Monday, August 2, 2010

Book Nook - Close Up Photography

Hi readers,

The "focus" of this week here at the Bach Haus is macro photography.  I've checked out many books on the subject & I really like this one:

Close-Up Photography in Nature by Tim Fitzharris.  There are two main reasons that I recommend this book.  First, the author's photography is outstanding.  To make a photography book stand out among the others, your photos have to be pretty good.  I like his style a lot.  There are a couple of pics in here that I keep thinking I wish I took that! when I see them.  There's a walking stick with a dark background & light shining on its body (page 97) - the light makes the shot.  There's also a backlit bee (last photo in the book) that also showcases great light.  Just about every butterfly picture that's in the book inspires.  Even if macro photography is not your hobby, this is a beautiful book just to look through.  For those of us interested in macro, Fitzharris not only provides beautiful pictures, but also the techniques used to get the shot.

The second reason I like this book is that the author not only tells you the set up for the shot, but also shows you.  In many of the photo descriptions, he puts in a silhouette of his camera body along with the lens/extension tube/supplementary lens/etc. that was used.  It's one thing to read about all this equipment, but it's another to see it visually & see how it's stacked on the camera body.  Photographers are visual people, after all & I found this really helpful.

I also like that he shares some tricks he used to get the shot.  For example, there's a photo of a marmot (page 23) & the author tells us that he smeared some peanut butter near its burrow to get it to sit still for a shot.  What a clever trick!  I love it when photographers are forthcoming with this kind of info. - I would have never thought of doing that!  Chapter 4 is titled "Subjects in the Wild" and in this chapter, the author gives all sorts of tips for photographing certain critters.  For frogs & toads, for example, Fitzharris tells us a little bit about where to find them, what they'll be doing when you find them, the equipment & techniques he recommends for getting the best shot.  It's really as if you had a professional photographer sitting down with you & saying, "well this is how I do it and what I've learned in all my years of experience" & then showing you some awesome photos as an example.  Well, that's really what you get with this book!

There's a lot of great information in this book.  Some of it is still over my head, unfortunately, but that's ok.  Photography is a life-long interest.  How boring it would be if you knew everything there is to know upfront.  Then, there would be no reason to get out there & push yourself & try new techniques & equipment.  This book does a good job giving the photographer lots of useful information and new ideas to work with.

Be on the lookout for macro photos from me this week!

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