The 25 unique Composition Maps included at the end of this book are what makes NATURAL DESIGN stand alone in the photo design book market. Nobody dissects a composition as completely as I do and I have done it 25 times in this book. That alone is a great reason to purchase the book but I also discuss many other things from invoking emotions to evaluating your progress. You can see everything I discuss in the Table of Contents below.





NATURAL DESIGN: Image Design for Nature Photographers is a compilation of 40+ years of image making experience. I started studying composition at about age 10 and I dug through libraries, harassed art teachers, talked with fellow painters, and gleaned everything I could from everyone about composition for years.  It was a grey area for me. And there was no internet back then so I had to travel and make telephone calls for my knowledge.

When I became interested in photography I had to learn how to use a film camera, and then I had to learn all about light and film. And then digital! It’s been a lot of fun, a lot of trial-and-error, and a lot of work to learn it all but here it is, in one book.


NATURAL DESIGN: Image Design for Nature Photographers was selected as required reading for Bob Boner’s digital photography course at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. I was thrilled to learn this news, as well as beaming proud of this my life’s work. Following is a quote from Bob’s wonderful email notifying me of this great honor:

“I was so impressed with your e-book, that I made the students in my January Term photography class buy it as one of the textbooks in the course. It is one of the few books I have seen that focus on composition, and that is the weakest point in beginning photography students. I expect to require it as one of the textbooks again next year.” (Bob has used this book for nine years and says it’s still the best book on photographic composition.)

– Bob Boner, McDaniel College

NATURAL DESIGN is also taught at the University of Tennessee, Nashville and soon, UCLA.


(names withheld for customer privacy)

“I first saw your book on Arthur Morris blog, back in August 2011. I decided to buy it, and I’m very happy I did. It is excellent..I am a very visual person, so the fabulous composition maps make the concepts easy to understand. As this book has helped me out tremendously, I would like to buy your new book Composition Maps (with Arthur Morris).”

” I found your website and am so grateful to you for writing what I am sure will become my favourite and most useful book ever. It is EXACTLY what I was looking for.”

“… I ordered your beautiful Natural Design e-book back in mid-June and think you’d taken e-book publishing to a new high.”

” … one of the best I’ve seen for photographic composition and design. I especially find the various maps very useful.”

“The book IS great! After I get my chores done today, I will find a quiet, shady spot and bury myself in its pages.”

“Wow, great book worth the wait!”

“I received the download and it is the most beautifully designed e-book I’ve purchased – ever!”


Here is a copy of the Table of Contents so you can have a look at what you will be learning, and the quality of the photographs. It is repeated in larger text below the pages.








Take advantage of 40+ years of image making in one book and purchase



Here is a version of the Table of Contents with larger type

Title Page 2
Table of Contents 3
About the Author 10
About the Book 10
About the Images 10
CHAPTER ONE: Design in Nature Photography 11
The Visual Language 12
The Importance of Learning Design 13
Demystifying Composition 14
Communicating Without Words 15
CHAPTER TWO: The History of American Nature Photography 16
The Camera in Nature 16
     Early Cameras 16
     The Handheld Camera 17
     The Digital Camera 18
Pioneers and Conservationists 19
Composing the American Landscape 20
Nature Photography as an Important Art 21
     Ansel Adams: A Force in Nature 22
     The Greatest Assignment 22
     The Zone System 22
     Eliot Porter’s Passions 23
CHAPTER THREE: The Visual Experience 24
Approaching the Photographic Image 25
Response to Unfamiliar Art and Styles 25
Beauty in Nature Photography 27
Is it Art? 29
Reading Photographs 31
Evaluating a Photograph 32
     Artist’s Intent 32
     Emotional Impact 33
     Evaluating the Light 34
     Structure 35
     Execution 36
     Advanced Evaluation 36
     Evaluation of Wildlife Photographs 37
     Evaluating Black and White Photographs 38
CHAPTER FOUR: The Photographic Experience 39
The Art of Observation 39
More than Seeing 41
Preparedness in the Field 41
Organizing the Composition 42
Developing a Personal Style 43
Individual Expression 45
Photograph it Well 46
Evaluating your Progress 47
Evaluating your Photographs 47
CHAPTER FIVE: Considerations for Purpose 48
Horizontal or Vertical Format 48
Final Format 50
     Contrast and Dimensions 50
     Sharpness 50
     Mood 50
Contrast, Mood and Sharpness Example 51
Visualizing the Composition 52
CHAPTER SIX: The Physical Photograph 53
The Frame 53
     Image Divisions 53
     Edges 53
     Limbs and Joints on the Edge 54
CHAPTER SEVEN: Designing the Tangibles 55
Subject Matter 55
     Define Subject Matter 55
     Treatment of Subject Matter 56
The Main or Solitary Subject 57
     Distance and Size 57
          Lens Selection 57
          The Effects of Distance on Detail and Color 58
     Positioning the Main or Solitary Subject 58
          Centering the Subject for Emphasis 58
          Exaggerated Subject Placement 59
Unwanted Objects in the Scene 60
What a Difference a Move Makes 61
Focal Points 62
     Focal Points and Balance 62
     Focal Points and a Visual Path 62
     Multiple Main Focal Points 62
Lines 63
     Straight Lines 63
     Vertical Lines 63
     Horizontal Lines 64
     Diagonal Lines 64
     Converging and Diverging Lines 64
     Groups of Lines 64
     Lines in Nature Visual Examples 65
     Arcs 66
     Curved Lines 66
     Zigzags and Odd Shaped Lines 66
     Repetitive Lines 66
     Suggested or Implied Lines 66
     Lines in Nature Visual Examples 67
     Implied Lines and Visual Paths Examples 68
     Creating Fluidity, Movement and Motion with Lines 69
     Using Lines to Create a Sense of Rhythm 69
     Tension Created by Lines 69
Shape and Form 69
     Texture of Forms 69
     Shapes and Forms as Structural Elements 70
     Spatial Organization and the Relationships of Forms and Shapes 70
     Shapes and Forms and Balance 71
The Emotional Effects of Shapes and Forms 71
     Forms, Shapes and Rhythm 72
     Forms, Shapes and Unity 72
CHAPTER EIGHT: Designing the Intangibles 73
Light 73
     The Sun’s Trek through the Sky 73
     The Effects of the Sweet Light 74
     Indirect Light 74
     Light from the Sun and Moon 75
     Reflections 76
     Shadows 76
     Direction of Light 77
          Front Light 77
          Side Light 77
          Back Light 77
          Top Light 77
  Examples of the Different ways that Light is Captured 78
  Photographing the Effects of Weather 79
          Clouds 78
          Saving Detail in Clouds 80
          Fog 81
          Rain 82
          Rainbows 82
     High-key and Low-key Images 83
Color 84
Basic Color Terminology 85
     Hue 85
     Value 85
     Saturation 85
     Analogous Hues 86
     Monochromatic 86
     Gradations 86
     Complementary Colors 86
     Neutrals 86
     Creating Color Harmony 87
     Color Associations 87
     Choose Colors to Influence and Create Mood 87
     Color Continuity 88
     The Perceived Weight of Colors 88
Space and Depth 89
     Negative Space 89
Perspective Graphic 90
     Perspective 91
          The Picture Plane 91
          Line of Sight 91
          The Ground Plane 91
               Foreground 91
               Middle ground 92
               Background 92
Achieving Visual Balance 92
     Using the Rule of Thirds Grid 92
     Rule of Thirds Grid Examples 93
     Using Symmetry 94
     Repeating Shapes vs. Symmetry 95
     Angles and Height 96
CHAPTER NINE: Consideration for our Natural Subjects 97
Allow the Subject Room to Move 97
Strive to Capture the Face 97
Using Natural Frames 97
Anticipating Action and Behavior 98
Emphasis on Habitat 98
Animal Portraits 99
     Eye Highlights 99
People in Nature 99
Field and Wildlife Ethics 100
CHAPTER TEN: Popular Composition Styles 101
Bull’s Eye Composition 101
Showcase 101
Near-far 102
Layers 102
Large-scale Landscapes 103
Close-up 103
Abstract 103
CHAPTER ELEVEN: Composition Maps 104
Map 1: Value Distribution and Shapes 105
Map 2:  Rule of Thirds Lines and Power Points 107
Map 3:  Focal Points and Visual Paths 109
Map 4:  Harmonious Image Division 111
Map 5:  Off-center Placement 113
Map 6:  Balancing Main Focal Points 115
Map 7:  Structure and Content Division 117
Map 8:  Cradle the Subject 119
Map 9:  Cool vs. Warm Hues 121
Map 10:  Head and Shoulders Portrait 123
Map 11:  Frame the Subject 125
Map 12:  Framing and Subject Placement 127
Map 13:  Visual Anchor and Natural Frame 129
Map 14:  Centering and Concentric Lines 131
Map 15:  Define Subject Matter 133
Map 16:  Layers 135
Map 17:  Competing Focal Points and Image Division 137
Map 18:  Visual Flow 139
Map 19:  Visual Tension 141
Map 20:  Distractions 143
Map 21:  Subject Confusion 145
Map 21:  Compare Compositions 147
Map 23:  Organize Basic Elements 149
Map 24:  Color Schemes 151
Map 25:  Supporting Foreground Elements 153
Glossary 155
Selected Sources 160
     References 160
     Online Resources 160
     Books 160

Take advantage of 40+ years of image making in one book and purchase NATURAL DESIGN:  $30.00




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