The Handbook of Bird Photography
by Markus Varesvuo, Jari Peltomaki and Bence Mate, published by Rocky Nook (USA) in 2013.
The book was originally published in 2011 in Finland


My first impression was this is another coffee table book with beautiful bird photographs in living color expertly captured.  But you do not get very far into the book to realize that it goes much deeper than this.  The authors, three talented bird photographers from Finland, have successfully combined their knowledge of the techniques of field bird photography.  While there is a section on the equipment you need, a major part of the book is about what to do once you have cameras and lenses.  The descriptions of field techniques and how to capture those awesome images are most revealing. For example the authors explain how to be at the right place at the right time. How to create the right place and time. How to get close to birds that normally can be seen only from a distance. How and where to build blinds, anticipating the actions of birds, and the best angles to photograph them. They stress the importance of listening to birds and the need for perseverance by the photographer.  Other subjects covered include: focusing methods, exposure, natural and artificial lighting, and how to deal with movement. Post processing of photographs is not included.
 While at times I wanted more detail there is more than enough information to get you started researching a topic on your own.  Lots and lots of ideas to draw from because now you know how they did it.
My biggest problem was actually reading the book.  I kept finding myself reading the captions on all those awesome photographs and thinking about how I could use their ideas in my own photography.  Then I have developed this intense desire to own a 500mm F4 lens.  Even if you never get beyond the pictures it is still worth the price.


J Mike Kell

West Pasco Audubon Society