Natural Visions-Creative Tips for Wildlife Photography
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Natural Visions-Creative Tips for Wildlife Photography by Heather Angel; 144 pages and 127 full-color photographs. Two versions of the book are published. A hardcover is published by Collins and Brown and is sold in the UK. A paperback is published by Amphoto for US distribution. The cover photos are different. This review is made using the UK version. Hardcover: ISBN 1-85585-760-X. Paperback: ISBN 1-85585-788-X.
Heather Angel is an enthusiastic nature photographer and writer. The passion for her craft is evident in this handsome collection of her photographs from some of her global travels. The book's wildlife subjects range from a petite hummingbird in Coasta Rica to a playful Siberian tiger at a breeding center in China, and many birds and mammals in between. Landscapes, macro details and scenic views seem to complete the natural world as it is depicted in this must-have photography book.
It is evident that Angel has the patience that has evolved from her experiences as a proven wildlife photographer. Catching Grizzlies eating chum salmon in British Columbia and moving with elk herds in Yellowstone, Angel selected the moments carefully. Many photos are a gripping interpretation of the pinnacle of action or a peak season.
The images are well captioned (including Latin names when appropriate), and descriptions include the type of camera, lens and film used to create the photos. This information is a valuable learning tool for photographers who are still honing their craft, and to others who appreciate a methodical approach to photography. This insight reveals that Angel not only varies film speeds, but film brands as well. We noted that she selected what she considered to be the most appropriate film choice for her subjects and desired results.
Not only does this book feature exacting close-ups (and some abstracts) of exotic and common wildlife in natural light, it includes a variety of perspectives that depict the animals' natural behaviors. From a fiery grassland serving as a backdrop for White Storks to a field of Impala standing at bay watching a leopard pace the perimeters, Natural Visions-A Creative Tips for Wildlife Photography lacks nothing even if it were "only" a coffee table book.
In reality, the publication is a "how-to" book as Angel describes how she took the photos, or why she chose the angles, lighting and subjects she did. Chapters in the book include: "Using the Light," "Capturing the Moment," and "Visualizing the Image," among others as equally informative. She also discusses pushing film, using telephoto lenses and important field tips.
Angel's mastery of composition rivals that of many artists who paint and draw. What we appreciated in her efforts as a photographer, however, is that Angel not only had to envision the scene she hoped the light would "paint" on her film, she had to wait until nature provided the symmetry, motion or phenomenon she was seeking.
In one section of the book, Angel explores what she calls "impressionism." She created unique and whimsical scenes by selecting slow shutter speeds, allowing the subjects to artistically blur. One image in particular-of lupins at the side of a road-was photographed by making thirty exposures on one frame. The attempt must surely have been time consuming, but the result is a delightfully colorful rendering. Still, Angel created other "impressions" using Adobe Photoshop and she explains the processes she selected.
As a nature photographer, Angel not only photographed her subjects, she has documented interesting facts about her subjects in this book-an aspect that we found to be useful. An index rounds out the book, making it a beneficial tool for the nature photographer as well as an inspiring collection of art in nature.
Editor's Note - Heather Angel is a British wildlife photographer, who travels the world to stock her own library, Natural Visions. Angel was President of the Royal Photographic Society from 1984-86. Her work has been recognized by many international awards, including a professorship from Nottingham University in 1994. For more information about Heather Angel, her photography and the UK touring exhibition based on her book, check out her website at www.naturalvisions.co.uk. Natural Visions-Creative Tips for Wildlife Photography can be purchases at Amazon.com.
Comments on this column? Send them to the editor.
Jerry and Barbara Jividen are members of the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) and the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP). Barbara is also a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America and serves as Assistant Editor for NANPA's Currents. Both are certified photography instructors and lead numerous photo workshops and tours throughout the year. They also write a monthly e-journal, called the "Insights on Images: E-Journal," which can be obtained via email by requesting a free copy at: www.imagesunique.com/insights/journal.html. For more information, call (800) 866-8655.