Marty Snyderman’s name is synonymous with underwater photography. His imagery has graced the pages of a veritable “who’s who” of publications, including the National Geographic Society, Nature Conservancy, and National Wildlife Federation. Also, he has tirelessly sought to improve others’ underwater photography, offering advice and training to other image-makers generously and selflessly. Eric Riesch, himself an accomplished underwater photographer, has been publishing underwater-related books for nearly 30 years. The two have come together to form Wise Divers eBooks, a publisher producing eBooks for “divers, snorkelers and water enthusiasts of all experience levels and backgrounds.”
Their first publication is a comprehensive compendium of ideas aimed at assisting underwater photographers to achieve better results. Aptly entitled “101 Tips for Underwater Photographers,” the eBook does not set out to be a series of lectures or tutorials, but is instead a collated collection of valuable advice, presented as individual ideas that are relatively simple to understand. The book simplifies improving your underwater photography by not combining multiple ideas into a common thread and offering each topic as an individual subject. Typically, each topic exists as a stand-alone “tip.”
I was fortunate enough to have received a pre-publication edition and have now spent some time absorbing the experience. The first point is that the book offers a vast breadth of advice. It is hard to balance new underwater photographers’ learning needs with those of individuals with more experience. As mentioned above, Marty and Eric accomplish this by dividing the book into individual “bullet point” vignettes, which helps satisfy both these groups of readers.
The listed tips go from the basics all the way through to advanced subjects, and by splitting up topics in this manner, it also avoids repetition and allows learners to chose those sections of interest.
Part of the key to ensuring comprehension of any subject is the ability to explain it to allow the reader to grasp the ideas or techniques being presented. Marty has the unenviable task of tackling some very complicated concepts and ideas. His knowledge of his subject shows through as he deftly simplifies and prioritizes the critical information, allowing for a successful transfer of knowledge. His reductive method of distilling and streamlining the presented information is only possible due to his comprehensive grasp of the subject matter.
One of the drawbacks of digital publications is the changes in their appearance on differing devices. I was going to comment that I felt that some of the book’s imagery could have been better selected when I was looking at it on a desktop computer. However, when I looked at it on a tablet, the imagery’s quality and the overall appearance of 101 Tips for UW Photographers was dramatically improved. Most people will read the book on tablets, so prioritizing this view is a sensible choice. Suffice to say, my recommendation is to view it on a tablet or large screen-sized phone.
On a related topic, I tend to find that digital books with lots of pictures, or those with essential illustrations, seem to render better in an eBook format than Kindle.
So who should buy this eBook? I am tempted to suggest that all underwater image makers will find content of value within it. It would be wrong to say that everyone will find each and every tip useful or relevant, but overall, they will find plenty in it to make their purchase worthwhile and reading it time well spent. This is perhaps particularly relevant given the current circumstances and the unfortunate reality that many of us are experiencing extended lay-offs. 101 Tips for UW Photographers offers a great way to ensure that your “re-entry” to the underwater imaging world is relatively painless, both practically and creatively.
An eBook version of 101 Tips for UW Photographers was provided free of charge to the reviewer.
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