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eBook Review: Field Notes: A Photographic Journey by Jason Odell, Ph D.

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Field Notes: A Photographic Journey is a reflective voyage that will take you to a variety of spots that the author has traveled down as an outdoor photographer. His viewpoint is that a great photograph begins in the field with an excellent capture. Once you have the capture, it is then that you can improve upon the image with post processing techniques.

In Field Notes: A Photographic Journey, you will find a wide variety of images in which are presented the technical details of the both the image capture and the techniques that were applied during post processing. You will also learn the backstory of how he came to shoot the image along with small tidbits of knowledge that the author has learned over the years. This is an eBook, and it is 60 pages in length — as with all of the Luminescence of Nature Press books, you are authorized to have a copy printed through a commercial printing service. It is also iPad compatible.

Field Notes starts off with providing 36 separate photographs, each on their own page as well as a description of the shot with location and the year captured. The image takes up approximately 33% of the page with text filling the remainder. The main part of the text is the explanation of how the shot came about. Filling in the rest are the technical notes (camera, lens, shutter speed, aperture, and ISO, as well as any other information on filters and other accessories), plus processing notes on software, and other information.

Each of the images contained in this section really stand on their own. As I said, Odell is an outdoor photographer, so these are mostly outdoor locations, but the gamut of shots is wide ranging. They range from landscapes, wildlife, urban landscapes, jet airplanes, flowers, panoramas, macros, and a couple indoor HDR looks as well. The stories contained on each one contain quite a bit of information both on the shot as well as information that the author has learned in the past – one example is that he used to only want to go out on sunny days because it was his perception that this was the best time to capture, but eventually learned that there were certain things to shoot that were better off captured on cloudy days.

The next part of Field Notes is the location notes. This series of pages contains maps and links to the 17 locations where the images in the book were shot – they include spots in Colorado, Florida, Indiana, New York City, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, South Dakota, Texas, and Utah. There are live hyperlinks included with information as well as if you click on the map, you can view the location within your web browser and be presented with additional information on the location.

This has a lot of little subtle information about the locations as well, such as best times of year, when the place gets booked up, some of the author’s favorite spots, weather conditions, as well as other things about the place. There is also a list of recommended gear to use at the locations. Although the author is a Nikon shooter, it can be used to build kits around other camera brands. The final sections contain gear recommendations with specific “kits” for different kinds of shooting.

Field Notes: A Photographic Journey is a really well thought out and well written dialog about both individual photographs, as well as interesting places and things to shoot at these spots. The PDF file can be viewed both as a standard PDF as well as full screen so to really bring out the most in the page.

What I enjoy most about books like Field Notes: A Photographic Journey is that they give me insight into the thought processes that another photographer goes through when coming up with a particular shot and what they did to further refine the image. Field Notes: A Photographic Journey is only $9.99 at Luminescence of Nature Press. If you want to learn about the techniques and thoughts of an outdoor photographer, if you want to learn about potential locations to go shooting, or even if you want to just admire great photography and see how it was done, then I highly recommend this book.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.