Book Recollection: Creative Bird Photography

I am pretty ashamed of myself right now.  Remember that goal of getting through my ever growing stack of reading material?  If not, I completely understand since I haven’t posted a book recollection since ..wait for it .. wait for it.. APRIL (link here).  Pretty pathetic, but there are some reasons for that and most of them result in just being too tired or busy to sink myself into anything with any intellectual depth.  As a result most of my night and travel reading has been running and health magazines that invade my mailbox once a month.  There are usually some interesting quick reads in the running journals but I am quickly coming to the conclusion that my health mags are worthless – give them three months and they will contradict every recommendation they gave you in the current month.  I’ll be ending those and my Guitar World subscription at the next renewal.

The bright spot in all of this is I have been turning a few pages in a real book every once in awhile.  Somewhat shocking I actually came to the index on one last week.  Which means it’s time for a new Book Recollection – WOOT!!  Today’s entry is about an offering from Bill Coster on Creative Bird Photography: Essential Tips and Techniques.  Pretty sure Linda picked it up for me – obviously she knows me pretty well.  This is a 160 large paper bound book printed on nice stock pages which make the numerous pictures stand out nice and crisp.  To be honest, it was more of an inspiration book than a volume of new information.  This isn’t Bill’s fault but I have read so many books and manuals on wildlife photography that it takes something revolutionary to really grab me.  However, if you like perusing some of the best bird photographs you will ever see.. then this book is for you!  This is where the inspiration comes from – nothing like seeing successful shots out in the field to get your juices flowing to go out there and try to get your own gallery shots.  When it comes to bird photography, Arthur Morris is clearly in the cream (can check out his work out here) Beware, that dude is a Shopaholic in case you have some angst on that (I DO NOT).  Based on the images in this book I am going to add Bill into this elite group as well – strange that I have never stumbled on his work before.  He also gets extra props because he started in the IT Industry before going full time into photography – his sweet spot back then were birds in flight which were pretty rare in the film days.  This led to his employment with one of the top natural history agencies in Britain.  Oh, did I mention he was raised in London?  This particular book was based on a series of articles he wrote for Birds Illustrated magazine – maybe I’ll replace my health subscription with a bird journal .. maybe even on the iPad.  He does an excellent job of giving the details (bird type, location and exposure information) for all the shots in the book.  Note he is a Canon user – let’s all let out a collective siiigggghhhh.

One thing that becomes very clear in the book is Bill has a lot of spare time and is very patient in the field.  He details all of the locations around the world he’s been able to shoot at (many of which I’ve added to my travel list) and continually mentions the multi-day outings just waiting for a bird to show up where he wants it to.  This is a huge advantage over holding down a full time job in the IT world.  I actually have a pretty big list of takeaways so clearly it was worth the read if you can call 160 pages in 5 months actually READING.  There are 38 unique birds (class and common name combined) within the covers (yes, I counted them) and I’m sure some of them you have never seen in person.  If you are new to bird photography or wondering why anyone would take up this pastime, then this book is for you.  If you want to judge how far you need to go before you can call yourself a real bird photographer, then this book is for you (answer a LONG ways for me) or if you just like looking at “purdy” pictures then … this book is for you.  If there is one negative on the book is that it just simply ends.  One moment you are learning about Tilt Shift photography, turn the page to see a couple full spread shots of bird flocks and next thing you know you are staring at the index.  No words of encouragement, no go out and win one for the Gipper speech (speaking of which Notre Dame is currently kicking the crap out of Michigan State) or thanks for spending your valuable time with me.  None of that, just the index.  This always gives me the sense that the book was rushed or the author became so bored or burdened with it that he was relieved just to make it to the page quota.  Maybe it is just me, but if ever write a book I’m going to take the time to properly polish up the ending.

Well, that’s it boys and girls.  Hope you enjoyed the discussion and find some value in the Takeaways that can be found after the jump.  Until next time, happy shooting

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