7 of the Best Science Photography Books to Put on Your Coffee Table in 2022

Whether you’re a budding wildlife photographer or looking for a gift for that friend who has everything, these beautifully illustrated books are perfect on a coffee table or lab bench – and they’re great reads, too.

Each has brilliant, full-color images that show expertly captured weather phenomena, 3D representations of cosmic clouds, magnificent birds of prey, and even the macroscopic world of fungi. To put it in a way, these are the types of books that will entertain your guests while you make them. the perfect cup of tea (with a little help from science).

This list is our pick of the best photography books for your coffee table, but for even more great titles to add to your reading list, check out our list of best science books or the best science books for kids. Or, if you want to take a selfie, check out our favorite instant cameras from iconic brands like Polaroid and Fujifilm.

The Best Science Photography Books for Your Coffee Table

A portrait of the tree: a celebration of Britain’s favorite trees

Adrian Houston

This dedication to British trees features the favorites of Joanna Lumley, Alan Titchmarsh and George McGavin, among others. The photographer, Adrian Houston, asked celebrities to answer the question: What is your favorite tree?

Their responses inspired the pages of A portrait of the tree. Stunning images celebrate trees across the UK – the fragrant magnolia in Regent’s Park, the endangered giant sequoias in Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden and the ancient bark of yew trees in the West Country.

Houston’s book asks us to consider our own experiences in nature and re-appreciate the enduring strength of these 370 million year old plants.

The Universe: The Book of BBC TV Series

The Universe book cover

Andrew Cohen, with a foreword by Professor Brian Cox

A companion to the new BBC series, this book tells the story of the creation of the Universe the way Professor Brian Cox did – detailed spacescapes, glowing galaxies and simple, accessible answers to some of the biggest questions. of life.

While there are many great coffee table books in the same vein, this recently published title goes right to the edge of our scientific knowledge. It’s a must-have for any budding astronaut.

Dinosaurs: New Visions of a Lost World

Michael J. Benton

Think dinosaurs were all big, scaly, and camouflage-colored? Think again.

Paleobiologist Michael J Benton set out to question everything we thought we knew about dinosaursdiving into the latest research to bring these long-extinct creatures to life.

Of course, technically it’s not a photography book, but the illustrations by expert paleoartist Bob Nicholls make this table book a real treasure. It fully deserves its place on this list and is sure to be loved by any recipient this Christmas.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Portfolio 31

You can always count on Wildlife Photographer of the Year to wow us with some of the most stunning and thought-provoking images, and this year’s competition was no exception.

Stunningly diverse images and captivating stories have been brought together in this elegant coffee table book. Our personal favorites show a group of cheetahs struggling to swim through a raging river, and a rather creepy poisonous spider caught hiding under a photographer’s bed.

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At a time when the future of our planet is at the heart of our concerns, this book is a timely reminder of what is at stake.

Macrophotography: The Universe at our feet

Cover of Macro photography: The universe at our feet

Don Komarechka

A more technical book than some of the others on this list, but the instructions are complemented by pictures in incredible detail. Whether you want to capture the bugs in your garden or the ripple created by adding milk to your coffee, you’ll find macro photographer Don Komarechka’s wealth of advice accessible and even enjoyable.

Macro photography takes practice and patience! But if you need inspiration, take a look at these fascinating microscopic images of the Nikon Small World Photo Contest 2021.

The Elements: A Visual History of Their Discovery

Element coverage

Philippe Ball

In this fascinating visual history of the elements, Philip Ball covers over 3,000 years of scientific discovery, from the classical era of Plato to the present day.

Every element and story behind their discovery has been told in great detail using engaging imagery, including early scientific photography, as well as interesting artifacts and beautiful historical drawings.

More than that, the book is practically a story of scientific discovery itself.

Iconotypes: a collection of butterflies and moths

Cover of Iconotypes

Richard Vane-Wright (Intro)

Admittedly quite specific, this fine reproduction of William Jones’ unpublished collection of butterflies and moths is a snapshot of a time when insect collecting was beginning to become popular.

Many of the species in this book were described for the first time, and the work done by amateur entomologists such as Jones has become a very important reference source for professional scientists.

Containing 1,600 illustrations, this lovingly reproduced volume is finally available more than 200 years after its completion.

The best books of all time

We think this is a fine selection of photography and coffee table books, but if nothing here appeals to you, take a look at a few more of our book recommendations:

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