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First Light: A Landscape Photographer's Art [Hardcover]

Joe Cornish
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

24 Oct 2002

Drawing on decades of experience, Joe Cornish, one of Britain’s most distinguished landscape photographers, has distilled the key elements of his craft into a collection of thought-provoking essays accompanied by a stunning selection of his photographs.

From his beloved North Yorkshire, to the rocky canyons of the Colorado Plateau, the photos in First Light have been chosen to reflect the breadth of Joe’s work and to illustrate how he puts his working philosophy into practice.

Each picture is accompanied by text describing the conditions that must be taken into consideration before taking a photo; the composition of the image, including viewpoint, selection of film and filters; and post production treatments.

First Light is replete with supporting technical data and Joe’s own explanations of the thought processes that lay behind the creation of each of these wonderful photographs. These fluent and very personal accounts are full of practical advice on subjects ranging from anticipating changes in the weather or lighting conditions, to the relative advantages of using colour filters.

For all photographers, whether amateur or professional, First Light is a source of on-going inspiration and advice. With a foreword from renowned landscape photographer Charlie Waite, it will also appeal to anyone who appreciates natural beauty and loves landscape for its own sake.



Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Argentum; First Edition edition (24 Oct 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1902538242
  • ISBN-13: 978-1902538242
  • Product Dimensions: 25.1 x 29.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 155,031 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Joe Cornish is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest contemporary landscape photographers. He has lectured and exhibited in Britain and overseas, led workshops and written a number of successful books, including Scotland’s Coast and Scotland’s Mountains, both published by Aurum, and Joe Cornish: A Photographer at Work and First Light -both published under the Aurum photography imprint Argentum.

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Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true masterpiece. 12 Nov 2002
Format:Hardcover
This is not the usual coffee-table book of inspirational, technically perfect, evocative photographs. Neither is it an effective how-to manual full of tips and tricks. This book is both! Page after page of fantastic photography, accompanied by thought provoking text. The text is not simply dry, technical detail, rather a more mental approach to mastering the craft. Joe explains how knowledge of timing, light and composition, can aid in capturing the feeling experienced at the moment of taking the photograph.
This book will be a great inspiration to the both the expert and the novice. It will help you capture mood rather than just images.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational work 6 Nov 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
First Light is not only an inspiration to all budding landscape photographers but is a beatiful record of the wonderous world around us. It screams quality when you hold it, from the heavy paper, the luxurious binding and the superb print quality - Joe Cornish's obvious demands for perfection can be seen throughout.
It is written in an enjoyable, conversational style which encourages you to continually turn another page. The author's comments serve to add context to the already stunning photography as well as the occasional touch of humour. If you like the natural world, enjoy photography or simply enjoy seeing the work of a true master - First Light is a must for your bookshelf.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must-have about landscape photography 1 Mar 2006
By Fanta
Format:Hardcover
There are several elements making this book outstanding. It shows 60+ photos from the author printed as big as one page, beautifully reproduced, that make many of us, I believe, look in wonder and also feel... miserable (will I ever take such a picture?). For each big picture, there is also a smaller one on the opposing page, of the same subject or location, but taken at a different time and possibly with a different composition. In the text accompanying each pictures pair, Joe Cornish describes the taking of them, the challenges, why he believes one is better than the other. He also addresses and illustrates his, how can I call it, philosophy and techniques of landscape photography, which I believe are lessons and inspiration to anybody interested in the subject. It struck me how he can achieve impeccable color balance with filters and film, no digital camera and RAW converter. Writing is terse, the tone is humble but you feel how passionate he is about photography, a pleasant reading.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awe-Inspiring 30 Nov 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an absolutely inspiring book by, I believe, Britain's finest landscape photographer. So many of Joe Cornish's photographs have what I can call that 'extra element' or 'other dimension' - almost impossible to define - which makes them not just beautiful, but transcendant. Through his viewfinder a landscape is transformed from the merely 'pictorial' into what we recognize as ART. The book is so wonderfully well produced in every way, and out of the fifty or so glorious images the unforgettable ones, to me, are: all the Antelope Canyon ones(the striated rock seems to flow, like Fortuny silk in a wind machine) Paria-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness (also in Arizona), Falling Foss, North Yorkshire Moors, Dunraven Bay (the contrast of the blue stone and pools of golden water!)and the shells of Clifton Beach. In addition to the wealth of wonderful images, Joe Cornish's text is lovely to read, informative and clear. Whether or not you take photos yourself, this is a book to treasure.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Medium-format wonders 11 Dec 2008
Format:Hardcover
Joe Cornish's "First Light" is more than a collection of visually stunning, atmospheric images. The photographs are wonderful and the print quality is impeccable but the book shines on two more important counts.

1. The book discusses at length Cornish's work philosophy which is encapsulated in the book's title: "First, light". There is the old but true adage that amateurs care about the gear, pros care about the money, and the masters care about the light. To a good photographer, the right kind of light is always first in the list of priorities. Many of Cornish's images in this book rely on capturing some special moment of absolutely magical light, and his comments help a budding photographer to realize this important truth.

2. Cornish's commentary is also useful in including discussion of less successful shots taken in the same locations. Those more pedestrian shots are included in the book (they're small-sized) as an aid to exploring what is actually excellent about the truly successful photographs. Those cautionary examples are not bad photographs - many of them are technically immaculate - but nonetheless they miss the magic that only special light may provide.

For budding photographers, an important note. Cornish's images were captured on medium-format film. So don't fret about not being able to ever produce the same level of foreground detail or subtle tonal ranges with your SLR camera - you're playing in a different league. The technical details of each shot (camera, lens, focal length, aperture and shutter speed settings, film, filters) are all included at the back of the book.

Highly recommended.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars as 2 May 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Brilliant purchase first as a facinating read, and description of the photographer's art, which, as is explained, is just a demanding and creative as any painter, author or muscian. Alongside are some absolutely stunning photographs, which would make the book worthlwhile buying alone, not to mention the interesting descriptions of the subjects involved.
Whether an expert photographer, an amateur, or even someone like me, who before the book had no idea about photography at all, it is as must have. Stunning puctures, and an interesting read
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Replaced my old book
I lov e this book, my husband bought it for me years ago but someone borrowed it and it never got returned. Happy to own it again, truly inspiring
Published 8 months ago by Mrs. B. A. Leatham
4.0 out of 5 stars great photographic book
bought this book for my father for Christmas he has just started painting in oils and wanted something with a lot of mountains and rock formations so he could work on his technique... Read more
Published 8 months ago by verdun hearn
4.0 out of 5 stars Fanatstic photographs
Bought this as a present for my son who is into photography, in particulr landscapes. He like it a lot
Published 9 months ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't flick through first
First, of all let me explain that 'first light' is a play on words as some of the astounding photos are taken at 'last light'. The phrase means first, light and then.... Read more
Published 14 months ago by realbookreview
5.0 out of 5 stars Guide for photographers.
This is a most useful books with excellent photographs. The reasons for taking particulars shots are given and these are very helpful for all photographers, amateur or Professional
Published 14 months ago by douglas cusine
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
This is a very interesting book ,as you would expect from Joe Cornish,I love the photos,i take simlar ones like rock detailed photos. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Bill Pini
5.0 out of 5 stars a beautiful book that is also a wonderful learning experience
This book is a delight. The photos are wonderful, but the commentary is even better. Joe Cornish is most obliging with his explanation of the background to each photo. Read more
Published 18 months ago by kirlena walsh
5.0 out of 5 stars MUST HAVE BOOK
This is a book that I have really enjoyed. Skill, Art, Style, great photo's well printed book. A MUST HAVE BOOK
Published 21 months ago by mj
5.0 out of 5 stars First Light is First class
Near perfection, illustrated so well with inspiring photographs, and articulated so well as to how the results were accomplished. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb purchase
The book is expertly presented with magnificent photographs. The book is divided into 7 sections each concentrating on a different aspect of Landscape photography, each having... Read more
Published 23 months ago by S. J. Fearnley
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