Photography Essentials Full Frame [Book Review]

Photography Essentials Full Frame [Book Review]


Full Frame.jpgI approached this book with a little scepticism: it looked like another coffee table book, large format, stacked with beautifully rendered photographs of exotic landscapes and little else.

But then I skimmed David Noton’s introduction and gathered that he feels digital cameras have opened a whole new world of photographic opportunities “that would not have been possible in the film era.” He then proceeds to offer information on his working methods and philosophy.

He finds colour in Morocco’s towns with a shot of a yellow-orange clad washer woman against a vibrant indigo. No filters. No post work. One frame. Just as it is.

In Bali he recounts that with a film camera he would bang off a run of frames in the quest of the winning shot, bracketting exposure and re-framing … thinking “one is bound to be good.” These days he shoots fewer frames in digital, with packed memory cards and the vision of weeks spent trawling through the mountain of files. With digital he can also replicate the film trick of bracketting exposures. As he says, he would much prefer to snare one perfect shot than a pile of average ones.

He explains that he always uses evaluative or matrix metering with his Canon EOS1Ds MkIII: by checking the display he can ascertain any areas of extreme under or over-exposure, then apply compensation. He always shoots RAW, acknowledging they record “robust shadows but fragile highlights.”

He finds wildlife photography to be a challenge: as a landscape photographer his approach is different, with a need to involve the animals in their environment — but he does admit that if he finished his career by not shooting a leopard with a long lens he’d feel he’d missed something. Except for three shots in the book taken with wide angle zooms, the remainder were captured with a 500mm tele. If in Rome…

We then get to trek through Laos, parts of France, Italy, Canada, the UK and Bolivia.

Much of the book includes personal notes on how to gear up for a shoot and how to overcome lassitude when things don’t go to plan. In Morocco he declares that he is frustrated by petty officialdom. In Bali it rained continuously for days and he shot virtually nothing at first. In Wales he sits morosely in the pub, again staring at the rain-drenched windows. His response most of the time is to stay positive, make location searches and hope that the clouds will part.

An unusual book, eighty per cent pleasure with twenty per cent encouragement, it’s the sort of work that you could enjoy while the rain pours and you wait to go outdoors.

Author: D Noton.
Publisher: David & Charles.
Length: 191 pages.
ISBN: 978 1 0 7153 3615 1.
Price: Get a Price on Photography Essentials Full Frame at Amazon

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Barrie Smith is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

Some Older Comments

  • Paul June 3, 2011 09:58 pm

    Thanks, shame there wasn't a couple of sample pics? Off to Amazon....... lol

  • Lus Silvestre June 3, 2011 05:49 am

    Alain, all has been great articles for myself.
    One question.: When taking classes let's say portraits, sports. How can you keep one's style yet follow teachers strict directive? Luis

  • Alain June 2, 2011 12:32 pm

    Spent a few minutes at the book shop with the book the other day. Great read but is a discussion about RAW file still relevant these days? Who is still shooting JPEG?

  • anonymous June 1, 2011 09:58 pm

    This is actually a really good review -- personalized and honest, brief and to the point. And well written: it's always a pleasure to read something like this.

  • Erik Kerstenbeck June 1, 2011 02:15 am


    Here is one of my seascape shots from New Zealand...simple composition but effective.

  • THE aSTIG @ June 1, 2011 12:07 am

    My focus is on car photography as I shoot for my website

    However, I do agree on shooting RAW not just because they record “robust shadows but fragile highlights”, but also because it gives you more freedom on post processing, such as changing the white balance.

    And how to gear up for a shoot, I always pack light. Ironically, the best lens I use for car photography is still the kit lens. I just mount the camera up on a tripod, shoot with one speedlight, taking multiple exposures stribing from different angles (wheels, front grille, side, etc.), then combine using Photoshop.

    And I always find static car photography somehow related to landscape photography, as I always have some sort of a landscape in the background, and I just put the car as the subject! LOL!

  • Erik Kerstenbeck May 31, 2011 12:06 pm

    Here is some more info on David's gear from his Website:

    "As far as lenses are concerned I use everything from fisheyes to super telephotos. In the early days I used prime optics exclusively but found I was spending too much time crouched over my camera bag changing lenses. I use fast zooms predominantly, which give me so much more flexibility. Lately I’ve fallen deeply in love with the Canon 85mm f1.2 L for travel portraiture. The resolution capabilities of the full frame sensor on the 1Ds mk II and now the mk III mean that I have to use the very best optics Canon produce. A 24mm shift and tilt lens is a really handy optic for city work; I wouldn’t be without it."

    As an aspiring Landscape Photographer, I enjoy reading other Professional Biographies to learn how they got to where they currently are!

    Regards, Erik

  • Toni Aull May 31, 2011 11:04 am

    Thank You