Book Review

Cover: How To Photographe Water by Heather Angel. How To Photograph Water

Author: Heather Angel

Publisher: Stackpole Books

ISBN 0-8117-2461-1

Heather Angel is an internationally successful nature photographer and a prolific writer. Her style of writing is ideal for this edition of the Stackpole "How To..." series. Pages are laid out with a mixture of text and photographs with extended captions, thereby allowing the reader to associate techniques with illustration.

The book consists of eleven separate chapters (parts). The contents page lists each part and subheadings, which is very useful and acts as an index. Beginning with an inspirational piece called "The Magic of Water" Angel moves on to cover the basics of equipment selection, film choice and use of lighting in parts two and three. This is followed by a portfolio piece. Here Angel displays a selection of her shots and describes the story behind each picture. An exploration of water in various states follows, each having a separate part dedicated to it (calm, moving, frozen and vapour). Part nine takes a look at the interactions of water and wildlife, after which Angle begins to discuss water abstracts and the final part (number eleven) moves in close for macro lens type of photography.

I found this book to be very readable and readily understandable. Angels' experience in this field is undoubtedly vast. The 130 photographs are evenly spread among the 130 pages of this soft-backed book. And the layout certainly helped to allow "dipping in" to a particular subject without having to read it all.

In many ways this is an excellent book but having read it I couldn't help sensing that something wasn't quite right. It wasn't the writing - it wasn't the quality of the photography (although I did find at times that I was looking at pictures I'd seen elsewhere), eventually I came to the conclusion that it was the subject. Water is a popular theme in photographs but I don't know that it justifies a full book about it. Looking back through this book I could see that in many of the shots water was incidental to the main impact of the photograph.

I feel that this book would have been better targeted at the general nature photography market. And as such I think it would be suitable for anyone beginning to try his or her hand at nature photography, while photographers looking for specific techniques will probably be able to spend their money better elsewhere.

How To Photographe Water by Heather Angel. Sample Pages.