Views over the countryside [book review]

A post by: Barrie Smith

Views Across the LandscapeAgain, another large format book, Smes exactly to best shows off the subject.

As it behooves this topic, the pictures are given priority and so they have to … text takes the back seat but not to some humiliating.

Author Peter Watson is a self-taught photographer and has five other books, everything to do with landscape photography. In his eyes ‘ recent developments in digital technology have simplified landscape photography. ‘ Maybe this could have more accurately as the advent of digital photography has simplified landscape photography.

How so? Well, for one thing, the burden of establishing to rest and operate a dark room gone, along with the curse of keeping chemicals fresh dirt and dust, magnification and the pain of long hours of operation, especially at night. In almost all forms of photography today is software King!

Photographers now have total control over the process, starting from the concept up to the tap on the shutter release button and continue to the final print. Never before has the photographer complete control.

While we can now enjoy huge checkpoint exposure there are still limits to what can be achieved and many a fall while waiting for the unwary. What can occur after software processing can only be as good as the original material: RIRO or garbage In crap out!

Landscapes are a demanding subject. You have no control over the subject, nothing about the lighting, the placement or orientation. Watsons to take sanguine attitude is that the techniques that require minimal post exposure adjustment; as he says ‘ post processing should be considered the icing on the cake, not the main recipe. ‘

The book begins by suggesting research methods for future topics, location hunting, the ‘ right ‘ equipment and accessories such as tripods and pan heads, filters … even to the right clothes for the location.

The chapter headings Show the way:

EquipmentTechniqueLight in the LandscapeComposition and DesignTaking a closer Look landscape locations

The book is realistic in terms of equipment: Beware of buying and using a digital camera with a ‘ kit lens ‘ included in the purchase price; they are all built with a smaller aperture and usually offer lower resolution than fixed focal length primes lenses.

There is some basic info about lens apertures and shutter speeds, understanding histograms, the use of filters, etc.

Then, in my opinion, are some of the key elements in successful and satisfying landscape photography: find and use the best positions outlined by light.

With the former, recces location using Google Earth lets you fly anywhere in the world, ” to check out sample photos of the area concerned and even scout a shooting position. The message is look for a shooting on the spot by with one useful for ground.

With the last, light atmosphere, atmosphere, calm, harmony etc. Go to the location at different times of the day and the year. Brands are angle, the color, the power and distribution.

In the book scanning I fell on how the author/photographer light is used to raise the quality of his landscape images. If the same images was shot at different times of the day or sometimes light when a less powerful element would not have those pictures ‘ worked ‘.

There are four pages of photographs and text about the use of mist in photographing the landscape: a subtle balance is essential; too much landscape will decrease too little leaves you wondering what you’re looking at. Balance is crucial.

IMHO, the purchase of the book worth it for the value of the photos only!

Author: P Watson.
Publisher: Ammonite Press.
Length: 192 pages.
Size: 25x25x12mm.
ISBN 978 1 90770 884 8. Price: Get A price on views over the countryside

Barrie Smith is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

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