I’ve been reading two excellent nature photography books by Tony Sweet. They are published by Stackpole Books. They choose first class photographers to write an excellent and ongoing series of photography books. I’ve been giving high praise to Stackpole’s photography books for years and I now have two more to add to the list.
Fine Art Nature Photography and Fine Art Digital Nature Photography both have the same format. Each book is a collection of photographic techniques, some of them basic, some of them advanced. On each right hand page is a beautiful photograph. On the facing left hand page is an explanation of the technique involved, why the technique was used, and how you can use that technique.
Take the “Golden Brook” photo at this beginning of this article.
Sweet gives the location of this photo, the digital white balance to set (or the filter to use if you are using film), along with this explanation:
“Bright sun shining on yellow leaves and reflecting in to the stream created this scene. But it was visible only by looking at the water at a low angle when kneeling down, which is a good practice when composing reflections. Low angles lengthen the areas of color, like lengthening a shadow.” Sweet goes on to describe the choice of aperture and shutter speed and why he made those choices, along with the point of focus in the image, and the overall approach to texture, lines, and movement.
The emphasis in Fine art Nature Photography is on camera and lens techniques – what you are doing when taking the picture. I would suggest you read this book first. The emphasis in Fine Art Digital Nature Photography is split between camera techniques (including the filters you use on your lenses) and techniques in the computer (including a number of software filters to alter the image). He did both in the following image.
Two exposures of this subject were created in the field, one of them using a special filter, then both images were combined in the computer.
Both of these books will give you a lot of great techniques to try out when you are out creating nature images. I highly recommend both books!
You can buy both of Sweet’s books in this section or this section of my photography store (with direct links to Amazon.com so you get Amazon’s great prices, fast delivery, excellent service, and first class guarantee). While you are at it, check out the other excellent photography titles from Stackpole Books. They are first rate. Some of the older title are getting hard to find so grab them while you can. It doesn’t get much better than books by photographer/authors like Joseph Lange (who wrote one of the best how-to landscape books ever), Larry West, Leonard Lee Rue III, Heather Angel, and Norbert Wu.
You can see more of Tony Sweet’s beautiful images at TonySweet.com.
More excellent nature photography books are at my photography store which is powered by Amazon.com’s great prices, fast delivery, and excellent service.
If you are new to photography (and even if you aren’t), I would suggest you read my book first, Digital Photography Exposure for Dummies, then dig into Sweet’s books. My photography book can be purchased here with more information here.
This is one in a series of articles that will guide you to the best of all things photographic. The rest are here: Buyer’s Guide: Recommendations For The Best Photography Equipment, Software, Books, Magazines, DVDs, Online Photo Labs and More.