Book reviews:    Wildlife Photography, Getting Started in the Field


book43a.jpg (23088 bytes) Title
Wildlife Photography, Getting Started in the Field
Author
B. Moose Peterson
ISBN
1 883403 27 8
Edition
1998
Publisher
Silver Pixel Press
Pages
152
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What can I say about this book? It is one of my favourite wildlife photography books. Well, if that didn't get you interested yet, please read on and let me explain why I like this book. Moose Peterson is one the present time great wildlife photographers. He is especially well known in the US, as he lives and conducts photo seminars there. One things that clearly shows through all of this book, is that he is not just a good photographer but above all, he has a great love for nature. Throughout the book you will keep reading his remarks about how to take pictures without harming the environment. No picture is worth harming an animal or habitat. An important lesson, all wildlife photographers should regards as their prime directive.

book43b.jpg (34364 bytes)The book is divided into six chapters, each focussing on a different subject. I will briefly describe them all here.

Chapter 1, Backyard photography
This chapter deals with the easiest place to start with wildlife photography, your own backyard. Many people think the only places for wildlife photography are the Serengeti or maybe Yellowstone. In fact you can often photograph perfectly in your own backyard. Moose explains in great detail how to attract local wildlife to your garden and how to creat many photographic opportunites. This is one of the best piece of advice I have ever read about feeders and nesting boxes for birds.

Chapter 2, Nocturnal photography
This chapter appears at a bit of a strange place in this book. It describes norturnal photography and the use of flash in detail. As it deals with quite advanced techniques, it's a chapter for the more experienced photographer and I would have expected it in the back of this book, or in a seperate book. But don't let it put you off. Skip it for now and return to it  when you are ready for it.

Chapter 3, Nesting birds
This is a chapter that I read with mixed feelings. Although Moose keeps stressing that the well being of the bird is much more important than any photo can be, I feel that nest photography should not be promoted. It is very easy to harass the birds or lead predators to the nest, and in many countries it is even illegal. So, read this chapter carefull. If you are as concerend with the well being of the birds as Moose himself is, there won't be much of a problem. I am just afraid some readers might not be as concerned.

Chapter 4, Rehab and Tank Techniques
Often finding wildlife can be difficult. Moose shows us a way in which we might photograph wildlife somewhat easier and at the same time help it. He explains how to find and work with rehabilitation centres and gives many helpfull tips. The second part is about how you can photograph small mammals in what he calls a tank (something like a small aquarium without the water). Again lots of practical and technical information.

Chapter 5, Working with biologists
This part of the book is not about techniques, but about how you can find and photograph wildlife. Moose explains how he has worked together with biologists and how doing this has given him many opprtunities he would otherwise not have had. He explains how you can work together with a biologist and also how you can find them in the first place. This kind of cooperation between biologists and photographers can be mutually very benifical.

Chapter 6, Telling the biological story
Here the emphasis is not on how to get a single picture, but on how your photographs can tell a story. A story of animals in all different seasons. Or the life story of an animal family. If you want to rise above the wildlife snapsnot level, this chapter can give you some usefull hints.

Conclusion:  The book is a mixture of technically detailed information and some much more practical information. It tells you how to attract birds to your garden and how to do this in a way to have the best photo opportunities. But it also explains things like TTL fill-in flash photography. The book clearly shows the author's vast experience and his love for nature. And it is done in a way that makes it easy to read. As I mentioned at the beginning of this page: One of my favourite books on this subjects and a must have for anyone seriously interested in wildlife photography !

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