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Book Review: 50 Greatest Photo Opportunities in San Francisco by Matthew Bamberg

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As a photographer, I'm always sketchy about reading books about photography — not because I can't learn from a book, but because I'm more of a hands-on type learner. So when I had the opportunity to review 50 Greatest Photo Opportunities in San Francisco, I'll admit I was luke-warm with what I'd learn.

Boy, was I wrong.

For someone who has never been to San Francisco and as someone who loves photography, I found this book to be a fantastic read, but also a great guide for a place I'm itching to go to now — mostly because of the seemingly limitless opportunities there are to grab some phenomenal images.

Written for beginner to experienced amateur photographers, 50 Greatest Photo Opportunities in San Francisco shows how, where and when to take amazing photographs. The great thing about this book is that it teaches the reader to use traditional photographic techniques while using the latest equipment that digital photography has to offer. The author teachers you step-by-step how to photograph both famous landmarks and those not-so-touristy spots. The book is packed with high quality images and compact enough to be slipped into a camera bag or backpack, which can come in very handy when you are in the bay area and ready to shoot.

Since I've never been to San Francisco, but have read a lot about it because of what it provides photography enthusiasts, I know that it is filled with interesting architecture, lively street life, secluded getaways, and breathtaking views.

Written by Matthew Bamberg, a photographer and writer based in Palm Springs, California, the book will help you find the most interesting views, when to shoot them and how to recreate the images you see on the page. The book includes both photo essay and how-to content and is meant to complement your traditional city guidebook.

The most compelling part of the book are those hidden gems, i.e. areas of the city that are not often visited by tourists. Bamberg offers directions on how to find and get to these special places, offers some background of the location (giving the reader historical perspective), then helps you capture that moment in time from a technical perspective.

The book includes five sections: "Architecture," "City Life," "Events," "Urban Oasis," and "Secret Places." I would even suggest this book to the most amateur of amateur photographers as well as those that are interested in travel and architecture. It's very well written, paced and designed.

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