Book Review: From Dawn to Dusk by Ross Hoddinott & Mark Bauer
Ross and Mark are both leading photographers in their fields, and are both multi-award-winning photographers. As a result, I had high expectations of this book from their well-known reputations.
Like many others, having read my fair share of “how to” guides over the years, a good number of these books leave you asking questions. However, not this one. From Dawn to Dusk is a guide that teaches you to master lighting in landscape photography. With every hour of the day covered, it certainly lives up to that claim.
This book has been sat on my table for the last week and I don’t think that there has been a day where I haven’t picked it up to have a quick read; it’s a great size for the coffee table at 21x24cm. The simple cover with a split season image makes it quite an attractive book from the offset.
On opening the book, you’re instantly greeted with the contents page. Once again, it has a simple layout. After an introduction, the book looks at all of the essential things you’ll want to cover as a landscape photographer embarking on a shoot. Hoddinott and Bauer help you choose your equipment and plan a shoot, before guiding you chapter by chapter through all the different lighting you might find throughout a typical day.
Once you start reading the introduction it becomes clear why they produced this guide and what it offers above others.
“Publications tend to be so focused on providing advice on how to take the photo; they overlook the importance of putting yourself in the right place at the right time.”
The first 17 pages go into great detail surrounding equipment choice, from camera choice, ideal lenses, filters, and accessories. It’s all covered comprehensively and should answer any burning questions you might have about making the right purchase. This is a reoccurring feature through the book, with recommended equipment laid out for each time of day.
The ‘Planning’ chapter is where this book stands out; the next 18 pages go to great lengths to give you a behind-the-scenes look at how a professional photographer would plan for a shoot.
All the key areas are covered, such as time of year and weather, but then the book goes deeper, suggesting apps and alternative sources that you may not have thought about. The planning chapter explains the importance of each step and is accompanied by stunning imagery.
Dawn is the first chapter covered in the book, and from the outset you’re greeted by beautiful shots and text in an easy-to-read format. Although there is a lot of information, it doesn’t feel text heavy. This chapter has a brilliant introduction which really inspires you to get up early and create your own dawn imagery. It’s then followed by some key highlights of shooting at dawn, such as mist and the golden hour, accompanied by information on how to photograph the scenes you might find in front of you. The images nicely illustrate the text, allowing you to see first-hand the potential results from a shoot at that time of day.
Following on from this, the book then delves into how to use filters; it gives extremely helpful “with and without” comparison images, and in-depth information about how and why you would use them. Post-production is also covered in this chapter, with exposure blending being a useful technique for the dawn period.
Finally, the chapter is rounded off with a final shot. The photographer, in this case Hoddinott, describes first hand his thinking and actions when taking the image, touching on composition, settings, filters, and more.
The book works its way through the different times of day, with chapters covering Dawn, Morning, Midday, Afternoon, Dusk, Twilight, and Night. All of these are set out in a similar way with an introduction, examples, techniques, equipment, and post-production tips.
The majority of the images in the book are from the UK, however there are a few international examples. All the images have their technical data featured at the back of the book which is very handy for those who are after a quick look at exactly how the image was taken.
In conclusion, this is an easy to read and understand guide to using light in your landscape photos. The images aren’t only stunning, but also informative. The level of detail and the print quality is excellent; did I mention how attractive it is? All in all, I’d have to recommend this book – I haven’t read anything as comprehensive on this subject!
You can buy From Dawn to Dusk on Amazon.