The AMC Guide to Digital Outdoor Photography

Dawn light hits the Presidential Range in New Hampshire's White Mountains. (Jerry and Marcy Monkman)

Dawn light hits the Presidential Range in New Hampshire from The AMC Guide to Digital Outdoor Photography

I am nearing the end of the writing phase of a new book I’m putting together called the “AMC Guide to Digital Outdoor Photography.” I would guess many photographers think about writing a book where they get to explain all of the techniques and theories they use when shooting, and this one has definitely been on my mind for the last half dozen years or so. When the Appalachian Mountain Club approached me to do this book last fall, it was hard to say no, even though I knew there would be days this winter when I cursed the deadline pressures and the need to toil away in my basement studio instead of getting out and playing in the snow. Still, I am looking forward to the privilege of hopefully simplifying the process of learning outdoor photography for thousands of people with this book. Even though I have been teaching most of what’s in this book to my workshop students for almost a decade now, it has proven humbling to realize how hard it is to put all of those ideas into written form. For example, standing over a camera in the field and explaining depth of field to someone who can see all of the camera controls and use a depth of field preview button is way easier than explaining it in a book. Despite the challenge, I am excited at how the book is turning out and can’t wait until it is released later this fall.

My goal with the book is to make taking pictures in the outdoors a simple process. Even though the book will probably end up being around 200 pages, I feel it outlines an approach that makes taking photos fun and easy, so that photographers can spend more of their time enjoying the outdoors than agonizing over how to make an image. If you want a sneak peek, here’s the outline of the book:


SECTION 1: In the Photo Pack

1. Essential Gear

2. Gear Safety

SECTION 2: In the Field

1. Tuning In to Your Subject

i. Research and Previsualization

ii. Participating in the Landscape

iii. Tell a Story

2. Composition

i. Simplify

ii. Balance, Dominance, and the Rule of Thirds

iii. Lens Choice and Perspective

iv. Depth of Field

v. Visual Depth and Scale

vi. Abstractions

3. Exposure

i. Seeing the Light

ii. Exposure Basics

iii. Reading a Histogram

iv. ISO

v. White Balance

vi. Shooting in RAW

vii. Controlling Light

viii. Filters

4. Shooting Sharper Images

SECTION 3: In all Conditions

  1. In Snow, Ice, and Cold
  2. In Rain and Near Water
  3. In Fall Foliage Season


SECTION 4: At the Computer

A. Staying Organized

i. Archiving

ii. Image Management

B. Image Processing

i. Color Management

ii. RAW Processing Workflow

iii. Specialized Image Processing

a. Black and White

b. Layer Masks in Photoshop

c. High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography

d. Panorama Photography

e. Extended Depth of Field

f. Image Sharpening

g. Noise Reduction


Case Studies

Appendix A: Digital Resources

Appendix B: Recommended Reading and Resources

Until next time…


Update: The book is now available here:

2 thoughts on “The AMC Guide to Digital Outdoor Photography

  1. Hi Jerry! I’m excited about the book and looking forward to seeing you on the Cape Cod trip. I have a great idea for a photography book that I can’t wait to run by you. Always your fan……Jo

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