Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Review: 'Creative Nature and Outdoor Photography' by Brenda Tharp

Creative Nature and Outdoor Photography, by Brenda Tharp, 2010, Amphoto Books, $25.99, softbound, 160 pages. Category/Genre: photography. Cover: Outstanding. Where we got it: borrowed it. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million. 

Tharp is a brilliant photographer, if this book is any indication; the pages are filled with incredible pictures of landscapes, sand, leaves, stones, trees, and flowers. 

One of the first things Tharp suggests is to make a checklist when you want to take a photograph. Questions to ask yourself include: What do I want to be dominant in the scene? Where do I need to be for the best angle of view? and, Is there a creative technique that would better express my vision?

Tharp says that the key ingredients of any photograph are great light, a dynamic composition, good visual design, and an interesting moment. All of these elements might not be in every photograph, but you should aim for them to be. Like other photographers, Tharp advises against shooting in very bright light; diffuse light makes the pictures come out better. 

Photographs, Tharp says, require certain essential elements to create a good image: pattern, shape, line, perspective, texture, and form. For example, straight horizontal lines convey a calm, structured feeling and can also express the breadth of a place. To make a straight horizontal line more dynamic, frame your scene vertically. 

To make a compelling picture, you must have an effective composition. For this, Tharp suggests using the rule of thirds, in which you divide the picture space into a two-to-one ratio. For example, shoot two-thirds sky and one-third land. 

Tharp discusses colour, capturing energy, and experimentation with abstraction and impression, and more. 

If you like this one, try: National Audubon Society Guide to Nature Photography, by Tim Fitzharris. 

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