Esther Beaton is an Australia-based professional nature photographer with 25 years of experience and in The Nature Photography Cookbook the author aims to help those of us (including me) who are keen to take better wildlife photos to do just that.
This attractively produced ebook contains an impressive 153 pages of detailed yet easy-to-follow instructions to help you learn how to take pictures you can be proud of.
Whilst this ebook isn’t specifically designed for total newbies, anyone who has a little experience of taking wildlife photos (no matter how badly!) can benefit from Esther’s clear instructions.
Unlike the majority of nature photography books which focus primarily on technical aspects and contain almost too much information for the beginner to intermediate level of photographer, Esther has applied a “cookbook” style to this guide which really makes it very simple and clear to use, whilst being easy to dip into and use as a reference guide.
The Nature Photography Cookbook includes 60 “recipes” – or different suggestions for taking better wildlife photographs. Each one is presented in a very clear manner including information on subject or location, time of day or desirable weather and lastly the equipment you will need (nothing expensive is required).
Each recipe then includes detailed, step-by-step instruction on what to do in order to achieve the effect desired including advice on using your preview screen if you are using a digital camera and making minor adjustments to get the perfect photo. It should be mentioned though that these techniques are not confined to digital photographers and most if not all will work just as well for good old-fashioned film cameras.
Each recipe ends with a sample photograph showing the effect you are trying to capture together with an analysis of why the particular example works and I found it interesting to not only admire Esthers photographs but this small summary at the end of each chapter was also very useful for “getting my eye in” and developing a deeper understanding of what the technique discussed is trying to accomplish.
Esther has carefully arranged each of the 60 odd recipes in order of difficulty so that each technique builds on what you learned in the last. This greatly cuts down on the learning curve, allows one to follow a natural progression through the tuition and, for me at least, made the learning experience far easier and more enjoyable.
Any technical terms used in the book that the beginner may not be familiar with are carefully explained in detail in the glossary at the end of the book and indeed individual words are linked to the glossary throughout the book so you need only click the word and you will be taken straight to the exact definition before you continue reading which makes this a very accessible and user-friendly way to get started on improving your nature photography.
With all the details contained in the 150+ pages of the book it’s only fair that I end this Nature Photography Cookbook review with a complete rundown of the various chapter titles to “tickle your tastebuds” and give you a better idea of the topics you can look forward to discovering from it or you can click here to visit Esther’s site and find out more about the ebook…
1) Change Your Viewpoint – Look Down
2) The Effect Of Fog
3) Flower Close Up
4) Make A Diagonal Composition
5) Using Midday Sun
6) Shoot Close Up To Tell A Story
7) Good Exposure With Flash
8) Using Fog For Easy Atmosphere
9) Making Captive Birds Look Wild
10) Making Captive Mammals Look Wild
11) Waiting For The Action
12) Eliminating Busy Backgrounds
13) Can’t Get Close? Use Composition
14) Balancing The Composition
15) At The Porpoise Pool
16) Adding Foreground Interest
17) Using Elements Of A Scene
18) How To Create Silhouettes
19) Simple Backlighting
20) Seascapes At Dawn
21) Silky Water
22) Composing Reflections
23) Harmonious Colors
24) Wildflowers In Meadow Close Up
25) Wildflowers In Meadow Landscape
26) Composing With Clouds
27) Perennially Good Subjects
28) Change Your Viewpoint – Look Up
29) Forest Landscape Vertical Composition
30) Forest Landscape Horizontal Composition
31) Vanishing Hills
32) Complementary Colors
33) Backlit Macro Shot
34) Wide Angle To Create Vanishing Point
35) Radiating Lines To Overcome Lack Of Color
36) Deliberate Over-Exposure
37) Fill-Flash And Macro – Motionless Subject
38) Fill-Flash And Macro – Moving Subject
39) Moving The Subject
40) Stalking Animals In The Wild
41) Panning Over Water With Reflections
42) Basic Fill Flash For Portraits
43) Pre-Set Controls To Shoot Fast
44) Trompe L’oeil – Trick Of The Eye
45) Long Exposure After Sunset
46) Background Halo To Vignette Subject
47) Integrating A Surprise Element
48) Incorporating Shadows As Patterns
49) Using White Balance To Add Missing Color
50) Using Wide Angle Lens To Add Full Depth Of Field
51) Using Fisheye To Create Pattern
52) Using Graduated Filter In Dull Light
53) Depth Of Field With A Telephoto Lens
54) Wide Angle Lens Classic Composition
55) Candid Portrait Daring Composition
56) Framing With Silhouetted Branches
57) Posed Three-Quarter Portrait
58) Posed Head-And-Shoulders Portrait
59) Using Sun To Create Hotspot Vignette
60) Experiment And Have Fun!