I love ebooks; I’ve written three of them, and I think they’re great for teaching and learning about photography. But there’s something special about a beautiful, well-printed, coffee-table book. Picking one up is like holding an art exhibit in your hands, and the tactile sensations of turning the pages complement the visual experience of looking at the images. So here are four actual, physical books you might not have seen before, but that could make great gifts this holiday season.
The Last Ocean:
Antarctica’s Ross Sea Project
by John Weller
John Weller might be one of the best nature photographers you’ve never heard of. I first met John in the 1990s when he worked briefly at The Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite. John has since gone on to create two beautiful books: Great Sand Dunes National Park: Between Light and Shadow, and his latest, The Last Ocean.
The Last Ocean is part of an ambitious project to document and preserve Antarctica’s Ross Sea, considered to be the most pristine ecosystem left on earth. John made four separate trips to this area and came back with a stunning collection of beautiful and imaginative photographs. And, in something of a rarity for a coffee-table book, the text is as compelling as the photographs, with vivid descriptions of the area, the lives of the animals, and of John’s adventures.
To see some of the photographs in the book, check out this slide show. You can order signed copies of the book directly from John, or get unsigned copies from Amazon.
by Jeffrey Conley
Jeff is another friend from our days living in Yosemite Valley, who has since gone on to have great success in fine-art photography world. Winter, published in conjunction with the Peter Fetterman Gallery, is his monograph. My words can’t adequately describe the beauty of Jeff’s simple, elegant, black-and-white images, so I’ll just direct you to his Winter portfolio so you can see for yourself. You can order signed copies of the book directly from Jeff’s website (click on the shopping cart button at the bottom).
Art of the National Parks:
Historic Connections; Contemporary Interpretations
Jean Stern, Susan Hallsten McGarry
Terry Lawson Dunn
Fresco Fine Art Publications
This book focuses on eight national parks: Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Acadia, Grand Canyon, Everglades, Yosemite, Zion, and Rock Mountain. Each park section includes some historical artwork along with contemporary paintings (and a few sculptures) from a variety of artists. My friends Penny Otwell and Moira Donohoe are included in the Yosemite chapter, but every section includes an array of beautiful and interesting work. It’s big book – 430 pages – and it’s just gorgeous. You can order it from Amazon.
Seed of the Future:
Yosemite and the Evolution of the National Park Idea
by Dayton Duncan
Published by the Yosemite Conservancy, Seed of the Future commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant, which preserved Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove, and planted the seed for the national park idea.
Although this book features some fine photographs and paintings (including a few images by yours truly), it’s not so much a photography book as an illustrated history of the creation of Yosemite National Park, the park’s early years, and the evolution of the conservation ideas that sprouted in Yosemite.
This book is great gift for someone who loves Yosemite. You can find it on Amazon, of course, but more money goes to the Yosemite Conservancy if you order directly from them.
— Michael Frye
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Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He is the author or principal photographer of The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite, Yosemite Meditations, Yosemite Meditations for Women, and Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters. He has also written three eBooks: Light & Land: Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom, Exposure for Outdoor Photography, and Landscapes in Lightroom 5: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide. Michael written numerous magazine articles on the art and technique of photography, and his images have been published in over thirty countries around the world. Michael has lived either in or near Yosemite National Park since 1983, currently residing just outside the park in Mariposa, California.
There must be something wrong with Amazon (Italy): “Winter” is sold for 194 € (signed copies sold at the photographer’s website are $68); and there’s a second vendor offering it for more than 3.000€ (three-thousands) and a third one offering one used for more than (7.000€). Totally crazy, probably a bug.
Do you know whether Jeffrey’s website can deliver to Italy?
Fabrizio, I can’t explain the Amazon prices. Used books are often all over the place as far as price is concerned. I don’t know if Jeff can deliver to Italy, but you can ask him.
Thanks so much for this post today. I was not familiar with Jeffrey Conley’s work, and going to his website and viewing his images has lowered my blood pressure 20 points! Seriously, his work is an inspiration. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.
Andrew, you’re welcome — I’m glad this helped lower your blood pressure! 🙂 Maybe you’ve discovered a new kind of therapy.
Many thanks, Michael. I got “Winter” as a New Year present off my wishlist, and it is, indeed, extremely beautiful. As you say, there is something very special about such photographs when
they are printed as opposed to looking at them on the screen.
With very best wishes for the New Year,
Glad you like the Winter book Lenya, and Happy New Year!
Appreciate you recommending Jeff Conley”s “Winter.” Whenever I want a gallery experience, but can’t travel, I sit with this book, and as we are sorely lacking winter here in California this year, these images take me there in visual meditation. Look forward to adding others to my library.
You’re welcome Gery – I’m glad you’re enjoying the book. I love it as well.