an almost scholarly examination - complete with annotated bibliography - of the processes involved in human sight and the differences between what people see and what film records. I found this section to be the strongest aspect of the book as well as the most useful and interesting.
The second section consists mainly of technical material ranging from how to pack your gear to ways to use flash in outdoor settings. It is pitched at a higher level than an introductory photo guide, suitable for an advanced novice like myself.
The third section is primarily a collection of travel stories, often only tangentially touching on photography. However, these articles provide the context in which many of the photographs in the book were taken. Arguably, context is the crux of photography. As Rowell points out, photographs are used to tell a story - though maybe not the one intended by the photographer.
The last section conveys Rowell's view on the positive and negative effects that photography and outdoor travel have on the natural environment, as well as on the art of color outdoor photography vis-à-vis fine art photography. These essays are thought provoking and, like the rest of the book, very well written.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read some of the reviews about this book present on this site and was somewhat surprised to see mostly positive ones. Maybe it is just my perception or the expectation I had after reading these reviews but before buying the book that lead to my disappointment in the book. What were my expectations...? I did expect Galen to tell me what he thinks and feels before, during, and after taking those great pictures. I did NOT expect a HOW-TO book (which it is definitely not). I expected a book about artistic approach to the outdoor photography. What I found instead was mostly a travel log. The first 2 chapters were as close to my expectation as it ever got. The author talked some about his creative approach and very little about his technical one. The rest of the book doesn't even present his "photographic philosophy". He simply talks about his travels, places he visited, people he met. All that would be great for an illustrated travel book but not for a book that was supposed to tell me about how HE came to those pictures, what (in his opinion) made those pictures great or standing out (there is some of it but so little it almost doesn't exist). The book's title has "inner game" words in it. I wanted to know what that "inner" game was before, during, and after taking EACH picture (or at least most of them). Overall - disappointing and expensive for that.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're a serious photographer (amateur or pro) and find your interest in shooting lagging occasionally, Rowell's enthusiasm might be contagiousness enough to provide a cure. This man was passionate about photography and went to extraordinary ends to get the shots he visualized. The majority of the book deals with his philosophy of photography and how he accomplished what he did. There's also much excellent technical advice. The book's only shortcoming, from my very personal perspective (take it for what it's worth), is the undercurrent of Rowell's ample ego. Were the personal pronoun "I" deleted from the book, its page count would be reduced considerably. Nonetheless, I still strongly recommend "Inner Game" for the highly passionate and very personal account that it is - an extraordinary photographer's testimonial to a life totally devoted to the art of photography and love of nature. It makes you want to climb a mountain and take pictures!
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Format: Hardcover
I have enjoyed Galen Rowell's photography and writing for many years. His column in "Outdoor Photography" magazine is probably the main reason I renew my subscription.
This volume, like its predecessor "Galen Rowell's Vision," is a collection of his columns from that magazine, arranged thematically, with more of his photos to illustrate the points made. He ranges from how to photograph, to technical issues and equipment, to environmental issues, to seeing and creating.
I don't want to be Galen Rowell. I don't want to photograph like Galen Rowell. But I like his viewpoint and outlook. He seems to be able to put these things into words a bit better than most other photographers. This is a worthy addition to any outdoor photographer's bookshelf, not to mention the armchair photographer.
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Format: Hardcover
I could not possibly say enough about the brilliance of Galen Rowell. It is self-evident from his photographs that he is both a technical master and an artist with tremendous vision -- he possesses an extraordinary ability to capture and convey breathtaking images and moments in time.
What is extremely lucky for other photographers like me, constantly striving to learn and improve, is that Galen Rowell is also a phenomenal writer. Some can do; some can teach -- Galen Rowell is one of those rare instances of a master of both.
The first time I picked up his Mountain Light (a MUST read), I heard a voice speaking to exactly all of the difficulties I had encountered in my work, explaining what the problems were, and clearly showing me how to correct them.
Some of Galen Rowell's photographs are so extraordinary that some people doubt whether they are authentic -- let me just say, read Galen's teachings, apply them to your own work, and you will understand the power of this man's vision. Before studying his work and writing, I would not have believed what I could do with my own camera.
Galen Rowell's Inner Game of Outdoor Photography is yet another magnificent addition to his collection of works which will allow any photographer to expand and fulfill their potential, and to achieve realization of their artistic and personal vision.
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