Moose Peterson’s Guide to Wildlife Photography: Conventional and Digital Techniques (A Lark Photography Book) Reviews

January 22, 2012 by  
Filed under Photography Lesson Books

Moose Peterson’s Guide to Wildlife Photography: Conventional and Digital Techniques (A Lark Photography Book)

With more than 20 years’ experience in wildlife photography, Moose Peterson is America’s most accomplished documenter of endangered species. He reveals his professional secrets and techniques in his most comprehensive and spectacularly photographed guide to date. Peterson explains exactly how to make the most of your equipment and how to use animals’ habits to optimize your results. Find the right tools for the job, including every type of lens; learn techniques such as panning, shooting from bl

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3 Responses to “Moose Peterson’s Guide to Wildlife Photography: Conventional and Digital Techniques (A Lark Photography Book) Reviews”
  1. Conrad J. Obregon says:
    51 of 53 people found the following review helpful:
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Schmoozing with Moose, November 29, 2003
    By 
    Conrad J. Obregon (New York, NY USA) –
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    This review is from: Moose Peterson’s Guide to Wildlife Photography: Conventional and Digital Techniques (A Lark Photography Book) (Paperback)

    This book is aimed at the photographer who understands the processes of taking photographs and now wants to apply these processes to taking wildlife photographs. Peterson, a famous wildlife photographer, expresses his opinions on what it takes to get good and great wildlife pictures.

    The first third of the book is dedicated to explaining what equipment is necessary for taking wildlife pictures. It is clear that the author considers a camera capable of accepting a wide variety of lenses, and some really long (and expensive) lenses, essential for this purpose.

    The next chapter of the book is devoted to techniques he considers necessary to make a picture “pop”, i.e., attract a viewer’s attention. He discusses lighting, color, exposure and backgrounds. The third section of the book talks about getting close to wildlife subjects and the fourth chapter looks at ten pictures of birds and describes the circumstances surrounding their taking, and the fifth chapter does the same with pictures of mammals.

    I imagine that reading this book would be much like sitting around with Moose in a bull session and talking about wildlife photography, with all the advantages and disadvantages that might include. For a written work this book needed a good editor, not only to correct grammatical errors and typos, but also to correct all the repetitions, contradictory advice and non-sequiturs. Also, notwithstanding statements to the contrary, Peterson is clearly biased in favor of digital photography with Nikon cameras. For example, the title suggests that the book is applicable to both digital and film, but Moose spends 8 pages laying out why he believes digital photography is better than film, He also spends a page describing why he prefers a particular Nikon lens over others, even though the features on which he bases his preference are only available from Nikon. On the other hand, in discussing the advantages of digital he makes no mention of the use of the histogram, a feature that several other wildlife photographers consider to be the most important benefit of digital cameras.

    At the same time some of the material isn’t presented by any other author in this detail. The twenty-nine pages devoted to getting close to the quarry are singular. While the chapters on the author’s pictures may contain a lot of details that will be of little use to most folks, they do convey the importance of planning and patience in wildlife photography.

    If you are looking for a book that will teach you fundamentals, like the nature of exposure, look at something else, like John Shaw’s “Nature Photography Field Guide” or Art Morris’ “the Art of Bird Photography”. But if you are an experienced photographer, looking to glean a few tips about wildlife photography that you may not have heard before, and willing to put up with a rough and ready but expert photographer, you will probably enjoy this book.

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  2. A. Nevaldine says:
    12 of 14 people found the following review helpful:
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Moose Peterson’s Guide to Wildlife Photography, August 26, 2004
    By 
    A. Nevaldine (Alaska) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Moose Peterson’s Guide to Wildlife Photography: Conventional and Digital Techniques (A Lark Photography Book) (Paperback)

    Moose Peterson does a great job of addressing birds and mammals, the exclusive foci of this wildlife book. No other non-mammals, such as insects, butterflies, moths, reptiles, etc., are included.
    The first part of the book details gear necessary and/or desirable for doing wildlife photography. Peterson discusses camera bodies, a wide variety of lenses, and other accessories, such as flash, tripods, and filters.
    Peterson also addresses the hot topic du jour: film vs. digital imagery. He describes the advantages and disadvantages of each, and provides tips and recommendations for both conventional film camera users and digital camera users.
    A heavy emphasis on exposure comprises the second part of the book. In a nontechnical way, Peterson writes about making the subject “pop”–how to give the subject life, so that it is not flat or dull. He provides many tips and ideas for accomplishing this.
    Third is a section on getting close physically to the subject. Peterson advocates for the value of knowing the biology–the culture and habitat and behavior–of the animals to be photographed. In addition, he addresses the ethics involved in approaching wildlife and the treatment of living photographic subjects. He promotes taking no action that threatens the welfare of the subjects in any way, even if that means you do not capture the image. I appreciate his value for the life of wildlife.
    The final two chapters in the books consist of stories about Peterson photographing birds and mammals. As I read through his tales, I could imagine him telling these during a slide presentation. It is common to hear them during a slide show, but rare to read such chatty stories in a book. The inclusion of this feature of the book makes the book somewhat unique.
    Peterson uses many good and sharp photographs to illustrate the book. With very few exceptions, the captions only include the animal’s name and the camera, lens, and film used. I would have appreciated meatier captions to tie information from the text to the images.
    This book is not really a how-to book. Peterson writes in a readable way about approaches and techniques, but stops short of telling the reader how to do things. There is, however, extensive use of “field tips” in the margins that provide pointers for the reader’s use.
    For me, this book is not one that I would use much for reference. It made for enjoyable, not-too-technical reading one time through, however. His writing style is palatable to a non-techie such as I am.
    I was disconcerted to read what I believe are two geographical mistakes. In the first sentence of the introduction to the book, Peterson describes climbing a mountainside in “the Yukon Territory of Alaska.” I was left wondering whether he was climbing in Canada (Yukon Territory) or in the United States (Alaska). Near the end of the book, he reports photographing northern fur seals on St. Paul Island “which lies off the coast of Nova Scotia.” Did he really photograph northern fur seals in the Atlantic Ocean off Nova Scotia, or did he photograph them on the St. Paul Island of the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea of the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of Alaska? I suspect it’s the latter and not the former.

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  3. E. Bowles says:
    2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Making the Subject Pop, September 18, 2008
    By 
    E. Bowles (Atlanta) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Moose Peterson’s Guide to Wildlife Photography: Conventional and Digital Techniques (A Lark Photography Book) (Paperback)

    If for no other reason, Moose’s chapter on Making the Subject Pop is reason enough to get this book. The chapter is 38 pages long with lots of examples and suggestions.

    Many times I see technically good images but the image does not pop. Then you look at images from successful wildlife photographers like Moose Peterson and many others. Their images have a special quality that makes the subject jump. And in many cases, the extra pop can be achieved through editing or a little more time for composition.

    I’ve read this one chapter many times, and it is an important topic not covered by other authors. And the proof is in the result – an image with a small but important edit to make it “Pop” was selected as a winner for a calendar shot among more than 1000 other entries.

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