Saturday, April 18, 2015

John Shaw's Guide to Digital Nature Photography by John Shaw

book cover
John Shaw's Guide to Digital Nature Photography
by John Shaw

ISBN-13: 9780770434984
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Amphoto Books
Released: March 17, 2015

Source: Review copy from the publisher through Blogging for Books.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Photography legend John Shaw returns with his much-anticipated guide to digital nature photography, complete with more than 250 extraordinarily beautiful photographs. In his first-ever book on digital photography, John Shaw provides in-depth advice on everything from equipment and lenses, composition, and close-ups, to up-to-date information on software filtration and the histogram. In addition, he offers inspirational and frank insight that goes far beyond the nuts and bolts of photography, explaining that successful photos come from having a vision, practicing, and then acquiring the equipment needed to accomplish the intention.

My Review:
John Shaw's Guide to Digital Nature Photography is a book about getting the most out of digital single-lens-reflex (DSLR) cameras and its gear. If you have a Nikon D3 or similar camera, or if you have thousands of dollars to spend on a camera body, lens, filters, software, tripods, and other equipment, then this book will make sure you get the best pictures that you can from that gear. It also explains what gear is good for what type of pictures, so you don't end up buying gear that you'll rarely use.

About 95% of this book is about selecting and using the DSLR camera equipment. The remaining 5% applied to using any digital camera. He generally assumed the reader had heard this more basic, general information before and only covered it as a quick review.

Unfortunately, I took the book description of "easily digestible and useful for every type of photographer" seriously. I've taken a photography course before, but it was for point-and-shoot cameras and mainly covered composition. I wanted to learn about more manual control of digital cameras (f stops, ISO, etc.) and how to get better nature photographs, so I thought this would be the book for me. From the start, though, he assumed the reader knew what f stops, lens sizes, etc. were about and only later briefly described that information to "remind" the reader. A glossary of terms or concepts would have been very helpful for someone like me, but there wasn't one.

His photographs where lovely, but he didn't explain the reasons he chose certain gear and settings for the photographs. I enjoyed looking at them, but I learned very little from them. He included only a few illustrations that demonstrated what he was explaining in the text. When he did, it was an immediate, "oh, I understand now!" for me. However, he generally told the reader to go out and experiment until you understand. So I ended up understanding very little of what appeared to be very detailed and helpful information since it didn't apply to the camera I actually own.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

No comments: