Book Review: The Portfolio of Bokeh by Christopher O’Donnell
This 49-page eBook showcases 22 images highlighting beautiful bokeh. Each showcased image is paired with a follow-up page that summarizes how the image came to creation, combining inspiration/beauty with education/learning. The book is written by Maine-based landscape photographer Christopher O’Donnell.
The Portfolio of Bokeh: A Monograph on Shallow Depths in Landscape Photography starts with what we all love, beautiful imagery. From there it shares the settings for each image along with additional details on camera mode, usage of a tripod, if a scene was bracketed and blended in Photoshop, and if panostitching of several frames was involved to create the final shot. In addition to the technical aspects of achieving the image, O’Donnell sets the image story by describing how he discovered the subject and the lighting around the scene.
Structure of the Book
The visual table of contents is interactive. Simply click an image that you’re drawn to, and you’ll immediately jump to the image itself with the discussion of how the image came to creation.
Thoughts and Conclusion
While you can’t use the settings for every future shot you take, it does encourage photographers to change their vantage point, use a histogram to check for shadow exposure and think twice about their lens selection. Basically it’s an inexpensive price to be inspired! Panostitching is also mentioned several times, which encourages photographers of all levels to spend a bit more time observing and trying to capture more field of view than a single framed shot. I chose to download this eBook to my iPad and open in iBooks, which made it more enjoyable for myself. There is also a 30-day refundable guarantee, but for an $8 quality product, I can’t imagine anyone taking him up on that. It’s a small investment to make for observing beautiful landscape photography while learning new techniques. Plus it is a bargain compared to the typical lighting and posing card guides that are sold.
“When you’re equipped to handle a situation, you feel empowered and excited about photography – which is the most important part. Landscape photography is about creating for your own enjoyment, and if you can approach a scene objectively and not feel blocked, your creativity will flow and flourish.” –Christopher O’Donnell
I think landscape photographers would absolutely enjoy this eBook because you feel like you’re on an adventure hike with the photographer narrating what he comes across and what he’s thinking as he composes his shot. For portrait photographers such as myself, I feel encouraged to try to shoot landscapes without the need for people as my subjects. Moreover, I can substitute rocks and leaves for people or wedding rings, while still using methods given to achieve bokeh.
If you’re interested, you can Purchase Here.