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Book Review: The Wild Side of Photography: Unconventional and Creative Techniques by Cyrill Harnischmacher

The Wild Side Of Photography is a compilation of the work of a wide variety of different photographers and their unconventional styles of photography. It is a series of articles in which they cover diverse themes ranging from experimental focus, to unfamiliar viewpoints. Each of these photographers is trying to break new technical and creative ground.

The contributors attempt to break down these techniques into simple-to-follow articles that both explain the methods, but show you how you can begin to think differently so as to create your own photographic experiments. The Wild Side Of Photography is 224 pages in length and covers 21 articles.

“Landscape Blurs Part 1 & 2,” looks at a different method of taking landscape shots through the use of creative movement to blur the image. Part 1 looks at the photographic technique and part 2 looks at the workflow to create the images. “Show Time,” shows you how you can use your laptop computer to create a little photo studio for creating different effects in your pictures.

“Near and Far,” takes your telephoto and macro lenses and uses them as telescopes and microscopes to capture different viewpoints with your camera. “Camera Obscura,” is about creating analog and digital pinhole cameras so that you can get old time and unusual effects with your pictures.

“Graffiti Made of Light,” shows you how you can use colorful LED lights to create strange effects with your images as well as light drawing. “The Earth From Above,” will show you how to use your camera and a kite to get some stunning aerial photographs. Here you will see what kinds of rigs are used to get this done.

“Selective Focus,” is about building your own tilt/shift focus lens. These will let you add selective blur to an image to create an interesting effect. “Color, Blur, and Verve,” is close-up photography revisited. Here you will see how to look at things differently and how to experiment with colors and light.

“Diver Down,” takes you to the world of underwater photography. In this article you will see what it takes to capture good images underwater. “Night Sights,” will show you how to use flash creatively in the dark. Here you will see what kind of equipment that you will need to work creatively in the dark.

“The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars,” looks at simple ways to shoot spectacular astrophotos. You will see how to shoot the moon, sun, and starry skies. “Klip-Klap,” examines the concepts of stereoscopic photography. These are exposures that are made a predetermined distance from each other to give an impression of depth.

“The Flatbed Camera,” is all about taking photos with a scanner. You can use this to make three-dimentional objects and pictures. “What do You Print On?,” shows you how you can print on unconventional materials like paper towels, cotton vests, and organic materials.

“Gotcha!,” is all about high-speed photography using a photoelectric shutter release to capture splashes of water, eggs breaking, and balloons popping. “Soft-Focus Lens,” shows you how to create a Lensbaby effect with the use of Vaseline to create some really creative effects.

“Little Planets,” looks at how to create some seriously twisted panoramas. This uses a Photoshop plugin called Flexify to create the other worldly effect. “Light Changes Everything,” looks at using dedicated flash professionally. This is all about small light flashes and accessories.

“A View From Above,” examines the use of a telescoping monopod to do aerial photography. By mounting your camera to a long pole you can get some amazing viewpoints. “Camera Hacking,” finishes up with activating hidden functionality in Canon consumer digicams.

The Wild Side Of Photography provides a lot of interesting ideas and provokes thought about photography. Some of the articles do not go into enough detail to give the reader all that they need to get started while others hit the mark perfectly. But in either case, the book provides a lot of food for thought.

The Wild Side Of Photography, as expected, coming from many different authors, has a lot of different styles of both writing and photography, but what I did like is that this book provides many things that will appeal to most photographers. So if you are looking for some inspiration, wanting to get your creative juices flowing, then The Wild Side Of Photography will provide a good read.

About T. Michael Testi

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

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