Ever wondered what it’s like to have a close-up experience with wildlife, whether on land or in the ocean? We bring you our Top 5 most exquisite wildlife books that will form the pride of place in your book collection.
In his quest to start work on his seventh book entitled Birds, British photographer Tim Flach’s objective was to capture the extraordinary nature of our flighted friends while inspiring empathy and encouraging conservation and support. Which he does with such aplomb that Birds will be the most sought-after book for birders and twitchers alike.
Coming to grips with the natural world, Tim explains the inspiration behind Birds. “While running over the Millennium Bridge toward the Tate Modern, a path I take most mornings from my home in London, I am greeted by hundreds of black-headed gulls franking me on both sides. The cacophony of seabirds transports me back to my childhood by the Cornish coast and stirs me into action for the day ahead.”
“When I began this project, my intention was to explore the beauty and wonderment of birds by depicting them in a series of portraits, abstract and in flight. They are set again simple backgrounds to focus on the details and illustrate their morphological diversity, and heighten our sense of empathy.”
The result? The most stunning face-to-face depictions, with over 180 photographs, Birds contains 336 pages of nature’s most alluring creatures alertly at rest and dramatically in flight, capturing intricate feather patterns and subtle coloration invisible to the naked eye.
Published in large format (11.5 x 1 x 14.5 inches), Sacred Nature 2: Reconnecting People With our Planet is the second book in the Sacred Nature series by acclaimed multi-award-winning wildlife and travel photographers Jonathan and Angela Scott. Who better to task this magnificent book to than the only couple to have both won the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition as individuals?
Over 140 images in color and black and white fill the 288 pages of Sacred Nature 2, depicting a worldwide view. Highlighting the vital need for humans to reconnect with nature, thus honoring our world’s incredible beauty while staying conscious of what we stand to lose.
A glorious description by the authors evokes the emotion needed to remind us of our incredible planet: “Antarctica’s visible face is unlike anything else on Earth: a continent covered with ice surrounded by ocean, while the Arctic is an ice-covered ocean almost completely surrounded by land. Antarctica is a frozen desert: the coldest, driest, highest, and windiest continent on the planet with snowfall less than five centimeters a year in the interior and air drier than the Sahara. Yet, the profusion of Antarctica’s wildlife and the grandeur of its scenery glimpsed on a summer’s day are unrivaled: an artist’s canvas run wild with broad sweeps of whites and blues and greens, icebergs tinged with turquoise, snow of dazzling brightness amid a swirling ocean of the deepest blue.”
Growing up in Tanzania, Will Burrard-Lucas, developed an adoration for leopards that culminated in his career choice as a wildlife photographer. In his pursuit to capture these magnificent animals, he created something really pioneering, which included a remotely controlled camera buggy and a high-quality camera trap system for photographing nocturnal creatures.
In 2018, he learned that a young black leopard had been spotted in Kenya, and with the assistance of the local community, managed to capture this elusive animal in a series of high-quality photographs. The Black Leopard showcases more than this gorgeous leopard, with such an intense stare that the cover and inside photographs seem almost lifelike.
Published by distinguished South African publisher HPH Publishing, The Black Leopard’s story is exhilarating. In Chapter 1, entitled Eyes In the Night, Will recalls his visit to Kenya in April 2019. “The night is black. Clouds blot out the stars and the air is thick with the promise of rain. The monotonous drone of crickets is occasionally punctuated by this eerie alarm call of a rock hyrax. I turn off my headlamp, plunging everything into total darkness. A move in the wrong direction and I would tumble down a steep rock face into a jumble of boulders and knotted vegetation. I take a step forward and there is a muffled click and a flash of light as the motion sensor detects me and triggers my camera. I stand still for half a minute, letting the African night envelop me. I feel far removed from the rest of the world.”
Taking four years to produce, The Ultimate Companion for Birding in Southern Africa is a feast for the eyes. Peter Ginn and Geoff McIlleron’s combined experience has ensured that this Double Volume set contains the most magnificent photographs and descriptions.
Peter Ginn is an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society and the Photographic Society of Southern Africa. Pioneering the use of photographs for the illustration of birds books back in the 1970s, Peter has put together more than ten iconic bird books for the southern African region, each one building on the success of the previous one. Geoff McIlleron has co-authored a number of popular bird books, teaming up again with Peter Ginn for the second time following the resounding success of their book, The Complete Book of Southern African Birds. Geoff’s lifelong love of the natural world and dedication to its photography has seen him put together a personal collection of photographs in excess of 600 southern African bird species.
This spectacular large volume set of books highlights individual bird species, with the most astounding photographs, over 1400 of them. Major bird species contain a full page with half a page of photograph and the other half text and a useful short summary that specifies status, habitat, food, voice, and breeding. Possibly the most useful part is the accompanying e-book, which readers can download with their unique code onto their smartphone to take along wherever they are.
Originally trained as a marine biologist, Thomas Peschak embraced photography alter realizing his images could have a greater conservation impact than his research. Being the director of storytelling for the Save Our Seas Foundation and a National Geographic Society Fellow, he combines science with photojournalism to tackle critical conservation issues.
Candidly recounting a memorable experience: “I have always been curious about the history of ocean storytelling. When and how did humans begin to tell and depict tales of the sea and marine animals? William Thompson made the first underwater photograph in 1856, off the coast of Dorset, England. But the first images of ocean life are much more ancient. In 2015, I embarked on a series of expeditions to search for the works of the first artists and storytellers.”
“And that’s how I find myself deep in the Sierra de San Francisco, a rugged mountain range in the center of Mexico’s Baja California, riding a mule named Juanita. Minutes earlier she had walked too close to a candelabra cactus, and now my pants are down to my ankles. In my right hand, I clutch the tweezers of my Swiss army knife; desperately, I twist and crane my neck to extract spines sharp as hypodermic needles now firmly lodged in my flesh. Earlier in the day, Juanita had pooped on one of my camera bags. We’ve only known each other for three days, but I get the feeling she doesn’t like me very much. The two of us, along with two other mules, five humans, and four donkeys laden with camera gear, are about to descend into one of the world’s most dramatic desert canyons.”