Within the Frame: A Journey of Photographic Vision
by David duChemin
I'm fairly new to the technical aspects of photography. About 3 months ago I purchased my first DSLR camera. Prior to that, I had only owned point-and-shoot cameras, and had some exposure to nice DSLRs here at work. I've learned quite a bit from friends and coworkers, but never took a structured course on photography. For me, photography seems to be a mix of both art & science. The science of knowing which buttons to push, which dials to turn -- all in order to have the appropriate settings for the desired outcome. And then the art of capturing a moment, frozen in time, within the frame.
David duChemin's book is a great mix of art & science, as well as a good balance of photos & text. He give simple to understand descriptions of various techniques, along with photographic examples. I especially like that under each photo is not only a caption of who, what, & where, but also how. He lists out all of the stats from what camera, lens, aperture, focal length, shutter speed, ISO, and sometimes even what type of lighting (flash) was used - if any. The data-nerd inside me smiles.
As a recommendation from a friend, I took this book along on my latest camping trip, poring over it at night before going to bed. I dreamt of all the adventures in international travel that lie before me, and how I would attempt to capture it in photos. This book not only inspired me to want to become a better photographer, but also to get out & see more of the world. The photo examples in this book span multiple continents, and the far reaches of the world. Not only is it a worthwhile reference book, but would also make for a good coffee-table book.
One technique that I learned about in this book is panning. After reading David's well-presented description, and his tips & tricks, I plan on attempting some photos like this. I think it has a much cooler end result than something Photoshopped after the fact.
Chapter on panning
I know throughout my travels I will be shooting lots of people that I encounter. Currently I have a few different lenses for my camera, and have been learning when it's more appropriate to use one over the others. In one chapter, he gives some great examples on how a telephoto lens varies from other lenses when shooting portraits. He took the time to shoot the same guy with three different lenses, and describes the varying outcome in both the subject & background. I know that I will keep these bits of wisdom in my back pocket when deciding whether to shoot with a telephoto lens, or that wide-angle fixed focal-length lens. Swapping lenses in the field can be time consuming, so I appreciated these side-by-side comparisons in several of the chapters in this book.
Results from different lenses
Even though I learned some sound technical advice, this book was a pleasure to read. The data was not a distraction from the artful inspiration to get out there & capture the world through the lens of your camera. Within the Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision is definitely worth picking up. And take time to check out other work by David duChemin as well.