After writing my 3 Simple Tips for Shooting More Dynamic Landscapes post yesterday, I just figured that I’d spend the rest of the week on landscapes. Why? because as outdoor photographers, we LOVE shooting landscapes. And besides, it’s the holidays, and I figured that I’d give you a few more ideas that you can put on your gift wish lists!
Today we look at 5 great books that teach you how to shoot better landscapes. We can always learn from books, and I’ll venture to say that most of us have quite a collection of books on the subject on our bookshelves at home. These photographer authors are all masters at their craft and they have great things to say about the creative and technical process of making great landscape images.
This is still my all time favorite book on outdoor and landscape photography. Galen Rowell was the father of modern day adventure photography and his vision has inspired countless photographers around the world. Considered the bible for mountain photographers, this book contains 80 of Galen’s finest images and essays about the creative, technical, environmental and even philosophical considerations that went into the process of creating them.
The son of a philosophy professor father and a musician mother who were both avid naturalists, Galen had a unique insight into the outside world and his writing style is very mature and intelligent. This is no mere “use this lens and this filter with this shutter speed” type of book, it explores the craft of outdoor photography with well thought out expertise and passion.
Unfortunately, Mountain Light has been out of print for years, but there are still used copies hanging around. Not sure why anyone would want to sell their copy of this excellent book, but if you find one out there, grab it and consider yourself fortunate to own one of the finest photography books ever published.
I’ve long been a fan of Tim’s work. In some ways, he seems like the quintessential landscape photographer- friendly, unassuming and totally immersed in his craft. That, and he’s makes beautiful imagery!
This book is a full, step by step manual of landscape photography. With chapters that start at “Outfitting for the Landscape,” and move through “Shooting Fundamentals,” “Creating an Image,” and “Spectacular Settings,” Tim explains exactly what he does in each situation and how he thinks about the light, the composition and the setting, and how he manages the equipment for each type of image.
He explores how to use filters, how to recognize and find great shooting sites, how to get correct exposure every time, how to record panorama and reflection type imagery and more.
Written in a simple, yet detailed, insightful and intelligent style, this book is an excellent reference manual for anyone from beginner to pro who wants to learn the craft of landscape photography and improve the quality of their imagery. Plus it’s published by the Audubon Society. Who else looks out more for the environment than they do?
Written by a photographer who literally lives in the shadow of Ansel Adams at the edge of Yosemite National Park, this book presents a unique look at landscape photography. Michael Frye explores the detailed methods that Ansel Adams used in his photographic process and applies them to the modern methods of digital photography.
Using well known photos by Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and Elliot Porter, this book breaks down the art of creating iconic images and explains the Zone System in a way that digital photographers can understand and apply to their own style of photography.
Exploring the technical, creative and post processing aspects of landscape photography with images of his own, as well as those of the maters, Michael Frye shows you how to visualize, shoot and create powerful photographers using today’s technology.
If you’re a beginning photographer, you may find some parts of this book a bit too advanced; it may be one of those you grow into. However, you’re adept with your equipment and have solid experience with using Photoshop, then this is a excellent learning reference.
Written by regular contributor to Outdoor Photographer magazine David Ward, this book explores the essential attributes of a great landsscape image and discusses how simplicity, ambiguity and beauty are found and translated into successful photographs.
More than just a technical How-To manual, this book delves into the more philosophical and aesthetic aspects of landscape photography and explores how our own personal viewpoint and interpretation of the world around us affects the images that we create.
Put simply, David’s book will make you think. You may even be surprised at what ruminates in our mind as you ponder his essays and insight, but he argues that you can’t create great imagery unless you put some serious thought into the process. He’s right on this point.
Beginning photographers might find this one a bit lacking in practical information, but then again, maybe it will spark your creativity in a new way. It’s definitely unlike most other photography books, and this is by no means a bad thing. It would actually be a great companion to to have alongside a more technical manual, because it has something special to offer that few other books have.
At any rate, Landscape Beyond is a well written and beautifully illustrated book that is certainly worth checking out.
With input by five top photographers, Tom Mackie, Darwin Wiggnet, David Norton, Tony Worobiec and well known nature shooter William Neill, this comprehensive guide outlines the essential techniques and equipment for shooting great landscapes.
Filled with expert tips and hints, and illustrated with outstanding imagery, each chapter offers insight about a different aspect of photography by one of the five authors.
Chapters included are Controlling Exposure, Understanding Light, Composing Landscape Images, Landscape Locations and Landscapes in Black and White. They’re written in a insightful and informative style that’s easy to understand and digest.
One nice thing about this book is that many of the images include a sidebar the details all the technical information and equipment that was used to create the shot, including the type of camera bag that was used to transport the gear to that particular location.
This is a great book for the beginning and emerging photographer. It’s a great primer on both landscape photography as well as digital photography equipment, technique, methods, shooting RAW, color space and more.
Next in the series- 6 Great Tripods for Landscape Photography.