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Motion Pictures – Birth of an eBook

Want to capture the essence of your travels on camera? Guild member and photographer extraordinaire Tim Bird has produced an e-guide……..

In early 2015 I was flattered to be approached by the Intrepid adventure travel agency who asked me if I would be interested in leading photography tours for groups of photo enthusiasts. I might not be the most patient photographer in the world and I tend to think of it as a solitary pursuit. So at first I hesitated. Then I started to think, well, maybe it’s not such a bad idea, and I am, after all, quite capable of talking the legs off a tripod when it comes to photography. 

We agreed to go ahead and I began to contemplate how I was going to do this. I asked myself: What the hell do I actually know? I started taking notes. Just a few at first, then quite a lot. And it dawned on me that, well, yes, actually I DO know quite a lot about travel photography. I’ve won a few prizes, I travel widely and frequently, I get paid for my published work. I am, in fact, quite experienced at this lark. So the notes turned into the draft for a guide, and the idea of an eBook about travel photography began to evolve.

Tim Bird Book Cover

That eBook – ‘Motion Pictures – a travel photographer’s companion’ – was at last published this week in Kindle (for colour) format. Soon (I hope by the time you read this) it will come out as an Apple iBook. You’ll find the Kindle version here.

I’ve tried to make it a personal companion, rather than a ‘how to’ guide; after all, there are plenty of manuals and guides to photography and some quite detailed ones about travel photography specifically. I use plenty of my own photos to show how to do some things and how not to do others. I tell stories and try to be inspirational. It’s a bit like an extended magazine with plenty of (I think) really good photos.

But I also try to stress that one of the best things about photography is that there is always something new to learn, always some fresh revelation about how to use your camera and what makes a great photo. Anyone who says they know it all is exaggerating. 

I also invited three of my talented travel photographer friends to contribute sections, to emphasise the idea that every photographer has his or her own approach. One of these, Karoki Lewis, is a fellow member of the BGTW; the others are Alison Buttigieg, a brilliant and devoted Maltese wildlife photographer, and Gary Wornell, originally from Canada, an artist and Nepal aficionado. 

Together with my very patient and meticulous Finnish designer and illustrator friend Ea Söderberg, we set about producing the material in an accessible and attractive way that would look good on a tablet. We learned about the special formatting required for eBooks on different platforms, and about the varying royalty rates for different outlets. We found out that, for all the slickness of Apple’s finished product and the generosity of their 70% royalty rate, publishing for iPads is a convoluted, confusing and frustrating exercise. But we finished it, and we’re quite pleased with the result, and I owe Ea several big drinks for her terrific design work. Whether sales from this this eBook will help me sponsor them remains to be seen!

Meanwhile, the first photo tour, for which this eBook was supposed to be an advertisement, has been planned. It’s to Assam in north-eastern India in April 2016. I’m still taking bookings for what will be a compact group of eight participants. The unique ten-day itinerary is very exciting and packed with exotic and colourful photo opportunities, and you can find out more about it on my website.

I am donating a euro for each eBook sold to the Moving Mountains School Bag charity providing school materials for children in the Nepalese villages affected by the earthquake in that country in 2015 – a good reason to buy a copy!

Benita Finanzio

Author: Benita Finanzio