Recently I purchased a copy of Steve Ingraham’s Point and Shoot Nature Photography from Amazon. Ingraham and I have been Internet correspondents for a while, and I interviewed him via telephone once for one of my projects. But we have never met face to face, and I have no commercial interest, remuneration or compensation for the review that follows. Ingraham runs the point and shoot nature photographer website -- Point & Shoot Nature Photographer , publishes the pic for today blog -- Pic for Today , and runs trips around the world with groups who go to interesting places and photograph wildlife with, you guessed it, point and shoot cameras.
If you want the Cliff Notes version of this review, here it is: this is a terrific book for anyone who is interested in nature photography with any of today’s point-and-shoot, travel zoom, or superzoom cameras. Rank newbies to seasoned veterans will benefit from the wisdom it contains.
Point and Shoot Nature Photography (hereafter: PSNP) is a large format book, measuring 8.5 x 11 inches, stretching some 120 pages, and lavishly illlustrated with scores of beautiful color photographs taken by Ingraham with point and shoot cameras.
With the first sentence of the introduction, Ingraham reveals his agenda: “Let the camera do all the work it can, so you can concentrate on seeing and sharing the beauty and meaning in your world.” Later in the intro he adds: “I use advanced Point and Shoot cameras by choice . . . not because I don’t know better, or can't afford better equipment.” He loves point and shoot cameras because of the compact size and light weight, the ability to go from a macro to a tight shot of a bird 40 feet away without changing lenses, and satisfying image quality for his purposes.
He makes his point with an anecdote from a trip to the Galapagos Islands. He was in the company of a couple of pros who were lugging 25-45 pounds of professional camera gear with them, while Ingraham’s kit weighed 4 pounds total. They all got satisfying images . . . but guess who had an easy time of it in the heat and rugged terrain?
I was struck by one of the things he said in discussing “the photographer’s eye.” “When the photographer puts his or her frame around a subject or an object, or a collection of subjects or objects, he or she is saying ‘Look at this. This means something to me. I value this. Do you see what I value here . . . do you see what I see?’”
The first 76 pages of PSNP are devoted in part to what to look for in a point and shoot camera. Ingraham avoids the trap of discussing specific models, but instead reviews the different capabilities and features the photographers may find desirable and helpful.
Then he devotes a great deal of space to getting the most out of a point and shoot camera for nature photography by taking fullest advantage of letting the camera work hard for you. This includes Auto Mode, Program Mode, Landscapes in HDR, Creative Styles, Macro, Birds in flight, Multi-Frame Effects, and much, much more. To be honest, as a guy who has been photographing wildlife with superzoom cameras for several years now, I thought I knew quite a bit about the subject, but there was a wealth of information that I didn’t know, and I can see that I will be mining the goodies in this book for some time.
The last 45 pages of PSNP is devoted to post-processing the images you take with modern post-processing apps like Polarr. Ingraham takes a very systematic and useful approach to the subject, and, once again, I learned a great deal that will serve me well as I move ahead.
Bottom line: if you like nature photography and the freedom that point and shoot or superzoom cameras offer, Point and Shoot Nature Photography by Stephen Ingraham isn’t just a highly recommended and excellent resource, I consider it essential.