Outdoor Photography

Statement from the Author:

The southern mountains of the United States are the oldest mountains on the planet, yet the scenery they provide changes as easily as the clouds which sail over their valleys. It is a land with an astonishing variety of life and spectacular scenery and color, but it is often difficult to make good nature photographs here. The great natural beauty of these mountains often is present in a dazzling display of constantly changing brightness and with contrast extremes that exceed the latitude of any recording medium, and its distances are so great that tall mountains are easily flattened and rendered insignificant in the photographic frame.   Great wildflowers whip about on the mountain winds like trapped spiders, and autumn leaves are sometimes found in such a variety of hues that photographs of them can easily become a messy jumble of random colors.

My book provides suggestions and strategies for dealing with these and other problems while photographing in any mountains. Here you will find how tones, or values of darkness and light, can be arranged to provide harmonic balances; how colors can be combined, and sometimes limited, to produce effective and compelling pictures.  You will also find techniques of composition that will attract the eye of the viewer and lead the viewer’s imagination through your work as you wish.

I have taught these procedures in nature photography courses at my studio in Franklin, North Carolina, for several years. Many of my students have been artists in watercolor, oil or other mediums, and through working with them in the classroom and the field, and on into the exhibition gallery, a considerable amount of cross-fertilization has taken place. From that exciting interchange has come much of the material in chapter three, in which I discuss methods of discovering, exploring and interpreting the feelings that can be encountered in the world of nature, no matter what medium you are using. Then I present some of the methods I have found to be effective in pictorial storytelling. I use this book as a text in my classes, and it also serves as a field guide. In fact, I selected a book size that would easily slip into the pocket of a hiking shirt, as well as the hip pocket of jeans, and of course, into a vest pocket or camera bag. This manual is designed to help photographers of all skill levels make compelling photographs of the land, the sky, the wildflowers, butterflies and other objects found in the beautiful forests of the southern Appalachian Mountains.

Statement by the Publisher:

This book goes far beyond being a simple field manual for photographers who visit the southern mountains.  It is a forthright investigation and description of the role played by any artist who wishes to share his or her own feelings, moods and spirits with those found in the world-wide universe of nature. Then, through the medium of photographic art, the writer shows how to creatively express the understandings and impressions that arise from those encounters and explorations.

Womack has integrated traditional concepts of art with original ideas to provide avenues of understanding in our own imaginations as colorful and dramatic as those he presents in his photographs. He discusses the process of composition from four very different points of view. The relationship of colors to each other is explained in an unusual and unforgettable manner. He explains how to understand and use what he calls the different "oceans of light" to maximize the photographic opportunity that each offers.  He shows us how to use "tones of light and dark" to develop contrast, texture and harmony. Methods for the photography of mountains, landscapes and skyscapes are presented in detail, along with numerous strategies and options. Techniques for the photography of wildflowers are discussed and include the use of props, and how to "garden" without affecting the valuable natural resources around the flower.

The book contains 160 pages, plus eight color plates. There are twenty-four black and white photographs and eight pen and ink sketches which help illustrate concepts presented in the text. An appendix provides tables of sunrise and sunset times and azimuths for each month, times each month when the sun rises and descends through 45° elevation, a general calendar for natural photographic events and some exposure settings. There is a discussion of equipment and accessories that are useful in outdoor photography, and a description of the processes that the author uses when he is actively shooting in the field. It is truly a book for photographers of all skill levels. More than that, it is a book for all of us who are interested in those "wild places" of which John Womack speaks, whether they are in the world of nature or that greater world he sees within each one of us.





Examples of Work

The Author

To Order Book:

Available from author for $12.00, plus $4.00 shipping and handling via USPS Priority Mail, shipping with invoice on the day after order received. Payment may be made by check or money order.  For more information contact  John at 828-256-3495 or johnhwomack@gmail.com