I recently finsihed working my way through Guy Edwardes' 100 Ways to take better Nature & Wildlife Photographs and I learned a lot from it. Such as I need to buy more gear :). The editors of this book were very smart to put the photo on the cover that they did. This is exactly the type of photo I want to take so as soon as I saw the cover I was sold. The book could have been complete rubbish and I still would have bought it. Fortunately the book is far from rubbish. The book is about 90% photo hints and tips and about 10% post processing which is fine with me. I probably underprocess my images but I'd rather spend my time out shooting than sitting behind a computer tweaking an image to the inth degree.
Here's some things I'll be adding to my equipment to buy list and reason for adding them:
1 - Small handheld mirror -- for checking my look, you know I want to look nice for the critters :). Seriously though this is so I can reflect light onto a subject if it's not evenly lit.
2 - Extension tubes -- to allow for closer focusing distances with telephoto lenses.
3 - Small foldable reflectors - to serve the same purpose as #1 but to do so with different lighting.
4 - 1.4x extender - to give me extra reach. This is probably the first thing I will buy. I can use it with my EF-200 2.8 to give me an EF 280 f/4 which is pretty close to the 300mm focal length that's pretty popular for nature photography.
5 - Battery grip - I've used them with my Rebel XT, 40D and 5D and just need to buy one for the 7D.
I'm sure there's other things I'd like to add to the list but that's plenty for now :).
I really liked the format of the book. For each tip the author described it in detail and provided a photo sample that was taken using the tip. He also included exposure information for each photo included in the book. For me this is a big help. I realize that every shot is going to have its own unique requirements but being able to see what the photographer used to get that particular shot at least gives me a starting point to work from.
A couple of things I learned from it that I've been experimenting with include manually selecting a single focus point instead of using all 19 or any of the focus zones available on the 7D and to slow down and think about the shot before pressing the shutter. Sure I'll still use spray and pray for birds in flight but for static subjects I'm spending more time composing the shot than I have in the past. I suppose another lesson I learned is to just slow down, take it easy and enjoy the environment (which I'll admit can be tough to do when there's gnats or misquitos flying about).
Regarding the cover photo that sold me on the book. That's a Black-tailed Godwit and was photographed in Texel, Holland using a Canon 1DS, EF 500 with 1.4x extender. 1/500th at f/8, ISO 250.
Below is a link for the book on Amazon. If you use it to buy the book I'll earn a small commission and you'll learn 100 ways to improve your nature and wildlife photos.