Photographer and Author: Edward Stokes
Translator: Jennifer Chan
Publisher: Hong Kong Conservation Photography Foundation, 2006
Format: Bilingual hardback, 200mm x 210mm, 192pp.
Cameras alone do not make great photos. The most important aspect of photography is the photographer’s “seeing eye” – his or her individual ability to observe and respond to light, subjects, and their surroundings.
This book, by Edward Stokes, explores landscape photography. It is ideally suited to intermediate level photographers, though keen beginners will also benefit from the book’s clearly structured and easily understood text. Practical experience enriches the pages. Although written when Stokes was using film, the book’s principles remain equally true for digital shooting.
Beginning by introducing the essential elements of photography, the book then explores the basic methods for successful images. Stokes’ enthusiasm for photography, and for sharing his knowledge, shine through the examples and reproductions. His own images will inspire anyone wishing to improve their photography.
Over all the years, what motivated me to continue shooting, despite many dawn or poor weather photo outings? My belief in the work – and knowing that extreme conditions often produce the best images.
As the book indicates, photographic techniques are not ends in themselves. Rather they are means to an end – to reflect each photographer’s thoughts and emotional responses to what he or she sees, and to then seek a connection with viewers. The book’s genesis was a series of photo workshops for Country Parks Rangers of Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.
Maps and compasses greatly help landscape photography, to predict vantage points, views, and light directions. Pre-mobile phones, a simple whistle was the best personal safety aid. On solo photo outings, after snakebite, injury, or dehydration one can blow a whistle long after one can no longer call out. The red rucksack – for easier rescue helicopter spotting.