Book reviews:    Photographing Wild Birds

book54a.jpg (21045 bytes) Title
Photographing Wild Birds
Chris Gomersall
Amphoto Books
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A beautiful and well made book about bird photography. It's about A4 sized (8x11 inches for the non metrics) and has a soft cover, although I believe it to be available in hard cover as well. The photographs are printed very well. Most of the photographs in this book are by the author Chris Gomersall, but the book also includes photographs and small interviews with many other bird photographers as well, such as Laurie Campbell, Nial Benvie and Fritz Pölking.

book54b.jpg (23778 bytes)As with most books on this subject, after a general  introduction, this one also starts out with a chapter on the hardware, the camera equipment. I was glad to see that this author didn't focus on the latest and newest cameras on the market emphazising that you would need all stuff this to photograph birds. He clearly advices to buy the best you can afford, but is very practical about choosing the equipment. There are parts about power supply, film transport, metering system, AF system etc. Both Canon and Nikon equipment is mentioned. The author shares my prefence for a 500/4, being a favorite lens. Besides cameras and lenses there is also a lot of information on things like converters, extension tubes, tripods, heads etc. All together some 25 pages in this chapter.

The second chapter is about controlling the image. This part of the book (about 30 pages) deals with composition and perspective. The creative part and also how to create such images by making use of perches and such. Another part deals with light and metering, including using (multiple) flash set ups.

The biggest part of the book (some 45 pages) is about the most important issue in bird photography, the fieldcraft. Or better the techniques you can use to get close to birds or to get them come close to you. It includes where to find birds, approaching them and how to make use of hides. This "In the field" chapter is written very well and you can tell the author has the experience. This part of the book alone would already make it worth buying it. But the rest is just as good.


book54c.jpg (31927 bytes)Chapter four shows how to go about a specific assigment in the form of nine different case studies. Each case study shows how the author went on this assigment, which preparations he made, what equipment he used etc. One of the case studies, show in the scan here, is about how to photograph kingfishers on a perch. Others include, amongst others: great bustard, house sparrow, and white-tailed eagle.

The final chapter is about post-production, or things like editing and labelling, storing and archiving. There is also information on how to built your own archive and on how to promote your own work to editors. Finally the book ends with a Code of Practice and some Principles of Ethical Field Practices. Something so important which is so often overlooked in other publications.

The photographs in this book are absolutely beautiful and demonstrate the level of skill and creativity of this photographer.

A very beautiful and also very informative book on bird photography, written by a very skilled bird photographer. If you are looking for a good book on the subject, then this one is definitely worth the money. In my opinion of of the very best books on the subject. Recommended!

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