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A Beginner's Guide to Photographing Birds

Obregon Obregon

Is from: Southold, US
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Sat 24-Sep-22 12:24 PM
A Beginner's Guide to Photographing Birds by Rosi Rosner

Maybe it’s because I’ve spent so many years taking photographs of birds, or maybe it’s because I’ve read so many books about bird photography, or maybe it’s because I was suffering from an unknown malady. I just couldn’t raise any enthusiasm for this book.

Don’t get me wrong. This book has almost everything one would want to know if you were just starting to photograph birds. There’s a bit of field craft (although not enough if you want to really develop your skills) and a bit of technique (although there were a few points that were skipped, but not many) and a little bit of the aesthetics of bird photography (although there was a tendency to boil down composition to a set of rules). There were plenty of excellent photographs that most bird photographers would have been happy to make (although few of them gave a wow feeling). One thing that I liked was the use of both bad examples and good examples to illustrate the teaching points.

One problem was that the book was boring. It was hard to see an overall pattern that tied everything together. It was more like a tip book, except that it was one that contained almost all the tips. Maybe be it was the translation from the original. It seemed pedantic. The words lacked color, and occasionally left me wondering. A tree cave? Did the author mean a knothole or a hole that had been excavated in a tree? A fat ball? Is it suet or something not found in the western hemisphere?

There was the complete lack of any mention of post processing. Thirty years ago you took a photograph to a printer and you might ask for an enlargement with a crop. Then came the digital revolution. Photoshop and Lightroom let one make the picture more like that seen in the mind’s eye. (Some beginners will say “all I want the picture to say is the truth.” Please forget that idea.) Beginners need to know that post processing has a role in bird photography.

There is a portfolio of pictures at the end of the book. I generally found the accompanying text insipid, but a few of the picture made me envious of the author, and one made me burst out laughing with glee. On the other hand at least one of them would have made me hit the reject button on the first Lightroom run-through.

It’s not that beginners can’t get something from this book. It is that there are so much better books.