Photographing the Dolomites
A Photo-location and Visitor’s Guidebook – Reader Review
Author – James Rushforth
Publisher – fotoVUE
All images within the main body of this blog review are outtakes from the book and © copyright of the author/publisher.
As a freelance photographer, it takes a decent book, of any kind, to really stand out and grab you pictorially. Furthermore, as a guide, it goes without saying that it must be very well thought out and deemed not only potentially useful, but considered a necessity to make the grade and travel by air with you and all your extra gear to work on location. On a recent working trip, ‘Photographing the Dolomites’ was thought to be just that, here is my review.
The first thing that strikes you about ‘Photographing the Dolomites’ is the photography featured, from the front cover, through to the very end, the book is graced with stunning imagery.
The photographic representations of the areas portrayed by James within the volume are inspirational to say the very least. It goes without saying however, that if you were to delve into this book for a moment or two, the images would captivate both photographers and non-photographers alike; a feast for the eyes even if you had no intention of visiting this region of the Alps.
Needless to say that captivating images are a prerequisite as it’s natural that people are lured by pictorial aesthetics, furthermore, this cover is aimed at photographers. However, once past the title
It does not take the reader long to realise that this book offers far more than just catchy images.
Naturally it begins with a short intro chapter, and overall general information of the Dolomite Alps, which is a vast region to say the least. There are maps, diagrams, external information sources, a little history, wildlife information and culture, alongside other useful resources that you would expect from any area guide.
James then continues to break the overall area down into sections in a carefully implemented format, categorised by colour with numbered areas, a system that makes it easy for the reader to add book markers, but more notably if trying to cover several areas, the system helps generally refine the various locations geographically.
Once the reader is engaged within a certain section and geographical area, the information is clearly written with concise explanations of exactly how to reach the chosen location, first via road to include public transport availability and frequency, then, the approach by foot, ski lift, or cable car; or a combination.
Estimated (well-founded by the author) hike and climb times are provided alongside an explanation of gradients and terrain; thus, clearly indicating the level of skill alongside fitness, required to reach the said location; the writer elaborates further and provides terrain (sometimes combined with ski lift or cable car access) that may provide disabled access to the location.
The images are more than often breathtaking, sweeping mountainous landscape vistas, but also people within the landscape, creative works, nightscapes, and small illustrative inclusions; sometimes with a little extra added on the geography, geology, wildlife, history, and culture. More importantly, the why, how, and when, are resolute within the context.
As a professional photographer, the author provides tips in light of how he created the imagery, and technical settings are also provided. Favourable times of day, alongside best times of year to practice photography, are allocated to the locations described; poor weather options are also included alongside explanatory text and diagrams, fusing together exactly why the information provided works and generating a complete descriptive package for each place.
Undoubtedly this guide is suited not only to photographers, but to keen hikers, walkers, and climbers, or anyone with an interest in the area.
Personal Conclusion and Practical Use
I have stressed how well presented it is, unfortunately I cannot express just how carefully the book has been put together overall; it does not take the reader long to realise this was certainly not written, and hashed together overnight.
Overall, I think I have been adamant of the fact that the book impressed, not only that, it helped make sense of such an expanse of mountainous land and plateaus; I needed to pack a serious amount in, within a couple of weeks as reconnaissance for future photographic workshops, in a potentially hazardous, mountainous area. All the usual prep that I undertake with regards to locations I have not travelled to before had been undertaken, although, on this occasion I felt something was missing, and I might just need a little help.
I had a couple of walking guides, but they were about as exciting as watching paint dry, I needed something that was more of an all-rounder and could provide inspiration and insight to boot. Having already been familiar of fotoVUE and their guide books, I took the plunge and decided to try one out, and thankfully it was delivered a few days prior to travelling.
Generally, I enjoyed reading this book; so much so that my girlfriend, who travelled with me for the first part of my recent trip within the Dolomites, was telling me to put it down in bed; on occasion, she remained in the car and I would venture off into the landscape on a reccie, only to come back and find her buried in it! Once she had set off back to the UK, ‘Photographing the Dolomites’ took her spot on the passenger seat.
My Dolomite adventures are far from over, my photographic workshops begin there October next year, and I’m sure this guidebook will make the journey again when I return next year, as even if I don’t get chance, I’m sure the photographers accompanying me will enjoy it.
27th October – 3rd November 2018
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