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on 27 January 2005
I have read a few photography books in my time and I have also been on an expensive photography course. This book is the perfect accompaniment to the knowledge I already have as a reference guide and to reinforce the knowledge I already have. It also provides excellent tips and advice based on Richard I'Anson's considerable experience. I have learnt lots from this book and it is the first guide book I have ever read literally every word of. The book is well structured, well indexed and well written to it's easy to look things up quickly in the field. There are also masses of fantastic photographs that illustrate every technique and learning point in the book. Looking at a photograph illustrating the point being made by the text is absolutely the best way to understand and learn so this is really valuable.
If you know what an aperture is and have a basic understanding of how that affects the light hitting the film/pixels in your camera then I really can't recommend this book highly enough as it is pitched at someone who gets the basics. This avoids patronising and tedious basic explanations that fill half of many guidebooks.
If you don't know the basics of apertures and shutter speeds then I would recommend finding out from the many excellent websites out there and buying this book anyway.
Basically - I rate this book extremely highly and thoroughly recommend buying yourself a copy!
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on 19 June 2002
Travel Photography is an innacurate title. This book is a fantastic guide to beginners and intermediate photographers with a focus given through examples of travel photography. To describe it as Travel Photography is a bit restrictive. It would benefit anyone whether you're trekking in Nepal or sitting in a chip shop in Battersea.
All aspects of photography from basic to quite advanced techniques are covered in a very readable and understandable form. There is no effort on the readers behalf to comprehend what is being explained. Chapter after chapter seem to fall into place.
All photographs are coupled with complete discriptions of how the images were made. Film type, apeture, shutter speed, filters etc.
By the end of the book (which I read cover to cover in three days) you have a thorough understanding of the tools and techniques of photography.
The book itself is well produced. Good quality prints, clean layout and easy to navigate. Its size also means it could fit into a decent sized camera bag as a constant reference.
If you buy one book on photography make it this one.
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on 2 August 2001
I bought this book after hearing good things about it on a photography mailing list. The type and illustrations are small, but this helps keep the size down. That way you're more likely to keep it lying around or even take it with you.
I particularly like the fact that the captions almost always give lens, shutter and aperture information. Also, while he suggests the kind of equipment he finds useful, Richard spends more time on how to get the best travel photos - getting to locations, dealing with people.
One thing I thought it was short of was specific information on what is taboo or frowned upon in various countries. With his experience, I was expecting to read this. Otherwise a very handy book.
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on 28 August 2006
Travel Photography: A Guide To Taking Better Pictures by Richard I'Anson (lonely planet)

This is now the second edition of this book, revised to include digital photography. The book is divided into five sections:

1. First Things First - with chapters on both film and digital equipment

2. Taking Control - with chapters on exposure, composition and light

3. Being Prepared - with chapters on travel preparation and tips for the trip

4. On The Road - with chapters on people, landscapes, cities, special events, markets, sunrise & sunset, moving subjects, wildlife and shots from the air.

5. Back At Home - with chapters on assessing your photographs inc editing, storing, presenting and distributing them.

The author doesn't claim that this book is for professional photographers. It is pitched more at intermediate photographers who want to move on from holiday snaps to producing good travel photographs. However, even someone wishing to get photos published will find something in this book. For instance, the last chapter briefly mentions stock photography, indicating that the book goes beyond good amateur photography.

Many intermediate photographers will find the first section far too long. They've probably decided on their camera and lenses already and the 80+ pages on equipment contain little of interest for them. Beginners would find that section useful, but I can't see this as a beginners' book. The good news is that the other four sections of the book are excellent. The main section is section four, which covers a huge range of travel themes and discusses and illustrates them very well. The photographs throughout the book are of a very high standard. I'Anson draws well on his vast experience as a travel photographer too and adds lots of useful travel tips throughout the book.

There aren't many good travel photography books around and this one, while not perfect, is still highly recommended.

(There is a sort of companion volume Travel Writing by Don George (lonely planet). Briefly, it doesn't give you much hope of ever becoming a fulltime travel writer - the market is too crowded - but it has excellent information for anyone just hoping to get an occasional article published.)
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on 20 February 2001
Although there is some information available concerning the basics of photography in first part of the book, it focususes primarily at experiencing the magic for traveling and shooting pictures while you are at it. The book has been written in a traveling context and will therefore help you not to overlook the most imported issues when you are hungry to make some serious photographs when on holiday or expedition. The title has been well chosen I guess. All this doesn't mean the writer has not done a fine job. It is easy to read, even for a Dutchman and the various examples combined with well explained photographs are pretty handy helping you not to make the general (beginner) mistakes. I would very much like to have the writer's travel experience and photography craftsmanship! Just keep in mind the publisher is an ace at travelguides and not specialized in teaching photography. Conclusion: I like this book. It helps to get you in the mood if you just made some travel plans and if you are considering yourself a novice at photography it will certainly give you some direction. If you plan to buy just one book perhaps you should think again.
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on 7 June 2001
A well written book of basic hints, tips and ideas for the aspiring travel photographer. The disappointment for me is that in a bid to make the book easily portable the captions and especially the exposure information are so small that a magnifying glass is a useful accompaniment. An even greater sin in a photography book is that many of the photographs themselves have been shrunk to a size where it is hard to see what they are depicting, let alone their artistic qualities. If the book had had double the page size it would have earned at least one more star from me.
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on 27 January 2001
This book told me many things I'd read before, but in a way that finally enabled me to understand them. It is an essential guide for anyone who wants to get started in photography or improve their skills. The clarity and simplicity of the writing puts it ahead of anything else I've read in the field. The supberb design and photographic illustration is icing on the cake.
I read it over a couple of days in North East Thailand. On the first day it caused me to to remove the polarizing filters I'd kept on as standard. On the second day I discovered, too late, that with a 200mm lens, hand held, 1/250th of a second is the desired minimum shutter spead - I'd just been using 1/125th.
The book is full of simple, practical advice on almost any photographic topic you need to know about. My photos are already showing signs of improvement.
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on 29 September 2006
Presented everything I wanted to know to get started taking photos with my SLR in a straight forward and easy to read manner. Beautiful pictures all the way through to keep me interested.

Would strongly recommend to a beginner.
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on 10 June 2007
For my taste there's rather too much at the start on selecting your camera, different types of film etc and digital comes a very poor second best. There are more interesting words on ancillary equipment to take with you (choice of filters, lenses, flash and tripod) and preparing for a trip so you get the best out of it.

However, when it comes to the meat and bones of how to take good photographs, the book has a lot to offer with advice on just about everything, ranging from people, through landscape and wildlife to cities and parades. The photographs are well reproduced on decent paper, many are duplicated with one showing a 'average' version of a view, and another that's special, just taken at a different time or with a slightly different perspective. They really do show how small the margin between an average photograph and a great one can be, sometimes just a matter of taking a few steps...

The book is small paperback sized and would fit into a travel bag to have to hand for a quick browse now and again.

A new edition should probably ditch a lot of the basics about choosing a camera and any mention of film in favour of expanding the words on kit to be purchased after the camera, and a short piece on digital processing.
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on 22 January 2008
For a book that specifically states in its opening pages that it is NOT aimed at people wishing to take professional photographs, but at travellers who want to improve their holiday snaps, the advice contained in the subsequent chapters rather misses the point.

For a start, there is a large section devoted to film photography, and I would hazard that a VERY small minority of casual photographers now use a film camera (and I'm sure this was the trend even back in late 2004, when this book was published). Really the majority of people who still use film are at least intermediate, if not professional.

The introduction observes that travel photographers must be able to take pictures in varied light and weather: "The continuing challenge is to take consitently good photographs in very inconsistent conditions", but the remainder of the book doesn't live up to it by providing solutions for taking pictures in adverse conditions, beyond recommending a tactic of wait, and wait, and wait, or return the next day, for that break in the clouds that will illuminate your subject - which for most travellers simply isn't practical. More helpful to tourist-photographers would be suggestions on how to prevent that overcast sky on the day we visit from spoiling our souvenir photographs of the Taj Mahal, more emphasis on composition (6 pages) than equipment (65 pages, of which 11 are dedicated to film photography alone), and avoiding common mistakes.

On the other hand, the large proportion of basic information means it doesn't really suit the intermediate photographer travelling with the purpose of photography and the hope of turning professional.

Although there is certainly a wealth of excellent advice, beautifully and amply illustrated with Richard l'Anson's photographs (though I would still like to see more examples of "here's what you can achieve even in less-than-perfect conditions" - good photography is always easier given great weather), this book left me with the feeling that it needed to pick an audience, whether it's beginners wanting to improve on their tourist snaps, or intermediate photographers wanting to take the next step and start earning from their pictures, rather than trying to straddle both camps and satisfying neither.
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