Writing with Light

Posts tagged “review

Visual Flow – Mastering the Art of Composition

I picked up an eBook last week that I had been meaning to read for some time now, Visual Flow – Mastering the Art of Composition by Ian Plant (with George Stocking).

Have you ever returned from a photo shoot, downloaded your images and thought to yourself  “these are ok but there’s still something missing.” Is it the composition? Is the scene too busy? Is it unbalanced? Now before I get deep into the ebook let me take a minute and introduce you to the author.

Ian Plant is a professional nature and landscape photographer; teacher, workshop leader and author who is a frequent contributor to publications such as Outdoor Photographer and Popular Photography. If you’re not yet familiar with Ian and his work then the best thing that I can recommend is that you get familiar with it. His photographs are masterpieces and a study in the art of (dare I say) composition.  Ian is also the author/photographer of 8 print books including “Chesapeake: Bay of Light which received critical acclaim from the Washington Post among others.

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Visual Flow takes you through critical and fundamental elements to consider and put into practise so that you compose your image in such a way as to tell the viewer a story. The story you’re seeing.  As Ian puts it in his introduction “A snapshot shows the world what your camera sees, but when you create a composition, you show the world what you see.”

“You had me at Hello”

Yup…I was hooked right at the introduction. Who would have thought that this 287-page ebook on composition would turn out to grab my attention…and keep it throughout the length of the book. Ian’s rich writing style and text complimented by the incredible photographs from both himself and George Stocking make this ebook an indispensable tool to add to your learning arsenal.

Let me give you an example from early on the book…”Visual flow…. is my way of conceptualizing photographic composition.” “Not unlike the flow of a swift-moving stream, you want the viewer’s eye to get trapped in the ‘visual flow’ of your images, swept along deep into composition.” “Your goal as a photographer is to engage the viewer’s eye, commanding their attention, leading them deeper and deeper into the scene before them.”

These excerpts are of course complimented by the photos that go along with them which act as the imagery to reinforce and substantiate the text.

The depth of information imparted in this book is incredible. Ian doesn’t just ramble off different compositional rules and techniques but gets to the heart of why an image works, how to make an image work and how you go about getting there. He discuss techniques employed in paintings by the masters…  Van Gogh, Edvard Munch, Da Vinci, to illustrate that compositional elements that have been used for centuries in the visual arts are also relevant today in the photographic arts. He also discusses concepts that originate in the musical arts such as “counterpoint” and how that relates to photography today. I was amazed and enlightened. I learned more from “Visual Flow” then I have in a long time.

Don’t get me wrong this book isn’t all about concepts and theories it’s also a practical guide on how to execute on these concepts. Ian goes through different compositional elements including abstract and physical elements. He discusses how to use shapes (curves, diagonal lines, circles, triangles, etc) to create a compelling image. How do you create visual mass and use negative space to your advantage? That’s covered.

You’ve heard about the rule of thirds? So have I. But do you know where and how it originated? When should you use and when shouldn’t you. Ian discusses this in-depth and provides insight that I, for one, found fascinating.

Interspersed throughout the book are image studies where Ian explains the different compositional elements of the image and why it works.

This is one of the most comprehensive books that I’ve read on “mastering” composition. I’ll be honest at $24.95 it’s one of the more expensive books that I’ve reviewed. Is it worth it? I’d have to say a resounding…YES. You can click here to purchase the ebook or if you want to give it a test run first you can also download a free trial.

If you haven’t visited Ian’s Dreamscapes site then I suggest you do. Aside from his wonderful site and blog you’ll also find some wonderful video tutorials in his store.


Topaz ReStyle & A Sneak Peak at Pebble Beach

Topaz Labs added to its award-winning line-up of plug-ins yesterday with the launch of Topaz Restyle. Have you ever stared at your computer screen and just felt that the image you were working on needed something else but just couldn’t put your finger on it. Topaz ReStyle helps you expands your creative vision by offering photographic styles you might never have dreamed of, or that you weren’t sure how to create. With over a thousand looks (or pre-sets) and the ability to fine tune your effect to your liking, Topaz ReStyle gives you more options than you can imaging.

The work space / interface is the same as other Topaz plug-in’s you’ve come to rely on and that big, beautiful preview box pops up before you click on your preset so that you can quickly scroll through and see what your image will look like.

Here are some of the unique features introduced in Topaz ReStyle:

1. Breakthrough Mapping Technology. ReStyle introduces a cutting-edge process of mapping color and tone statistics from a selected style to a target image. This new technology creates high-quality transformations, even for dramatic styles and looks.

2. New Style/Preset Creation Method. ReStyle creates presets using a source image’s color and tones, allowing you to save your own unique styles to use later.

5. Blending Modes. With ReStyle, Topaz Labs has incorporated blending modes for the adjustment modules, essentially showing 8 different looks for each style preset.

3. HSL Technology in 5-Color Style Sliders. Easily enhance your selected style’s 5 dominant colors using the unique hue, saturation and luminance controls.

4. Advanced Masking Workflow. The masking module, attached to each adjustment tab, contains a comprehensive set of tools including an edge-aware brush, gradient mask, smart feather tool, color aware tool and more.

5. User Interface Design. Topaz Labs has developed a cleaner, more modern and efficient interface to improve usability, workflow and overall aesthetics.

Ok…so let me show you. (Click on the images to enlarge…they look better)

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Original RAW file

China Rock, 17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach, Carmel, California, golf course, fog, travel photography

After using Topaz ReStyle

I also used Topaz Clarity in the second image (before applying ReStyle) to make the image pop slightly.

Topaz ReStyle will be priced at $59.99 but Topaz Labs is offering 50%off, so until Aug 31 you can purchase ReStyle for $29.99. Click here to purchase or why not download a free trial and give it a test run first.


Sharp Shooter – Proven Techniques for Sharper Photographs

Sharp Shooter, ebook, Martin Bailey, Craft and Vision, review

Craft & Vision’s latest release is out and I was excited to see this one for 2 reasons. The first, is that it’s written by Martin Bailey and I thoroughly enjoyed and got a lot out of his previous book, Making the Print. The second reason which is probably more important is that I often get frustrated when I get home after a shoot, download my images and realize, once I see them on a big screen, that the shot that I thought was my killer image is not as sharp as it should be.

In Sharp Shooter, Bailey walks the reader through, in his usual clear and concise fashion, the gamut on the subject—from hand-holding techniques, stabilization, and what makes an image sharp in the first place, to macro-sharpness, depth of field, focus stacking, sharpening for final output, and more.

What was extremely useful to me was his in-depth explanation of Hyperfocal Distance and how it applies to different lenses. The section on focusing in the macro range and his coverage of shooting for focus stacking and processing of those images was invaluable.

Sharp Shooter, ebook, Martin Bailey, Craft and Vision, review

Sharp Shooter, ebook, Martin Bailey, Craft and Vision, review

Martin Bailey is a nature and wildlife photographer, British-born though now based in Tokyo. Fueled by his passion for travel and nature, Martin is an international tour and workshop leader, working on all seven continents. A pioneering podcaster and blogger, Gura Gear Pro, and X-Rite Coloratti member, he helps photographers from around the world to see and capture the wonders of this awesome planet we call home.

Use the discount code SHARP4 to get USD $1 off SHARP SHOOTER.  If you buy 5 or more products from the Craft & Vision collection use the discount code SHARP20 for 20% off. These codes expire at 11:59 PM (PST) July 4, 2013. Click Here to Purchase.


Lightroom 5 – Up To Speed

Yesterday Adobe announced the release of Lightroom 5 and with that announcement also came the release of Craft & Vision’s latest ebook LIGHTROOM 5 Up To Speed. This ebook is written by Piet LR5_Cover_largeVan den Eynde, an Adobe Certified Expert who walks you through all the new features and how to get started using the new tools in LR5. He really leaves no stone unturned.

This 77-page eBook, and the companion videos (50+ minutes), will you get up to speed with what’s new in this revolutionary digital darkroom software.

Topics covered include:

  • Installing Lightroom 5 & Upgrading Older Catalogues
  • The Advanced Healing Brush
  • Straightening Photos with Upright
  • The Radial Filter
  • Improving Your Workflow with Smart Previews
  • Improvements to the Book Module
  • New Features in the Slideshow Module
  • Other New, Improved or Changed Features
  • New or Improved Plug-Ins Since Lightroom 4

Van Den Eynde takes your through the installation process step by step which if you’re upgrading from a previous version is essential to ensure you don’t lose any of your previous catalogues. His instructions are thorough and will make the process seamless.

Each new feature is explained in the detail and the best part of this ebook are the accompanying videos. Each section includes a video tutorial that shows you how each feature works. While I love to read I’m also a visual learner so the videos are an added bonus for me and I think you’ll love them too.

LIGHTROOM 5 UP TO SPEED with the embedded videos is only $5. If you’re new to Lightroom and haven’t read Piets’s  LIGHTROOM 4 UNMASKED Craft & Vision is offering a special LIGHTROOM BUNDLE ($20 – full-time discount) which combines Piet’s latest eBook with his amazing Big Book LIGHTROOM 4 UNMASKED. Click Here to Purchase.

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I Can See Clearly Now…with Topaz Clarity

I’ve been fortunate over the last week to have been able to test Topaz Labs’ newest plug-in Topaz Clarity. Topaz Clarity enhances contrast and clarity with absolutely no artifacts or halos. With just a few clicks you can easily manipulate your micro, mid-tone and overall contrast, transforming your image from ordinary to extraordinary, while maintaining the natural feeling and tonality you are after.

While the plug-in is simple enough (you’ll recognize the familiar interface of the other suite of Topaz plug-ins) Topaz Clarity is a very powerful tool. I was a bit skeptical when I’d first heard about this new release but once I started using it I was blown away by the subtle yet powerful improvements achieved using this.

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Here are some of the unique features introduced in Topaz Clarity:

1. Selective Contrast Control. With Clarity, Topaz Labs has developed a cutting-edge process of selecting specific contrast variations in the original image, allowing you to quickly target and then increase or decrease the contrast and clarity in that specific variation.

2. Breakthrough Halo-Free Algorithm. Boost contrast and clarity without emphasizing transitions between light and dark areas, eliminating the common problem of halos, noise and artifacts.

3. Advanced Hue/Saturation/Luminance Technology. Using IntelliColor technology, you can easily enhance your image with the HSL filter, getting stronger, yet more natural HSL adjustments.

4. Re-Imagined Masking Workflow. The masking module, now attached to each adjustment tab contains a comprehensive set of tools including an edge-aware brush, gradient mask, smart feather tool, color aware tool and more.

5. User Interface Design. Topaz Labs has continued to develop a cleaner, more modern and efficient interface to improve usability, workflow and overall aesthetics.

Topaz Clarity comes with 9 collections of presets that includes Architecture; Fashion; Macro; Nature & Landscape. The presets are a great way to speed up your processing or giving you a good starting point for the look your after.

Instead of continuing to “tell” you what Topaz Clarity does I’ll “show” you instead with a couple of images I worked on specifically for this review. Please click on the images to enlarge and really see the detail.

Flower, Macro, yellow, gerber

Before

Flower, Macro, yellow, gerber, Topaz Clarity

After – with Topaz Clarity

Boston, harbor, long exposure, black and white, pier

Before

Boston, harbor, long exposure, black and white, pier, Topaz Clarity

After – with Topaz Clarity

Topaz Clarity will retail for $49.99, but it’s being offered now at a special introductory price of $29.99 through May 31st. Use promo code: claritynew Click here to purchase.


Behind The Action – Creating Adventure Imagery, Step By Step

I just finished Dan Bailey’s, just released ebook, Behind The Action – Creating Adventure Imagery, Step By Step. I’ve been following Dan’s blog for quite some time now btabut truthfully this is the first book of his that I’ve read. I’m not quite sure why I waited so long. If you’re interested in sports or adventure or action photographs then this is a must read.

What really impressed me was the way that this book is structured. Dan focuses on 12 different adventure and outdoor images.  These include:

  • Skate Skier
  • Trail Runner
  • Skier
  • Rock Climber
  • Mountain Biker
  • Hiker

In each of these “adventures” comes with its own recipe for success. This is what I found so unique about Behind The Action. It was almost as if I had Dan providing me with personal instruction on how to create a successful image. The recipe is:

  • Concept – here Dan discusses what his conceptual vision was for the image that he wanted to create even before he picked up his camera.
  • Gear – he describes in detail what equipment he used and what his reasoning was behind his choices.
  • Light – look at the images of each of the adventures and then read what Dan’s challenges were when the lighting was optimal and how he used existing light to his advantage.
  • Approach – learn what his approach was with each shot from the settings he used, the vantage point he decided on and why. Dan describes the “approach” as the “creative problem solving in the photographic process.”
  • Execution – once the approach has been decided upon the execution is all about the experience of the actual shoot. Did he change lenses, wait for better light, change his vantage point. Capturing people in action situations, the execution may end up being different from the planned approach. Gain insight into Dan’s thought process throughout the shoot.
  • Final Thoughts, Quick Tips and Post Production – in this final ingredient, Dan talks about analyzing the shots that he came away with, why the were successful and why they weren’t. He also describes his post processing for each image.

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Dan Bailey is a professional outdoor, adventure and travel photographer. His clients include Outdoor Photographer, The North Face, Patagonia and many others.

This ebook is a must read if you want to take better action and sports images but really the ingredients that Dan uses in his recipes can be used whenever you go out shooting.

Behind The Action is published by the team at LightStalking. You can click here to go to their page and order the book. Today only…use the code “EARLYBIRD” to get 20% off Behind the Action –  so get it now at only $19.95.


TIMELAPSE – An Introduction to Still Photographs in Motion

Attempting a Timelapse is one of those techniques that’s on my to-do list of things to learn and try. I understand the basics of it but never quite knew how to turn it onto a movie…until now. Craft & Vision’s latest release TIMELAPSE – An Introduction to Still Photographs in Motion by Dave Delnea demystifies the “how” of timelapse. Timelapse_Spread_Cover_NEW_RELEASE

This is the first piece that I’ve read on the topic that really lays out the fundamentals of timelapse photography. Dave Delnea covers the equipment you need (not to worry you probably have most of it already), the software to use and how to put it all together.

While the first section dealing with the gear you need is pretty straight forward, Delnea then gets very specific into dealing with focus, framing of your subject and how to ensure that your exposure is controlled throughout your sequence. He also discusses what causes both exposure flicker and mechanical flicker and how to fix both of those issues. This is essential in ensuring that your final movie has a smooth and pleasing look.

In the Post-Production Workflow section TIMELAPSE deals with how to use Lightroom to edit your images (and remember we’re dealing with hundreds of images for one timelapse sequence) and then sequence them to a video file.  I really found Dave Delnea’s step by step instructions excellent here especially for a newbie to timelapse photography as I am.

The bonus section of the book deals with advance techniques such as motion control; bulb ramping – a technique where you use your camera’s bulb setting to manage exposure and LRTimelapse Effects Ramping where you can change exposure, white balance and other parameters over the course of a sequence.

Examples of the authors’ own timelapse sequences are scattered throughout the book and in the case studies and they’re a great example of what can be achieved with this technique.

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For the first five days only, use the promotional code TIME4 at check out and you can have TIMELAPSE for just $4 OR use the code TIME20 to get 20% off when you buy 5+ PDF eBooks from the Craft & Vision collection. These codes expire at 11:59pm (PST) March 22, 2013. Click Here to Purchase.


iPhone Friday – Looking Back at 2012

I thought it would be fun to look back and pick some of my favourite iPhone images of 2012. So here they are…12 from 2012…

More Tulips

More Tulips

Dog Bar_viewable

George Washington Bridge_viewable

Backwards Condo_viewable

Photo 2012-04-09 12 14 48 AM

Brady

Channeling Warhol

Portland Head Lighthouse, Portland, Maine, sunrise, landscape, travel

Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, winery, wine country, Southbrook Winery

Heading Downstairs

Heading Downstairs

fall colours, Muskoka, Ontario,

iPhone, iPhoneography, backgammon, game board

graffiti alley, Toronto, street art, Ontario, iphoneography


A Year in Review – 12 From 2012

Welcome back. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Well it’s that time of the year again. Time for me to sit down and have a look at the images that I’ve taken and posted this last year and try to narrow down my favourites from the year. This is a very tough exercise indeed. I tend to be very critical of my own work but the following images that I’ve selected really speak to me either because of the place itself or from a technical stand point, I tried a new technique that I’ve never done before.

So before we get to the images I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU! Whether this is your first visit or you follow this blog I’m extremely grateful of your continued support and visits. I know that there is a lot of content on the internet, many wonderful sites and blogs and you taking the time and interest of visiting my little space on this world-wide web is very much appreciated. I hope to also post a recap of my iPhone images by the end of the week and then I will be taking some time off until the beginning of the new year for a much needed vacation. If I find myself with internet access I will try to provide a few updates here and there.

You can click on the images to see the original post. So without further ado…My 12 of 2012….

St. Joseph's Oratory. Montreal, Quebec, nightscape

Lead the Way_viewable

saw whet, owl, muskoka, ontario, wildlife centre

south street seaport, New York, Brooklyn Bridge, HDR

Brickworks, Ontario, Toronto

rome, italy, corner store, travel

mars diner, Toronto, retro, eatery, HDR

Toronto, Mississauga, Marilyn monroe towers, building, architecture

fireworks, toronto, Canada Day, black and white

Rocks, Halfway Log Dump, Lake Huron, Tobermory, landscape, long exposure

Schwartz"s Deli, Montreal, St. Lawrence, The Main, smoked meat, travel photography

Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario, Tobermory, Georgian Bay


A Sense of Place – A New Craft & Vision Release

There are times when I feel uninspired with a bad case of photographers’ block. That happens to me when I haven’t traveled in a while and I’m itching to get out and visit new places so that I can make unique photographs.  It’s times like those where I have to give myself a swift kick in the butt and look around at my wonderful city, community, neighborhood and challenge myself to see differently. SenseOfPlace_Cover_SMALL

A Sense of Place – Finding Your Eye At Home And Abroad by Younes Bounhar, this month’s Craft & Vision release, focuses on this very topic. Actually this is quite timely as some of us are either getting ready to enjoy some time off at home or are getting ready to go on vacation to a far away land (okay maybe not so far away).

Bounhar ebook endeavours to help the photographer “see” differently. How do you photograph a place that your so familiar with that you’re not seeing the uniqueness of it? Bounhar answers this when he travels back to his homeland of Morocco and realizes that “it is our responsibility to see a place, not the responsibility of a place to be seen.”

As the title and subtitle suggests, the ebook is split between “At Home” and “Abroad”. The author discusses how to act like a tourist at home and give yourself assignments to spark your creativity. When traveling do you take the time to really learn about a new place and go back to the same location several times so that you can get a feel for the place, the people and how the light plays out at different times of day? How do you increase your awareness and train your eye to see things that others may not? What about the human element? A place is defined by the people who live there or a person placed in the frame of a vast landscape will provide scale to your image. These are just some of the topics that Bounhar provides insight too.

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“A Sense of Place is more than just a travel photography workbook; it’s geared towards helping you learn to experience a place more fully, see it with wider eyes, and photograph it more intentionally.”

“Photography, for many of us, is all about learning to see. Younes Bounhar’s A Sense of Place, Finding Your Eye at Home and Abroad, is a 42-spread eBook that can help you  make stronger photographs, whether at home or elsewhere, by honing your ability to see and express, not just point the camera.”

For the first five days only, use the promotional code  PLACE4  during checkout, to purchase SENSE OF PLACE for just $4 OR you can use the code  PLACE20  to get 20% off when they buy 5+ PDF eBooks from the Craft & Vision collection. These codes expire at 11:59pm (PST) December 22, 2012. Click Here to Purchase


MOO Business Cards

Guess what I received in the mail when I got home the other day…yup new business cards. Why am I devoting a post to business cards you may ask? MOO.com, custom business cards Because I was so impressed with the quality of these cards and the service that I received from MOO that I want to share that with you. If you haven’t heard of MOO.com they’re an online printing company that specializes in custom business cards, postcards, holiday cards, etc. The quality is outstanding (the cards are printed on high quality 16pt paper or you can upgrade to 32pt). You customize the card the way you want it and for a photographer you can have a different image on each card, this is what I found to be most attractive, well that and the price point. The business cards start at $19.99 for a pack of 50. I ordered 100 business cards and used 10 different images although you can use as many images as you want.

These cards are really like having a mini portfolio in your pocket. I took the images below with my iPhone to show you some examples of what I received. You can check out MOO.com here.

MOO.com, business cards, edith levy photography

MOO.com, business cards, edith levy photography

Wanted to show you how thick these are…

MOO.com, business cards, edith levy photography


LIGHTROOM 4 UNMASKED – A COMPLETE GUIDE TO ADOBE PHOTOSHOP LIGHTROOM by Piet Van den Eynde

Well it looks like Craft & Vision has done it again. Not only have they released a new quarterly magazine – PHOTOGRAPH, and an ebook on Long Exposures this month, but now they’ve just announced a new release that is being referred too as the “Big Book.” This tome can’t only be measured in page count (which weights in at a hefty 312 spreads) but in content as well. 

Whether your new to Lightroom in general or just new to Lightroom 4 or an advanced user then Lightroom 4 Unmasked – A Complete Guide to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is a book that should and must be in your library.

  • This Lightroom BIG BOOK is up to date, all the way up to Lightroom 4.2.
  • It’s written by Piet Van den Eynde a Photographer, writer and an Adobe Certified Expert.
  • It’s aimed at both beginning Lightroom users and at more advanced ones. It grows with you as your Lightroom knowledge grows.
  • In addition to the regular text, the eBook features 60 cases, 10 of which are pro-cases for advanced users.
  • It’s ideal for upgraders: text boxes labeled ‘New in Lightroom 4’ immediately draw the attention to things that have changed between versions.
  • Two cases also deal specifically with what’s new in Lightroom 4.
  • The BIG BOOK does not limit itself to Lightroom as it comes out of the box, but points the reader to useful third-party applications and plugins that integrate well with Lightroom.
  • It focuses on Lightroom as an entire workflow application. There’s thorough coverage of ALL the modules, not just Library and Develop.
  • An entire chapter deals with the Lightroom to Photoshop integration.
  • It’s digital so it’s fully searchable and loaded with hyperlinks!

Piet Van den Eynde has left no stone unturned in this very detailed and insightful new book. By the time I made it through Chapter 1 I had made so many mental notes of things I realized I didn’t know about Lightroom that I knew that this was not a book to be read once and put away but a resource that I would be referring to time and again.

The content is thoughtfully laid out starting with a general introduction of Lightroom, what it is and what it isn’t, then moving methodically through an in depth review of everything you want and need to know about LR including the catalog; importing photos & videos; the library module; the develop module; the print module and so on.

The author interweaves cases into each of these chapters which really brings the topics to life (so to speak). As an example, in the chapter dealing with the Develop Module, there are case studies that deal with creating the HDR look in LR; a case study focusing on soft proofing & calibration; a pr0 case study dealing with what’s new in the develop module in LR4. Each of these case studies include step by step how-to guidelines.

Special Offer on the BIG BOOK
LIGHTROOM 4 UNMASKED retails for $20 but for the first seven days only, use the promotional code  LR4FIVE  at checkout and get this incredible book for just $15. This code will expire TUESDAY, November 27, 2012 at 11:59PM (PST). Click Here to Purchase.

Oh and this just in from Craft & Vision….Black Friday Special!

Hold on to your hats! Visit Craft & Vision before Friday, November 23 at 11:59pm (PST) and you’ll find every eBook marked down by 50%. That’s right, we’re moving out the old stock and need to make way for the new (OK, we made that part up…). No discount codes required – we’ve already done it for you. Happy reading!

Exclusions: Big Books and Magazines are not discounted.


Slow – The Magic of Long-Exposure Photography

Acadia National Park, Thunder Hole, long exposure, waves, sea, Maine

As you can tell from the images above I love long exposure photography and creating effects with intentional camera movement. So you can image how excited I was when I found out that this month’s Craft & Vision ebook release was entirely about this topic.

With Slow – The Magic of Long-Exposure Photography by Andrew S. Gibson,  Craft & Vision adds another well written and informative ebook to its ever-expanding photographic library.

If you enjoy long exposure photography or are looking to get started then this is a great resource to include in your personal library of photography books.

While I’ve been using the term “long exposure” and the subtitle of the book states it as well there is so much more that Andrew Gibson delves into. Andrew covers various topics such as:

Recording Motion using a slower shutter speed to convey motion in your photographer in order to tell a story.

Panning with and without people.

Intentional Camera Movement covers different techniques where the photographer deliberately moves the camera during an exposure thus creating interesting blurs and abstract images.

Long Exposures (admittedly my favorite section)  discusses the equipment, techniques and the types of  locations to seek out in order to create striking compositions and images.

Andrew also covers off camera settings; using the correct exposure (and how to calculate it); exposing to the right; different types of light for long exposures and more.

In addition, there are also two case studies included by Outdoor Photographer  Dough Chinnery and Fine Art Photographer Joel Tjintjelaar.

Andrew S. Gibson is a photographer and writer who has written many titles for Craft & Vision as well as his own releases.

Special Offer
For the first five days only, use the promotional code  SLOW4  when you checkout and pay only $4 OR use the code  SLOW20  to get 20% off when you buy 5+ PDF eBooks. These codes expire at 11:59pm (PST) November 18, 2012. Click Here to Purchase.


PHOTOGRAPH – A Digital Quarterly Magazine for Creative Photographers

Known for producing monthly eBooks geared to improve photographic technique, Craft & Vision released today the first issue of PHOTOGRAPH – A Digital Quarterly Magazine for Creative Photographers.

As you know for the last year I’ve reviewed Craft & Vision’s ebooks. Their ebooks are written by photographers for photographers and deal with creative and technical aspects of our craft, These ebooks offer great value, are well written, informative, educational, filled with lots of gorgeous photographs and at an average of $5 an ebook, offer exceptional value. For this reason I was very excited to receive, read and review their new e-magazine.

If you subscribe to any number of photography magazines you’ll understand the appeal and excitement surrounding this new publication.

PHOTOGRAPH weighs in at 133 pages (I know, I know it’s not size that matters but the quality of the content). I’m telling you this to illustrate how much material is included in this issue.

Regular Craft & Vision authors and photographers such as David duChemin, Jean Paul Caponigro, Nicole S. Young and Andrew S. Gibson are just a few of the contributors in this inaugural issue.

Here are just a few of the 11 articles included in this issue:

  • Creative Composition by Jean paul Caponigro
  • The Art of the Print by Martin Bailey
  • Without The Camera – Choosing The Frame: The Art of the Edit by David duChemin
  • Gear is Good by Al Smith

Each of these articles are in and of themselves mini ebooks filled with a wealth of information. In addition to the articles PHOTOGRAPH will feature Portfolios of both “amateur” and “pro” photographers in every issue. Issue #1’s featured Portfolios are:

  • Bruce Percy: Iceland
  • Nate Parker: Acadia & New England
  • Art Wolfe: Burma and Hokkaido

What’s very exciting is that the editor of PHOTOGRAPH, David duChemin is open to suggestions on who you would like to see featured in the magazine. Actually maybe you’d like to contribute?

I have high hopes for this publication in that it becomes a place where the photographic community can share and learn from each other.

I’m already looking forward to the winter issue.

You can purchase Issue One of PHOTOGRAPH for USD $8 by clicking any image above, or by visiting Craft & Vision. Save 25% by purchasing a one year subscription for $USD 24 – that’s four issues for the price of three. Click here to purchase a subscription.


Portraits of Earth, An Introduction to Landscape Photography A New eBook by David duChemin

What are the elements that make a landscape photograph jump out at you and make you say…”Why Can’t I Do That?!?” Is it the composition? The light? The Sharpness? It’s all of these elements and more.

Don’t let the title of Craft & Vision’s newest ebook, Portraits of Earth, An Introduction to Landscape Photography, fool you. This ebook isn’t just a simple introduction for new photographers, it’s for photographers of every level who want some insight into David duChemin’s “lessons learned” as he moved from photographing people to photographing landscapes.

David duChemin is a humanitarian and landscape photographer, best-selling author, workshop leader & teacher and founder of Craft & Vision. I’ve read his print books, his ebooks and follow his blog and am amazed when I find myself learning something new every time I pick up on of his books. He’s a prolific writer whose insights are both educational and enlightening.

In Portraits of Earth, David doesn’t focus on gear, he rarely does. In fact, in this 65 page ebook perhaps 1/10th is spent covering gear. What is covered is optics, filters and tripods and that’s because the use of this equipment has a “significant effect on the aesthetic of the image.” David discusses in great detail different types of light. Whether its soft, reflected, side or back light (and many more) each has its advantages and disadvantages and we learn how he’s used challenging lighting situations to his benefit.

Want to gather some insight (or Tips & Tricks as duChemin categorizes it) on how to shot land, water and snow? It’s all there in great detail. This ebook is filled with David duChemin’s astounding photography which he uses as examples for the topics he’s covering.

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 purchase.

Special Giveaway
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.


Finding Focus – Understanding the Camera’s Eye – New eBook

Do you ever get frustrated when your images aren’t as sharp as they should be? You know you’ve done all the right things…you’ve selected an appropriate aperture, you’re subject was sharp when you looked through the viewfinder but yet your image is soft. I can’t begin to tell you how many times that’s happened to me and frustrating doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel when I’ve thought I have the money shot in the bag.

This month’s Craft & Vision latest ebook release deals with just that. Finding Focus – Understanding the Camera’s Eye by Nicole S. Young is an ebook, not just filled with Nicole’s eye popping photography but it’s an indispensable resource and learning tool on what it takes to get your images in focus.

Finding Focus, ebook, Craft & Vision, Nicole S. Young

So let me be clear here, while Nicole gets into the technical aspects of selecting the appropriate aperture, understanding depth of field and lens compression (among other things) she also discuss aesthetics.  She delves into how to balance the technical with the creative part of photography. There’s a really nice mix here because while we as photographers understand the technical sometimes putting it together with the why is a bit more difficult. Where should your focus point be if you’re photographing a person or animal? What about group shots? Should landscapes and still life photography take a different approach? Nicole addresses all these different situations in detail as well as discussing lens selection; software choices for post processing and something I’ve been interested in for a long time, Focus Stacking.

Finding Focus, Understanding the Camera’s Eye is an invaluable resource for photographers who want to further develop their technique of on-camera and post-production focus. Nicole’s narrative will help you discover that the best expression of your photographic vision can only happen when your working knowledge and skills produce images that direct the viewers’ eye to what you intended.

Finding Focus, ebook, Craft & Vision, Nicole S. Young

Nicole S. Young is a full-time photographer and author specializing in food and stock photography, licensing her images through iStockphoto and Getty Images. She’s an accredited Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) in Photoshop CS5 and has authored print books through Peachpit Press (Canon 7D: From Snapshots to Great Shots, EOS Canon 60D: From Snapshots to Great Shots and Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots).

Special Offer on PDF eBook
The retail price on this power-pack PDF eBook is USD $5, but for the next six days, use the promotional code  FOCUS4  when you check out so you can have Finding Focus for just $4. Click here to purchase. OR use the code  FOCUS20  to get 20% off when you buy 5+ PDF eBooks from the Craft & Vision collection. These codes expire at 11:59pm PST August 19, 2012.


Dodge & Burn – A New Craft & Vision eBook

“Dodging & burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships.” – Ansel Adams

That’s right, dodging & burning is not a phenomenon of the digital age of photography. It’s a craft that was performed in a traditional darkroom with a piece of cardboard placed between the enlarger and the photo paper. Today, in the digital age of photography, we can dodge & burn with steely precision given the software at our disposal.

Today, Craft & Vision released its latest ebook by Piet Van Den Eynde, Dodge & Burn – Leading the Eye with Lightroom & Photoshop. I’ve reviewed ebooks by Piet Van Den Eynde on the this site in the past. You may remember Making Light and Making Light 2 and, as in these 2 books, Piet’s aptitude as a teacher comes right through the page. The proper use of the dodging & burning techniques will add life and depth to your images and Piet takes the reader through  the different techniques he employs to make his images more balanced and visually pleasing.

There’s a lot of information packed into this 90 spread ebook. not only does Piet take you through the techniques using Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom and Photoshop but also using plug-ins such as Nik Software. What’s new for Craft & Vision this time around is they’re offering not only an ebook but an entire package. There are 2 versions to choose from…

Lite Version – This “LITE” bundle features Piet’s custom EasyDodge Photoshop Panel (a set of custom dodge and burn tools for Photoshop) and a matching user guide, all in a convenient .zip file.  The Lite bundle is $5. To purchase the Lite Version click here.

Full Version – The FULL package includes Piet’s custom EasyDodge Photoshop Panel (normally a USD $10 purchase on it’s own) and a matching user guide. On top of that, C&V has included 10 exercise files to go along with the tutorials in the eBook so you can practice on your own or go through the included history steps to see the post-processing unfold right in front of your eyes.  The full bundle is $10, or $8 for the next six days using the discount code DODGE8. Click here to purchase.

Software: The EasyDodge Panel only works with English versions of CS5/CS6, but even if you’re on a different version, the eBook explains the steps to take so you could make your own action set in your own language-specific version).


eyePhone – Making Stronger Photographs with your Camera Phone – ebook Review

Craft & Vision released its latest ebook today and you can imagine my surprise and excitement when I learned that the topic was camera phone photography.  If you’ve visited or followed this blog then you know that I have a weekly post called ‘iPhone Friday’ and that I love to shoot, edit and share my iPhone images.  “eyePhone – Making Stronger Photographs with your Camera Phone” by Al Smith is a good starting point if your new to camera phone photography or even if you’re looking to pick up some new tips.

While I use my iPhone on a regular basis to take pictures I still consider myself new to this genre of photography. I’ve experimented with different apps and techniques and I’m a “believer”…iPhone (or any camera phone) photography is here to stay.

Al Smith’s “eyePhone” is not a technical how-to ebook (although he does provide some tips that I didn’t even know about) rather it’s an introduction to the world of camera phone photography discussing some of its limitations (are they really?) and the freedom it provides.

Smith discusses how the simplicity of this camera acts as a catalyst for creativity and how to create imagines that speak to the viewer in profound ways by eliciting feelings and emotions that create a connection to the image.

Whether you shoot and process hundreds of images each month or you just take the casual snapshot, you’ll discover exciting ideas and concepts that are sure to turn your camera phone image gallery into a portfolio you’re proud of.

Special Offer on PDFs

For the next six days only, use the promotional code EYEPHONE4 when you check out so you can have the PDF version of eyePhone for only $4 OR use the code EYEPHONE20 to get 20% off when you buy 5+ PDF eBooks from the Craft & Vision collection. Click here to purchase. These codes expire at 11:59pm PST May 27, 2012.

Special PDF Offer “The duChemin Bundle”

Renowned photographer, author and Craft & Vision founder David duChemin has packaged up his 7 most popular ebooks into one amazing bundle! If you’re new to Craft & Vision or you simply want to fill up your digital library with the best photography eBooks on the web, you’ll want to check out this exceptional collection. The regular retail price of these 7 eBooks is $35, we would normally sell a bundle at 20% off but if you purchase this bundle using the special discount codeDAVID19 before 11:59pm PST May 27, 2012 then you will only pay $19!

To see the list of titles included click here.


Shoot & Share – Getting Your Photographs Out Into The World – A New Craft & Vision eBook

A good number of visitors to my blog are artists, photographers or individuals who simply have a love of photography. Chances are that whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional your taking pictures because you have a vision and a love for the craft. You may have a website that you post your pictures too or a photo sharing site such as Flickr or 500px. The question that I’ll throw out to you is do you have a photo sharing plan? Is there an audience that you’re trying to target? How do you edit your pictures to decide which ones belong in your portfolio?   

Today Craft & Vision released its latest ebook, Shoot & Share – Getting your photographs out into the World by Stuart Sipahigil.

In his new book, Sipahigil helps you get started in your thinking about why you should share your photographs and who you should share them with. Wether it be on your own site; through social media; photo sharing sites; galleries or prints, the author helps you sort through all the confusion and provides useful tips that will help you grow as a photographer and potentially your business. Sharing photographs with family & friends is very different from sharing with clients or with other photographers for that matter.

Stuart will help you define your goals, understand your opportunities, and determine the best approach to navigating the seemingly endless choices of where and how to display your work. SHOOT + SHARE has idea-packed action steps that provide the context and content you’ve been looking for, helping you to understand why you want to share your photographs, who needs to see them, which photographs they need to see, and where to find your audience.

The author says it best….“Your photo sharing plan is an integral part of your identity as a photographer. As much as it’s important to understand what you’re trying to say with your photographs, it’s just as important to understand who you’re trying to say it to – and where they can be found.”

Click Here to purchase. For the next five days only, use the promotional code SHARE4 when you check out so you can have the PDF version of SHOOT + SHARE for only $4 OR use the code SHARE20 to get 20% off when you buy 5+ PDF eBooks from the Craft & Vision collection. These codes expire at 11:59pm PST April 28, 2012.


Forget Mugshots – 10 Steps To Better Portraits

Ahhhh….portraits…they scare me….a little. I’m not a portrait photographer but I do like taking “portraits” of people when I’m travelling. You learn a lot about a place and a culture from people. Being able to capture the essence of an individual and bring out their true character in an image really embodies the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

Today Craft & vision releases its latest ebook, Forget Mugshots – 10 Steps To Better Portraits by David duChemin. I think I’ve mentioned in previous reviews of David’s books that what I enjoy most about the way he writes that I feel that he’s speaking directly to me…a direct interaction between teacher and student. In this case the teacher is a photographer whose living and calling for the last 6 years has been creating compelling portraits and people photographs for clients all over the globe.

In Forget Mugshots, David doesn’t discuss camera equipment or flashes he discusses the behavioural, emotional & aesthetic aspect of capturing truly remarkable portraits.  David duChemin walks the reader through the 10 Steps To Better Portraits and discusses each of these in detail from the point of view of someone whose taken great steps to convey a story through the eyes of their subject. The 10 Steps he covers are:

  • Relate
  • Wait For The Moment
  • Use the “Right” Lens (yes its gear but not in the way you think rather the unconventional may become conventional)
  • Use More Than One Frame
  • Understand The Smile
  • Watch The Eyes
  • Play With The Light
  • Control Your Background
  • Get Level
  • Pose Carefully

David discusses the value of waiting for that great moment (and how to make sure you don’t miss it), how a true smile differs from a fake one, and other solid insights that are guaranteed to give you tangible ideas to make the most of your next portrait shoot. Combining these steps with Portrait Profiles and Creative ExercisesForget Mugshots will help you photograph real people in the real world, leveraging the techniques and best practices that have made David’s portraits known around the world.

Special Offer on PDFs
For the next five days only, use the promotional code MUGSHOTS4 when you checkout so you can have the PDF version of Forget Mugshots for only $4 OR use the code MUGSHOTS20 to get 20% off when you buy 5+ PDF eBooks from the Craft & Vision collection. You can Click Here to purchase and download the book. These codes expire at 11:59pm PST March 17, 2012


11 Ways to Improve Your Photography – eBook…and its Free!

Yes you heard me right…it’s a free download. Consider it a gift from Craft & Vision.

Their newest ebook 11 Ways to Improve Your Photography is a compilation of 11 chapters/articles from Craft & Vision authors which includes:

  • David duChemin – Make Stronger Portraits
  • Martin Bailey – The Power of the Print
  • Michael Frye – Learn to Direct the Eye
  • Andrew S. Gibson – Create Projects and Collaborate
  • Stuart Sipahigil – Slow Down and Learn to See
  • Nicole S. Young – Refine Your Composition ….. and more

This compilation is jam packed with practical and insightful information that will help take your photography to the next level. Actually I can’t believe that it was free…thank you Craft & Vision for a terrific ebook.  You can download 11 Ways to Improve Your Photography here.


New eBook – Your Creative Mix by Corwin Hiebert

Craft & Vision just released their latest ebook: Your Creative Mix – Growing Your Photography Business Through Creativity & Collaboration by Corwin Hiebert.

If your expecting a book about photographic technique then this is the wrong book for you. If on the other hand your a photographer who, like most of us have “writers block” every so often and need to reignite your creativity then this is a book worth reading.

Corwin Hiebert is not a photographer, he is a business manager who manages the careers of creative entrepreneurs. I was a little skeptical when I first started to read the book. A book about creativity and collaboration for photographers should be written by a photographer….don’t you think. But Your Creative Mix takes an in-depth look at the value of growing your passion for art, honing your creative skills, and finding new ways to connect and share with likeminded people as a way to grow your photography business.

This eBook bridges the gap between creativity and commerce. It focuses on the unique business and marketing challenges faced by emerging and established vocational photographers. It provides new insights and ideas on how to generate demand for your photographs and for your creative services without employing cheap tricks or expensive advertising efforts. Through case studies, interviews, featured projects, and proven business practices you’ll learn how to attract fans, followers, and clients to your unique vision.

Special Offer on PDFs
For the first five days only, if you use the promotional code MIX4 when you checkout, you can have the PDF version of Your Creative Mix for only $4 OR use the code MIX20 to get 20% off when you buy 5 or more PDF ebooks from the Craft & Vision collection. These codes expire at 11:59pm PST July 23rd, 2011.  Click here to visit Craft & Vision


“A Deeper Frame” New eBook by David duChemin

When I started this blog a mere month or so ago it was because I have a love of photography and I wanted to personally challenge myself to get out, shoot, share and learn. What’s become abundantly clear to me is that there is a wonderful community of photographers (both casual & serious) out there who love this medium and are eager to share their photographs, stories, experiences and offer lots of encouragement to newbies like me. I visit many photoblogs and am blown away by the creativity and beauty of the work out there.

 I love to read and long before I started blogging I was reading books on photography, both technical and “art” books. As you and I both know these can get expensive. One day I came across a site called Craft & Vision whose whole raison d’etre is to provide “exceptional photography education at irresistible prices” through their ebooks. And that they do. At $5.00 an ebook you have to agree that’s irresistible. I’ve read many of their ebooks (not all….yet) and I’ve enjoyed everyone and can honestly say have learned from each book I’ve read.

The newest book in the Craft & Vision library is A Deeper Frame. Creating Deeper Photographs & More Engaging Images by David duChemin. While this ebook is relatively short, only 23 pages, it’s packed with inspiring imagery and a compelling narrative by David.

 David duChemin is a world & humanitarian photographer, best-selling author, and international workshop leader. If you haven’t checked out his blog yet please do so at http://www.pixelatedimage.com . David is a passionate photographer and writer and I have had the pleasure of reading many of his books. As a matter of fact I have his “Venice, A Monograph” ebook loaded onto my iPad and ready to go on my trip toItaly next month.

 Ok…back to the task at hand. In his latest endeavour David takes the reader on a journey of exploration on how to express their photographic vision. This book isn’t trying to teach you the technical how to of creating depth in your photographs although there is a little bit of that but rather its trying to help the reader understand emotional depth. Creating depth in a photograph whether it’s through perspective, composition or the type of lens you use, will elicit a certain emotional response from the viewer.

“A Deeper Frame outlines seven ways that we can create more engaging images through the re-creation of a sense of depth in the flattened image to create photographs that feel immersive and invite a reader of that photograph to not merely look at the photograph but into or through the photograph.”

 A Deeper Frame is available now as a downloadable PDF for just $5USD.

Special Offer on PDFs
For the first five days only, if you use the promotional code DEEP4 when you checkout, you can have the PDF version of A Deeper Frame for only $4 OR use the code DEEP20 to get 20% off when you buy 5 or more PDF ebooks from the Craft & Vision collection. These codes expire at 11:59pm PST July 2, 2011.

The DEEPEST Discount Ever!
For the next five days only you can have twelve ebooks for just $40 – that’s 34% off (A.K.A. 4 ebooks for free)! Load-up your shopping cart with 12+ ebooks and then use the promotional code DEEPER12 when you checkout. This code expires at 11:59pm PST July 2, 2011.

Enjoy!