Book Review by John Krill, NOCCC #3160
Chasing The Light: Improving Your Photography With Available Light
by Ibarionex Perello
Publisher: New Riders
Price: $44.99 (Amazon: $28.49)
My first camera was a Box type camera that took 12 pictures and when done you inserted $1.00 into the camera and mailed it in to get processed and another roll put into the camera. That was 1951. In 1958 my Dad, tired of me using his Kodak 35, took me down to Thrifty Drug and with a $20.00 loan I purchased a Kodak Pony 135 camera.
With that camera I learned everything I ever needed to know about taking photos: Exposeure, focus, and depth-of-field. I learned how the shutter and the aperture were related. I used Kodak Tri-X black and white film (B/W.) Later my Dad taught me to develope the film and to make contact sheets of my photos.
Why am I telling you this? Because there weren’t all that many ‘How To’ books in those days and who had the money to buy them anyway. But there were some great photo-magazines and then there was those two great weeklies, Life and Look. ‘Learn by Example’ was how most of my generation learned photography.
Most of my work was done using B/W film. Color was expensive and at times difficult to use. Lighting conditions had to be perfect or you needed to carry all kinds of special color correction filters. Color was to mush trouble.
All was good and uncompilcated in the film world of B/W photography. Then came DIGITAL. Everything changed.
No longer did we see images or photos in shades of gray but in full color. This meant learning to see all over again. Color could and sometimes did dominate the photo. In some cases this was good but most times it wsan’t. And I didn’t have a good book to get me started in the right direction. Trail and error. Over and over again.
That’s why ‘Chasing the Light’ is importand. It gets you started in the right direction. This book is all about LIGHT and Color. Light? Yes light. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve seen someone trying to get a good photo and never taking advantage of the Light or even knowing what the Light was doing to their photo.
‘Chasing the Light’ is one of the best books I’ve seen in a long time that will get a beginning photographer started in the right direction. And for the rest of us it will also help and give inspiration. You never stop learning.
For beginning didital photographers the first five chapters must be done slowly and completly. The first five chapers (1. Beginning To See. 2. The Elements of Exposure. 3. The Camera, the Exposure, and You. 4. The Color of Light: White Balance. 5. Building Visually;) should be understood completly before going on to the rest of the book. Go out and take photos as you progress through each chapter.
Once through those first five chapters you can then read chapters 6 thru 11 in any order you want. If your interest is portraits then Chapter 6 is next for you. But you may have other interests such as landscapes (Chapter 8,) or street photography (Chapter 9.) There’s even a chapter on getting B/W photos from your digital camera (Chapter 10.)
Throughout the book the author uses his own photos as examples. He even has photos that were not completly to his liking but were the best he could get considering the working conditions. The author tries to show that it’s best to get the best image in the camera and not rely on Photoshop to do it for you. The author uses several different digital cameras to get the photos and makes a point that it isn’t the camera but the photographer that makes the difference. Understanding Light and how if effects your photos will greatly enhance your images.
If you do purchase the book I reccomend you read the last chapter, The Transfprmative Power of Light, first. And then read it again after reading those first 5 chapters and then again when you get through the whole book.
Remember no book is the end-all answer to learning photography but ‘Chasing the Light’ is an excellent start. Yes this book is best for beginners but long time photographers, such as myself, will gaim some insight from this book.