on 24 December 2009
I recently returned from a second trip to Antarctica as a tourist but one very keen on photography and willing to work hard at the craft. I came back with what I thought were some pretty good images - and then I received my copy of Polar Obsession, bought sight unseen as I knew Nicklen's work from NG. Well, I reserve the word 'awesome' for use when I really mean it - and there is no better word for the quality of the photographs in this magnificent book. The only downside is that I look at my own photographs and recognise the gap there is between a keen amateur and an utterly dedicated professional. There'll never be a better book of Polar images than this. If you love the cold regions and the magnificent creatures that live in them, you will love this book. It's fantastic value, too, beautifully printed, and unusually for a NG production it is stitched so it opens up flat to let you enjoy the photographs as they are made to be seen. Now, every good review ends with a 'but' doesn't it - but this one won't, this is one humdinger of a book - I hope you enjoy yours as much as I am enjoying mine!
on 16 December 2009
Let's make one thing clear. I'm nature photographer and I really like cold regions. I'm pretty picky about photography books and even more so about photography books on colder regions. But every now and then some book manages to amaze me and this book is one of them.
This book's stories are something that you wish you have experienced. For example meeting with leopard seal when she (yes, it's a she) offers you a penguin to eat. And show breathtaking photos to illustrate it. Or narwhals. Paul's photography is diverse and thorough, and in no place in this book you feel that there should be less this or more that.
The book layout is very nice, informative and it's on decent quality paper. And the price of the book... I've paid 3 times more for 3 times less. So if you like snow, ice and creatures who like it, you have a winner here.
on 4 February 2011
I love books of nature photography. I have a shelf-full of Dorling Kindersley and shelves of other publications including a few National Geographics. This book, however, may well take top spot. And I'm not even particularly interested in polar wildlife - I prefer wildflowers, and reef life, and butterflies and other insects.
In furtherance of my interest, as well as roaming the real world, I go each year to my local natural history museum to absorb what used to be called the Shell Wildlife Photography competition. I forget who sponsors it now. Each year I am enraptured by the images (though, frankly, the overall quality seems to have dropped off a bit in recent years). In Polar Obsession, there isn't a single wildlife photo that would be out of place in the gallery. More significant, however, is this: There are at least a dozen photos in the book would easily place as overall winner.
There isn't much text, but what there is humbling. Like you, I dream that in another life, I would rather fancy the idea of earning my living as a wildlife photographer. This book was a rude awakening from that idyll. What Nicklen had to go through to secure many of these images is little short of incredible. The book is well named; you would indeed need to be obsessed to endure the hardships and danger that Mr Nicklen has for his craft. And for his calling - his mission is to share with us the beauty he has seen, in order to make us care enough to act to save the polar regions. The obstacles he has overcome to collect these images makes them all the more precious.
One caveat: Nicklen does not shy away from showing nature red in tooth and claw. Some of the images in the book are truly gruesome. But never gratuitously so. Nicklen simply shows us Polar wildlife in all its raw and sometimes terrible beauty.
The words "Awesome" and "Breath-taking" are over-used these days. But. This book IS Awesome. And it WILL take your breath away.
on 19 January 2011
I've never felt so compelled to review a book before, but received this today as a present and cannot even begin to describe just how brilliant this book and project is.
Every image is jaw-dropping and there's a nice mix of landscapes, candid close-ups and some lovely longer exposures. There are some videos online which accompany this book, showing how certain images were captured, including the spectacular leopard seal 'feeding' Paul penguins it had captured for him.
Even at twice the price, this book would be a bargain for anyone who is a nature lover, photography enthusiast or mix of both passions.
on 24 July 2010
Bought this as a present for a polar bear enthusiast. Recipient loved it, particularly the stunning pictures. Would definately buy it again as it makes a lovely gift for anyone interested in nature or polar regions. Have even thought of buying it for myself, fantastic value for money.