John Shaw’s Guide to Digital Nature Photography…A Book Review not for the Faint of Heart

 Many of you know that I enjoy photography, especially that of nature. I know that all my Facebook buddies love to endure every year my posts of butterflies, flowers, trees, the sky, rainbows, and then even the snow. I love going on vacation and taking photos of the mountains, the wild animals, and if I am lucky a few from a helicopter. I just love taking pictures! I had drooled over this book for months before I finally saw that it was once again back up for review copies. I did not hesitate to click to request my copy.

I can not say that I regret that decision. This book is very in-depth on gear, cameras, and how to set up your camera to get the shots that will make you happy. While sorting through the book and looking at all the beautiful pictures it was almost like reading a magazine. I looked at many wishing that I had that talent and the camera capable of taking those beautiful shots. Then once I began to read the book I realized quickly that this stuff was very technical. This was not for anyone who just picked up their camera yesterday. No, you had better have some years and experience under your belt for this one. So here I am by no means an expert but not your average just beginner either. I was some where in the middle, until I started reading all about cameras.

According to Shaw the best camera to have is the one you have. Well that made me feel some better maybe I could use what I have to take great pictures but then we get to setting your camera up. I go grab the Nikon Coolpix off my desk ready to attack this monster and conquer my next photo session. Guess what I discovered! I have a “dummy camera”. What this means is that someone who had never picked up a camera before in their lives could pick up mine and probably take a decent picture. My heart sank, until I realized that this gives me another reason to add a Cannon Rebel to my Christmas wish list! I call my camera a “dummy camera” because there are few settings I have the privilege to set. The camera will tell me what I am going to use and I am going to use it. Though I do have different settings such as fireworks, beach, portrait, landscape,etc the camera will simply set up what it needs to capture those shots. Thus why anyone can use it and still get decent results.

On a positive note, this book will walk me through how to set up my present from Santa I am sure I will be getting this year. It will also help me learn what I need to take just the shots I want. It even goes into what file format you should use and then how to get the best results from that format. Though I have discovered this book is pretty much just reading material for me right now I hope to be able to put some of the tips and advice to good use soon. I am also going to have to study on how some of it works because again I am still learning!

I give this book a 5 star rating. It is of a technical nature but explains many things that one needs to know to be a great nature photographer. Shaw helps you choose what you need to take the pictures you want and will even help you set up the camera with the best features to get the shots you need. I also enjoyed that the book contained some examples that made me chuckle as I read along. My favorite was the discussion on Focus Priority or Continuous Focus and he told the story about Elvis. I also loved the beautiful photos that were so abundant through out the book. They inspired a want and desire to learn what to do to be the best photographer I can be…without a dummy camera!

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