Book Review: PhotoTrekking

Extras, Photography & Video, Travel Books & Movies — By on May 4, 2010 at 9:22 am

PhotoTrekking: A Traveler’s Guide to Capturing Moments Around the World

by Nick Onken, Amphoto Books, $24.99

4 stars

Review by Kirsten Alana

Nick Onken is a talented photographer. I would buy his books just to put it on my coffee table and stare at it on gray days when I need a jolt of happy.

Nick Onken is also a talented communicator, and his new book, Photo Trekking: A Traveling Photographer’s Guide to Capturing Moments Around the World, combines these two talents to create is a must-own for amateur photographers, professional photographers, or anyone interested in beautiful images.

Alongside a compilation of his own non-profit travel photography, Onken uses Photo Trekking to explain how to be a better travel photographer (and what that, in fact, is).  He is honest and detail-oriented, even going so far as to suggest specific lenses and appropriate luggage for the lifestyle.  I particularly enjoyed the yellow TIP boxes incorporated into the book that highlight specific elements important to the realm of travel photography.

Also of note is the section he writes on how many hours it takes to see a payoff as a travel photographer – 10,000 in case you are curious!  He states in his opener that, “Like any book about photography, this book is really about seeing.” And it is seeing to which he speaks so well in this book.  It is, after all, what Nick is so good at.


Photo Trekking is a softcover book that’s beautifully bound, with an excellent layout that is easy on the eyes.  Since receiving the book, I’ve carried it in my laptop case during my travels all over the country.

The text is highly-technical, geared towards amateur and professional photographers, it’s also ideal for travel writers who want to improve their photographic skills as storytellers, as well as for those who have no interest in becoming a photographer but still enjoy a stunning image. This book is beautiful eye-candy. Images from Big Sur, California to Fang, Thailand will delight and entertain even the most discerning eye.

This book will not be a substitute to knowing your gear and how your gear should be used to create the most beautiful image possible.  This book will not tell you how to feel when a moment is too important to miss. My opinion is that, in the end, seeing cannot really be taught to those who do not already posses the skill.  Having the eye of a true photographer is something that is either inherent or isn’t.

Yet, Nick’s book is a perfect addition to the library of anyone who wants to better his or her skills as a photographer.  However, Nick’s book can inspire you as to the beauty that is out there just waiting to be captured and immortalized, and can help you to appreciate the realistic challenges of being a travel photographer.  At the same time it will remind you of the joy inherent in being a storyteller – who uses the lens of a camera to immortalize a moment in time.

You can also check out Nick’s site here, and purchase your very own copy of Photo Trekking here!
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    6 Comments

  • I totally agree with you

  • Agrata says:

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  • How snappy am I able to see muscle definition?

  • Kirsten says:

    Hi Lost Girls! Thank you for posting my review! I appreciate the chance to be a part of the site, and to review Nick’s book. I genuinely enjoyed it very much!!

  • Lucky You Kirsten.. 🙂

    A good review.. i agreed.

  • Hi Kristen – I enjoyed your comments here. You mentioned that the ability to “see” a scene & recognize that it will make a beautiful photo is something that can’t be taught. This is a theme I’ve given thought to over quite a while, and my feeling is that it’s not so much that some people “have it” & some don’t, but rather that some people are willing to stop and take the TIME to see the beauty, and some just are too antsy to give that much of their attention to something that in their subconscious they consider to be an “unproductive” endeavor… these are, in my opinion, the same folks you haven’t got time to stop & “smell the roses”, as the over-used saying expresses. I think all people have inherent ability to appreciate the beauty around us, but it’s indispensable to be willing to turn loose of the rat-race long enough to catch your breath and actually LOOK without an impatient impulse & urgency to be done “wasting time” & get back to being “productive”. So, there you have it… you didn’t ask for my opinion, but I’m happy to share it with you!!! (hope that’s ok)