National Audubon Society Guide to Nature Photography: Digital Edition

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9781554073924: National Audubon Society Guide to Nature Photography: Digital Edition

A professional course in digital nature photography.

National Audubon Society Guide to Nature Photography is a comprehensive reference and inspiring guide to taking outstanding photographs of the great outdoors. Renowned photographer Tim Fitzharris shares his foolproof techniques, emphasizing digital photography field procedures for a wide variety of nature shots.

Everything needed to achieve professional results is covered, including:

  • The best digital equipment, and how to use it
  • Detailed insider field techniques for photographing mammals, birds, insects, amphibians, reptiles, wildflowers, wilderness landscapes, seascapes and more
  • Getting a correct digital exposure every time
  • Using filters (with before-and-after examples)
  • Fine art composition
  • Photographing scenes for maximum sharpness
  • Shooting postcard-perfect sunrises and sunsets
  • Digital processing
  • Preparing digital captures for publication.

Packed with tips and strategies, this outstanding guide is ideal for beginners, advanced amateurs and professionals. The information is presented in a conversational style and accompanied by hundreds of stunning examples of the author's photographs.

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About the Author:

Tim Fitzharris is well known for his regular column in Popular Photography and Imaging magazine. He is the author and photographer of more than 30 books, including National Audubon Society Guide to Landscape Photography; Rocky Mountains; and Big Sky. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Introduction
The Craft and Art of Nature Photography

Nature photography means different things to different people. But it is for all of us an acting-out of the instinctive urge to hunt and gather, even to claim territory. On a conceptual level it is an expression of our appreciation of beauty. The philosophy, experience and practice of nature photographers allow each to be placed for the moment somewhere along this continuum between subject matter and theme, between craft and art. This book is intended to help photographers with a knowledge of photography's basic principles find their way along this route and enjoy its numerous attractions.

Photographing wild creatures is a challenging undertaking with infinite possibilities. When shooting a bird or mammal, the approach is mostly determined by the subject. There are logical, hard-to-ignore prerequisites that concern us when filming whales, giraffes or butterflies. We want to capture expression in the eyes, definition of specialized limbs or how the subject gets its food. These subject-generated issues are not so compelling when working with inanimate trees, sand dunes or breaking waves. Instead, the approach is guided more by influences from within -- a philosophy, a mood, a telling experience, a visual sensation. This engagement with self-expression is at once easier (who's to say you're wrong?) and more challenging (does anyone care?) than satisfying the more apparent and objective criteria of subject-based imagery. Depending on mood, inspiration and encounters with compelling subjects and settings, most of us move back and forth between crafting photographs and expressing our artistic urges.

The recent development and near universal embrace of digital cameras and related technology has engaged photographers ever more deeply in the creative process. By providing higher quality in-camera image capture as well as vastly more pliant post-capture computer processing and image modification (formerly darkroom) methods, photographers can pursue their artistic goals relieved of most of the technical limitations that formerly hampered creativity.

However, this is not the book to find detailed advice on how to run your high-tech digital equipment. Most of the time, this preoccupation is peripheral to making pictures of the natural world. This book is intended to help you make the best pictures in the most direct, practical, economical, intuitive way possible. Photography isn't complicated -- a camera is a basically simple machine for capturing images on a light-sensitive storage medium. Although technical advances of the last three decades have made cameras more responsive and (electively) automated, they have also made the creative component of picture-making more challenging. Art photographers, freed from working within the confines of film, can now engage a near infinite world of conceptual possibilities.

At a time when the earth's natural resources and wild places are being destroyed at a pace unmatched in human history, you could choose few better ways to spend your life or your leisure time than photographing nature. No matter the result of your picture-taking efforts, the act itself serves as an example to family members, friends and even the larger community of a philosophy that marries aesthetic abstraction with the elemental dictums of survival. As photographers and artists, we can use our influence to help turn society's focus on resource development and consumption to one that favors preservation. At this point it's a losing battle, but this could change. And you'll feel better about your life and even more appreciative of the subjects you photograph just for making the effort.

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