Photography Books and Photographers

Some of my favorite photographers (and their books)

I make mention here of people who I would call great photographers, as well as books that I have found merit in, whether or not they might be called a great photographer or not, and also have links to the works of some friends who consider themselves photographers, great or otherwise.

Ansel Adams

First and foremost of course there is Ansel Adams. His three book set (the Camera, the Negative, the Print) have been on my bookshelf for many years, and long before I got into digital photography. His 40 examples book is a great classic that I should buy someday. I am sure there has to be Ansel Adams sites and information out on the internet, but you can do the Google search to find them.

Galen Rowell

Galen Rowell has done a lot of great photography, and written some very worthwhile books. He is indeed from the film era, but there is plenty to learn from any great photographer, so that shouldn't keep you from his books. The first that comes to mind is Mountain Light, but there is also a book Galen Rowell's vision that seems to be a collection of articles previously published in the Outdoor Photographer Magazine. Galen and his wife Barbara died just a few years ago (August, 2002) in a tragic small plane crash near Bishop, California. Galen was 62 years old, his wife Barbara was 54.

The Mountain Light website is thankfully still online, and you can look at a collection of Galen Rowell's articles, as well as a very interesting rundown of the gear he used.

One of the articles in the "vision" book also gave a List of Galen Rowell's gear. which I have found quite instructive. In particular I note that the 24mm prime lens on his Nikon was his all time favorite lens.

John Shaw

Another fellow who has taken some fine photographs and written some very worthwhile books is John Shaw. He has written a LOT of books, but the one I have seen and enjoyed is John Shaw's Nature Photography. Interestingly, in his discussion of wide angle lenses, he also favors the 24mm, but says if you have a 28mm, don't loose any sleep, move back a few feet and reframe your subject and instead of buying a 24mm lens, spend the money you save on a good tripod. How did he know about my quandry?

He hasn't come out with a book in quite a while, but keeps his website active and has an interesting blog. He is shooting with a Nikon D4 and a Nikon D800E these days. A Nikon D4 is a big heavy professional body, 16 megapixels, full frame, selling for about $6000 in October of 2013 at B and H photo. The Nikon D800E is a "normal" body, much like the Canon 5D Mark III, but with the amazing Nikon/Sony 36 megapixel sensor. He calls the D4 his action camera, the D800 his landscape camera. Prior to this, he was using Nikons D3s and D3x bodies. Both are heavy professional bodies with full frame sensors. The D3s is a 12 megapixel camera with a fast action oriented frame rate. The D3x is a 24.5 megapixel camera (a "landscape camera").


Some other superb photographers:


I checked out a bunch of books on digital photography from the public library. Most were pretty much awful or worthless, but here are a couple that were good:

I really liked The National Geographic Photography Field Guide, anyone who hasn't taken note of the excellent photography in National Geographic just isn't paying attention.

Complete Digital Photography by Ben Long (now in it's third edition) was quite worthwhile, as is the web site.

A somewhat unusual book I just happened to trip across is The Backpackers Photography Handbook by Charles Campbell. This one is from the film era (1994) and the man uses Nikon equipment. He introduces his Chroma-Zone exposure system which is based on a +-2.5 stop range on slide film.

A book called Shooting Digital has a good review.

Another one (I haven't seen this yet) is: digital secrets

I used to have a bunch of small books from Kodak, such as How to Take Good Pictures (and something by this title is still available from

Another one that sounds good is the book Photoshop for Photographers.

In a local used bookstore I ran across this little marvel: EOS Lens Work III. It is done by Canon and is a beautiful hardcover book, circa 2003 featuring the Canon EOS lenses (omits the latest EFS lenses such as the 60mm macro and the 10-22mm ultra wide zoom). It seems to be out of print, and I have mixed feelings about spending money on what seems to be a product brochure on a grand scale, but it is a unique resource.

Feedback? Questions? Drop me a line!

Tom's Digital Photography Info /