Reviewer: NZ Crown Mines
Title: Storm Chaser
Authors: Mike Olbinski
Total Number of Printed Pages: 192*
Rating Scale (1: Very Poor, 10: Excellent): Photographs: 9, Text: 2
*There are no page numbers within this volume.
If ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, then for many people, storms of any sort are not beautiful. Instead, they are things of fear, destruction and general mayhem. ‘They are definitely not to be appreciated as ‘Things of beauty’. Mike Olbinski would beg to differ.
This volume is unashamedly a ‘Picture book of storms’: Dust storms, Electrical storms, Thunder storms and Tornadoes. Lightning strikes abound, as towering banks of clouds, many in full-colour and of immense dimensions. The book is beautifully illustrated and although concentrating on storms in Arizona (the author’s home state) it also contains examples of storms photographed in the adjacent states of New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas and Colorado. If a reader is seeking beautiful and impressive photographs of cloudscapes, lightning strikes, dust storms and tornados in a western-American setting, then this book will certainly meet those requirements.
If however a reader is seeking details about (for example), storm formation, cameras and ‘how to chase storms’, this volume will be of little value.
Within the book a two-page Introduction appears before the photographic section which comprises the majority of the book’s content. In the Introduction, the author explains how he came to be internationally-known for his storm photographs and about his passion for his work. The photographic section follows. This section’s format is one where (with four exceptions), a full-page A4-sized photograph is placed on the right-hand page and text on the facing (left-hand) page. The latter invariably consists of personal reminiscences relative to the image and how it came to be photographed. In some instances a three-page sequence of images is provided. When this occurs, only the first page of the set follows the previously-mentioned format. The images that follow invariably fill the entire pages and do not contain captions. Several black and white images appear within the volume, largely to emphasise aspects of a specific storm. On the pages where the previously-mentioned ‘exceptions’ are located, a white border has been placed above and below the images. The reason for this is not known. The volume contains no Page Numbers, Table of Contents, Maps or Index. It is a ‘picture book’ pure and simple and no effort has been made to assist the reader in any way. No attempt is made to explain the meteorological causes of the various storms that have been photographed. A Glossary to explain the technical terms, abbreviations and terminology scattered throughout the book would have been helpful. Readers aspiring to emulate the author and chase storms in their own particular region or country will look in vain for any technical information concerning cameras or for ‘how-to’ tips concerning storm chasing.
Buyers who want beautiful pictures of clouds, lightning, tornadoes, thunderstorms and dust storms are likely to be well-pleased with this book.
That this volume has spectacular photographs of storms is undeniable, but for this reviewer it lacks what he considers to be the most basic of items, Page Numbers being a case in point. It is on this basis that he has given it the rating appearing below:
On a Rating Scale where 1: Very Poor, 10: Excellent, I have given the Photographs: 9, the text: 2.
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