This Friday I want to play catch-up. There are two e-books I have not had a chance to review. The one that’s been baking to be reviewed the longest is, “Seeing the Light, Making the most of available light and the minimal equipment“, an e-book by Mitchell Kanashkevich. This is Mitchell’s second e-book. His first was titled “Understanding Post-Processing“. Both are available on Mitchell’s blog HERE. Mitchell is an amazing photographer, he does things with light that I can only hope to do. In fact, now I hope to do it, because Mitchell has shared his secrets in this book. In this book Mitchell covers the use of flash, the reflector, and natural light. Mitchell uses the analogy of sculpting with light throughout the book. As if it is something that is something you could hold and with Mitchell’s work you feel as if he is actually had the light in his hands and molded it.
In the first section on flash, Mitchell talks about the use of a flash both indoors and outdoors. One of the more interesting sections on the flash is how Mitchell explains how to use the flash with existing light bulbs. His methods of using flash with incandescent light gives a very natural feel to the light in the image. Using an on camera or off camera flash can be devastating to a beginner. This e-book makes it easy, and in fact it makes creative lighting something to try the next time you’re out.
He even talks about using flash with fire, with a candle and shows you some amazing effects. I’m telling you, if you have any interest in pulling your flash out of your bag then this is a read for you. Mitchell makes lighting makes sense.
He doesn’t just stick with the flash, he talks about using reflectors and how handy they can be to give you the light you want. He talks about natural light how to read it, how to anticipate it, how to plan for it. He talks about the magic hour, and what’s so magical about it.
All of this is illustrated by his stunning photography and some very clear illustrations. If I had any negative critique of this book it would be that it ends abruptly. I feel Mitchell has given me so much to chew on and to use and that it’s almost as if we had a conversation and then he picks up and leaves without saying goodbye. But that’s a minor nit for such an amazing publication. This is a valuable tool, a must-read for any photographer experienced or novice.
While I was traveling David duChemin created a new e-book called “Drawing the Eye, Creating stronger images through visual mass“. This is the third in a series of e-books that David is produced in the last three months. The first one was titled “TEN (10 Ways To Improve Your Craft. None of Them Involve Buying Gear. )” and was just as good as it sounds. The second was simply called “TEN MORE (10 More Ways To Improve Your Craft. None of Them Involve Buying Gear.)” The one thing David has over other photographers who are writing books is David is also a graphic artist. So his books are visually as appealing as his photography, this book is no exception. This book is worth the five dollars you spend even if you never read it. It’s a gorgeous compilation of images many even from this last Lumen Dei. Which is actually rather disgusting, as I haven’t even had time to look through all my images, let alone produce a book with them. But then, that’s David, not allowing grass to grow under his feet.
So, the whole point of this book, is to help the photographer understand what draws the eye. It’s sort of a cross between a book on composition and seeing. Again, it’s the understanding of the “why” something works so that you can use it more effectively to tell your story. David does this masterfully in three parts. In part one, he explains visual mass what it is and why it matters. He talks about the factor that draw the eye:
- The human figure.
- Objects that are larger before objects that are small.
- Objects that are bright over objects that are dark.
- Elements that are sharp over those that are out of focus .
And much more…
In part two David talks about using visual mass and composition. It is in this part that he delves into the nuances of composition. He talks about point of view (POV) & balance, and how visual mass affects both of these.
Then in part three he talks about refining visual mass in the digital darkroom. Here, he gives you some practical steps and techniques that you can use in Lightroom.
There is a fourth part to the book, is here he gives three creative exercises. An exercise that related to each of the preceding three chapters.
This is more than just an e-book full of pretty pictures this is a short seminar and well worth the five dollars.
In closing, don’t forget, my 2010 calendar is on sale now. This calendar will make nice gifts for your friends and family. I know what my family is getting for Christmas. Have a great weekend.