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Book Bag: Two From Ilex on Wildlife Photography Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

23 April 2019

Ilex has recently published two books on wildlife photography that are at the same time very different and both admirable. One will make your safari more successful and the other will make your backyard a safari.


Richard Bernabe has traveled to more than 60 countries while photographing for National Geographic, CNN, Time, The New York Times, Audubon, The BBC and other publications. He's led tours and run workshops and amassed over a million followers on social media.

And his book Wildlife Photography is, in itself, a workshop on the subject. It covers the gear you need, how to deal with lighting, composition, strategies for various species and travel tips.

It's also a very well-designed book, which we don't say very often in this age of Web-first print designers.

Each section starts with a ghosted image spread over two pages with the contents listed prominently. So it's easy to thumb through the book, marking the sections. The Basics are laid out right away and a Travel Guide follows them with gorgeous images interspersed in between and amongst.

And the advice is right on the money.

"For almost all wildlife shooting situations," he writes, "the primary objective as far as focus is concerned is to capture the eyes of the animal as sharply as possible."

And crossing the gutter is a generous 7.5x10.5-inch image of a leopard in the Serengeti staring right back at you to make the point.

Reading through the book, we had to stop every now and then to ask ourselves what had possessed us. We're not going to the Serengeti any time soon. And the closest we've come to a safari has been a trip to the zoo.

But it was a pleasure reading the words of someone who knows what he's talking about and has the images to prove it in a layout that is itself a delight.

It was just impossible to put down.

Wildlife Photography by Richard Bernabe, published by Ilex Press, 240 pages, $$29.99 (or $$19.36 at


In contrast to Bernabe's globe trotting, Nikon Ambassador Richard Peters didn't have to wander further than his own backyard to score the European Wildlife Photographer of the Year award.

The intriguing thing about the approach he takes in Wildlife Photography at Home, though, is the large number of lousy photos he presents. Triumph only after failure after small success after abysmal failure.

But that's also what makes Peters's book engaging. He tells you the story of his education as a wildlife photographer. That includes the tests he flunked as well as the ones he passed.

You not only appreciate his imagination at solving problems from lighting to remote triggering and motion detection. You also acquire an admiration for his wife who put up with his obsessive quest for a good shot of a fox or badger visiting their backyard.

Don't worry, there are sections devoted to gear and technique. But what makes this title stand out is the narrative.

His enthusiasm is contagious. If we had something other than raccoons and skunks visiting our yard at night, we might be inclined to put out a handful of nuts and a motion detector trigger ourselves just to see what we could get.

As it is, though, we're quite satisfied with what Peters provides in this charming story of the hunt at home.

Wildlife Photography at Home by Richard Peters, published by Ilex Press, 176 pages, $19.99 (or $$19.99 at

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