The Masters of Nature Photography

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A collection of photographs from winners of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition comes from two venerable institutions of the United Kingdom: the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide. For 49 years, this prestigious exhibition has drawn submissions from around the world. Being shortlisted is something to which nature photographers around the world aspire and every year new ...

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A collection of photographs from winners of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition comes from two venerable institutions of the United Kingdom: the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide. For 49 years, this prestigious exhibition has drawn submissions from around the world. Being shortlisted is something to which nature photographers around the world aspire and every year new talent competes with established names for a chance to become Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

The Masters of Nature Photography features ten breathtaking portfolios from ten of the world's top nature photographers: 120 stunning photographs in all. Selected specifically for this book, the images reflect the photographers' unique talents and perspectives and showcase an incredible variety of subjects and styles, from striking animal portraits and arresting landscapes to underwater photography.

The Wildlife Photographers of the Year featured in this stunning book are:

  • Jim Brandenburg
  • David Doubilet
  • Pal Hermansen
  • Frans Lanting
  • Thomas E. Mangelsen
  • Vincent Munier
  • Michael 'Nick' Nichols
  • Paul Nicklen
  • Anup Shah
  • Christian Ziegler.

Running twenty pages each, the 10 portfolios includes a profile of the photographer, describing the style of his photography as well as his influences and aims. Captions describe why the pictures are special to the photographer as well as telling the stories behind them. Also including details of the equipment used, this is a sumptuous gift for nature lovers and professional and amateur photographers.

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is an international showcase for the very best photography featuring natural subjects. It has been the leading event of its kind for nature photographers since it was founded in 1965 with three categories and about 500 entries. Since then, there have been more than 48,000 entries from over 98 countries. The photographs are judged by a panel of experts and the winning and commended selections are exhibited at the Natural History Museum, where over the next year, millions of people will view them. The exhibition tours worldwide, attracting more than a million visitors.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist - Nancy Bent
A stunning presentation of the photographer's art. Nature photography has always been a wonderful blend of natural science and art, and the arrival of the digital age has changed the illustration of the natural world probably more than any other photographic genre. The images in the book are half film and half digital, resulting in interesting comparisons... At the beginning of each section is a short biography of the photographer. Each picture is accompanied by the artist's recollection of shooting it, along with the technical data of where it was made, the camera and lens types, the shutter speed, and (where applicable) the film type. Many photos also feature quotes from the photographers that reveal the philosophy of their art. As an introduction to the majesty and intimacy of wildlife photography, this book has no peer.
North Shore News - Terry Peters
Ten brilliant photographers open their portfolios and share 20 pages of images each in this incredible collection... Drawn from their entire careers, we are privileged to see what they consider to be their absolute best work. Each photographer provides a detailed description for every image that tells how the picture was taken. There is also the technical info regarding the equipment used and settings. Their comments tell us not just about the accompanying image but also their approach to photography and conservation... The 120 photographs featured in the book offer a magnificent look at some unique animals and also some very common ones. Each subject is perfectly presented through gorgeous lighting and impeccable timing. While the ages may vary considerably between these artists, they stand shoulder to shoulder in their talent.
Shelf Life
Page after page, will leave you breathless, with nature never having looked so majestic.
Wall Street - Alexandra Wolfe
Hearing the call of the wild and capturing it on camera are two very different things, as the 10 photographers featured in the new book The Masters of Nature Photography can attest. They sometimes spent months tracking their subjects or stood waist-deep in lakes for hours. Still, nature photography is an underappreciated art, says the book's editor, Rosamund Kidman Cox. Because wildlife photography has historically been used mainly to record animals rather than to create art, the job was left to scientists who weren't trying to take something beautiful, says Ms. Cox. But recent improvements in photography, such as larger lenses and digital features, have allowed photographers to get more up-close and artistic.
Austin American-Statesman
From galloping horses and leaping wolves to hunting sharks, flapping albatross, waddling penguins, trudging elephants, towering redwoods and jousting narwhals, it's a wild, wild world out there. Just as impressive as the photos? The tales, direct from the photographers' mouths, about how they got the shot.
North Shore News
(Best Books 2013) Ten brilliant photographers open their portfolios and share their best work in this incredible collection. From a lone wolf standing atop a mountain peak to the grace of a stingray gliding above the ocean floor, there is no place these photographers won't go in search of that perfect image.
Photo Life
A great gift for a nature lover you know.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781770852594
  • Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 8/11/2013
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 489,482
  • Product dimensions: 11.64 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Rosamund Kidman Cox is an editor and writer specializing in wildlife and environmental issues, and with a particular interest in photography. She was editor of BBC Wildlife Magazine for 23 years, and has been a judge of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition since 1981.

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Table of Contents


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The photographers whose work is exhibited in this book have three things in common. They have all chosen wild places and wild species as their lifelong subjects, they have all been honoured in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, and they are all passionate about their art. Some of them are legends, others are younger masters, but all have a deep respect for their subjects and high ethical standards.

The 10 photographers have each chosen 10 of their images that they consider representative of their work. All would say that there are other nature photographers of equal stature, who like them have been honoured in the competition. But together these 10 represent a collection of work that spans 30 years, different nationalities and different ways of seeing the natural world. A number of them have worked in the heyday of magazine photojournalism in the 1970s and 1980s, when there was financial support for talented photographers, through magazines such as National Geographic. Today, photographers have to be self-supporting. Though the tools they work with are far better than in the days of film, tools are just tools. Knowledge and experience, and vision and passion, are still the most crucial elements. All them say that spending intense periods of time in wild places, absorbing and watching, learning about light and animal behaviour and how to catch the moment have taught them more than any formal education. All of them, however, also say that the generosity of older photographers and access through books and magazines to the work of the other artists — photographers and painters — has inspired them.

Half of the pictures reproduced here were taken on film, when what could be captured was limited by both film speed and camera technology. The digital age has changed the photography of nature more than any other genre, particularly photography under water, where surfacing to change film after just 36 shots is no longer necessary. The speed of digital capture has resulted in photographs of behaviour never seen before, and digital sensors have allowed photography in the lowest light conditions. Being able to see the results instantly has been a liberation. Yet many of the pictures shot on film remain among the most beautiful and memorable.

Some of the 10 masters are the nature equivalent of street photographers, focusing on the energy of the moment, others aim to encapsulate the emotion of the place or moment, others a painterly rendition of it, and many of them use their work to tell stories or convey messages. Their key works, though, all merit the label of art, not illustration. Yet in the world of art photography, those who choose nature as their focus and inspiration are seldom given the acknowledgement they deserve.

But the true reward for these photographers,
whose reverence for nature fuels their passion, is the knowledge that their work can effect change through its beauty and originality, more so than any other genre of photography. They can show what will be lost through destruction of the natural world, can tap into human values and can lead to the preservation of wilderness as well as wild species. For photography, that is real power.

Rosamund Kidman Cox

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2013

    Stunning photography and more

    The stories and information that go along with these stunning photographs make this book very special.
    Highly recommend.

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