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Light on the Landscape

Photographs and Lessons from a Life in Photography

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See the images and read the stories behind the creative process of one of America’s most respected landscape photographers, William Neill.   For more than two decades, William Neill has been offering his thoughts and insights about photography and the beauty of nature in essays that cover the techniques, business...
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  • Print and eBook Bundle: $59.99
  • Print Book: $50
  • eBook: $39.99



William Neill


288 pages


10 x 10in


Soft Cover - with flaps





  • Preface
  • Landscapes for My Spirit: Why I Photograph
  • Landscape Essentials: My Top Reasons for Photographic Success
  • Landscape Lighting Basics: Where is the Light?
  • Light on the Landscape: Become a Student of Light
  • The Intimate Landscape: Finding My Personal Vision
  • Ride the Light!: Its All about the Light, and Designing for It
  • Interpretation and Refinement: Releasing the Shutter is Only the Beginning
  • Pushing Boundaries: High-Key Experiments
  • Focused: Find Your Passion, Develop Depth, Edit Tightly
  • Practice and Work: An Editorial Assignment Led to Personal Expression
  • On the Horizon: Considering Where to Place the Horizon Line
  • Creation: Portraying our Evolving Planet
  • Seeking Images: Seeing Beyond the Icons
  • The Edge of Light: Use Contrast to Create Striking, Graphic Images
  • Whispers in the Fog: A Mantra for Making Clean, Clear Photographs
  • Becoming Creative: Find Your Unique Perspective
  • Environmental Conservation: Make a Difference with Your Photographs
  • Immersion Course: Commit to Exploring Your Favorite Locations in Depth
  • Water, Water Everywhere: Persistence is a Key Element of the Creative Process
  • Desert Elements: Earths Bare Bones Revealed
  • Field of Possibilities: Solving Focus Problems in the Field
  • Focus Your Fall Portfolio: Work with a Theme to Create a Unique Collection of Images
  • What the Road Passes By: Theres More to a Landscape than an Iconic Vantage Point
  • Using the Frame: See the Photograph as a Whole
  • Aspen Variations: Allow Your Interpretation to Grow and Evolve
  • My Vacation: Balancing Family Time and Making Art
  • A Sense of Scale: Size Relationships Tell a Story
  • Versatility: Reach Out to Explore
  • Winters Grace: The Hushed Solitude of Photography in Snow
  • Impressions of Light: Create Artistic Blurs In-Camera
  • Meditations in Black and White: Open Yourself Up to New Avenues of Creativity
  • The Magic Element: Emotion: Let Your Heart Show the Way
  • Simplicity Is the Key: Keys to Clean Design
  • Getting Out of a Rut: Break Away from Your Usual Subject Matter
  • Best of the Year: Review Your Images to Find New
  • Directions to Explore
  • Last Light: Revisiting the Key Themes in Your Photography
  • Morning Light: When You Have Your Camera with You, Good Luck Tends to Happen
  • The Intimate Detail: Making an Image of Magic and Mystery
  • Macro Magic: Find Natures Secrets in the World of the Very Small
  • Going with the Flow: Work Your Subject for the Perfect Photograph
  • Separation of Tones: Create Separation of Tones to Coax Nuances Out of Your Images
  • On the Way Home: Always on the Lookout
  • Spring in the Canyon: Always Try to Improve
  • Photographs for the Spirit: Making Images for Healing Environments
  • A Short Walk in a New England Wood: Notice the World Around You
  • Improving Your Portfolio: Build Depth Around Focused Themes to Create a Broad Body of Work
  • Antarctic Dreams: Moving Out of My Comfort Zone
  • Need to Know: Avoid Tech OverloadBe In the Moment
  • Variations on a Theme: Sometimes Your First Inclination Isnt the Only Possibility
  • Processing Magic: Long-Term Artistic Goals
  • Winter Etchings: Tune Into the Graphic, Elegant Starkness of the Season
  • The Space Between: Watch All the Elements in Your Frame
  • Aspects of the Landscape: Explore New Aspect Ratios
  • Whispers and Shouts: What Do You Want Your Images to Say?
  • Of Abstract Nature: Find Creative Inspiration by Focusing on Details
  • Dealing with Depth: Creating Images with Extended Depth of Field and Sharpness
  • Patience and Persistence: Getting a Photo Right Takes Time
  • A Dance on the Beach: Focus on the Fundamentals
  • Celebrating Wilderness Photographer
  • Philip Hyde: Acknowledging Our Roots
  • Stories: Write about Your Photography to Become a More Powerful Storyteller
  • Technical Notes
  • Photograph Information

5 reviews for Light on the Landscape

  1. I got everything I wanted from this book about landscape photography, and much more. The author covers not only the technical aspects, but the emotional and philosophical aspects of getting a good image – the longer I photograph, the more I think those are as important as any settings. This is a book I will keep and re-read. I love one of the quotes in his introductory chapter: “Once an effective composition has been found, the light must make it sing.“ That is, of course, why we are reading this book; to make our photographs sing.

    The table of contents makes it clear that the author covers the gamut for us, everything from shooting in the fog, in the desert, and the water, the philosophy of making images, critical camera settings, and how to keep environmental concerns in mind all the while.

    Where to place the horizon is a question I often pose to myself and his section on that issue clarifies a lot for me. He advises us to do the obvious, which I don’t always think of: when you’re not sure where to place the horizon, shoot it several ways :-). He also advises that we look at Ansel Adams “Moonrise” – extraordinarily beautiful placement of horizon. Neill includes a section on shooting specifically for contrast. Of course, we generally avoid contrasty light because of the harsh shadows and loss of detail; Neill tells us to seek it out for dramatic lighting effects. The photographs he includes as illustrative of this principle are striking – this is something I want to try.

    Amused and pleased that the author threw in a short chapter on macro – not usually something I think of with landscape photography but he makes it work. I enjoyed his chapter on photographing out of your comfort zone – something I don’t do often enough! In the author’s case, he photographed in the Antarctic and got some amazing photos. I suppose I should leave my backyard every now and then 🙂 Toward the end of the book Neil includes a thought–provoking section on thinking ahead of time about what you actually want your photographs to say. For example, he likes making high-key images for the meditative qualities. I believe that this is an important concept because when I do put thought into what I want to come home with from a shoot, more often than not I get better images.

    One of his last chapters, and one of my favorites, is on patience and persistence. And he is absolutely right that the more patient we are in pursuing the photo we want, the more likely it is to happen. Especially with moving subjects, like animals, water, or plants, you just about always have to wait to get the right look. It is seldom you will randomly happen upon a perfect photo opportunity.

    I love this book! The author covers everything you could want having to do with landscape/nature photography, and also includes very useful meditations and how your approach will determine easily as much or more than the settings, what kind of photo are you come home with. It’s a book I will re-read over time.

  2. (verified owner)

    This book by William Neill is excellent. I did a course with him, on building a portfolio, a few years back. He is an excellent photographer and teacher.

    I read this book of his quite slowly. I would also recommend that anyone who reads this book should read it slowly. This is the only way, I feel, you will be able to digest the lessons in the book.

    William Neill’s writing style is effortless.

    However, a reader will be well advised to take the time to look at the photographs, read the chapter, and then have a second look at the photograph at the start of each chapter.

    I enjoyed this book very much. The print version is not yet available in India. I will buy it once it does become available for purchase.

  3. (verified owner)

    I’ve been reading William Neill’s column on Outdoor Photographer for years now. And now, in one book, we get to see some of his finest works, and get a measure of what goes into every image. It is refreshing to see someone with such talent say that there is still a lot of luck involved with creating a great photograph. One never knows how the sun will hit the clouds and what colors will be seen in the mountain peaks. That’s the luck – nature can be unpredictable. The other part of creating a great photograph is knowing what to look for, how to capture the image that we see with the tools that we have. He shows that mastery of light, of composition, and above all, preparedness to capture the world as it reveals itself to the photographer is essential in the art of photography. He shows, by example, that one must constantly seek to deepen the understanding of nature, the world we live in. To understand our part in this ecosystem and to treat our world with respect. To nurture it not only for our benefit, but for the generations to come. That is the power of great photography. To show us the majesty of the world we live in so that we can be inspired to preserve the world so that a person a century from now will have the same sense of wonder in what he sees before him. And we learn how a painter became a photographer but never lost the sense of wonder and imagination – so necessary and so evident in the images that grace the pages of this great book.

  4. Bill Neal is a refreshingly understated sort of photographer. His photos, his articles, and his videos are totally devoid of the tiresome shuck and jive that so permeates today’s online photography scene.. As evidenced in Bill’s statements “I’m not a big believer in rules.” and “A camera is just a tool.” his emphasis is on sensitivity and openness to the scenes presented by the natural world rather than upon formulaic composition, expensive camera equipment, Photoshop tricks, supersaturated colors, and shuck and jive presentation. As to his images themselves, as always I find Neal’s photographs reflect a peaceful sense of harmony and a skillful use of the sometimes subtle, sometimes powerful effects of light and motion. I own all of Neal’s eBooks and have spent many enjoyable moments reading and rereading the thoughtful text and enjoying the tranquil beauty of the images themselves. I’ll be placing an order for his latest book “Light On The Landscape” today and I am very much looking forward to savoring Neill’s masterful images and insightful text once it arrives.

    Later on 08/28/20 After receiving my copy of “Light On The Landscape” I dropped this note to Neill

    Bill your wonderful book arrived three days ago and I love it! I’ve seen some of the photos contained within its pages in various other media but I would have to say the reproduction in this book is superior. The book itself literally screams quality from the substantial covers, through the quality paper and photo reproduction. Better yet it lays flat when opened to any page in the book, a feature all too notably absemt in most photo books. As a one time photojournalist who could never quite decide whether he wanted to concentrate on photography or writing I was, as always, just as impressed with your ability to communicate via written word as through your images themselves. As any editor will agree the ability to do both well is rare. All said I would rate “Light On The Landscape” a most worthwhile addition to the photography book genre. My congratulations for a beautifully done book and a most impressive career spent creating images of great beauty and lasting value.

  5. I have admired William Neill’s work for years and have read all his books. Over the years I return to his books for technical data and inspiration; especially when I have an idea in mind and can’t quite pull it off. First, this book is a must for any photographer but especially for landscape photographers.

    The book is beautifully written, illustrated and printed! All the chapters read like Bill is talking to you (all you have to do is listen).

    However, the essence of this book is ‘Light on the Landscape” and here is where the home run is!! Every image and the accompanying test is masterfully concepted. If you want to get inspired read a chapter (any chapter) and study the images. Think of how you would approach the image or one of your own and then read the next again. Now go out and try to emulate what you just learned. I have been doing that and I believe my landscape images are greatly improved. A MUST FOR ANY LIBRARY!

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