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Turning the pages of the Creative Travel Photography | Field Guide

Rebecca Frogley reviews Mike Langford and Jackie Ranken's book Creative Travel Photography I

10 March 2016

This book is like a great image: compelling and inspiring, and the combination of both technical fluency and creative inspiration.

The third in their series of creative-photography field guides, this book brings readers along on a journey through Mike Langford and Jackie Ranken’s travels, illustrating the best gear, locations, and camera specs so that others can also get the most out of their adventures. Sharing 30 years of knowledge and experience, the A5-sized spiral-bound guide is designed to fit conveniently within most camera bags — and is rugged enough to bring across borders — making it the next best thing to having a professional photographer guiding you as you shoot.

The Creative Travel Photography I Field Guide provides the critical thinking and technical knowledge that’s needed to capture great photographs. Because, in Jackie and Mike’s own words, “You need to learn the craft before you can truly express your creativity”. With each of the 32 stunning images accompanied with the photographic gear, focal length, and settings used in its capture, Mike and Jackie offer up the details as to how it was taken — diffusing the mystery of the photograph. In addition, a comprehensive set of tech notes towards the end of the book offer practical tips on how to approach file types, colour temperature, multiple exposures, and everything else in-between.

Still, this isn’t just a book about rules, offering readers more than just technical knowledge of aperture, shutter, and exposure values. It explains everything that goes into making a meaningful image, and why rules aren’t everything — because, above all, a good photograph is formed by way of an aesthetic, not a mathematical formula. Packed with beautiful and compelling scenes, the Creative Travel Photography I Field Guide explores the personal journey that’s involved in capturing photographs of places and people. Comprising of scenes ranging throughout South East Asia, including Bali, Japan, and Tibet, the story behind each image is clearly outlined, along with some keen tips on how to approach a similar photographic opportunity yourself.

As something a little extra, and a nice touch that only a photographer would have thought of, the inside front cover of the guide has been left blank — cleverly providing a free-standing reflector when photographing exotic food or souvenirs.

It’s far from ostentatious — not coffee-table photo book designed to indicate the relative level of sophistication of its owner, nor an easy read for those only casually interested in pretty pictures. But, it is the perfect pairing for people willing to invest the time and effort needed to create brilliant photographs — whether within New Zealand’s beautiful scenery or abroad.

Grab yours at — they’re just $45 including postage within New Zealand.