29 APRIL 1899, Page 9

Wild Life at Home : How to Study and Photograph

it. By R. Kearton, F.Z.S. (Cassell and Co. 6s.)—Mr. Kearton and his brother are energetic field.wituralists, who deserve congratula- tion for the ingenuity and patience they have displayed in securing many of the photographs with which this volume is illustrated. Any one who has attempted to photograph a dog or a horse must be aware of the difficulties, and it is hardly necessary to say that when the subject is a wild mammal or bird, the operator's patience is taxed a thousand times more severely. By means of stalking, of climbing down cliffs with ropes, up trees with climbing-irons, and particularly by means of an artiacial tree-trunk made of painted cloth and ivy branches'

(which contains the photographer and his camera), Messrs. Kearton have succeeded in obtaining some very successful (and some very indifferent) plates of animals. All are taken among their own natural surroundings, and we are shown titmice and starlings feeding their young, and rabbits and hedgehogs wild in the fields. But Mr. Kearton is stich an enthusiastic photographer, that the mere fact that a plate is very difficult to obtain is enough to make him attempt subjects which are neither interesting nor beautiful when they are reproduced, although, doubtless, capital sport for the photographer. He proudly boasts that he was the first to secure "a mechanical picture" of a perfectly wild lark it her nest. But he who looks at the plate on p. 74 will need some help before he discovers that the old bird is a lark, and the young ones not blades of grass or stones. The water-vole, on p. 123, might as well be a clod of dark earth. In the case of the sea anemones, the starfishes, and the barnacles, the operator has not even to contend with a restless sitter, which may be an excuse for the grotesque results in the case of some of the gulls photographed on the wing. The truth is the zeal of the photo- grapher carries him away ; and the results (at least to our mind) are small compensations for the trouble. The letterpress con- tains much practical advice on the methods of photographing wild animals, and many rather disjointed, and not very interesting, field-notes and observations. The reproduction of the photo- graphs involves the use of a shiny and most disagreeable sort of paper. After these criticisms, we may conclude by praising the charming plate of the bearded-tit feeding its young. We do not doubt that very many persons will derive entertainment and practical hints from the book.