Books Reviewed - Animal & Plant Field Guides
Ever since I started taking close up photos of small creatures and plants, one of the great problems I came up with was the identification of that organism. Of course, I can't get all the books that exist about every living organism so I decided to focus on Insects, Spiders, Plants and Flowers (for a start). A good book (or books) on birds may soon follow. Here come the books I use most when I get back from a photo session. Rating them is not possible since they serve different purposes and I have not seen every guide that has been published. All I can say is that they always come up with the correct answer.
Insects and Spiders
"Photographic Atlas of Entomology and Guide to Insect Identification" by James L. Castner, Feline Press Inc. Edn., 2004, p. 176 (large format), soft cover. Very nice photos and much (useful) information.
"The Practical Entomologist" by Rick Imes, Simon & Schuster Inc. Edn., 1992, p. 162 (large format), soft cover. Although basically aiming to those who wish to make an insect collection this book is very important for the photographer since - obviously - if I can catch an insect it is easier to take a photo of it.
"Simon & Schuster's Guide to Insects", Edited by R.H. Arnett & R.L. Jacques, Simon & Schuster Inc. Edn., 1981, p. 514, softcover. More than 350 species with top quality photos make this book an excellent companion and guide.
"Peterson Field Guides; Beetles", by Richard E. White, Houghton Mifflin Co. Edn., p.374, softcover. With more than 600 drawings, this book covers all the beetles of North America while a great deal of them are also found in Europe.
"Peterson First Guide to Butterflied and Moths" by Paul A. Opler, Houghton Mifflin Co Edn, p. 130, 1994, softcover. Great drawings and shows as many species as you are likely to find in your sessions. Small, can get in your photo bag easily.
"Peterson Field Guides; Insects", by Donald J. Borror & Richard E. White, Houghton Mifflin Co. Edn., p.410, softcover. With more than 1300 drawings and a simple "navigation" based on the insect's characteristics, this book is a must.
"The Anatomy of Insects & Spiders" by Claire Beverley & David Ponsonby, Chronicle Books Edn., p. 290, semi-hard cover. More than 600 species and nice classification along with scientific names.
Field Guide Butterflies Britain and Europe by Tom Tolman. Harper Collins Publ., 1997, p. 324, Hardcover. An excellent book for the identification of all butterflies which are found in Europe.
Batterflies of Europe by Tom Tolman. Princeton Univercity Press, 1997, p. 322, Softcover. Exactly the same book as above by a different publisher.
Caterpillars in the field and garden by Thomas J. Allen, Jim P. Brock and Jeffrey Glassberg. Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 234, Softcover. A nice little book which will show you all the Caterpillars but will not include the photos of the butterflies they turn into. Although initially I wouldn't really care about that, I did care when I found out that the next book in the list had both pictures per species.
Caterpillars of Eastern North America by David L. Wagner. Princeton Univercity Press, 2005, p. 514, Softcover. An excellent book in every aspect. You may use it as a caterpillar / butterfly identification guide and save some money (you don't need the book above).
Plants & Flowers
"Simon & Schuster's Guide to Garden Flowers", Edited by Stanley Schuler, Simon & Schuster Inc. Edn., 1983, p. 514, softcover. With more than 500 species included it is always a great help. However, it only contains flowers of plants which are likely to be found in a garden.
"Simon & Schuster's Guide to House Plants", Edited by Stanley Schuler, Simon & Schuster Inc. Edn., 1986, p. 322, softcover. More than 280 species are included in this volume with nice photos and scientific names.
"Simon & Schuster's Guide to Plants and Flowers", Edited by Stanley Schuler, Simon & Schuster Inc. Edn., 1974, p. 540, softcover. Another 500 species are contained in this volume making it an excellent complement to the previous two.
"Αγριολούλουδα της Ελλάδας", Γεωργίου Σφήκα, Εκδόσεις "Π. Ευσταθιάδης & Υιοί", 1977, 130 σελ. μαλακό εξώφυλλο. Τα πιό κοινά είδη της Ελλάδας περιγράφονται καλά αλλά οι φωτογραφίες θα μπορούσε να είναι κατά πολύ καλύτερες.
"Peterson Field Guides; Trees and Shrubs", by George A. Petridis, Houghton Mifflin Co. Edn., 1986, p.432, softcover. To put it very simply, if you can't make it with the help of this book, just drop it. Definitely, a must.
"Peterson Field Guides; Wildflowers", by Roger Tory Peterson & Margaret McKenny, Houghton Mifflin Co. Edn., 1996, p.426, softcover. Very easy to use, an excellent companion in your photo sessions.
Birds of the West Indies by H. Raffaele, J. Wiley, O. Garrido, A. Keith and J. Rafaele, Princeton University Press, 2003, p.218. Excellent work, limited but very interesting geographical region covered in this book.
"Peterson Field Guides; Birds of Britain and Europe", by Peterson, Mountfort and Hollom, Houghton Mifflin Co. Edn., 1993, p.300, softcover. Excellent help.
Birds of Southern South America and Antarctica by Martin R. de la Pena & Maurice Rumboll, Princeton University Press, 1998, p.306, hard carton cover. Excellent book but covers a very limited geographical range.
"Pocket Guide to the Birds of England and North - West Europe" by Kightley, Madge & Nurney, Yale University Press, 1998, p.302, softcover. An excellent, easy to use guide.
Princeton Field Guides: Birds of Chile by A. Jaramillo, Princeton University Press, 2003, p.242, softcover. Very nice book with excellent plates and geographical data.
Princeton Field Guides: Birds of Kenya by D.A.Zimmerman, D.A. Turner & D.J. Pearson, Princeton University Press, 1999, p.578, softcover. An excellent book, covers everything in an easy to follow way but it can be hardly called a "field guide" since it is very massive and heavy.
A Birder's West Indies by Ronald H. Wauer, University of Texas Press, 1996, p.242, softcover. Not really a field guide but a chronicle of a tour of the islands of this geographical region. Although some interesting information about this region is indeed found in this book, my feeling is that the title is a bit misleading.