Review of PhotoSecrets books

Excerpted from the April 1998 issue. Book Reviews section. Reprinted with the permission of Shutterbug, copyright April 1998. Link.

PhotoSecrets San Francisco and Northern California

Andrew Hudson has attempted to find, as he states, “…the most iconographic and visually stunning places that you can easily and dependably photograph.” This is one hell of a challenge to set for oneself, but for the most part I think he has pulled it off. In fact, if there is anything to fault in the book, it’s that it perhaps tries to cover too much.

PhotoSecrets San Francisco and Northern California encompasses the state from San Simeon north to Eureka and eastward as far as Lake Tahoe. That’s one big chunk of real estate. Don’t misunderstand, what is covered is well covered but by necessity a lot has been left out, especially above San Francisco.

On the positive side, the format organizes a lot of useful information into a form that makes it readily available. The best time of day for photography of the sites, access points, historical facts and area maps are just some of the details that are included. Along with the photographic information there are listings of important phone numbers, weather conditions you can expect, a calendar of major events and even what dates are best avoided.

While not all of the photographs in PhotoSecrets San Francisco and Northern California are show stoppers, many are outstanding examples of what you can expect to find and photograph on your own trip(s) through this fantastic part of the world. Many professional photographers employ the services of full-time location scouts; Andrew Hudson may have put a lot of those folks out of work.

PhotoSecrets Yosemite

Although most of the information is also included in PhotoSecrets San Francisco and Northern California, if you are traveling to Yosemite you will probably want a copy of PhotoSecrets Yosemite as well. The same format that makes the San Francisco book work so well has been carried over into the Yosemite guide. Time of day, access points, et al are included, as are easily understood maps. The graphics in both books are excellent and make finding the site, photography spots and other data a simple matter.

A nice touch to PhotoSecrets Yosemite are the many quotes from Ansel Adams, John Muir and others that help you to gain insights into the Yosemite experience.

I highly recommend both books and understand that other projects in the series are under development. — Joseph A. Dickerson.

Reproduced with permission.

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