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Jenny T

Actually, a lot of guidebooks are now written by residents. It really depends on the series (Fodors tends to use outsiders). I think there's a plus to guidebooks written by locals as you'll get someone who has a really in-depth knowledge of the place. As for "capsule" reviews: again, that's Fodors. Other series go into greater depth. It's a fun, if grueling job, and one that's really of use. A good guidebook writer will know what's worthwhile in a place because they'll have tested it all (or close to all). You can't say the same for folks who simply post their opinions on message boards (especially where hotels are concerned).


I've done guidebook work, I found it tedious as hell and decided I'm not constitutionally set up for it. I'm glad there are people who like it and honestly, a good guide book is a thing of pleasure, print killing web resources or no.

I disagree with the idea that readers should support a product or industry or whatever that forces the producers to learn. I don't books for the benefit of the author any more than I buy shoes for the benefit of the manufacturers. I realize that's a stretch, but I'm guessing you see my point. We should buy guidebooks because they're excellent companions prior to or during a trip and the author's education? Well, that's a nice byproduct but is it really a consumer's goal?


@Jenny T: Time Out uses only locals, I believe, while LP uses a mix. And both of those have capsule reviews, as far as I know. I was using capsule to distinguish between, say, a feature in Traveler or some such. Anyway, I actually like the idea of teaming an outsider and a local into some kind of travel writer buddy comedy. And let's be honest, guidebooks hire locals because they can't afford to send their own writers for the most part.

@pam Every time I finish a guidebook assignment, I swear it'll be the last, so I hear ya. Consumers buy guidebooks for a variety of reasons, but I was actually suggesting that the travel writing community should be more supportive of the niche.


Nice, thoughtful post Alex. I for one hope a full-on switch to crowd-sourcing doesn't happen: there's nothing quite like poring through an actual printed guidebook, making notes, wearing it down, circling, tearing pages out, etc. Content accessed via mobile devices has its place, to be sure, but I guess I enjoy the "traditionalist" aspect of using the physical guidebook more.


@Alex: Support, from this travel writer, granted. I'm poking through a guidebook now with an eye toward reviewing it and again, I say, a decent guidebook is a fine thing indeed.

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Review by George Weir for Rating: Disclaimers:1. I do know Neil van Niekerk2. I use very little flashI've known Mr. Niekerk for more than a few years and there are few phhargrtpoeos for whom I have as much respect, personally or professionally.While I am known for my available light work I do consider a mastery of light, be it available or supplemental, to be crucial for the production of great images.Mr. Williams states, eloquently, in his foreword that we live in the age of the quick-fix during which period it really does seem to be de rigueur to eschew knowledge and learning.If you recognize that flash is your weak point, or if you desire to improve your lighting skills knowledge then I suggest that this book should not only be on your purchase list, at the top , but also that you do spend the time reading, practicing and understanding the techniques and concepts presented in it, paying particular attention to Mr. van Niekerk's statement regarding manual exposure; You decide. Not the camera. This is of key importance and is often overlooked or neglectedThe book itself is very well written, using precise, unambiguous language leaving little, if any, room for misunderstanding. The chapter subjects are comprehensive.The diagrams are clear and concise and each and every photograph in the book illustrates its point very clearly.My only issue with the foreword is that Mr. William's statement this is a fantastic book is that it is not in bold print!It is indeed a fantastic book. It's not a quick fix, I don't believe it was ever intended to be one.It does require reading and practice, after all practice does make perfect!George Weir


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