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Main / Book Reviews: Digital Nature Photography
by Jonathan Cox

Digital Nature PhotographyHow many professional photographers would consider filling an entire book with images taken purely on a digital camera? Even with the hundreds of books on the subject of digital photography many use very high-end equipment or the pictures are taken on film and scanned before the digitisation process takes place.

Well, the images in this book are all taken on digital cameras (mostly a Nikon Coolpix 995 and Nikon D1X. I'm happy to say that this has no bad effect on the quality of the pictures used in the book, even at full size. This just shows what a mis-conception it is these days that the quality of digital just isn't up to it!

The subject matter covered and the advice given in the book usually holds true for traditional film photography, with a few exceptions. In fact Jon Cox makes quite a good argument for digital, he's almost got me convinced enough to make the change. If only Minolta made a digital camera body that took my existing 35mm SLR lenses.

Jon should be well equipped to teach you everything you need to know to master digital photography, it is after all what he teaches. As with most photography books trying to teach you something it starts out with a basic introduction to the equipment you will need, and what the photographer chooses to use himself. It then moves on to taking cover more basics of taking the picture as well as more advanced topics such as light direction, colour choices and composition (be warned this is a US book so you will see color everywhere!).

The writing style often refers to incidents in the photographers experience and this proves valuable, why learn the same lesson twice! This also helps you to think better on your feet, giving you alternative ways to shoot if you can't get the first shot you visualised (shooting a silhouette for example).

Each topic covered has several illustrations and the book is 160 pages in total so there is quite a lot covered. It also makes it quite easy to read in sections.

As mentioned before, much of this book will hold true for photographers using traditional equipment. There is also a relatively small section in the back on digital image manipulation. This topic in itself spawns hundreds of books but here it is covered over 16 pages including illustrations. Each image has before/after or source images/final image illustrations, a list of the tools used, the goal of the manipulation, the steps followed and a conclusion. These are mostly basic image manipulation, colours, distracting objects, merging several shots etc. and the description of the steps taken is fairly compact. You also won't find any illustrations of the steps along the way but each manipulation is fairly straight forward to follow.

Overall this was a very easy book to follow and the advice given is excellent for beginners and well seasoned photographers who need to brush up on their skills. If you're considering the switch to digital or are slightly sceptical then read this book. Good points are made, for example, you get to see the results of your image right there and then, giving you the chance to re-shoot from a different angle. Something you wish you could have done a week later when your slides arrive back from the lab, but it's just too late!

Review source: by Patrick Hutton

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