When I think about contemporary landscape photographers who’s work I admire and respect, Guy Tal is definitely on that list. He consistently produces beautiful work in a natural style that reflects his appreciation for the natural world.
I recently had the opportunity to review Guy’s eBook, Creative Landscape Photography. I’ve read a lot of books and articles about photography, and written a few myself, so it’s refreshing when I find something that presents a new idea, or a new way of looking at the process of photography. This book does that. Guy has the ability to get you to think in different ways about photography, and about your own approach to a subject. Rather than presenting recipes for successful photographs, or abstract philosophical ideas, he gives you concrete steps to help provoke your own thought process, and stimulate your creativity.
This includes a list of questions to ask yourself before photographing a subject, like, “What element(s) do I find most visually appealing about the scene?, or “What emotion(s) can I convey to my viewers using the elements in this scene?” All vital questions.. While highly-experienced photographers may consider such things instinctively and automatically, even they can use a reminder, and less experienced photographers will find that a conscious effort to answer these questions will pay big dividends.
Guy has always struck me as a thoughtful person, and that comes through in this volume. It’s clear that he’s has given a lot of thought to every aspect of landscape photography:
“A common enemy of good composition is the impulse when an attractive scene presents itself to immediately reach for the camera, snap a few quick exposures, and move on to continue the hunt. In reality, chances are your perspective will not be ideal at the precise moment you discover your subject.”
“Consider all the rules, take what works. Apply where appropriate, but do not be afraid to break every last one of them. Go with your instinct. Photograph for yourself and satisfy your own sensibilities and aesthetics. True artists do not pander to a pre-selected audience. Instead, they carve an audience of their own from those who will encounter and be moved by their work.”
The heart of the book is the first four sections, called The Creative Process, Concept, Visualization, and Composition. The remaining three parts—Capture, Processing, and Presentation—support the ideas presented in the beginning, explaining how to carry your original vision through to a finished photograph. The book also includes many of Guy’s beautiful photographs to inspire you, most from one of my favorite regions in the country, the canyons of southern Utah.
Anyone who’s serious about making better, more creative landscape photographs will learn a lot from this eBook. It’s available directly from Guy Tal’s web site for 9.95. He’s also announced a sequel,Creative Processing Techniques in Nature Photography, due out later this year.