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Nature Photography Book Reviews

by Paul W. Faust. All rights reserved.

March of the Penguins as told by Morgan Freeman, is not a photo book as I usually review, but if you love beautiful photography and animals, and if you have kids, this is one documentary movie on DVD that you DO NOT want to miss buying. It is the story of the yearly life cycle of how thousands of Emperor Penguins make an astonishing journey to mate and raise their young. The photography is as good as it gets, as is expected with any project done by the National Geographic Society, and you will be amazed at how they were able to get many of the scenes, including in the middle of a 50-below zero blizzard. One 70 mile, 1-way trip, made by the adult penguins would be bad enough in this land of everlasting cold, but the males make this trip twice, and the females make it three times every season, and then there are the little fur-balls that are as cute as can be.

This movie is 80 minutes long and can retail at many places for over $25.00, but if you buy it directly from National Geographic it is only $19.95 and if you get on the mailing list for the N.G. catalog you can get a lot of other great items as well. You can mail them at, National Geographic, 1145 17th Street, N.W., Washington D.C. 20036. You will also be supporting this great organization with whatever you buy.    I rate it: A+++

Photography and the Art of Seeing by Freemen Patterson is a super new book for beginners and advanced photographers alike. It is easy to push a button and take a picture, but it is a lot more difficult to “make” a creative image, and this well written book will take you through the steps of the thinking and doing that part of it. The book not only includes beautiful images, but also technical info on what it takes to create such images, no matter if you are using film or digital cameras.

This soft cover book is about 8x8 inches, with 159 pages, retails for US-$27.95 – and is published by Key Porter Books and distributed by Firefly Books at    I rate it: A++

John Szarkowski – Photographs is a retrospective of the images of this world-renowned photographer, curator and critic. Included with his images are excerpts from letters he has both written and received over the years to such artists as Walker Evans, and many others. The images are printed to the top quality that you would expect to see hanging in a gallery, and this book is a fine example of what true fine art photography is all about.

This hardback book is about 10x10 inches, with 156 pages, retails for US-$60.00 – and is distributed by BULFINCH Press at    I rate it: A+

Epson Complete Guide to Digital Printing by Rob Sheppard is the newest edition of the one book you can’t do without if you want to do your own digital printing, and do it as good as possible. The book takes you from start to finish with everything you need to know, from how to read the specs on printing paper, to how to handle special projects like printing booklets. Twelve of the fourteen chapters begin with a short “printing Bio” of various professional photographers, such as Pete Turner and John Shaw, and how they handle their printing needs. This is one digital reference book that you cannot afford not to have right at your workstation.

This soft cover book is 8x11 inches, with 160 pages, retails for US-$24.95 – and is published by Lark Books and distributed by    I rate it: A++

Photoshop CS2 – One-Click WOW by Jack Davis is a collection of over 900 great time saving tricks to use on your images, and you can work with them from right inside Photoshop menus. All of those come on the CD with the book, and include effects from glowing text, to collages, and frames, and there are many variations of each. This book is small, but it is power packed with presets and overlays that will cut your work time down from minutes to seconds. CD files are for both Mac & PC.

This soft cover book is about 9x8 inches, with 110 pages, retails for US-$29.99 – and is distributed by Peach Pit Press at    I rate it: A+

How To Cheat in Photoshop by Steve Caplin is a new book on the art of creating photorealistic montages. This is a how-to book that starts out where most other books leave off, and it will teach you tricks that many have not even thought about. How many people do you know that can take a picture of someone with a frown on their face and turn that into a smile, or add light to a lamp that is turned off? Even though it is filled with step-by-step illustrations for how an effect is created, it does not give you each setting used, so you must have an understanding of Photoshop and its tools, and how to use them. This great new book will help you turn ordinary pictures into winner images.

This soft cover book is about 7x10 inches, with 376 pages, retails for US-$39.95 – and is distributed by Focal Press at    I rate it: A++

Commercial Photoshop Retouching in the Studio by Glenn Honiball is a complete guide for professional digital retouching techniques that will teach you how to do top quality work, and to do it fast when you need to meet deadlines. It was written for the professional retoucher so that they can work better and faster, but anyone familiar with Photoshop can use the information to turn their own work into pro quality images as well. For anyone wanting to start a retouching service, this book is the best place to start at.

This soft cover book is 8x10 inches, with 257 pages, retails for US-$44.95 - and is published by O’Reilly Media and can be checked out at    I rate it: A

Photoshop Photo Effects Cookbook by Tim Shelbourne is a great new book for anyone who wants to make their images look like they were done by a professional. The book has 61 lessons in easy to follow steps, with full captions that include the settings used for each Photoshop tool so that there will be no excuse for not getting it right the first time. You will learn how to add lightning, or even a rainbow to a landscape, or drops of water on a leaf. Ever think that you could take a daytime street scene and turn it into a night shot complete with street lighting? This book will show you how. Well worth the price and more!

This soft cover book is 9x10 inches, with 176 pages, retails for US-$29.95 - and is published by O’Reilly Media and can be checked out at    I rate it: A+

The Garden Lover’s Guide to the Northeast by Paul Bennett is one in a series of book/guides that covers gardens all over the world, with this one covering 140 public and semi-private gardens in the northeast part of America. Along with a photo illustration, each location includes short directions to where it is located, hours and fees, contact info, and a good sized description of what all you will find there. For any photographer who is always looking for places to shoot, or ones who love photographing flowers and gardens, this guidebook will be a wealth of information for future trips.

This soft cover book is about 6x10 inches, with 180 pages, retails for US-$21.95 – and is distributed by Princeton Press at    I rate it: A

FIFTY by Dana Beckley is a collection of her close-up flower photography. This book contains over 50 black & white images of flowers, and almost all are of a different plant. The images are done in that old print look that makes them look like they should be framed. This will make a nice addition to any photo library and a good source of photo ideas.

This hardback book is about 10x14 inches, with 112 pages, retails for US-$60.00 – and is published by GRAPHIS Press at    I rate it: A

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