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Mastering Landscape Photography – David Taylor: Book Review

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Book Cover: Mastering Landscape Photography - David taylor

Book Cover: Mastering Landscape Photography – David Taylor

 

BOOK INFO

Title: Mastering Landscape Photography

Author: David Taylor

Publisher: Ammonite Press

Release date: July 2014

Edition: 176 pages, soft cover

ISBN: 978-1-78145-084-0

 

ABOUT DAVID TAYLOR

David Taylor is a landscape photographer based in Northumberland, England. I’ve been following David’s work for some time now, primarily because I live in the area where the majority of his work is shot, and have admired his landscape images since I’ve moved into the area.

Besides his photography works, which can be regularly seen exhibited, David was a contributor to over twenty photography books.

 

THE CONTENT

Mastering Landscape Photography is divided in eight chapters:

  1. Equipment
  2. Exposure
  3. Light
  4. Preparation
  5. Subjects
  6. Composition
  7. Filters
  8. Postproduction

 

MY IMPRESSIONS

I was excited for having the chance to review this book – I had read a review somewhere else that really raised the expectations. However, my first glance at the book was not impressive - the cover is very dark and far from the digital cover image I had seen previously (and which you can see above). My best guess is the printers did a less-than-optimal job on this one, which is a shame. A book on landscape photography really needs that wow factor from an impressive cover. But a book should not be judge by its cover, or so they say…

Inside it’s completely different – the images are vibrant and bright, as one could expect for a photography book.

In terms of content, I was positively impressed. Yes, it mostly addresses the basics of photography, exposure, aperture, ISO, depth of field, hyperfocal distance, etc etc, but all with clear examples showing the effects in landscape photos. For example, far from the boring technical explanations of gear nowadays so commonly found as filler in photography books, the chapter on equipment is demonstrates the impact different choices of gear have in landscapes. For instance, the effect of lens compression on the landscape and the relationship foreground/background, depending on the choice of lens.

Other example of a nicely written and informative chapter is “Preparation”. The author goes into some detail on his process of how to prepare for a “landscape session” including scouting locations, choosing the right time of day or even season, etc. Also addressed are the typical challenges found with different types of landscape, from coastal scenes to dark woodland.

In his chapter on composition, I was glad to read little gems that are so often forgotten and very well explained in this book – for example the concept of “visual weight”, of uttermost importance in landscape photography, and some theory on color harmony and complementarity. Again, well illustrated with nice imagery.

Interestingly (and positive) is the fact that almost as many pages are dedicated to the use of filters in landscape photography as are dedicated to post-production – nicely done David.

“Landscape photography gives you permission to temporarily cut yourself off from the modern world. Being out in the landscape early in the morning or late in the evening means you’re often on your own, with only your thoughts for company. These are all good things: creativity requires a certain amount of peaceful contemplation to flourish.”

 

CONCLUSIONS

Let’s forget about the cover disappointment for a second. Is reading “Mastering Landscape Photography” going to make you a master in landscape photography? No. For that, read all the books you want, but only being in the field and spending hours behind the camera studying light and how light falls on the landscape, and years of shooting, will take you in that direction. Is this a bad book then? Also not. It is actually a very nicely written book, with a good mixture of content and imagery, enough depth, easy to read and, with a bit of pushing, could even be considered a good reference book. Is this a book for seasoned photographers? Probably not. However, for someone that is now starting in photography and in particular with an interest in landscape photography, I can definitely recommend “Mastering Landscape Photography” by David Taylor.

 

Please Note: This book was sent to me by the publisher for review. Financial compensation was not and will not be received and the review was not read or edited by the publisher before publication. The opinions expressed are mine alone.

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