Natural Design Book

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NATURAL DESIGN: Image Design for Nature Photographers is an ebook and was written for nature photographers of all skill levels. Beginners will learn how to build images from scratch. And self-taught seasoned pros will learn the terminology of the techniques they’ve always used and they will most definitely learn some new tricks and tips. It was written in 2007 and has become a classic, was taught at McDaniel Art College in MD for a decade, and currently countless colleges, workshops and photo classes use it. It has become a must-have on the bookshelf of every nature photographer.

What makes my book different from all the rest are my composition maps. With these I literally map out every feature of the composition and why its elements were placed where they sit. I provide both a map and an unmarked photo of the same scene so the ideas and techniques can be easily studied. Only someone with a solid understanding of image design could create these maps.

Sample Composition Map

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Every now-and-again I will throw in some tips from a painter’s perspective. Another thing that gives my book the edge is that I’m a painter too. I know how to build images from scratch and I throw in artist’s tips, explanations and descriptions. You will be making fine art nature photographs by the time you finish this ebook.

This is an e-book that prints beautifully. The book is loaded with large high resolution photographs and diagrams.

Please have a look at the table of contents. I have in-depth knowledge and understanding of a wide range of subjects and when you’re done reading it, so will you.

Table of Contents

About the Author10
About the Book10
Chapter One: Design In Nature  Photography11
The Visual Language12
The Importance Of Learning Design13
Demystifying Composition14
Communicating Without Words15
Chapter Two: The History of American Nature Photography16
The Camera In Nature16
Early Cameras16
The Handheld Camera17
The Digital Camera18
Pioneers and Conservationists19
Composing the American Landscape20
Nature Photography as an Important Art21
Ansel Adams: A Force in Nature22
Eliot Porter’s Passions23
Chapter Three: The Visual Experience24
Approaching The Photographic Image25
Response to Unfamiliar Art and Styles25
Beauty In Nature Photography27
Is It Art?29
Reading Photographs31
Evaluating A Photograph32
Artist’s Intent32
Emotional Impact33
Evaluating the Light34
Advanced Evaluation36
Evaluation of Wildlife Photographs37
Evaluating Black and White Photographs38
Chapter Four: The Photographic Experience39
The Art of Observation39
More Than Seeing 41
Preparedness In The Field41
Organizing The Composition42
Developing a Personal Style43
Individual Expression45
Photograph It Well46
Evaluating Your Progress47
Evaluating Your Photographs47
Chapter Five: Considerations For Purpose48
Horizontal Or Vertical Format48
Final Format50
Contrast and Dimensions50
Visualizing The Composition52
Chapter Six:  The Physical Photograph53
The Frame53
Image Divisions53
Limbs and Joints on the Edge54
Chapter Seven:  Designing The Tangibles55
Subject Matter55
Define Subject Matter55
Treatment of Subject Matter56
The Main Or Solitary Subject57
Distance and Size57
Lens Selection57
The Effects of Distance on Detail and Color58
Positioning the Main or Solitary Subject58
Centering the Subject for Emphasis58
Exaggerated Subject Placement59
Unwanted Objects In The Scene60
Focal Points62
Focal Points and Balance62
Focal Points and a Visual Path62
Multiple Main Focal Points 62
Straight Lines63
Vertical Lines63
Horizontal Lines64
Diagonal Lines64
Converging and Diverging Lines64
Groups of Lines64
Arcs 66
Curved Lines66
Zig-zags and Odd-shaped Lines66
Repetitive Lines66
Suggested or Implied Lines66
Creating Fluidity, Movement, and Motion with Lines69
Using Lines to Create a Sense of Rhythm69
Tension Created by Lines69
Shape And Form69
Texture of Forms69
Shapes and Forms as Structural Elements70
Spatial Organization and the Relationships of Forms and Shapes70
Shapes and Forms and Balance71
The Emotional Effects of Shapes and Forms71
Forms, Shapes and Rhythm72
Forms, Shapes and Unity72
Chapter Eight:  Designing The Intangibles73
The Sun’s Trek through the Sky73
The Effects of the Sweet Light74
Indirect Light74
Light from the Sun and Moon75
Direction of Light77
Front Light77
Side Light77
Back Light77
Top Light77
Photographing the Effects of Weather78
Rain 81
Rainbows 82
High-key and Low-key Images83
Basic Color Terminology85
Analogous Hues86
Complementary Colors86
Creating Color Harmony87
Color Associations87
Choose Colors to Influence and Create Mood87
Color Continuity88
The Perceived Weight of Colors  88
Space and Depth89
Negative Space89
The Picture Plane91
Line of Sight91
The Ground Plane91
Achieving Visual Balance92
Using the Rule-of-Thirds Grid92
Using Symmetry94
Angles and Height96
Chapter Nine: Considerations For Our Natural Subjects97
Allow The Subject Room To Move97
Strive To Capture The Face97
Using Natural Frames97
Anticipating Action And Behavior98
Emphasis On Habitat98
Animal Portraits99
Eye Highlights99
People In Nature99
Field And Wildlife Ethics100
Chapter Ten: Popular Composition Styles101
Bulls-eye Composition101
Large-Scale Landscape103
Close-up 103
Chapter Eleven: Composition Maps104
Map 1:  Value Distribution and Shapes105
Map 2:  Rule of Thirds Lines and Power points107
Map 3:  Focal Points and Visual Paths109
Map 4:  Harmonious Image Division111
Map 5:  Off-center Placement113
Map 6:  Balancing Main Focal Points115
Map 7:  Structure and Content Division117
Map 8:  Cradle the Subject119
Map 9:  Cool vs. Warm Hues121
Map 10:  Head and Shoulders Portrait123
Map 11:  Frame the Subject125
Map 12:  Framing and Subject Placement127
Map 13:  Visual Anchor and Natural Frame129
Map 14:  Centering and Concentric Lines131
Map 15: Define Subject Matter133
Map 16:  Layers135
Map 17:  Competing focal Points and Image Division137
Map 18:  Visual Flow139
Map 19:  Visual Tension141
Map 20:  Distractions143
Map 21:  Subject Confusion145
Map 22:  Compare Compositions147
Map 23:  Organize Basic Elements149
Map 24:  Color Schemes151
Map 25:  Supporting Foreground Elements153
Selected Sources166
Online Resources167

Sample Pages

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Natural Design as Required Reading

Natural Design: Image Design for Nature Photographers was selected as required reading for Bob Boner’s digital photography course at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. I was thrilled to learn this news, as well as beaming proud of this my life’s work. Following is a quote from Bob’s wonderful email notifying me of this great honor:

“I was so impressed with your ebook, that I made the students in my January Term photography class buy it as one of the textbooks in the course. It is one of the few books I have seen that focus on composition, and that is the weakest point in beginning photography students. I expect to require it as one of the textbooks again next year.” – Bob Boner, McDaniel College

It was used for about a decade.

More Quotes

” I found your website and am so grateful to you for writing what I am sure will become my favourite and most useful book ever. It is EXACTLY what I was looking for.”

“… I ordered your beautiful Natural Design e-book back in mid-June and think you’d taken e-book publishing to a new high.”

” … one of the best I’ve seen for photographic composition and design. I especially find the various maps very useful. ”

“The book IS great! After I get my chores done today, I will find a quiet, shady spot and bury myself in its pages.”

“Wow, great book worth the wait!”

“I received the download and it is the most beautifully designed
e-book I’ve purchased – ever!”

This book costs $25.00 and because this is an electronic document I offer no refunds. FYI, only a single refund has ever been requested and that was because the student dropped the class that required the book.

Purchasing Natural Design: $25.00

I use PayPal for all financial transactions and have had not a single problem with financial transactions for almost 20 years. Please contact me for invoicing and transfer of the document. I usually respond almost immediately.

Because this an intangible, electronic document I offer no refunds. You should rest assured, however, because in the past 11 years of selling Natural Design I’ve had a single request for a refund, and that’s because the student dropped his photography class before it ever started. Thank you so much for your interest and attention.