Thursday, March 27, 2008

REVIEW: National Geographic Photography Field Guide: Secrets to Making Great Pictures

Today I finished reading the 1999 version of this book written by Peter K. Burian and honestly I thought it was outstanding. While this book focuses on film photography, most of the concepts mentioned apply to any photography no matter what camera you are using.

When reading this book you really get a sense that you are a fly on the wall in the life of a National Geographic photographer. This happens because it is featured with 10 chapters that have short interviews and tips from some of the best photographers ever to work at National Geographic. I thought these things were outstanding and worth reading even if you skip the rest of the book.

There's something useful in all but two chapters of this book. The film chapter isn't going to be useful for most of us these days, and the last digital photography chapter is woefully out of date.

A cool feature of this book, which helps it to earn a true title of field guide, is that the inside covers are 18% gray cards, and the first page can be used for white balance metering.

The link I've provided here is for the updated 2003 version (2nd Edition), so I would imagine it is even better than the one I picked up from my local library. I would assume that the digital portion isn't so out of date, and that some of the content has been updated to reflect the use of digital ISO and its advantages.

I really enjoyed this book, but I'd probably keep Scott Kelby's book in my bag as my field guide. However, I have no troubles recommending this book for purchase. It is an excellent book and worth having, but at the very least you owe it to yourself to get a copy from the library. It is an easy read, and worth the day or two you'll spend reading it.

Learn more about the 2003 version of this book by visiting the Amazon link provided at the beginning of this article and reading the table of contents.

Skill Level: Beginner to Advanced Value: A steal at the current price of $8 on Amazon Recommendation: Once you are prepared to wander outside your local area or take on more challenges with photography, you'll find this book to be a great learning tool. Highly Recommended.

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