The Art, Science, and Craft of Great Landscape Photography
Author: Glenn Randall
This is a book that is difficult to categorize as acknowledged in the forward. Its goal is to help us create realistic landscape images that evoke emotion in the viewer. That could be said for many landscape photography books, but this one takes us along a different path to that result. Instead of stopping with the usual rules of thumb and suggestions, this one draws on physiology, physics, psychology and a little astronomy to explain why.
It starts with an exploration of human vision and the differences between looking at the original scene and looking at an image. This becomes the basis for crafting images that will appeal to viewers. Then he moves on to how to find an interesting and properly illuminated scene through personal hiking and exploration combined with map reading and software that predicts solar lighting. There are detail descriptions of light color such as the blue of the sky and red of a sunset. He also includes much more detail on the creation of rainbows including how to predict where to stand so a rainbow will be properly oriented to a subject we would like to combine with the rainbow and how polarization affects a rainbow. Maybe being married to an atmospheric scientist is a benefit.
Once we find the subject, we have to compose the image using the essentials of graphic design and capture the image with a proper exposure. Randall gives us four exposure strategies and explains when each one is appropriate based on the contrast in the scene. This includes the use of HDR to create realistic images rather than the typical grunge look. His suggestions will help with handling the high dynamic range we encounter in many large vistas. Randall also includes chapters on panoramas and night photography that give good descriptions of the how to be successful with these captures.
This is now one of my favorite books on landscape photography because I like to understand the why behind the rules. We can sometimes stumble into a good image when we start out. We have a better chance of getting something when we know a few rules. We have the best chance when we understand the why behind the rules so we can intelligently bend them. This is a book I will be rereading, the beautiful Rocky Mountain images illustrating the book are a nice bonus.