Architectural Photography Author: Adrian Schulz Publisher: Rocky Nook Review by Conrad J. Obregon Architectural photography is an area full of competing factors that affect the picture. Architects want their work reproduced accurately. Photographers want it presented in a photographically artistic manner. Wide angle lenses and telephoto lenses offer different results. Photographing from close to the […]

Rate this:

Authors: Duncan Evans & Tim Shelbourne Publisher: Lark Books (Sterling Publishing Co.) Review by Conrad J. Obregon Creative Photoshop Portrait Techniques is a book of tips that contains instructions for adjusting portraits in Photoshop by creating a number of special effects. The chapters are devoted to color correction and enhancement, creative lighting, personal improvements, lens […]

Rate this:

Digital Masters: Travel Photography

Author: Bob Krist

Publisher: Lark Books (Sterling Publishing Co., Inc

Review by Conrad J. Obregon

I sometimes wonder if there is such a thing as travel photography. Isn’t what the travel photographer does already covered by such genres as landscape, architectural and portrait photography, among other things?

Bob Krist obviously doesn’t think so. He’s been taking wonderful photographs during his travels and writing about travel photography for years. In his latest book he discusses the gear to use for travel photography; the workflow of a digital photographer on the road; the nature of light; composition; what he calls “moment” which seems to be the picture element that deals with exciting or interesting content; the use of flash; portraits; archiving and sharing; and survival tips. He even includes an afterward that stresses that exciting content is far more important than technique. Continue reading

The Digital SLR Expert Landscapes

Authors: Tom Mackie, William Neill, David Noton, Darwin Wiggett, Tony Worobiec

Publisher: David and Charles

Review by Conrad J. Obregon

One of the problems of books about landscape photography is that there are many different audiences for such books ranging from the photographer who is just learning about the subject to experienced hands looking to pick up a few tips. This book seemed more aimed at the new landscape photographer who understands how to use his or her camera and understands the basic principles of exposure.

The book is written by five of the world’s great landscape photographers with each offering a chapter on a different subject. Darwin Wiggett writes about controlling exposure; David Noton about understanding light; William Neill about composition; Tom Mackie about landscape locations; and Tony Worobiec about black-and-white landscapes. Continue reading

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2: A Digital Photographer’s Guide

Authors: Dave Huss and David Plotkin

Publisher: Focal Press

Review by Conrad J. Obregon

I suspect that as the Lightroom image processing software matures, users will be looking for different kinds of information to best use it. As a consequence, a book that may be perfect for new users may be too simple for experienced hands.

Huss and Plotkin provide us with an approach to Lightroom that may appeal to people already familiar with the software. The chapters of the book follow the format of most other authors, working the way through each of Lightroom’s five modules. When discussing the Library function they further divide the tasks into getting photos into Lightroom and organizing the photos, as well as using the quick develop functions. They examine the tools for adjusting photos in the development module, with a separate chapter on using the local adjustment tools introduced in Lightroom 2. They finish up by covering the slideshow, web and print modules. Continue reading

Inside Lightroom 2

Author: Richard Earney

Publisher Focal Press (Elsevier)

Review by Conrad J. Obregon

With the introduction of Lightroom 2 (LR2), the software has evolved into a mature tool with a number of adherents. Naturally, as users have become experienced in the use of the sliders and buttons, they are looking for ways to push the software further. “Inside Lightroom 2″ is aimed at filling this need.

The book includes chapters on LR2 basics; a description of the ideal computer system on which to run LR2; the new features of LR2; file management; a Develop workflow; presets; and a listing of on-line resources.

Continue reading

Night and Low-Light Photography: Professional Techniques from Experts for Artistic and Commercial Success

Author: Jill Waterman

Publisher: Amphoto Books (Watson-Guptill)

Review by Conrad J. Obregon

Many photographers put away their cameras when the light grows dim or dark, thus forfeiting at least half the opportunity to take photographs. This book seems aimed at those photographers.

Jill Waterman has assembled a team of 30 top professionals to talk about low-light and night photography. The book begins with the usual mandatory discussion of equipment, although this chapter contains many tips on equipment use, such as stabilizing one’s lens against glass if shooting through it. There are also some unusual pieces of equipment mentioned, like large portable spotlights for painting with light. Other chapters include discussions of color temperature; black and white photography, which emphasizes the role of the chemical darkroom in extending range; lighting techniques, which emphasizes light painting; weather, night time phenomena, like the aurora; and post production tools. There is a chapter that analyzes the styles of seven of the photographers and a final chapter that talks about the availability of workshops. Continue reading

The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book: The Complete Guide for Photographers

Author: Martin Evening

Publisher: Adobe Press (Peachpit)

Review by Conrad J. Obregon

Adobe began shipping its new Lightroom 2.0 (LR2) software at the end of July. A week later this book was available. It made me think that Martin Evening is really a team of writers, each working on a chapter of this book, or even some smaller portion, and that the publisher, Peachpit, must have incurred huge overtime costs. (Actually, the software was available in beta form for a long time, and authors had final copies of the software before it was delivered to the public.) There are enough changes in version 2.0 that this early edition is welcome for people who want more details. Continue reading


Author: Ferrell McCollough

Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Digital Photography

Publisher: Lark Books (Sterling Publishing Co.)

Review by Conrad J. Obregon

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography presents an opportunity to capture pictures that look more like the real world. Even though this book is not perfect, the subject is important enough for serious photographers to take the time to read the book and experiment with the technique.

Because the range of light that the human eye can see is far greater than what cameras can photograph, it’s not uncommon for photographs to show impenetrable shadows or burnt out highlights where the human eye saw detail. Photographers have had some success ameliorating the condition with things like levels and merging and masking in Photoshop. Now HDR promises to extend the light range a great deal further.
Continue reading

Layers: The Complete Guide to Photoshop’s Most Powerful Feature by Matt Kloskowski Publisher: Peachpit Press Review by Conrad J. Obregon No photographer can unleash the full power of Photoshop to make an image look like the photographer’s vision without understanding the power of layers. (At the very least layers allow the Photoshop user to make […]

Rate this:


Exhibiting Photography: A Practical Guide to Choosing a Space, Displaying Your Work, and Everything in Between” by Shirley Read

Publisher: Elsever/Focal Press

Review by Conrad J. Obregon

Here’s a book aimed at serious photographers. In case you might have made a mistake and thought this book would show you how to display a photograph on your living room wall, it is instead for folks who want to display their photographs in a public venue.

After a general introduction to the subject, the book discusses finding an exhibition space, including a few that might not come readily to mind; planning and research for the exhibition; publicity; preparation for installation; and the actual hanging of the work.

The book is about the logistics of exhibiting and not much about the art, although Read makes suggestions relating to both the preparatory phases and the actual installation that will help in a more artful presentation. My first thought, as I opened the book, was that this was just common sense. However, I’ve lived long enough to have made a lot of mistakes and as I read along I kept encountering advice that I wished I had had before making some of those mistakes. For example, Read tells you that when it comes to the actual hanging, lay out the installation on the walls completely with pencil, ruler and level before you drive a nail. If I had done that on a particular occasion, I probably wouldn’t have ended up taking down a bunch of pictures because my last frame was butted up against a corner. Emphasizing the importance of backwards scheduling in detail might have prevented the pile of advance brochures that arrived the day before the event. It’s this kind of nitty-gritty detail that can keep one out of trouble. And of course the advice that, if you cut yourself on the glass for a frame, you should walk away from the framing area immediately to avoid bleeding on the work is a good reminder.

Continue reading


Photography Essentials: Waiting for the Light” by David Noton

Publisher: David & Charles

Review by Conrad J. Obregon

I’m mellowing. It used to be that any time I saw a photographer’s portfolio disguised as an instruction manual to appeal to a larger audience, I would call foul. But lately, I’ve begun to believe that any opportunity for a good photographer to get his work in print deserves an appraisal of his work, regardless of the box that his publisher has forced the work into.

Actually this wasn’t a hard position to take with “Waiting for the Light.” The claims for instruction are minimal, and the photographs are so good that the book deserves examination strictly as a portfolio of Noton’s work. The photographer’s forte is the panoramic landscape image, shot with a 617 camera that creates the 6:17 ratio. The individual pictures are glorious with an extreme range of light that made me wonder if these pictures hadn’t been processed with High Dynamic Range in Photoshop, but Noton claims that they are the result of waiting for just the right light for the scene he visualized, even if it might mean waiting for a week for just that light (although he does acknowledge some manipulation in Photoshop). There is nothing else in the text about how he got that look, other then to occasionally use a neutral density filter to stretch out the shutter speed to minutes, or sometimes add a split neutral density filter. Perhaps it is the changing light over an eight minute exposure that creates the glow. Certainly, it would be worth trying these long exposures to see if that would yield such striking images.

Continue reading