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National Geographic Ultimate Field Guide to Photography (Photography Field Guides) Paperback – 1 May 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society; 2nd edition edition (1 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426204310
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426204319
  • Product Dimensions: 19.1 x 2.4 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 592,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

"If a picture is worth a thousand words, then "National Geographic" has an unlimited vocabulary...How do they do it? This book gives you the answer." -- "The Advocate "

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S. Unlu on 20 Dec 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this book with the expectation to get some tips and good insight from National Geographic professional photographers. Unfortunately I would not call this book a field guide but a book to read for people who are into photography at a very early stage. Hence, this is not a book for DSLR users who are looking for tips or special techniques for better shots.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very helpful book, written by professionals and full of useful information. Highly recommended to all who love taking pictures.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 18 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
What Happened? 1 July 2012
By Michael Barranti - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased the previous versions of this book several times, and gave it away to fellow budding photographers almost as many times. I bought this one because I have photographers working for me now who would benefit greatly from the lessons I learned from the old version of this guide.

The old one was perfectly sized for carrying in a pocket or a camera bag, and full of inspirational photos and images in addition to excellent information of the actual mechanics of shooting a camera, how Lenses, Apertures, Flash, Shutter Speed and ISO worked. It could be pulled out at any time to be reviewed, studied, or poured over for inspiration.

It was small, easy to read, and full of inspirational pictures.

It spent a lot of time teaching the reader to take great photos through the lens. It explained the use of different lenses, both fixed focal length and Zoom, and when to use each; It explained aperture use; it explained different ISOs and when to use different kinds of film; it explained lighting, both studio and outdoor, how to use a meter and how to use a flash; how to compose a shot, using different framing and focusing and lighting techniques to make it more interesting.

It spent almost no time explaining darkroom or post-production editing techniques

In short, it explained how to take great pictures.

This one however, dedicates the majority of its space to post-production, over a third to equipment (including nearly 30 pages dedicated to camera phones), and less than 25% of the space in the book to the process of actually taking pictures.

It's oversized, poorly laid out, and hard to navigate.

The old one fit in your pocket, the new one is a college textbook style which barely fits on a bookshelf. There are some nice photos in here, but so many of them are outsized or double-page spreads that there's little inspiration to be had. The textbook style means that the double-page spread photos don't pull apart into a single spread so well, and far too many images take up more than a single page. Even worse, an inappropriate number of the pictures in this book are screenshots of software dialog boxes.

It would be better called the Adobe Textbook Guide to Fixing, Printing and Saving your snapshots on a Computer.

I found no inspiration in this book at all. A good photographer can use any kind of camera to take pictures, and should aim to get the picture they want at the time, not shoot and hope to fix it afterwards in post. The old guide taught you to do that. This one? Not so much.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Don't buy... 6 Oct 2011
By P. Henshaw - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book said it was updated in 2009 and it starts off talking about 256MB memory cards. That would hold 10 photos with today's higher end cameras. This book is out of date and almost useless unless you want to read about the history of photography. There are better options and more updated books on the market to learn how to use digital cameras made in the last 5 years. I would recommend LIFE Guide to Digital Photography by Joe McNally if you want to learn about modern digital photography and composition.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Disappointingly elementary non-field guide 12 Oct 2011
By A Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very disappointing book. First, it is not a field guide at all -- a field guide is a book you would have in your camera bag to assist with new and difficult shooting problems. This is a series of stunningly elementary essays that will not be informative to anyone who has used a camera for at least a year or so. If you don't know what "aperture priority" means, this may be your book. But, if you have any clue about how to use your camera, pass this turkey by.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Not really a field guide and not as good as the last edition. 5 Nov 2012
By Jeffery S. Herman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was absolutely enamored with the original National Geographic Photography Field Guide, which had great tips for getting the shots printed in National Geographic. I was expecting that information with updates to address the move to digital technology. The new book is very dumbed down. It didn't have the great tips on photographing animals and people that was found in the original.

This book tries to cover everything, including scanners for photos and archiving. It even had a chapter on the development of photography, from the earliest discoveries of how light darkens certain chemicals to the development of color, etc.

If you are totally new to photography, I can see this book being helpful. For a field guide, I'd still recommend the previous version.
20 of 29 people found the following review helpful
You Might Learn More From Your Camera's User's Guide 1 Oct 2010
By Ethan Winning - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book in February of 2010. It's now October, and I've finally gotten through it. The front cover might give you some idea as to the professionalism of the photographers represented in the book. These are the guys who've published in National Geographic and Time and Life and not in my local Audubon newsletter. They sure know what they're talking about, but I think I prefer advice from a couple of photo friends in Ontario and Florida and Washington. And if I ever take pictures of people, I'd call my brother. And now I'll tell you why.

I have a point-and-shoot digital camera. Most of the writers are still stuck in the film era, and rightfully so. When the book was written, there was still a place for film. Now that digital cameras are passing 20 MB, I think that most photography will be digital by 2015.

Chapter 1 is on Point-and-Shoot, but after page 34, the "advice" is about more advanced techniques. Well, I've been taking pictures for 63 years. I've even sold a few. I've never been a "technical" photographer, but more of a "natural" one who has made and corrected mistakes, and at other times disagreed with the pros because I know what I like. More important, I know MY camera's capabilities and deficiencies, and I've even developed some of my own techniques for getting around a few of the negatives (such as my P&S gets poor marks for low light photography).

There's a chapter on aerial photography, and one on just scanning and another on archiving. And yet, this is called a "field guide." It's too big, and cumbersome in more ways than one to be a field guide ... unless you're on safari.

Well, it's not what I was hoping for which was a book of tips and topics that I could USE. The best book for me it turns out is the manual for my SX20 camera. And so my advice would be, learn your camera well. THEN buy this book. One more thing: when you think you've peaked and you're ready for the big time (like buying a lens the size of a bazooka for your new $5,000 DSLR), wait a few months. The fantastic picture you take today may be the average picture you look at next year. There's always room for improvement, and there's always a thing called luck.

-EW-
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