Wildlife Photography, Laurie Excell

 Wildlife Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots/Laurie Excell, Berkeley: Peachpit Press, 2012, 229 p. (review originally published February 22, 2012)

This is the second book written by Laurie Excell for the series “From Snapshots to Great Shots.” I found the information here to be in more detail than her book on Composition and believe that this book will appeal to a wider, although more specialized, audience. This book also serves as a good companion volume to Moose Peterson’s Captured. While Peterson’s book is written in a more folksy manner, Excell’s book is more of a “how-to” volume and, being much shorter, is also a quicker read.

Excell considers Peterson to be one of her mentors so you will see many parallels between their books with regard to equipment, locations, etc., but Excell does not put as much emphasis on using photography as a component of wildlife studies. Instead, she focuses more on photography rather than projects surrounding the photography.

As in her other book, Composition, each chapter contains practical exercises to help photographers develop or fine tune their skills. Excell closes this book with information on two specific wildlife photography excursions, photographing bears in Alaska and photographing birds in Texas. I found these two chapters were easy to read and gave photographers a better idea of what to expect should they decide to take one of these trips.

Peachpit Press rates this book as a “Beginner” level volume which is probably accurate although I believe it offers useful information to the more experienced photographer as well. My only lingering question is whether I would recommend that a photographer read this book before or after Peterson’s Captured.

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