Book reviews:    How to Photograph Birds

book40a.jpg (17431 bytes) Title
How to photograph birds
Larry West, Julie Ridl
0 8117 3013 1
First, 1993
Stackpole Books
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How to photograph birds was the first volume in an entire series of "How to photograph ...". The book is written by Larry West, a nature photographer, and Julie Ridl, a former managing editor of Birder's World. This book is intended for the beginning bird photographer. Either a photographer who has never photographed birds before or for the birder who wantes to capture his beloved subject on film. It is written in a way that everybody can understand it, including a beginning photographer. Fortunately it is still very interesting for a more experienced photographer.

book40b.jpg (33998 bytes)After the obvious introduction, the book starts with a chapter on equipment. The equipment is explained from a practical side. No pushing you into the latest state-of-the-art equipment. And no pushing to any brand of camera either. Features of cameras and lenses are described and luckily also the importance of a tripod is well mentioned.

Then the book continues with a portfolio of Larry West's bird photographs. Many beautiful bird photos are shown, together with technical details and a short description of how why the picture was taken in this way. Personally I found this chapter very nice to read.

Part three is about the technical stuff; exposure and flash. It gives all the info you need to know and it is written in an easy to understand way. Specially the part about tones and tonality is very important. Luckily the text goes with very helpfull pictures.

Part four is about where to find birds and how to approach them. This chapter is very important to read. Bird photography is not just about all the technical stuff, but about enjoying the beauty of nature without destroying or harassing it. Finally there are a few pages about the difference between a good photo and a great photo.

Conclusion: This book is very well written by two experienced people. If you are interested in birds and want to start photographing them, or if you are not statisfied with your results so far,   this book will explain you all the details. It is easy to understand for the novice, without being too simple for more experienced readers. I am glad I bought it, so I can recommend it to you too.

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All text and images 1991 - 2011 Hans Martens