Favourite book: Photographing Wild – Techniques of a National Geographic Photographer by Paul Nicklen
All images are screenshots from the PDF and can be clicked on at the end of the article and thus viewed larger.
When someone looks at an image and it beats them over the head – grabbing them by the heart to emotionally and completely pull them into it – that's a powerful photograph.
As the title suggests, this e-book is about wildlife and adventure photography. Paul Nicklen is undoubtedly one of the world's most famous wildlife photographers, storytellers and activists for the protection of the environment and this book gives an insight into his way of working.
Like the other books already presented, it is only available in the original English and only as a PDF for the computer or tablet.
The book is divided into 28 chapters and describes Nicklen's career, his equipment, his philosophy when it comes to photography and lots of tips, all with countless breathtaking examples. Nicklen also interviews some photographer friends and asks them: "What makes a great story? What makes a great photo? What makes a great photographer?"
20/60/20; a rule which easily applies to other genres of photography. (Screenshot)
Start Ready; especially for sports photographers, this is so important! (Screenshot)
Abandon the photographic rules; yes please! (Screenshot)
I only photograph wildlife myself when they are standing in front of my living room window (which doesn't happen that rarely). But while Nicklen ties all of his examples to wildlife photography, the tips and statements apply very generally to many types of photography. That's what I like about this book! Quasi by the way, the reader learns a lot of background knowledge, what else it takes to make such great pictures in addition to photography knowledge...
Paul Nicklen at work. With this picture, it is probably very clear why his book is not only about wildlife photography but also about a lot of adventure knowledge... (Screenshot)
My first assignment for National Geographic was Atlantic salmon, and I did five months of daily research before I even made my shot list. Before I took a single picture for the story, I had over 680 contacts from all around the world. That's not typical. But even for a story I'm already interested and passionate, I'll invest up to a month doing research. Research is key. It helps you understand the story and the possibilities in telling that story. The more left-brain preplanning research and work you do, the more you'll be able to let yourself go in the field.
When people tell me they only keep one frame in 1,000, I look at those people with great envy because I wish I were that successful. For the great images, the ones I really strive for, I'm probably one in 10,000. For good images, I'm one in 5,000.
The book can be purchased here: Link to the website