The Art of Photographing Nature
by Art Wolfe and Martha Hill
The Art of Photographing Nature differs from most instructional photography books in that it contains very little information on the technical aspects of photography. Instead, the book focuses on composition alone. Art Wolfe is one of the best know nature and landscape photographers, and the author of several books. The co-author, Martha Hill, worked as the photo editor at Audubon Magazine for many years.
In this book, a series of examples are provided, often consisting of two or three variations on similar photos from Wolfe’s collection. The example images are discussed by both authors. Wolfe explains his thought process he went through when taking the example photo or photo. He gives an in-depth description of the compositional considerations that were made in each case. Some of the compositional elements Wolfe discusses include the use of the line in landscapes to increase perceived depth, the relationship between perspective and the focal the length of the lens and also how the quality and direction of available light should influence composition. On each page, Hill also adds her own comments, giving a photo editor’s perspective to the discussion. She explains why each image is appealing, and if more than one variation is present in the example, she states which is the strongest compositionally and why.
This book is geared toward those who already have a good grasp of the basic principals of photography, and understand the operation of their camera. It intentionally ignores technical detail, and concentrates on composition and aesthetics; for this reason, some might find the book a bit lacking in detail, however, there are already any number of excellent publications which cover the basics of technique. The comments of both authors are clearly written and insightful. The advanced amateur looking the take their photography to the next level should find this book very helpful.