Photography authors I follow:
Below is a short list of photography books that have inspired me.
Jim Brandenburg- “Chased by the Light” is a study in simplicity and elegance. Jim, a well regarded nature and wildlife photographer for over 30 years, set himself a daunting task. As he says, “for ninety days between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice, I would make only one photography a day. There would be no second exposure. My work would be stripped to the bones, bringing together whatever photographic and wood skills I have.” His reasoning for setting himself this task was that he felt that with the advent of digital photography it had become too easy to take hundreds of photographs of a scene from which the best one is chosen. By choosing to take only one exposure per day for 90 days he hoped to sharpen and revive his love of the photographic experience. The book follows his journey. Some days he gets the shot first thing in the morning. Other days, he is chasing the light, many times second guessing whether he should have settled for that other shot an hour ago. The beauty of this book is that his images are spectacular.
Though I will never reach his level of expertise, this book is one that I aspire to and think about when I am in the field. His images inspire me to slow down, think and compose more carefully.
Michael Clarke– is an adventure photographer who has worked with Red Bull, the Patagonia Extreme Adventure Race and top elite athletes far and wide. He started out as a rock climber/photographer. I am currently reading his newest book, “Exposed”. Though this book is a fun read, I found his first book, “Adventure Photography”, more informative to read. In this book he details which cameras and bags he uses for photographing different sports. For elite mountain biking he will have one setup, for rock climbing another setup, for back packing another setup. I found this helped me narrow down choices I might make and at least gave me a starting point to work from. As a 130lb woman, I have ended up making even further modifications to trim down the weight I would have to carry. In his new book “Expose”, he takes some shots for Red Bull of some of its elite BASE jumping team taking flight in Southern Utah. He got an incredible shot with a Nikon D300 at high noon. This made me realize that I should be able to make some good images when backpacking when I carry a single camera and lens- the Nikon D7000 with the 18-200 kit lens. Most times it is not about the equipment but about the photographer’s eye.
Joe McNally– Joe is a master of using small and studio flashes to capture images. He has classes on Kelbytraining that are an inspiration to watch as well as numerous books.
I have yet to use small flashes in my work as I mainly shoot landscapes, but Joe keeps me thinking about ways to use small flash with my landscape work.
Matt Kloskowski- Matt is one of the Kelbytraining regulars and can be seen throughout the Kelby web connection. This book shows you how to make those composite images that you see on magazine covers and in print ads. The book is clear, easy to read and insightful. As Matt has said, “I use to only take my camera out to take photographs when I was going to an interesting place. Now I take my camera with me everywhere, taking pictures of textures, clouds, background images.” And as simple and exciting as this sounds, there is one caveat. The main center focus of the image should be taken in the studio, so that the direction and quality of the light can be controlled. This makes for the best and easiest compositing of images.
RC Concepcion– RC is another Kelbytraining regular. This book gives you detailed examples from Photomatix. HDR Efex Pro, and Photoshop’s HDR toning. If you are new to HDR, then seeing how each software processes the same images differently will help you decide which software matches your visual needs. RC also shows how to mask back in areas from the original exposure into an HDR composite to help avoid halos or artifacting. This book is thoughtful, well constructed and easy to follow. HDR is a great tool to have in your digital toolbox in the advent you are out mid-day and want to keep shooting.
Tony Sweet- Tony has a series of books that explore some creative ways to approach traditional subjects- flowers, water, ice, fog. Among some of his techniques, he makes use of the Image Overlay function in higher end cameras. In the slide film days, you would sandwich slides together. Now you can overlay images in camera, set exposure compensation individually and get a high key artistic effects. He also plays with different multiple exposure techniques while zooming or moving the camera. The Singh-ray Filter Company has also worked with Tony to create a filter that creates his signature Soft Focus effect. Tony’s books are good when you are feeling stale and need some inspiration for common subjects.