National Audubon Society Guide to Photographing America's National Parks


A comprehensive guide to photographing one of America's greatest naturals wonders by a leading expert.

In this exciting book, Tim Fitzharris reveals his personal secrets of the wheres and how-tos of photographing America's treasured national parks, and his stunning photographs illustrate the most important elements of good composition and use of light.

National Audubon Society Guide to Photographing America's National Parks lists practical tips...

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A comprehensive guide to photographing one of America's greatest naturals wonders by a leading expert.

In this exciting book, Tim Fitzharris reveals his personal secrets of the wheres and how-tos of photographing America's treasured national parks, and his stunning photographs illustrate the most important elements of good composition and use of light.

National Audubon Society Guide to Photographing America's National Parks lists practical tips on traveling through the national parks, working in remote locations and making the best of "roughing it" in the wilderness. In all, Fitzharris provides an overflowing kit of expert advice, artistic insight and tried-and-true techniques.

Features include:

  • Favorite national parks and preferred shooting locations in each
  • How to recognize picturesque views off the beaten path
  • The advantages and limitations of digital equipment
  • Technical references specific to digital cameras (and non-digital cameras, too)
  • Issues to consider when shooting natural scenes and wildlife
  • Practical advice for choosing and using the latest equipment
  • Tips on filtering, composition, lighting, color and exposure
  • Valuable advice on working in remote locales
  • Post-capture image manipulation.

This practical and beautiful guidebook is useful for the hobby photographer, the experienced shutterbug and any tourist looking to record an adventure.

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Editorial Reviews

Outdoor Photographer
Discover useful tips on traveling through national parks, working in remote locations and choosing the right digital equipment for shooting nature. Detailed maps are also included.
The Photograph Collector
The book is copiously illustrated with 250 color photographs taken by the author, each accompanied by descriptive text of the particular photographic techniques and settings involved.
SciTech Book News
From where to see the best scenic views to how to take close-ups of wildflowers, Fitzharris (nature columnist, Popular Photography & Imaging magazine) makes recommendations on taking professional-looking photographs of the attractions of 21 of America's most popular national parks (from Acadia in Maine to Zion in Utah). Digital photo basics and techniques are explained and illustrated in 250 color photos. The 8.5 x 8.5 guide includes a map of park locations, contact information, and a reading list.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554074556
  • Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 2/15/2009
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Tim Fitzharris is well known to legions of photographers who read his monthly nature column in Popular Photography. He is the author of more than 25 photography books, including the remarkable National Audubon Society Guide to Nature Photography.

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Table of Contents

The National Parks
Using This Book
Photography Essentials
Basic Equipment
When Shooting Wildlife
Favorite Shooting Tips
When Shooting Landscapes
Reading List

The Parks
Acadia National Park, Maine
Arches National Park, Utah
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Big Bend National Park, Texas
Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Death Valley National Park, California
Everglades National Park, Florida
Glacier National Park, Montana
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee/North Carolina
Joshua Tree National Park, California
Mount Rainier
National Park, Washington
Olympic National Park, Washington
Redwood National Park, California
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Saguaro National Park, Arizona
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Yellowstone National Park, Idaho/Wyoming/Montana
Yosemite National Park, California
Zion National Park, Utah

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This book offers practical advice on shooting the most exciting attractions in 21 of America's most popular wilderness parks. The text details where and when you can record beautiful landscape, wildlife, wildflower, and other natural views. It presents specific camera-handling techniques and approaches to composition appropriate to each situation. Photographers of all skill levels should find this book valuable.
Although I have spent most of my career taking photographs in national parks, I do not consider myself an expert on even one of them - most are too large and diverse and I have spread myself too thin to be able to make such a claim. I am an expert in the techniques of nature photography, and in this book I try to pass on my best recommendations, based on field experience, to finding and effectively capturing on film the most photogenic attributes of each park.
The National Parks
North America's national parks are the most exciting locations for nature photography in the world. Nowhere else can you find such dramatic combinations of abundant wildlife and breathtaking scenery. Not only is the potential for taking beautiful pictures unmatched elsewhere, but an infrastructure of roadways, lodges, campgrounds, and stores makes access and logistics a relatively simple matter. The parks are patrolled by rangers who safeguard both park resources and the visiting public. They also can provide expert guidance to attractions, trails, and natural history.
Help from the Visitor Center
In order to make the most of the information in this book, your first stop should be at one of the park's visitor centers. Your main purpose there is to pick up an official park map (if you didn't get one at the park entrance) which will guide you to all of the main attractions and facilities. These detailed, large-format maps show geologic features as well as main roads and most side roads. They should be used in concert with the Hot Spot maps in this book.
While you are at the visitor center, take the opportunity to orient yourself to the park environment. You might look over the displays and perhaps attend a slide show or video program. Browse the retail book shop for literature that may be of special relevance to your visit. Look over the wide selection of photos in books, calendars, postcards, and posters to get a feeling for the photographic potential of the area. Staff at the visitor center have intimate knowledge of the park and are an invaluable resource for photographers. They can tell you where wildflowers are blooming, elk are rutting, and waterfalls are surging; provide an up-to-the-minute weather forecast and the exact time of sunrise; or enlighten you on such prosaic issues as campsite availability and road closures.
You can usually talk to national park staff simply by calling the park's main telephone number found at the head of each park section in this book. Dial ahead to inquire about facilities or what clothes to bring. Cell-phone-toting photographers can often get on-the-spot information while in the filed - "I'm calling to find out if that grizzly is still in the Dunraven Pass area. Have the trail closures been lifted?" Another source of excellent information is national park websites. Individual web addresses are found at the head of each park section.
Park Regulations
It's your responsibility to know and follow the regulations of the park. These rules are intended to protect fragile wilderness habitat and wildlife as well as ensure a safe and enjoyable stay for visitors. Regulations (which vary from park to park) are posted on signs in relevant locations and usually appear in both the official map and the free seasonal visitor guides available at entrance stations. Most regulations will have no effect on your activities as a photographer but a few require special attention.
Photographing Scenery
Driving off-road is prohibited so be prepared to hike to many scenic locations. In some areas (especially alpine, subalpine, and desert environments) you must stay on established trails to avoid damaging vegetation which can lead to erosion and general habitat deterioration. Don't remove or otherwise alter any vegetation or natural artefacts in the course of shooting. Take only pictures and, if possible, don't even leave your footprints!
Photographing Wildlife
Feeding or baiting animals is strictly prohibited for many reasons. Perhaps most significant is the danger that animals habituated to feeding pose to park visitors (especially children), even those who have no intention of offering a tidbit. Aside from painful bites and scratches from animals as seemingly harmless as chipmunks and squirrels, some species carry serious infectious diseases.
Fortunately for photographers, the protection given park wildlife has reduced its fear of humans, making close-range shooting of many species routine. Always keep in mind that your photographic activities should not affect the behavior of the subject. If an animal moves away from you, even at a slow pace, you have likely approached too closely and should retreat. It's best to be patient, quiet, and still and allow animals to come closer to you (which they often do). Special precautions are required with aggressive species like elk, bison, and bear. If possible, shoot such species from the safety of your vehicle. If working on foot, maintain a safe distance and stay alert not only to the behavior of the animal you are shooting but to others which may be in the vicinity. Park visitor guides provide specific advice on how to avoid negative wildlife encounters.
Photo Etiquette
You will encounter many other photographers at popular scenic locations and where there is wildlife close to the road. How one shares the park's opportunities with other photographers is mainly a matter of simple courtesy and common sense. I do my best to stay out of the line of fire of anyone else with a camera. I avoid setting up my tripod near other photographers in order not to disrupt their concentration. If I like a spot that is already occupied, I wait until it is vacated. I normally don't approach wildlife that someone else is shooting in case my arrival frightens the animal. If my presence seems unlikely to cause a disturbance, I get into position quietly and go no closer to the subject than other photographers. For my own peace of mind, I only shoot from a vehicle in areas where there is little, if any, traffic and I pull well over onto the shoulder of the road for my own safety.
Using This Book
An understanding of photographic principles is necessary to fully appreciate this book.
The information here is presented in several forms, most important being the photographs themselves. If you are a novice, use the pictures as models for your own work. For more advanced photographers, including professionals, the photographs provide the best idea of what you can expect to shoot and how you might personally deal with the subject. The selection of images represents situations that can be readily addressed by photographers during an initial visit of one to two weeks. I've limited the Hot Spots photo sites to those which are within an hour's hike of vehicle access. You can walk to most of the locations in a few minutes.
The introductory text briefly describes equipment you will need as well as a few of my favourite shooting tips for landscapes and wildlife. The information that follows on individual parks is the core of the book. You will find general recommendations about when, where, and how to shoot each park's unique attractions. These general comments give way to specific treatments of photo hot spots. Many of these locations are the origin of magnificent calendar and postcard shots you may have long admired but were never able to shoot. Others are less known favorites of mine and other professionals. Access information and shooting tips are provided for each hot spot where necessary. Each picture is accompanied by a description of photographic techniqu

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