Free e-book: Insights from Beyond the Lens

Beyond the LensFor a short time the author, Robert Rodriguez Jr, is offering this book as a free e-book.

You might as well take a look at it. It will only cost you the time it takes to download the e-book and take a look see.

The quote below is from the web site.

While many books focus on the gear and technology, the aim here is to look inside the motivation, passion, and vision involved in successful landscape photography. Go behind the scenes as I explain how several images were made, how I draw inspiration from the Hudson River School of painters, and what resources I recommend for further exploration.

The link:

Book Review – Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It

Book Review by John Krill, NOCCC #3160

Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It
Learn Step by Step How to Go from Empty Studio to Finished Image
by Scott Kelby

Publisher: New Riders
Pages: 238
Chapters: 13
Price: $46.99 (Amazon: $27.68, Kindle: $19.79)

In 50 years of using a camera I’ve owned only 2 electronic flashes. I won’t even go into flash bulb era. So to say I’m ignorant in my knowledge of artificial lighting is an understatement. In my 4 years as a Marine Corps photographer I would go anywhere, do any assignment, but I would do anything to stay out of the studio. So when I was asked to review this book my first though was: Not in a thousand years!

I changed my mind. Why? Because I have two projects that are entirely portrait based and artificial lighting will be necessary. So here goes.

About The Author Scott Kelby

Scott Kelby has written so many books on photography and Adobe Photoshop that I gave up counting all of them at Amazon. He knows Photoshop. He is one of the most experienced experts on Photoshop. Scott Kelby just knows.

I mention all this because he knows how to write and how to present information in a way we can all understand.

His website is:

What It Is?

This book is a how-to for setting up a small studio lighting system. It details what equipment to purchase, how to shoot with one, two, and three lights, and the steps the author used to process the images in Adobe Photoshop.

That’s it in a nutshell.

How Each Example’s Lighting Setup Is Presented

There are 11 different setups using one, two, and three lights and one setup using four lights, where he demonstrates the arrangement of the lights and their power settings and what settings he uses on his camera. He then goes through a step-by-step process of editing the image.

There are also several illustrated photos of each shooting showing the entire studio setup and the posing of the model. One nice thing he does is illustrate each lighting system with an overhead photo and he also removes all the extra clutter, cables mostly, that helps in showing the each layout clearly.

Since the lighting and shooting steps are fairly straight forward they tend to take up the least time. The major discussion is on using Photoshop. This is usually a long explanation for each step in creating the perfect image in Photoshop.

Even though most of the book involves using Photoshop that doesn’t take anything away from the lighting and shooting of each shot. All the information you need is presented in a very clear manner.

A Big Bonus

A really great bonus is at the end of the book. He goes through all the lighting setup over again BUT he uses hot shoe flashes. For me this is a big plus. Now I can get started on building a portable studio. This is much less expensive way of starting out in artificial lighting.

And Then There Is That Gear Guide

Lastly is a complete guide to all the equipment used in the book.

Don’t Forget The Extras Online

You can go online and download all the images that they use in the book. Note: The book uses RAW images but they only provide high res JPGs online. You can still load the JPGs into the Photoshop RAW editor.

If you have never setup multiple lights and controlled them by one unit (That’s me!) then take a look at the video provided.

The link to the photos and the video is:

Just Get Started

Now I need to get online and use the book as a guide and start building my own studio.

Two eBooks Worth A Look

Going Candid

Going Candid by Thomas Leuthard

First they’re free. Second they’re not bad. The first ‘Going Candid, An Unorthodox approach to Street Photography‘ by Thomas Leuthard gives you an excellent look at someone who really enjoys candid photography. So take a look. You just might learn something.

I really like the fact that the photographer/author uses Candid and not Street to describe his photography. Because Street photography is just a subset of Candid photography. The problem comes when someone asks you what you do and you reply: “I’m a candid photographer.” It lacks drama. So we say Street Photographer.

The second eBook is ‘Collecting Souls, What Street Photography means to me.’ The author, Thomas Leuthard, with this second book the photographer/author gets more personal about his work.

The link to both books  is:

Chasing The Light – A Book Review

Product DetailsBook Review by John Krill, NOCCC #3160

Chasing The Light: Improving Your Photography With Available Light
by Ibarionex Perello

Publisher: New Riders
Pages: 259
Chapters: 12
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.