November 4

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Book Review: The Landscape Photography Field Guide, by Carl Heilman II

By Dan

November 4, 2011

books, Creative Tips, instruction, landscapes, outdoor photography, photography, Photoshop, Reviews and Recommendations

Field guides are great, aren’t they? Handy little reference books that you can keep right in your bag, and that give you tons of practical information right at your fingertips.

The Landscape Photography Field Guide by Carl Heilman II, published by Focal Press, is one of the best little resources for outdoor photography that I’ve seen in a long time.

No, it’s not a big, pretty coffee table book that you’ll feature prominently in your living room. It’s not even written by one of the big names like Rowell, Shaw or Wolfe. However, it’s filled with an unbelievable amount of usable information on shooting, processing and editing landscape and general outdoor photos. It’s a book that you’ll keep by your bed stand, in your camera bag or in the glove box of your car. It’s a book that you’ll read, dog-ear and wear out from use.

Starting with basic equipment, Carl covers cameras, accessories, sensors, formats, and all the custom functions and features that you’ll want to set on your DSLR body for ideal use in shooting landscapes.

He then moves on to discuss technical matters, such as aperture, shutter speed, ISO, shooting motion, exposure, white balance, histograms, shooting for post production and more. There’s even a complete hyperfocal distance chart and exposure value EV+/- table for reference.

Then he gets into the creative stuff. He talks visualization, composition, shooting video, panoramas and image blends, and light, emotion, sense of place, translating three dimensional subjects to two dimensional imagery, closeups, energy, working with wildlife, aerial and underwater photography, photographing people and shooting in different season, locations, lighting situations. Enough ideas to both teach and inspire.

The last part is full of creative effects, such as selective focus, panning and motion blur, time lapse, multiple exposures, using flash, as well as editing your images in Photoshop, digital workflow and the best ways to store and backup your images. The editing section is actually quite detailed, covering things like sharpening, color enhancements, working with HDR, RAW and JPEG images.

There’s even a quick reference chart that lists common formulas and tips for quick shooting in a variety of situations, and a full glossary that lists all the DLSR and digital photography terms you need to know. And, of course, the book is packed full of images to illustrate every single concept and idea.

At 188 pages, this little postcard sized manual, which only costs around $10-12, depending on where you buy it, is actually an awesome reference book for the beginning and intermediate landscape and outdoor photographer. There is as much, if not more information packed in here than just about any other book on the subject, information that is sure to teach you the craft of photographing landscapes and inspire your creativity.

In fact, for it’s price, size and weight (only 4.5″ x 6″), The Landscape Photography Field Guide is probably the best book in it’s class. If you’re somewhat new to photography, I’d definitely give this book a serious look.

About the author

Hi, I'm Dan Bailey, a 20+ year pro outdoor and adventure photographer, and official FUIJIFILM X-Photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska.


As a top rated blogger and author my goal is to help you become a better, more confident and competent photographer, so that you can have as much fun and creative enjoyment as I do.

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Terry Bourk

I have read you new book “Behind the Landscape.” I could not “put it down” meaning that I kept at it because each photo you presented/analyzed was interesting and informative. I am trying to develop an eye for composition (both the scene and the light).

Thank you! The examples you present and the suggestions are very helpful. Purple Mountains, McKinley River and Wonder Lake are fascinating.


Roger Sinclair

You have done it again! Another triumph.

Your generosity to share, the clarity of thought and concise explanation thereof is brilliant. Perhaps I should also mention the beautiful photos and the talent necessary to produce them.

Thank you, Dan.