PHOTOGRAPHING TREES

by Edward Parker

Publisher:  Kew Publishing  (2012)
ISBN  978 1 84246 476 2

Paperback
£18

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When I was first sent this book to review, the current ash dieback situation was just a bad dream that surely would never really happen. But the nightmare has become a reality and the need to produce a photographic record of our trees has now taken on a new urgency and meaning.

So what if, like me, you have a simple digital camera that did not cost the Earth? Well this books starts with reference to a group of professional photographers being sent out with such cameras and their subsequent results were stunning, proving that it’s not about the most expensive but how you learn to better use the equipment you have.

So is this book for a coffee table or reference? I think it does both extremely well. The stunning picture of an old oak with a thick covering of rime frost whets one’s appetite for more of the same and the book does not disappoint.

The images furnish the clear and helpful guidance that if followed will dramatically improve the standard of images you produce, reducing the quantity that are either deleted or computer enhanced when downloaded. The biggest thing I always forget is the background when photographing a tree, which often leads to many disappointments when I am long departed from the subject and have been eagerly waiting to rekindle my memory of the tree. All this and more is addressed in the book. From bark to fruit to flowers, foreground to background and view points, they all get a section and very importantly what not many do well, planning ahead. I now even  feel I might just take the plunge and set the setting switch to manual and take control of my exposure and shutter speeds and the like.

The invention of the digital camera and its ability to help even the worst of David Baileys out there can now only get better after reading a book with such a clear, easy to understand explanation of what many think is an area that only those with an art or photographic degree can begin to master.

Ian Wright