Digital Photography Outdoors Book Review

digitalphotographyoutdoorsThe full title of this book is Digital Photography Outdoors: A field guide for travel and adventure photographers, Second Edition. Whew, that’s a long title. You can find it at The Mountaineers Books, and Amazon. I didn’t get it from either place, I found it at the Minneapolis public library. You should be able to request to reserve this book to a local library if you live in Minneapolis. (Ok, this has nothing to do with the review, but I hate the library’s site/search system. To be fair, they are trying to merge a few systems and county libraries, but Argg!)

James Martin has one of the better more recent titles at the library. I found this to be a good book, and worth the trip to the library.

James has a pretty good writing style that didn’t bog me down. He uses his own pictures which are quite good. They are used effectively as examples to back up his text. I don’t think I would call it a field guide. I think you could drop the second part of the title. It is about using digital though. He mentions differences from film to digital threw out the book, but you wouldn’t need to know film photography to understand what he is saying. The second edition of the book was published in 2007 and is relatively up to date. File sizes have exploded since the book was published, but it doesn’t sound dated yet, and he mentions thinks like using a Lensbaby and using Lightroom.

I liked the first section the best probably. It is about composition, light, and color. He does a good job of explaining with text and images how to place yourself (or subjects) to get better angles and light. He discusses different times of day and the effect on light, and how to effectively add fill flash.

I figured Chapter 2 on equipment would be a take it or leave it chapter where he would just say use this and this. Not so. James presents how you can effectively use different equipment to take different pictures. Sure, there are some recomendations, but for example, he presents the differences between wide and telephoto lenses and tells you to go out and experiment.

Chapter 3 is more of a “how digital is different” chapter. It talks about how sensors react to light, exposure compensation, white balance, ¬†and even how to clean them.

Chapters 4/5/6 I was not expecting. Guess I didn’t read the table of contents. There were mostly about handling and processing your digital files. There are large book’s on subsections of this topic, but his ideas and tips were specific¬†mostly to landscape photographs. The instructions were pretty good, but a bit brief. With no experience in photoshop, you might get lost. There was some good stuff in here though. I thought the auto align layers came in with CS4, but I found how to do it in CS3 which he used, so that was good to know!

Overall, I give it a thumbs up to take out from the library. To purchase, I give it a maybe. It is not very advanced but if you want a beginning/intermediate book that covers everything in one smallish book, then this is probably worth the dineros. I liked it.