Outdoor and Survival Skills for Nature Photographers

Posted by on October 7, 2011

Outdoor and survival skills for nature photographers

Outdoor and Survival Skills for Nature Photographers, by Ralph LaPlant & Amy Sharpe. 2000.

The first half of the book has basic technical information for nature photographers: the kind of equipment you might need, where to go to find the animals and plants you might want to shoot, and how to get close to animals without spooking them.

I’m not a photographer, so I can’t say much about that section. I was more interested in the second half of the book: Safety Issues, Survival Skills, and Medical Emergencies. Yes, you could find the same kind of information elsewhere, but I what I liked about this one is that it does assume that you need the really basic how-to for some of the tips where other books just say, “Do X.” For instance, they don’t just tell you to have a signal mirror, they also tell you how to aim the signal.

Under “Survival Skills,” the authors illustrate how easy it is to become lost in the woods overnight with no one having a clue that you are in the area. Then they give details on how to survive. First thing is: stop. Don’t get any more lost than you already are. Then they have instructions on how to survive, always emphasizing that the point is to not make things worse for yourself. For instance, in the section on how to build a Quin-zhee: “The process is simple, but it is important to work slowly to avoid perspiring.”

Their instructions for emergency preparation tend to avoid the use of fancy kits and instead go for stuff we already have at home and can pack easily. “Pack matches in a waterproof container such as an empty film canister, add a striker, birthday cake candles (for a longer lasting flame), and a small amount of toilet paper (for dry tinder),for a simple emergency precaution.” They also emphasize practicing fire building and other skills before you need them.

Even if you’re not into nature photography, this is a good basic outdoor survival guide for those not used to the outdoors.


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