A macro book to get… by Robert Thompson

If you are making your lists for books from Santa Claus – or you just buy them because, like me, you love good books, then here is one for your  lists:

Robert Thompson’s “Close-up and Macro PHOTOGRAPHY. Its Art and Fieldcraft Techniques

If you type ‘close-up’ or ‘macro’ or both into Amazon’s search facility then a range of titles comes up. A few are worth buying but some of them are clearly written to ‘fill a gap’ in a publisher’s list. Specialist photographic books can, all too often,  be authored by people who have more confidence than knowledge and plagiarism is widespread. How refreshing, then, to have a book written by someone like Robert Thompson who is a superb photographer, an excellent naturalist who knows his subject and can write…

This book provides a very good level of knowledge without being inaccessible on the one hand or of being guilty of trivialisation on the other. It provides a complete and authoritative view of the subject and offers a through grounding in basic principles as well as providing a great deal of specialist knowledge.

With Robert Thompson, you have an author and photographer at the top of his game. He has written widely and authoritatively on numerous aspects of Irish wildlife and provided a true contribution to the body of knowledge…wild orchids, moths and butterflies, dragonflies. His works are always beautifully illustrated and scholarly whilst, at the same time, being highly readable. This latest book is based upon life- long experience as a naturalist and photographer, at home and abroad, who both loves his subject and is an excellent communicator.

In the digital age it is not unusual to find people who buy a single macro lens and suddenly sport the’T’ shirt with “I am a great macro photographer” emblazoned  on it. Here, at least,  is a book whose author shows a profound understanding of the techniques and the intricacies of the science behind what he does so well. Robert has experimented with everything from wide-angle macro to high-powered work (so-called ‘extreme’ macro) and his results are superb: better still, he explains clearly how the reader can attain  the same.

Readers will find the portfolio of case studies of particular interest because here, in a relevant way, you can discover numerous ‘tricks’ of the trade and their applicability to the subjects studied… then off you go to do your own experiments and get great images as result. The wide range of examples of outdoor work mirror the breadth of the author’s own work and experience. Robert often has his own way of doing things and of solving problems and he is prepared to share them in such detail. In this way, this part of the book really does make an excellent contribution to work “in the field”.

The ethical side of working with small subjects is also stressed – an aspect of this  book I appreciate for the author shares my deep concerns and promotes the idea that the welfare of the subject must be of paramount importance at all times. In a lot of material published on the Internet, it is evident that, for many photographers the business of simply getting the image was of primary concern plus, of course, the number of ‘likes’ on social media. For those of us who are naturalists, first and foremost, and who grew up with a love of nature (which we then coupled with photography), it is only natural that we take pains to make sure no distress or damage is caused to subject or environment…or, at least, it should be.

Last, but not least, Robert considers the dreaded ‘Digital Workflow’ that side of digital photographic life that those who want to be out in the field like least. It is always useful to see how someone else deals with their workload and pick up tips – this book presents a highly coherent and logical approach to dealing with those innumerable digital files and ensuring maximum accessibility.

Some time ago, I was asked by the publisher, to write a peer review of a final draft of this book and I felt proud to be able to do so. This book is first rate –  I have no doubt that it is by far and away the most comprehensive book on this topic area currently available. It is the work of someone who is a superb photographer and a passionate and knowledgeable naturalist who has the gift of clear and readable authorship. Yes. it is more expensive than some but then it represents a far better a buy being more comprehensive at 308 pages than possible rivals.

The book is available from Amazon at £36.99 ($49.93) (in paperback) and Kindle edition at £23.09 ($30.47)

The hardback edition is £110…not a great publisher’s decision.

Paperback: 320 pages

Publisher: Focal Press; 1 edition (13 Oct. 2017)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1138658472

ISBN-13: 978-1138658479

Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 2.5 x 27.3 cm

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