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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

2009 Holiday Book Guide


The annual OP selection of photography books for outdoor enthusiasts

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Refresh your coffee-table book collection this holiday season with some of the latest photography titles to hit bookstores. For travel and wildlife photographers, this is a particularly full year, with plenty of large-format pictorials showing places as far-flung as the Galápagos Islands and East Africa’s Serengeti, and as nearby as Yellowstone National Park and the Sierra Nevada mountains. A topic that’s always of interest is environmental conservation and the urgency to document some corners of the globe before they change permanently. What follows is a roundup of books to which we gave a second look this year.


A Shadow Falls by Nick Brandt (Abrams, 2009; ISBN: 978-0-8109-5415-1). Look at East Africa in a way perhaps not seen before. In 58 tritone, large-format images, Brandt captures panoramas of animals and landscapes that look mythical. He photographs wildlife the way he would people by forming an intimate connection with his subject matter. These unique portraits of lions, cheetahs, gorillas and elephants are gripping.

The Abundance of Summer: The Seasons of Yellowstone by Tom Murphy (Crystal Creek Press, 2009; ISBN: 978-0-966-86198-3). This is the fourth and final installment of Murphy’s remarkable series of photographic essays that follow the turning of the seasons in Yellowstone National Park. Having lived next to the park for more than 30 years, Murphy has done some extensive traveling within its 3,400 square miles. In this volume, he captures the essence of summertime.

Adirondack Moments by James Kraus (Firefly Books, 2009; ISBN: 978-1-55407-466-2). One of the largest protected parks in the United States, Adirondack Park spreads out over six million acres; it was created in 1892 to protect upper New York State’s water and timber supply. The deep connection Kraus has to this landscape is evident through his compelling imagery, accompanied by personal introductions to each section.

Along the Water’s Edge by Timothy Wolcott (QuinnEssentials Books and Printing, Inc., 2009; ISBN: 978-0-9823590-0-6). Shooting with medium- and large-format camera systems, Wolcott captures beautiful fine-art landscapes of rivers, streams, waterfalls and oceans. The images were taken over more than 20 years and a quarter-million miles traveled. They’ve been exhibited worldwide in museums and fine-art galleries.

Animals on The Edge: Reporting from The Frontline of Extinction by Chris Weston and Art Wolfe (Thames & Hudson, 2009; ISBN: 978-0-500-54382-5). The renowned wildlife photographers offer a visual survey of rare and endangered mammals across six continents. Habitat destruction, illegal hunting and climate change are just a few of the threats these creatures face. Along with some 60 photographs are captions detailing each animal’s habits, habitat and conservation status.

Bear Portraits by Jill Greenberg (Little, Brown and Company, 2009; ISBN: 978-0-316-03188-2). Greenberg takes the shiny signature style of her celebrity portraits and applies it to bears in this funny and thoughtful book. From an angry-looking brown bear to a cuddly cub to a peaceful polar bear, each shot reveals some kind of emotion, a hallmark of Greenberg’s photography. Full-grown brown bears, grizzlies, black bears, polar bears and bear cubs were photographed on location against a portrait backdrop.

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