Book reviews:    Photographing birds in the wild

book48a.jpg (33931 bytes) Title
Photographing birds in the wild
Paul Hicks
0 86343 357 X
Fountain Press Ltd
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After having read many books on the subject of bird photography, this one was a sudden delight. It is a very beautiful book, both in appearance and contents. What captured me mostly was that this book is a joy to read. It doesn't focus on the latest state of the art electronic equipment, which you "must" buy if you want to make beautiful photographs of birds. Instead it deals with the essentials of how to get great photographs. Technique and fieldcraft instead of equipment. And to prove this, the images in this book (by the author and two of his friends) are of stunning beauty. Almost modestly several of them are marked as highly recommended or even winner of the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest. The same modesty is displayed at the end of the book in the equipment chapter, where you'll find this sentence: "In my opinion autofocus is not essential, and as a proof of this I would offer the fact that we focussed manually to shoot every picture in this book". If you look at the quality of the pictures, specially the flight pictures, you can only have deep respect for the skills of these photographers.

book48b.jpg (45417 bytes)A great deal of effort has been put into publishing this book. It has a hardback and high quality paper with very well printed photographs. The layout of the book is very beautiful too, very readable.

The book starts with a chapter on hides and hide photography, describing different types of hides and how to build them. Even more important is the section on choosing a location and on how to use a hide.

The biggest part of the book is devoted to field techniques, with sections on subjects as bird feeders and baiting. Shooting from your car and using a hide for nesting birds. There are sections on birds in flight and stalking. There is even a special section on how to attract kingfishers.

Of course there are also chapters on controlling exposure and using different flash techniques. Explained with detail but still easy to understand. There is a chapter called the creative approach with sections on composition, viewpoint and natural lighting. The last chapters is about equipment. It explains what essentials to look for and what options are nice but not really essential. Here you can find some sound advice from professional experience. It is nice to see a book which really tells you what you will need for bird photography. And without any commercial pressure to buy the latest camera and the newest and biggest lens.

Conclusion: If you are really interested in bird photography and looking for a great book on the subject, look no further: This is it! Together with Arthur Morris' book, this is the best book on the subject I have seen so far. Definite recommendation !!!

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