This new ebook from Craft & Vision is the exception that proves the rule. Something for free can be worth more than the price.
Each of the ten articles is this 45-page ebook is packed with good advice. Some are of a technical nature intended to help improve your craft. For instance, if you have never understood how to combine ambient light with flash, Sean McCormack’s chapter will give you the basics and the confidence to give it a try. Martin Bailey’s chapter, Shooting in Manual Mode, illustrates the situations in which choosing manuel mood will lead to more successful photographs.
On the vision side of the title, David duChemin’s article, Learn to Isolate, outlines ways in which you can make stronger images by isolating your subject from distracting backgrounds. Photography is all about light and Nicole S. Young’s chapter, Learn to See the Light, talks about how to truly see and understand light and how subtle variations can make or break an image.
Click here to download your free copy of Craft & Vision 2 When you do, look for the special offer inside. For only $10, you can download David duChemin’s TEN and TEN MORE (improve your craft without buying gear) plus the first two issues of PHOTOGRAPH (the digital quarterly magazine for creative photographers). You’ll save $16 off the retail price of $26.
If you haven’t done so already, be sure to get your free copy of Craft & Vision 1 with eleven more ways to make stronger photographs. Click here to visit Craft And Vision.
These two free ebooks are a great introduction to the Craft & Vision library of outstanding, and very affordable, books. See the related articles below for more of my reviews of Craft & Vision books.
Photograph is not just another photography magazine. It is digital which means you download it to your computer or tablet. When viewed on a good monitor, the photographs are big and beautiful with detail that is just not possible on the printed page. The articles are formatted for easy reading at any size and unencumbered by advertising.
Photograph is the perfect mix of inspiring portfolios, technical articles and gear reviews. The second issue starts with portfolios by Martin Bailey, Andy Biggs and Chris Orwig followed by an interview with the photographer. Each portfolio is a generous selection of photographs that gives you a real feel for the photographer’s style and approach to his chosen subject matter.
The portfolios are followed by five essays on subjects ranging from composition to long-exposure photography. I was struck by the theme which was repeated in different ways in these essays. Each author emphasized the importance of choosing the moment when light and composition come together to give the photograph meaning beyond the purely technical aspects of the image.
The next five articles are various photo geeky topics such as printing, using LightRoom and a camera review. All transcend the usual tehno-speak and dwell on using the tools to accomplish great photographs.
The issue concludes with a delightful piece by adventure photographer Jay Goodrich on leaf peeping with his three-year daughter in the Cascades.
Photograph is the publication that I wish had been around when I was beginning my career. Of course, it couldn’t have existed in those pre-internet days. Now photographers of any skill level will find inspiration and information in a publication that begs to be read and appreciated many times over.
Craft & Vision sells single issue downloads of Photograph for $8. Better yet is a one-year subscription for $24—-that’s four issues for the price of three. As David duChemin, the publisher and editor-in-chief says: “…the best way to learn photography is to study exceptional photographs, and to listen to voices that not only know the craft, but practice the art of photography.” Photograph does just that.
A Sense of Place: Finding Your Eye at Home and Abroad
We think of travel photography as taking place in some exotic location far from home. But as Younes Bounder points out in a new ebook from Craft and Vision, the best opportunities for practicing travel photography are right in our own community.
Each chapter in A Sense of Place is a short essay on various aspects of making story telling images. For example in the chapter titled “Take Your Time” he suggests that rather than rushing to complete a trophy list of photos, more meaningful images will result for really getting to know a place:
“Take the time to eat, sleep and breathe it; get a feel for its rhythm, its pace, its people and their habits. Immerse yourself in the atmosphere and take it all in. In other words, take an actual vacation: get some well-deserved rest and relaxation, get away from the brisk pace of your day-to-day life. Go a little deeper, rather than broader.”
In subsequent chapters, he expands on such topics as details that tell a story and the human element in travel photography. Each topic is illustrated by photographs that Bounder has taken on a visit to his former home in Morroco.
One of the most helpful parts of the book are the self-assignments that are included in each chapter. These exercises can be undertaken at home as a way of sharpening your skills or taken as guidance when traveling. In a broader context, doing the self-assignments will improve your basic understanding of the building blocks of any photograph—composition and light that reveal the subject before the camera.
For the first five days only, use the promotional code PLACE4 when you checkout and pay only $4 OR use the code PLACE20 to get 20% off when you buy 5+ PDF eBooks. These codes expire at 11:59pm (PST) December 22, 2012. Click here to order A Sense of Place.
I am excited to introduce you to the newest publications from the folks at Craft and Vision. Also, read on for a very special deal that you can use to stock up on all of C&V books that you may have missed out on.
First up is a new digital quarterly magazine called Photograph. If the first issue is any indication, this is going to be a terrific addition to the world of photography periodicals. The editor has taken full advantage of the digital format to present portfolios of photographs by Bruce Percy, Nate Parker and Art Wolfe. Each of the portfolios consists of a large number of images plus an interview with the photographer. Nearly half of the 133 pages are devoted to the portfolios.
Following the portfolios are eleven articles on subjects as diverse as Creative Composition by John Paul Caponigro and a Studio Sketchbook on home-made fluorescent lighting by Kevin Clark. Each article is well-written and generously illustrated so you come away inspired to try a new approach or enlightened about a technique you might have not tried before.
Here’s the deal: buy the first issue of Photograph for $8 or a one-year subscription for $24. That’s four issues for the price of three. To make this deal almost risk free, you can buy Issue One for $8 and, for a limited time, buy the rest of the subscription ($16) once you’ve had a chance to read Issue One. Craft and Vision will send a short email to everyone who purchases Issue One, and you’ll have until the end of November 2012 to opt-in to the rest of the one-year subscription. Click here to visit Craft And Vision.
Slow: The Magic of Long Exposure Photography
Andrew S. Gibson is one of the more prolific authors being published by Craft and Vision. His newest ebook is about the art and technique of long exposures. Most of the time we strive to stop movement in our photographs by selecting a fast shutter speed. Gibson’s book is about the opposite approach—intentionally incorporating movement in the photograph.
Perhaps the most common use of long exposures is photographing flowing water. You know the look—silky smooth water created with a several second shutter speed. The book details several other techniques for using movement creatively such as panning with a subject or intentionally moving the camera during a long exposure.
Slow includes several case studies of photographers who have created a body of work employing long exposure photography. Gibson also discusses the nitty gritty of equipment, camera settings and finding locations.
This book has definitely inspired me to slow down the shutter speed and see what results.
The deadline for the usual 25% discount for purchasing the book has passed but there is a better deal available for the next few days. See the Black Friday Special below.
Lightroom 4 Unmasked
For me the real revolution in digital photography is not so much the cameras but the software I use to process the digital files. I am often asked if I miss making prints in a darkroom and until recently I always answered yes. I have missed the control and the excitement of translating my negative in to print. Lightroom 4 represents a return of that excitement. I look forward to sitting down at my digital darkroom (a Macbook Pro and 27” monitor) and producing pigment ink prints (Epson 3800) for display and sale.
However, the learning curve has been fairly steep especially since Lightroom 4 is the first version of the software I have used. Previous books from Craft and Vision such as Piet Van den Eynde’s Dodge & Burn and Seán McCormack’s Essential Development have been very helpful in getting me off to a good start. However, I knew that there was much more to learn about Lightroom.
Once again Craft and Vision has provided the answer to my dilemma in the form of a 312-page “Big Book”, Lightroom 4 Unmasked by Piet Van den Eynde. I have only had a chance to skim through the book, but already I have found the answer to several issues that had been vexing me.
Piet Van den Eynde is an Adobe Certified Expert and he’s left no stone unturned. Whether you’re new to Lightroom, or are upgrading, you can be at ease here as this BigBook is up to date (Lightroom 4.2). If you’re looking to gain a deeper understanding of Lightroom or want to nip in the bud those novice issues that have plagued you for too long, then Lightroom 4 UnMasked is the perfect edition to your digital library.
The retail price of this BigBook is USD $20. But for the first seven (7) days only, use the promotional code LR4FIVE when you checkout and pay only $15. This code expires at 11:59pm (PST) November 27, 2012. Click here to order Lightroom 4 Unmasked.
It has been a few years since I put together a calendar. Until the advent of print-on-demand publishing the cost has been prohibitive. Now I can offer you a beautifully printed calendar at a reasonable price.
I spent quite awhile reviewing photographs from my travels in the American West along US Route 89. I was looking for just the right image for each month of year. That doesn’t mean that each was taken in the month in which it appears. I was looking more for images that convey my feeling about that particular month. The process lead to the discovery of some images that I had overlooked in previous edits. Click through the slide show to see the photos for each month
The format is 11×17 with each month displaying a landscape photograph above the calendar. Major US holidays are indicated and there is space for you to note your important dates through out the year.
The price is $12 plus shipping. To order, follow the link below. You will be taken to the website of the printer, Magcloud, where you can use a credit/debit card to complete your purchase.
Proceeds from the sale of the calendar will help us continue to publish this newsletter and support the US Route 89 website and blog which benefit the many small businesses located along the highway. Take a look a your holiday gift list and consider ordering several calendars. For orders of 20 or more, a discount of 25% applies.
Not too many years ago when we talked about development in connection with photography, we were talking about the chemical process of producing an image on film and then making prints. As we transitioned from film capture to digital image capture, development took on a new meaning. We are no longer manipulating silver or colored dyes attached to a physical base. Now we are manipulating pixels on a computer screen using complex algorithms.
Fortunately, we don’t have to understand the algorithms any more than we had to understand the chemical reactions. We have computer software that harnesses the algorithms so we can use them to develop our digital photo files. The software even employes some of the same terminology we used in the darkroom. It is still the responsibility of the photographer to decide how the final image will look and how it will impact on the viewer.
The software tools for developing digital photographs have become more and more powerful and Lightroom 4 comes close to being the only software a photographer needs. The new ebook from Craft and Vision, Essential Development, goes a long way to helping us master the intricacies of digital photo processing.
Starting with an explanation of the histogram, Seán McCormack walks through the sliders for Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites and Blacks. He explains what each one does and how they affect each other. He then explains how to use a camera profile and how to adjust white balance.
I found the chapters on Beauty Retouching, Dodge and Burn, and Cross Processing less relevant to me as a the landscape photographer. He caught my attention again in the chapters on Cropping, Straightening and Fixing Skies. Sharpening, Noise Reduction and Correcting Lens Issues have always been a mystery to me but not anymore after digesting McCormack’s explanations.
All together the book contains 20 techniques for using Lightroom to develop great images. Any photographer whether beginner or pro will benefit from studying these techniques and applying them in their work.
The complete package includes a set of 85 Lightroom presets. The advantage of presets is that you can quickly see in the preview panel how various adjustments will affect the photograph making it quicker and easier to apply to achieve the look you are after.
Special Offer on Essential Development Package
The retail price on this package is just USD $7, but for the next six days, use the promotional code DEVELOP6 when you check out so you can have the Essential Development Package (incl. the Toolbox of 85 Lightroom presets) for just $6 OR use the code DEVELOP20 to get 20% off when you buy 5+ PDF eBooks from the Craft & Vision collection. These codes expire at 11:59pm PST Tuesday – October 23, 2012. Click here to purchase the Essential Development Package
If you want to keep it simple, you can purchase the PDF only for just $5 – visit the standard product page at Craft & Vision. At 120-spreads this is great education and a killer value.
Barbara and I went to Ohio a couple of years ago for our son, Mathew’s, college graduation. I knew I wanted to take pictures of the occasion and the rest of the trip, but I didn’t want to lug my DSLR kit. When I pick up that camera, I go pro. That is, I knew I would stop being a dad and turn into the photo guy, which would ruin my enjoyment and be a drag for the rest of my family. Forty years of being a hired shooter is a hard habit to break.
The solution: I borrowed Mat’s point and shoot camera. I kept it in my pocket and shot to my heart’s content without being too obnoxious. And I blended in with all the other proud parents.
After the festivities were over, we went to Chicago for three days to immerse ourselves in art. We took in the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Field Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Photography and the fine art bookmaking department at Columbia College. When something attracted my eye, I pulled out the trusty little compact camera and snapped away. I must say, it was very liberating to be able to respond quickly and not be too concerned about the technical stuff.
Fast forward to Father’s Day. Barbara got me my very own compact digital camera, a Canon G12. I keep it sitting on my desk and carry it with me whenever I go out. For a couple of weeks I shot whatever grabbed my attention without any regard for how, or even if, the images would ever be seen by anyone but me (and Barbara, of course).
So what has this to do with travel photography and the US Route 89 project? I decided to try to translate the spontaneity of using a compact camera with a 4th of July trip to Prescott, Jerome and Flagstaff in northern Arizona. Here are a few things that I learned.
- For street photography, a compact camera is much less conspicuous. I was just another tourist snapping away and nobody seemed to pay attention.
- I was able to move around quickly without the backpack of extra lens, flash and other accessories.
- Using the flipout screen, I was able to shoot from low and high angles. I know some DSLR’s have flip out screens, but the light weight of the compact was easier to hold at odd angles.
- Having a camera always with me means I shoot more and miss less and always enjoy the experience.
I have now been using the G12 for a couple of years and I’m pleased with the photos. It has restored the joy I felt those many years ago when I was just starting out. Shooting with a compact reminds me that the camera is just a tool. In many situations you encounter while traveling it offers advantages over a bigger more conspicuous camera. And as the saying goes, “The best camera is the one you have with you.”
Just for the fun of it, I have a blog on Tumblr where I post only photos taken with the Canon G12. Are you unloading your travel photos made with compact camera to the web? Tells about your experience and add a link in the comments below.
I started my career as a photographer taking portraits. I was trained to use three or four lights in what at the time was the standard for studio portraits. There was a main light, a fill light, a hair light and sometimes a background light. Look at any high school year book and that is the lighting you will see.
Over the years, I evolved my lighting style to look more natural. I reduced the strobes to one main light and used various types of reflectors for fill light. My goal was to simulate the effect of window light when a window wasn’t available or practical.
In Great Light, Easy Light, the newest ebook from Craft & Vision, Kevin Clark takes the idea of producing natural looking light in the studio one big step further. He lives in Vancouver where for much of the year natural light is a little scarce. Necessity being the mother of invention, Clark has perfected “strobe techniques that don’t look lit”. His 32-page book walks through the techniques starting with mixing flash and ambient light, working through one, two and three light set-ups and ending with ‘Bounce-The-Light-Off-Whatever-I-Can Setups’.
Unlike many of the Craft & Vision books, Great Light, Easy Light does make use of professional level equipment such as studio strobes and light boxes. Consequently, this book is not for everyone unless you can make the investment and are committed to learning a natural style of portrait lighting. Having said that, the first exercise on mixing flash and ambient light will be of value to anyone wanting to take control of using a small flash unit.
I would also recommend taking a look at two other books from Craft & Vision that deal with using artificial light to achieve natural looking results: Making Light: An Introduction to Off-Camera Flash and Making Light 2: Advanced Use of Off-Camera Flash. In these two books, Piet Van den Eynde lays out how to set-up and use portable flash units such as Canon’s 580EX II or Nikon’s SB-900.
Special Offer on PDF eBook
The retail price on Great Light, Easy Light is just USD $5, but for the next five days, use the promotional code EASY4 when you check out so you can have this PDF eBook for just $4. Or use the code EASY20 to get 20% off when you buy 5+ PDF eBooks from the Craft & Vision collection. These codes expire at 11:59pm PST September 29, 2012. Click here to visit Craft And Vision.
There are two types of images that probably make up 90% the photographs we take. First are photos of people from formal portraits to party candids. Second, are photos of landscapes from fine art images displayed in museums to vacation snapshots. David duChemin’s new Craft and Vision ebook, Portraits of Earth: An Introduction to Landscape Photography, details the lessons a portrait photographer learned on his journey to becoming a landscape photographer.
In the introduction, duChemin explains, “When I began looking at my landscapes as portraits, I felt familiar ground under my feet. Sure, I was making portraits of different subject matter, but portraits all the same, and the same things that made compelling portraits of people were the same that made compelling portraits of Mother Earth.”
He begins the book with a discussion of the gear that he has found most useful for landscape work. In particular he discusses optics, tripods and filters. He emphasizes however that any camera from a smart phone to a high-end digital SLR can capture fine landscape images. The tools he talks about are aids to better realizing your vision.
In subsequent chapters, he lays out what he considers to be the primary considerations in composing a landscape photograph: light, line and land. Each of the sections is generously illustrated with Duchemin’s photographs from location around the world. He also includes pages of Tips & Tricks with practical ideas to for improving your photography.
Portraits of Earth is a valuable resource for anyone wanting to explore the possibilities of landscape photography. It is an excellent starting point for those just learning and a stimulating discussion for the more experienced photographer.
Special Offer on PDF eBook
The retail price on Portraits of Earth is just USD $5, but for the next five days, use the promotional code EARTH4 when you check out so you can have this PDF eBook for just $4. Or use the code EARTH20 to get 20% off when you buy 5+ PDF eBooks from the Craft & Vision collection. These codes expire at 11:59pm PST September 9, 2012. Click here to order your copy.
David will send three lucky winners a signed 8.5 x 11 fine-art print of the cover photograph! All you have to do is buy the PDF before September 10, 2012, and cross your fingers.
Buy all of David duChemin’s C&V eBooks for 20% off – Click here to view more details and to get 16 PDFs for just USD $64.
I’ve just uploaded a revised and expanded gallery of photographs called Creeks, Streams and Rivers to my website. The photos are from many areas of Arizona and are selected from my library of film images taken over the last 30 years.
I processed the photographs from high resolution scans of the original medium format transparencies using the newest version of Lightroom. I am a newcomer to Lightroom and this is the first real work I’ve attempted in the program. My previous processing was handled in Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop which I haven’t upgraded from version 4.
The thing that always holds me back from upgrading or switching is that I hate the process of learning new software. It is always frustrating to spend hours becoming familiar with new menus, panels and dialog boxes. Even though ACR and Lightroom are both Adobe programs, the workflow is quite different. I was used to working from Bridge to Camera Raw to Photoshop and saving different versions to folders all over my hard drives. With Lightroom, once files are imported into the catalog, everything stays inside the program.
Keywording in Lightroom
One of my biggest concerns is adding keywords to photographs before uploading to the website. Keywords are vital to making images accessible to a wide variety of photo buyers. The keywording process in Bridge is slow, clunky and often frustrating. In Lightroom, I was able to take the hierarchy I had developed, refine it and import it to Lightroom. While keywording will never be one of my favorite activities, at least it is more efficient In LR4.
Lightroom 4 Workflow
Of equal importance is developing a workflow to efficiently prepare digital photographs for uploading to the website. That mostly means adjusting the color and contrast to optimize the photo for reproduction. When I bought Lightroom I also bought one of those 650 page “complete guides”. I figured if I read it cover to cover, I’d be a Lightroom guru in no time. However, there is so much detail in the book that it is impossible to separate the trees from the forest. That book will be an invaluable resource when I get more familiar with Lightroom and need to understand a particular function in depth or need to sort out some obscure way of doing things.
What I really needed to get started was an “incomplete” guide that walked through a workflow with just enough underpinning so that I could understand the logic behind each function.The latest ebook from Craft & Vision, Dodge & Burn by Piet Van den Eynde, does just that. I wrote a review of Dodge & Burn when it first came out but now I have had a chance to apply his workflow in a real world situation. I have to say that formatting the twenty photographs in the Creeks, Streams and Rivers gallery went much faster than I expected.
I’d say that Dodge & Burn is a “just right” guide for the Lightroom beginner and for the seasoned user upgrading to the latest version.