From our June 2007 issue:
Just Shoot Me: Photography technique beyond the basic point-and-shoot can be a bit intimidating, so we've compiled a few resources to help you develop your skills.
Langford's Starting Photography, Fifth Edition: A guide to better pictures for digital and film camera users
By Philip Andrews
Though the information is geared toward beginners, Langford's Starting Photography, Fifth Edition by Michael Langford and Philip Andrews can be used by film and digital photographers of all skill levels. Langford takes a visual approach to teaching photographic techniques, such as how to use shutter speed to blur or freeze motion, and he follows up with photo assignments that provide practice for mastering new skills. Beginners will appreciate the chapter on buying a camera; the emphasis here is on the fact that technical knowledge and skill, not pricey equipment, make for good photos. For the advanced photographer, there's a section on editing and post processing that focuses on Photoshop, but it also suggests more affordable software alternatives. One of the most useful sections is on troubleshooting. Langford shows examples of common problems such as overexposure and unusual color casts so photographers can determine exactly what went wrong with their images and learn how to prevent such mishaps.
Focal Press; $24.95
Spirit of Place: The Art of the Traveling Photographer By Bob Krist
Part photographic memoir, part how-to book, Bob Krist's Spirit of Place: The Art of the Traveling Photographer touches on a variety of subjects, from gear and basic technique to composition, but its heart is about capturing the essence of a place. In one subsection, "Grammar of a Photo Story," Krist details the different types of shots that make up a visual story and discusses the way they should be structured for maximum impact. Mini photo essays interspersed throughout the book illustrate these photographic concepts while providing a glimpse into the trials and tribulations of a professional. With more than 25 years of experience as a travel photographer, Krist shares his pre-assignment preparations and provides practical tips, from breaking the ice with the locals to survival techniques for road warriors.
Now Take It On The RoadThe Maine Photographic Workshops, now known simply as The Workshops, offer more than 300 one-week, intensive programs designed to push your photography to the next level. Most of the workshops take place in Rockport, Maine, but there are several destination workshops, too. Travel to Vietnam or Uganda with a professional photographer and hone your skills as you explore foreign lands. As the third-place winner of ISLANDS' 2006 photo contest, Pierre Lemarchand won a week at The Workshops and chose to attend Bob Krist's "Sense of Place" in August of that year. Lemarchand says the concentrated schedule of pre-dawn shooting and classroom critique followed by afternoons "on assignment" and more shooting after dinner helped him improve not only his technique, but his creativity as well. Lemarchand, who is from France, remembers the week as intense but wants to return someday, despite the distance. "You learn, meet new people who share your passion, make new friends and discover a beautiful part of the U.S." Tuition prices from $695. theworkshops.com
» To win a copy of Spirit of Place, tell us your favorite island to photograph at email@example.com. Entries must be received by June 30, 2007, and one winner will be chosen at random.
From our April/May 2007 issue:
The Handsomest Man in Cuba: An Escapade
Text by Lynette Chiang
With nothing more than a folding bicycle and two panniers, Lynette Chiang set out in December 1999 on a four-month journey around Cuba and then chronicled it in The Handsomest Man in Cuba: An Escapade. Readers used to American media, which generally vilify or conversely romanticize this Communist- run island, will find Chiang's Australian perspective a starkly honest portrayal. Chiang's Cuba is one where she roomed with full board for less than $10 a day and where almost every conversation with locals eventually turned to bitter rants about a lack of money and food. Yet it is also an island where Cubans literally gave her the shirts off their backs and pressed into her hands several days' rations of bread, not wanting her to be hungry during her ride. You've already heard about the Cuba trapped in the '50s where everyone drives old Chevys and dances salsa late into the dusky night. But what happens when you leave Havana? Chiang's journey may sound gritty, but she's done what so many wish they had the cojones to do, and she helps to illuminate a Cuba visible, until now, only to those living there.
Globe Pequot; $14.95
Underwater to Get Out of the Rain Text by Trevor Norton
Trevor Norton first ventures underwater at the age of 14, and it is love at first sight. This passion, ignited near his home on St. Mary's Island off northeast England, propels him through a Ph.D. in marine biology and into a life dedicated to teaching and research endeavors that lead him around the world and land him, more often than not, below sea level. In his book Underwater to Get Out of the Rain: A Love Affair With the Sea (De Capo, $25), Norton mixes his personal adventures in water with natural history. The chapters are separated by location: in one he's studying strains of Japanese seaweed off the coast of San Juan Island near Washington state, and in another he's setting up marine research centers on Panay in the Philippines. It's part memoir and part biology and history lesson, written with an environmentally-conscious voice.
De Capo; $25
Child of the Jungle: The True Story of a Girl Caught Between Two WorldsText by Sabine Kuegler
When Sabine Kuegler attends a Swiss finishing school at the age of 17, she routinely shakes her shoes out, looking for hiding scorpions. She bargains for food at the grocery store and greets every person she passes just as she did in the jungle where she lived for the past 10 years. Her parents had taken her with her brother and sister to live in uncharted territory in West Papua, New Guinea, so her father could study the undocumented language of the Fayu, a tribe that had never before had contact with the outside world. This beautifully remembered memoir is the result of the adult Kuegler coming to terms with her idyllic childhood spent among warring tribespeople and later her own motherhood in Western society. Kuegler's vivid portrayal of the Fayu, her family and their lives in the jungle are recalled in dozens of slim chapters that make this a can't-putit- down read. The characters, setting and situations are so rich that our only criticism is this: We are left wanting more.
Warner Books; $24.99
From our March 2007 issue:
Modern Caribbean Cuisine
Text by Wendy Rahamut, Photos by Michael Bonaparte
This book is divided into nine chapters covering everything from appetizers to condemants, which are especially important given a cuisine whose foundation is hot sauces. The recipies are easy to duplicate at home if you can locate the ingredients.
Interlink Press; $35
The World Is a Kitchen: Cooking Your Way Through Culture Text by Michele Anna Jordan and Susan Brady
This anthology of 37 first-person culinary adventures explores the world one taste, and culture, at a time. The soup, hailing from Australia, is the tasty result of writer Lucy Friedland having overcome her revulsion to the yabby - a crayfish that grows to 6 inches - while at cooking school in Sydney. Expect a fun read plus recipes.
Travelers' Tales; $16.95
Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore and MalaysiaText by James Oseland
Saveur magazine's editor-in-chief has turned his Southeast Asia travels into a treasure chest of flavors, stories and recipes.
W.W. Norton; $35
The Hawaii Farmers Market Cookbook: Fresh Island Products from a to ZText by Hawaii Farm Bureau (Editor)Farmers markets are a staple of so many cultures, but none surpasses the beauty, tastes and aromas of Hawaii's. We love this book for its straightforward introduction of island ingredients, how they are used, where we may taste them and how to prepare them ourselves.
About this Book: Gibbs Smith; 248 pages; $29.95
View Armchair Traveler recomendations from previous issues.