Outdoor Photography, Beyond the Point and Press – A CGR Book Review

We gave our top amateur photographer Chris Wright the new Cicerone Outdoor Photography book. Did he pick any new tips to inspire him…?

I have been taking photos for about the last 38 years. I would not set myself up to be any sort of an expert but I have had photos published and would like to think I can take a decent photo. I was asked to review a copy of Outdoor Photography – People, Action and Places by Jon Sparks and Chiz Darkin by Climbing Gear Reviewers UK.

Chiz Dakin of (www.peakimages.co.uk)is an award winning freelance photographer specialising in outdoor photography and co-author of this book with Jon Sparks of (www.jonsparks.co.uk) an award-winning photographer and writer based in Lancashire, UK. He has worked on five continents and specialises in landscape and outdoor pursuits.


Get up close and personal to your subject.

The book sets out to focus on the understanding rather than the techniques of photography and that you are a passionate photographer that wants to improve. As the books says “don’t try to go from a VS climber to E6”. It is for people new to digital SLR photography in the outdoors but I also think it would be useful to people wishing to get more out of their SLR than point and shoot and to generally improve their photography. The book is based on an A5 format and is packed with information, tips and techniques along with high quality photographs from Chiz and Jon. This makes it a convenient size for the bookshelf/coffee table but also at a push you could take it into the outdoors to try out some of the tips and techniques contained within the book. Having said that I don’t think it would last too long if you did this too often.

All of the different outdoor sports and activities that the book sets out to cover are enhanced with good quality photographs many of which contain additional information on camera, setting, lens used etc. Also in each chapter throughout the book are light blue text boxes letting you in on what the photographer is thinking, to achieve the best shot.

Rather than trying to do something from every chapter in the book I decided to look at chapter 4, Wildlife and Nature, simply because it’s accessible to everyone even if it’s only in your local park or woodland. I used some of the tips in this chapter and tried to reproduce some of the images from the chapter. So this is my attempt in reproducing the picture on page 92 in the book (a cluster of flowers) and page 95 (the Oystercatcher) but with a different subject matter.

Outdoor photography is more than just landscapes.

I would like to have seen more information on what types/how to choose the right lenses to move your photograph forward. Plus maybe some information on selecting an external flash unit and flash photography as these are the areas that someone new to DSLR would like to know as well. I also think that the section on underwater photography while very interesting with some excellent photographs, is a bit specialised for a book aimed at this market. Having said all that, if you consider that most photography magazines cost between £4.00 and £5.00 for a monthly subscription and there might only be one article that is of any use to you, then at £14.95 I think this book represents excellent value for money and you get a reference book for your bookshelf.

Authors: Chiz Dakin & Jon Sparks.

RRP £14.95

Stockists: www.cicerone.co.uk

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