The following books are editions that I read and review regularly and that I consider to be essential components of my learning.
Clicking on any of the links on this page will redirect you to that item on amazon.com
John Shaw – The Business of Nature Photography
In this manual John Shaw shares what only years of experience can teach – his personal game plan for running a profit-making photography business. He provides a discussion of all aspects of the business, including legal and financial issues, equipment, computers and software, copywriting, storing, and filing slides, packaging and mailing photographs, invoicing, and office management. He also examines the kind of pictures that will sell, finding clients, marketing strategies and selling rights.
Chris Gomersall – Photographing Wildbirds
The practicalities of working in the field are the fundamental skills for any bird photographer. Here the author’s many years of professional experience allow him to explain clearly his methods for stalking, using hides, and photographing rare birds, even in tough conditions, as well as advanced techniques such as using decoys or tapes. Each section contains a feature interview with leading international bird photographers showcasing their work and the techniques or subjects with which they are associated. An extended section of case studies shows how field techniques are put into practice to capture stunning images of many birds. Introductory chapters on equipment and creative camera techniques, and concluding chapters on post-production, including digital storage, complete this comprehensive guide.
Arthur Morris – The Art of Bird Photography
From the art of the ancient Egyptians to modern-day currency, birds have long captivated the interest of people with their unmatched beauty and grace, their song and their ability to fly. They inspired Leonardo da Vinci to create designs for a flying machine. And birds continue to be used as symbols, images and metaphors in both literature and poetry. Whether one photographs songbirds in the backyard, or travels to wildlife refuges to observe them in their natural habitat, this hands-on guide to capturing gorgeous images of avian subjects covers all the bases, from buying the right camera equipment to composing the perfect picture. Readers will discover practical guidance and professional advice on such topics as making correct exposures, capturing bird behaviour and action and evaluating and selling work. They’ll learn some of the ethical issues related to bird photography, including guidelines on the proper conduct for working in the field and tips for approaching wild birds without causing them undue stress. They’ll also find complete information on the best bird-watching spots throughout North America, with advice on the best times to visit and the types of birds that flock to each location. Finally, this source book is filled with more than 200 colour images of egrets, herons, pelicans, ducks, gulls, terns, hawks, falcons and dozens of other remarkable birds in action.
David Tipling – Digital Wildlife Photography
Wildlife photographer David Tipling explains how digital equipment has changed the art of photography and shows how photographers can adapt their craft to exploit this new technology. He guides the reader carefully through every aspect of digital wildlife photography, referencing his own stunning photographs with technical notes and detailed captions. Concise instructions are provided for cameras and lenses, field craft, locations, composition, post-processing, image manipulation, publication and more.
Bryan Peterson – Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera (Updated Edition)
More than 100 vivid, graphic comparison pictures illustrate every point in this revised classic and can help any photographer maximize the creative impact of his or her exposure decisions. Peterson stresses the importance of metering the subject for a starting exposure, and then explains how to use various exposure meters and different kinds of lighting. The book contains lessons on each element of the exposure-aperature, shutter speed, iso-and how it relates to the other two in terms of depth of field, freezing and blurring action, and shooting in low light or at night. A section on special techniques explores such options as deliberate under- and overexposures, how to produce double exposures, bracketing, shooting the moon, and the use of filters. Understanding Exposure demonstrates that there are always creative choices about how to expose a picture-and that the decision is up to the photographer, not the camera.
Fil Hunter – Light: Science and Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting 3th (third) Edition
This highly respected text, now in paperback, has been thoroughly updated and revised. It introduces a logical theory of photographic lighting — one that teaches beginning photographers to predict results before setting up lights. This is not primarily a how-to book with only set examples for photographers to follow. Rather, Light: Science and Magic provides the reader with a comprehensive theory of the nature and principles of light to allow individual photographers to use lighting to express their own creativity. Numerous photographs and illustrations provide clear examples of the theories delineated within the text, while sidebars highlight special lighting questions. Although styles of photographic lighting continue to change, Light: Science and Magic does not go out of fashion because it is not based on style; rather it is based on the behavior of light. These principles will not change until fundamental physics does.
Lee Frost – The Complete Guide to Night and Low-Light Photography
Aimed at photographers who pack away thier cameras as soon as light levels fall, this brilliant book shows how, with just a little skill and imagination, even amateurs can produce breathtaking photographs in night-time or low-light settings. The guide begins with a clear explanation of technical aspects that must be considered, such as the best equipment to use for low-light indoor or nighttime outdoor shots, which color and black-and-white films to choose, how to ensure correct exposure in tricky situations, and details relating to both natural and artificial light. The book then tackles a wide range of themes and lighting situations, presenting specific guidance for shooting low-light landscapes, portraits, buildings, carnivals, fireworks displays, and weather phenomena such as lightning, sunrises, and sunsets.
National Geographic and Tim Harris – National Geographic Complete Birds of the World
Covering every bird family on Earth, this definitive, easy-to-use volume is designed to inspire and inform both novice birders and experts who want an authoritative yet concise reference. It’s a fascinating colorful guide to all the birds on our planet, their identification, structures and plumages, habitats, behaviors, and ranges. The clear, accessible text provides a systematic presentation of information organized taxonomically by family based on the latest official guidelines, with detailed and accurate descriptions for each, worldwide distribution maps for every family, and carefully selected profiles of 500 representative species. The book’s illustrations include both spectacular and informative color photography by the world’s leading wildlife photographers as well as the superb artwork birders have come to expect from National Geographic. Illustrated sidebars complement the family accounts, exploring everything from the courtship dance of the Birds of Paradise to the Harpy Eagle’s predatory tactics. The text is wrapped up by a useful glossary and a detailed index that puts an astonishing range of information at the reader’s fingertips.
Jonathon Alderfer – National Geographic Complete Birds of North America
Essential, comprehensive, and easy to use, National Geographic Complete Book of Birds is an astonishing resource that covers every bird species in North America, as well as all the migrants that fly through. The entries are organized by family groups-an incredible 82 are included-according to the American Ornithological Union guidelines. Within a family, each separate bird entry has dozens of tips and illustrations on species’ genders, age groups, behavior, habitats, nesting and feeding habits, and migration routes.
Joe McNally – The Moment it Clicks: Photography Secrets from One of the World’s Top Shooters
Joe McNally, one of the world’s top pro digital photographers, whose celebrated work has graced the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, and National Geographic (to name a few), breaks new ground by doing something no photography book has ever done—blending the rich, stunning images and elegant layout of a coffee-table book with the invaluable training, no-nonsense insights, and photography secrets usually found only in those rare, best-of-breed educational books.
Joe McNally – The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes
In The Hot Shoe Diaries, Joe brings you behind the scenes to candidly share his lighting solutions for a ton of great images. Using Nikon Speedlights, Joe lets you in on his uncensored thought process—often funny, sometimes serious, always fascinating—to demonstrate how he makes his pictures with these small flashes. Whether he’s photographing a gymnast on the Great Wall, an alligator in a swamp, or a fire truck careening through Times Square, Joe uses these flashes to create great light that makes his pictures sing.
Rulon Simmons – National Geographic Photographing Birds
There are an estimated 85 million American birders, and just about every one carries a camera. But there’s an art to capturing birds on film—and who better to reveal the tricks of the trade than two of National Geographic’s foremost birders/photographers? This appealing and informative guide is packed with practical know-how, presenting a wealth of techniques, tips, and hard-won wisdom about everything from the best equipment to use to how to lure or stalk birds until you have the perfect shot. You’ll learn how to get close—but not too close—to a nest, how to frame a bird in full flight, how to cope with challenging weather or difficult lighting, and much more. Interspersed throughout the book, wonderful visual essays offer vivid examples of birding photography at its dramatic best, along with commentary on how the shot was taken and how its elements combine to create an effective, arresting composition.
Tim Fitzharris – National Audubon Society Guide to Nature Photography: Digital Edition
National Audubon Society Guide to Nature Photography is a comprehensive reference and inspiring guide to taking outstanding photographs of the great outdoors. Renowned photographer Tim Fitzharris shares his foolproof techniques, emphasizing digital photography field procedures for a wide variety of nature shots. Packed with tips and strategies, this outstanding guide is ideal for beginners, advanced amateurs and professionals. The information is presented in a conversational style and accompanied by hundreds of stunning examples of the author’s photographs.
David Allen Sibley – The Sibley Guide to Birds
David Allen Sibley, America’s most gifted contemporary painter of birds, is the author and illustrator of this comprehensive guide. His beautifully detailed illustrations—more than 6,600 in all—and descriptions of 810 species and 350 regional populations will enrich every birder’s experience.
David Allen Sibley – The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior
The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior is the new landmark book from David Allen Sibley. Designed to enhance the birding experience and to enrich the popular study of North American birds, the book combines more than 795 of his full-color illustrations with authoritative text by 48 expert birders and biologists. In this new guide Sibley takes us beyond identification, to show us how birds live and what they do. Introductory essays outline the principles of avian evolution, life cycle, body structure, flight dynamics, and more. The 80 family-by-family chapters describe the amazing range of behavior dictated by birds’ biology and environment.
Heather Angel – Macro Through a Nikon Lens: Revealing the Secrets of Professional Macro Photography
Heather Angel is a leading peripatetic wildife photographer who writes practical wildlife photography books – one of which is Macro through a Nikon lens. Always an enthusiastic communicator, Heather tutors workshops worldwide and her work has been recognised by many awards in Britain and overseas. She was President of the Royal Photographic Society from 1984-86.
Tim Fitzharris – Close-up Photography in Nature
This is the guide for great close-ups of plants, animals, insects and small landscapes. For this updated edition, master photographer Tim Fitzharris includes the latest developments in digital photography and how they affect close-up nature photography. He shares his proven techniques for capturing once-in-a-lifetime images and inspires both amateur and professional photographers to improve the quality and beauty of their work.Alex Woodruff is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com