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Kingfisher: Tales from the Halcyon River Hardcover – 7 May 2009
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About the Author
CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES has been filming and photographing wildlife for over 20 years. He is particularly passionate about otters and kingfishers and has become an authority on both. He has won numerous international awards for his work, including Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 1990 and 1991 and Best Cinematography at Wildscreen 2004. In 2007 he won the Royal Television Society award for Cinematography was nominated for a BAFTA for his camera work.
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Top customer reviews
Like the author I too have a bit of an obsession about these stunning birds since seeing one for the first time 2 years ago. I know from experience how difficult it is to photograph them even when they are perched motionless on a branch so I found the quality and range of the images in this book absolutely incredible.
There are close up shots of the bird on a perch, in flight photos, images of very young featherless chicks on the nest, action shots of the bird fishing, and even photos taken below the water surface! Although the majority of the images are from the author's own patch in the west of England there are also shots taken in Borneo and on the Zambezi.
This is not just a book full of stunning photos however. There is a great deal of text written in diary form giving a marvellous insight into the behaviour and habits of the bird. The author has also added notes at the end of the book explaining briefly how he has set about capturing the bird in different situations and the equipment he has used.
This book will be of interest to birdwatchers, nature lovers and mere mortal wildlife photographers like myself!
I have only had it a few days but I have read it all and the pictures are out of this world. Charlie Hamilton James is a very clever photographer and I felt the book was worth its price, although I was lucky enough to buy it on Amazon at less than the Retail Selling Price of £25.
That aside I still love this book and despite knowing Charlie for most of his life, I still learned a lot. Many people looking through this will assume photographer's of this calibre have some magical, 'natural gift' - that somehow they were born taking great photographs. I don't believe there is such thing, an incredible amount of hard work goes into this - I can tell you, as I was there, at least some of the time (especially in the early years). Charlie would come & stay for the weekend and get up at 4am and stay in his hide until midday. - standing still for up to 8 hours at a time, sometimes up to the top of his waders in freezing water. Often he would see NOTHING and do this the next day. Then he'd be back the next weekend and do it all again. This would go on for months - Sometimes he'd get a glimpse and occasionally a blurred photo. Then there were years of experimental shots using different ways of getting the kingfisher where he wanted it using assortments of baths, fish tanks and custom made devices. Basically - what you see in this book took the best part of a quarter of a century to get. The results speak for themselves.
Each page - and there are 168 - brings new delights. The book is not only a testimony to the talent, skill and dedication of the photographer but also to the book's editorial and design team. A single species study could easily become monotonous and repetitive - definitely not the case for Charlie Hamilton James' Kingfisher. The month by month study of the life and loves of two pairs of Kingfisher is an engrossing read as well as a visual treat.
Stunning photos of the iconic bird of the river masterfully shot by a truly talented photographer at an idyllic location.
I saw my first Kingfisher July 2009 and was immediately smitten by this bird.
In this book Charlie Hamilton- James has put in pictures the whole life of this wonderful bird along with an extremely readable narrative.
If you only buy one book about the Kingfisher make sure it's this one!!!
There are four or five (or fewer?) photos in here that aren't of kingfishers, but they don't really detract, and the kingfisher photos that are here are just brilliant. Late on in the book, the author talks about National Geographic wanting better pictures and he having trouble getting them, and I suppose from his point of view there will always be room for improvement, but the images he has are impossibly good from my point of view.
There is one kingfisher story shared between this and Halcyon River Diaries, it should be in this, especially as this was published first, but maybe it can stand being in both if it was videoed and used in the TV series, it's no more than a few pages.
There are more photos than writing, reading it won't take that long, but the main thing is the photos, and there are dozens and dozens.
The only way for this to possibly be better was if the photos on the pages were video, and our technology can't do that yet.
I would love a DVD of this material.
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