AMC Guide to Outdoor Photography: A Review

Digital photography can be an incredibly complex and overwhelming topic. The new AMC Guide to Outdoor Photography from professional photographer Jerry Monkman demystifies it with simple, easy-to-understand explanations and dozens of excellent full-color images from Monkman's extensive archives.

The book is divided into five sections. The first—"In the Photo Pack"—provides an in-depth discussion of the myriad cameras, lenses, and other equipment of the digital photo world. It can be a useful guide for determining which photography gear is right for you, but if you've already got a camera and are more interested in using it to take better pictures, the next section is where this book really shines.

Section two—"In the Field"—discusses the variety of settings you can manipulate on your digital camera to take better pictures, including white balance, exposure, ISO settings, shutter speed, aperture size, composition, and more. Here Monkman often includes two side-by-side images of the same shot taken with different camera settings—an invaluable demonstration of how these settings affect the resulting image. If you did nothing but flip through this book, look at these side-by-side comparisons, and read the explanatory captions, you would be well on your way to becoming a better photographer.

Section three—"In All Conditions"—explains the equipment challenges presented by weather and seasons. These include methods for protecting your gear in rain and snow, as well as techniques for more effectively shooting fall foliage. It's a useful section if you spend a lot of time in the field in a variety of conditions.

Section four—"At the Computer"—covers all of the post-processing work that you can do with various photo editing software. It's extensive and comprehensive, but geared more towards serious photographers willing to invest the computer time and expense. But if you're looking to take the quality of your images to the next level, this provides the road map to get you there.

In section five—"Case Studies"—Monkman highlights 15 of his images and discusses the specific equipment, techniques, and post-processing tools he used to create them. Each is designed to cover a particular aspect of digital photography and feature titles like "Creating a Story," "Working with Light," and "Capturing the Energy." The section provides a nice concluding element that ties the entire book neatly together.

Monkman is a New England-based photographer—and a regular contributor to AMC Outdoors. Most of his featured images highlight the area's natural beauty and provide a wonderful region-specific feel to the title. Though the book focuses on outdoor photography, much of the information is applicable to other settings as well. I would recommend it to anybody interested in improving their photography skills and capturing compelling, unforgettable images.

Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.

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