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Author Topic: Introduction and a little light reading  (Read 6044 times)

Wayland

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Introduction and a little light reading
« on: April 21, 2006, 03:30:12 PM »

Hello, I guess I should introduce myself before asking a question.

My name is Gary and Iím on the other side of the pond from most of you I suppose. Iíve been a photographer for about 25 years, so as you probably can guess itís been film for most of those years.

Photography is not what I do for a living anymore, but if I told you what has replaced it you just wouldnít believe me.

I still shoot film on MF and 5x4, mostly landscape, but Iím getting increasingly interested in digital these days. Itís a darned sight lighter for a start.

Iím in the process of getting a decent Dslr and couple of bottles for the front but the problem is I still feel that Iím near the bottom of the digital learning curve. On the toe you might say.

As a film photographer I cut my teeth on books like Langford's Basic Photography, Coote's Monochrome Darkroom Practice and of course Adams.

I've looked around various book dealers and all the books I see about Digital photography seem aimed at beginers and offer no real information about what's really going on with digital exposure and technology.

I've managed to glean some idea from sites like this but I miss not really understanding the technology the way I understood film and chemistry.

So my first question is are there any "Digital" Adams, Coote or Langford type books out there?
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bob mccarthy

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Introduction and a little light reading
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2006, 03:50:26 PM »

Digital moves so quickly, that books are often outmoded by the time they hit the shelf.

If you go to the main page of this site, there are a number of articles on the many issues surrounding the digital camera and its associated hardware and software. There are some biases as the owner and principle author of the site writes about what interests him. But, it is very useful and can get you started.

Don't expect film cameras and processing to directly translate to digital. There are a number of unique differences that must be understood. You are now managing data, not silver.

By surfing the forums, a number of interesting, (and occasionally lively) discussions can be found. It may take a little searching, but its worth the effort.

The internet is the very best way to keep up with current state of the digital photography world.

I would also concider investing in the LL (Luminous Landscape) dvd series. There are often deals on the site for purchasing back issues.

Welcome, the waters fine,

Bob
« Last Edit: April 21, 2006, 04:04:39 PM by bob mccarthy »
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jdemott

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Introduction and a little light reading
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2006, 06:07:19 PM »

Welcome Gary,

When I was learning about film photography, most of the serious learning of the type you're talking about came in the darkroom--varying exposures, dodging and burning, masking, changing development, etc., which led to a greater understanding of what a negative is and does, etc.    In the digital world, the darkroom has become photo editing software on the computer, and for most of us that means Adobe Photoshop.  Since you already know a great deal about many elements of photography (exposure, depth of field, optics, etc.), the digital darkroom is definitely the place to start your learning.

Unfortunately, before one can begin to understand Photoshop (and the digital darkroom generally) in depth, one must master some basic know-how.  One book that gives a thorough treatment of basic Photoshop techniques, but very little in depth knowledge or theory, is the Photoshop CS2 Bible by Deke McClelland.  The virtues of the Photoshop Bible are that it is a suitable beginning reference for someone who knows very little about Photoshop, it is easily understandable and it is fairly complete.  I don't think it is the type of book you are looking for, but I mention it only if you think you need a basic "how-to" book.

Real World Photoshop by Fraser and Blattner is a more advanced compendium of Photoshop techniques, with a good deal more theory and explanation of why things work the way they do in the digital world.  I think it would be a difficult way to learn Photoshop, however, if you didn't already have at least some basic knowledge. Fraser also has a book on Real World Camera Raw discussing the Raw file conversion program that comes with Photoshop.

A book that really makes you think about the principles of digital photography is Adobe Photoshop Master Class by John Paul Caponigro.  It contains explanations of various techniques, but I think its greater value lies in the general principles that are illustrated.

Dan Margulis has written two books about Photoshop that are also fairly advanced--Professional Photoshop and Photoshop LAB Color.  Both of them led me to some serious reflection about the nature of digital photography.

The book you describe probably hasn't been written yet, or at least I haven't seen it.  Depending on what you are looking for, the books above are worthwhile, even if they are not as conprehensive as you might wish, and they will teach you quite a lot about digital photography.  As another poster mentioned, a lot of the learning about digital photography is on-line, and a lot of it is found just by asking questions on forums like this one.

Good luck and have fun.
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Lin Evans

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Introduction and a little light reading
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2006, 10:14:20 PM »

Hi Wayland,

Welcome aboard the digital express! It moves very fast - too fast, in fact for hard copy, but there are some incredibly good ebooks available and the best of them in my experience are by my old web friend Peter iNova.

Peter's books are somewhat specific to particular digital cameras, but are chuck full of insights, tips, explanations, etc., and highly recommended reading for pros as well as for those new to photography. Here's a link where you can browse about:

http://www.digitalsecrets.net/

Best regards,

Lin
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wolfnowl

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Introduction and a little light reading
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2006, 01:30:27 AM »

Hi Gary:

Welcome to the list!  "Real World Photoshop" has already been mentioned.  You might also want to check out a companion volume of sorts, "Real World Digital Photography".

The amount of time wasted covering existing photography techniques (composition, etc) is minimal, and the greatest volume of the book covers digital photography specifically.

As has been mentioned, by the time 'the' digital book has been published, the technology has grown, shifted and changed.

Mike.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2008, 07:52:56 PM by wolfnowl »
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Peter McLennan

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Introduction and a little light reading
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2006, 12:05:58 PM »

I too, cut my phototeeth on Langford's books.  They're still excellent, relevant texts.  Much has changed, but much remains the same.

As others have said, it's all about Photoshop and data management now.  For film photographers, it's the computer stuff that needs learning.  The photography stuff is largely the same as it always was.  (Except for one thing: you need to reverse the old saw about highlights and shadows.  The new mantra is "expose for the highlights and develop for the shadows"  

Hang around here a lot, ask questions, buy the software and read all the books you can find on computers and Photoshop.

You're in for a fantastic ride.  There's never been a better time to be a still photographer.  Welcome aboard!

Peter
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Wayland

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Introduction and a little light reading
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2006, 12:36:49 PM »

Thanks everyone, there are some useful suggestions there.

I've been using PhotoShop CS for a while now and getting fairly good results with it but I feel like I am working by trial and error rather than the planned way I used to handle film.

Perhaps that is just a symptom of having such visual feedback at most stages of the process, instead of the previsualisation required to work with the latent image of film and print.

I can't decide whether that's a good thing or not.
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mbridgers

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Introduction and a little light reading
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2006, 03:04:01 PM »

As far as Photoshop goes, you might want to visit The Radiant Vista which has a number of video tutorials, critiques and Photoshop tips.  Definitely a broadband site, but I think quite good.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2006, 03:04:19 PM by mbridgers »
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larkvi

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Introduction and a little light reading
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2006, 05:24:03 PM »

I would second the suggestion to look at the tutorials in the Photoshop Workbench and Video Tutorials section of The Radiant Vista. I honestly do not like a good number of the changes he demonstrates, but the technique is more important, and it is a good way to understand how adjustment layers and the like work and affect your final product.

As far as reading, I found the Luminous Landscape to be the most helpful resource when I got my digital body, and would suggest you exhaust this site and its forum first.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2006, 05:25:35 PM by larkvi »
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Wayland

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Introduction and a little light reading
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2008, 10:57:24 AM »

I stumbled upon this old thread from when I first joined, I've lurked a lot since then and digested most of what was suggested.  Thanks for those.

I've found a few other good books myself such as Eismann and Duggan's The Creative Digital Darkroom, and Anon and Grey's Photoshop for Nature Photographers.

I think I'm just about able to keep up with some of the conversations around here now.

I couldn't help but wonder what people think are the definitive texts now, two years later.

Go on....... I've got an Amazon link and I know how to use it.....
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