During my 40-plus years in photography - as photographer, picture editor and columnist - I've amassed a library of thousands of books and pamphlets on various aspects of the subject.
During that time, I've probably lost hundreds more, mostly on loan to friends.Most of these books are for browsing, for checking technique and composition. Quite a few are technical, and they help refresh my memory on some technique I have forgotten.
Like good friends, the ones I rely on most can be counted on one hand.
But I've found another to add to that count: the just-published "Eyes of Time: Photojournalism in America" (New York Graphic Society Books, $40) by Marianne Fulton.
It should be required reading at all journalism schools - for writers and editors as well as photographers.
Fulton is a curator at the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House. With assisting essays by contributing authors Estelle Jussim, Colin Osman, Sandra Phillips and William Strapp, as well as an introduction by Black Star president Howard Chapnick, she gives us a magnificent overview of the development of photojournalism, from the beginnings of photography to current times.
I was surprised to learn how much we owe to Europe for the development of American photojournalism as we know it today and the influences it is still exerting.
With well over 400 photographs, many interviews and painstaking research, it is one of the best books on the subject - its past, present and future - I've seen in years.
`SHOOTING' ON SAFARI -
For African safaris today, "bringing back the big one" is more likely to mean a photograph of an exotic animal for display in a frame than a pair of horns to be hung over the mantle.
The popularity of such films as "Out of Africa" and "Gorillas in the Mist" has many camera enthusiasts focusing their sights on the Dark Continent.
According to Sporting International, which organizes photo safaris, the number of camera buffs on such adventures has nearly doubled in the past three years.
Animal photography is always tricky, but obtaining good photos of wildlife, which rarely come in contact with humans, is even harder. Here are some tips to help on your next photo safari - whether to Africa or closer to home:
- Use the best quality cameras and lenses you can afford.
- Pack sufficient fresh film (double the estimate of what you will need if availability is a question).
- Test batteries and working condition of equipment.
- In addition to a standard lens, carry a 200mm lens, and preferably a 400mm lens to capture closeups without disturbing the animals.
- Take a wide-angle lens (24mm to 28mm) for landscapes. A macro lens (50mm to 55mm) will double for photographing smaller wildlife and flowers.
- A compact, lightweight, rigid tripod is essential for low-light or long-lens situations.
- Carry camera, complete with telephoto lens attached, in a plastic garbage bag to protect from dust and rain.
- Practice changing lenses and film and shooting rapidly to be able to capitalize on photo opportunities.