Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Blue Pixel Guide to Travel Photography: Perfect Photos Every Time

The Blue Pixel Guide to Travel Photography: Perfect Photos Every Time

Have you ever bought something that says "one size fits all" and it fits? Yeah, me too. Something that attempts to appear to everyone in reality appeals to no one. This book was designated by Peachpit as "beginner/intermediate" but I found most of it too difficult for me as a budding photographer and those things I did learn from the book probably would have frustrated an intermediate user. When I think "beginner", I want to be walked through the very basics. Schloss started the book expecting that you had a small arsenal of photography equipment. This book isn't for someone who has a $300 digital camera, but someone who has a much more advanced digital camera, light meters, multiple lenses and a bunch of other stuff I didn't understand.

This book is geared towards someone who already has a photography kit and wants to learn tips and tricks on how to travel with their equipment. For example, Schloss mentions you should ship your clothes to your destination and then carry your camera equipment on the plane. Clothes can easily be replaced, camera equipment can't. This advice is not for someone that is bringing the family digital camera on a trip to Grand Canyon.

My major concern with the book is that if someone owns several thousand dollars of camera equipment, they probably wouldn't be considered a beginning user. Maybe it's just me, but I would not spend $2000 in equipment and then pick up a beginner's book. I'd first learn how to use professional equipment and then buy an advanced book.

In spite of my complaints about the book, I found parts of it helpful. There were a few pages about composing a photo using a "grid" which I had read in "iPhoto: The Missing Manual." Other tips regarding photographing individuals or sports events required you to have a quiver of lenses to choose from to get the right shot.

A nice feature of the book is that it was visually stunning. Every few pages had amazing pictures taken from around the world. These photographers clearly are masters of their craft and a advanced digital photographer will probably be reminded of how to set an f-stop or how much light to let in for a particular photograph. We beginners just like looking at pretty pictures!

This is not a beginner book and intermediate users will only benefit if they have a set of professional or at least "prosumer" camera equipment and lenses. That person isn't me, so I found the book of very little help.

Pros: Pretty pictures
Cons: The pretty pictures require several thousand dollars worth of equipment.