All posts filed under: On the bookshelf

On the bookshelf: Photographing People: Portraits, Fashion, Glamour

    Photographing People: Portraits, Fashion, Glamour by Roger Hicks is another good book by publishers RotoVision. Along with the expected mix of portraits, fashion and glamour shots there is a nice variation between commercial, editorial and personal work. As the book was published in 2001 nearly all of the cameras used are film, but  digital photographers will still benefit from the lighting diagrams. A used hardback copy is less than 20 bucks on Amazon, and sure to provide some photographic inspiration.

On the bookshelf – Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait by Michael Grecco

Here’s another good reference book, Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait by Michael Grecco.  It is an inspirational book that blends the best of the Rotovision series of books (lighting diagrams / camera info) along with interesting behind the scene anecdotes of a celebrity photographer (“We were shooting at Shaq’s home…”) The first sections are based more on types of gear and how to use them: cameras, lighting etc. Later chapters are based on concepts and case studies. Well written, great images, a quality book. On Michael Grecco’s website you can also get a good idea about his lighting setups by looking at his behind the scenes video clips. I particularly liked this clip showing a portrait of Scorsese, it shows a clever use of natural and strobe light along with a bit of smoke.

On the bookshelf – Lighting for Portraits

Having recently posted  some studio portraits I thought it would be a good time to mention the book Lighting for Portrait Photography by Steve Bavister. It is published by Rotovision and similar to other books by this publisher it shows you a photograph and then explains how it was created with lighting diagrams. There is a good mix of camera types and lighting setups. The above illustration if for a natural light shoot, but later on in the book the are examples using multiple strobes, gels, softboxes and snoots. The book was printed in 2001, reprinted (with a different cover) in 2007, and is now out of print. Used copies are available and cheap ($20) so it’s well worth checking out.

On the bookshelf – Lonely Planet’s Discover Japan

A few months ago I did a quick review of some of the various guidebooks to Japan, you can read the post here. A new  “IN FULL COLOR” guidebook to Japan titled Discover Japan has just been published by Lonely Planet so I thought I’d get a copy. There are many more photos than in the standard Lonely Planet guide to Japan, and they  even used ( and purchased ) an image I took on my trip to Yakushima. As in the previous review I checked out the section on Matsuyama. There are 4 pages of text, with two photos. The text highlights the three main attractions in the city, but  publishers could have done a better job of matching photos with the text e.g. after a long description of Dogo Onsen there is no photo. The page layout is also a little strange with the “If you like…Matsuyama” sidebar hidden on the next page amongst information about Nagasaki. I turned to the section on Okinawa. Here the quality of  both the photos and the information varies. …

Birds of Peru

Back in 1998 not long after graduating from university I spent a year in South America. For six months I worked as a resident naturalist guide at a jungle lodge in the Peruvian Amazon. I guided tourists on forest walks, canoed on the lake looking for giant otters and spent evenings out in the peki peki motorized river boats searching for caiman. The memories all came flooding back when I saw a field guide to the Birds of Peru on the  Amazon website.  Our small patch of jungle had arguably the greatest diversity of bird and butterfly species in the world. I ordered a copy of the guide and have spent the last few days flicking through the book reminiscing about Hoatzins,  Harpy Eagles, Potoos, and Macaws. It’s amazing to think that I once used to use the calls of Howler Monkeys as an alarm clock.

On the bookshelf: Location Portraits by Cathy Joseph

Location Portraits by Cathy Joseph is one of the books in the Professional Photography series by Rotovision. Although the photography is excellent, this is not a coffee table book but an instructional guide on how to take portraits outside of a studio. Advice is given by experts in various fields including travel photographers, photo journalists and those who specialize in corporate portraits. As with other books published by Rotovision,  Location Portraits includes the technical details for each shot  including camera, lens, film etc and where relevant lighting diagrams. Unfortunately this book is no longer in print but it is still available new or used and is well worth checking out. (There are used copies on Amazon for less that $4!) Enjoy.

Japan Guidebooks

I have a stack of Japan guidebooks that I have bought or aquired over the last decade. I’ve spent most of the last week preparing for my next trip up to the mainland so I felt I could give a few brief pointers about the differences in books available and which I would recommend. I’m only going to discuss the guidebooks I’ve actually used, but if you’ve read another I’d love to hear your comments. In a later blog I’ll give a list of useful Japan travel websites. As a quick means of comparison I will mention the amount of information each book has on Matsuyama (one of the places I will be going). Let’s start with the heavyweights. Lonely Planet Japan (Pages on Matsuyama: 5 including 2 page city map)  The Rough Guide to Japan (Pages on Matsuyama: 12 including city map and Dogo onsen map.) The problem I have with the Lonely Planet and the Rough Guide is their places to eat, and places to stay sections seem to be almost arbitrary. It …

On the Bookshelf: Within the Frame by David duChemin

Within the Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision is a new book on travel photography by David duChemin. The quality of both the writing and photography along with its focus on vision rather than equipment means that the book, already a bestseller, is destined to become a classic. Simply put, it should be on the bookshelf of any aspiring travel photographer. “Vision is the beginning and end of photography. It’s the thing that moves you to pick up the camera, and it determines what you look at and what you see and what you do. It determines how you shoot and why. Without vision the photographer perishes.”          David duChemin There are chapters on the basics such as the rule of thirds, exposure, depth of field and varying angles. The book also delves into issues that are more specific to travel photographers such as whether to give money to beggars, or issues to consider when photographing poverty, children or the elderly. Overall, however, the book is about how to improve your craft, …

Photographer John Shaw

I happened to meet photographer John Shaw while at Jigokudani Onsen. John was leading a wildlife photography tour of Japan. They had just spent around 10 days in Hokkaido and were enjoying their last few days photographing the snow monkeys. John’s a really nice guy and great photographer. He has written numerous books on photography including John Shaw’s Nature Photography Field Guide, John Shaw’s Closeups in Nature and John Shaw’s Landscape Photography.