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.
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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 […]

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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.

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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.

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