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Marshall Black Photography

Young Adder among heather. Surrey. UK

Young Adder among heather. Surrey. UK

Photography Books

One of the best ways of learning is through reading the experiences of others. You are doing this now - reading this web page. Apart from learning by mistake, much of my photography knowledge has come through books.

Our main experience of learning is evolving to the web experience from the book. The book is a different experience though, you can flick through a book, carry it with you, and read it in bed.

A number of people have asked me which books I have on the bookshelf, and which I would recommend. So here are some of the books I have, and what I like about them. I'm adding a few at a time, as I find it's easier to comment on each title after having a bit of a flick through them, the problem is I can ending up reading them instead.

I have also included links to the books on Amazon, so if you decide you'd like to get a copy of any of them, it's just a click away.


Landscape Photography - John Shaw.

One of the best writers on how to photograph Nature and the Landscape, John Shaw has the knack of explaining the decision process in photography in a clear and understandable way. One of the methods he chooses to pass on this information is by using comparison photos, the before and after, to show you the choices you have in making a photograph. The examples he uses are well chosen, and often spectacular images.

As with most photography books, there are chapters on the equipment available, with good advice on what is needed, together with discussion on how equipment isn't all that matters with photography. Following his techniques should point you in the right direction to improve your landscape photography.

A very readable and understandable introduction to the subject.


First Light - Joe Cornish.

This is not a how-to book on photography, more a why-to. As that statement doesn't really make sense I'll try to explain.

Somehow Joe Cornish seems to transport you to his location, explaining why he makes choices in composition, and what he is hoping nature will provide with light on the subject. The equipment doesn't matter too much, except for the use of gradient filters to control the contrast between light and darks areas in the scene. That said, the photographs are taken on large format gear that allows adjustment to the plane of focus, a different way of photographing compared to the more usual digital SLR. This doesn't mean you will need to sell all your gear and move to similar equipment, just learn to look and be patient.

Treat yourself, get this book and spend time with Joe as he creates beautiful images.


Waiting for the Light - David Noton.

I visited David Noton's exhibition at the Oxo Tower in London, the book came home with me.

David was on hand at the exhibition and was happy to chat for a few minutes. I found it interesting to discuss, albeit briefly, some of the locations we shared in New Zealand. There were a couple of places where we had spent time standing at the same place. One was the Muriwai Gannet Colony on the West coast of the North Island, it was interesting that we had ended up with very similar images there. Not exactly surprising though, the location has a viewing platform where many photographers train their cameras from.

This book is in a slightly different layout to most, with "journal" mini chapters taking you into the planning of the shots. David is adept at telling a story with his photographs, and also at telling the story behind the making of them.

All images and text Marshall Black.
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