For today’s post we return to Ca’ d’Zan Mansion, Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida. During our visit the staff were beginning to put up the Christmas Decorations. Here we see one of the large ornate external doors of the mansion adorned with a beautiful wreath and matching garland. The red ribbons perfectly contrast with the weathered door and its protective grill.
In the lead-up to Christmas I thought I would give you some recommendations for Christmas gifts or to just to treat yourself:
Lightroom 4 Unmasked by Piet Van den Eynde. Craft & Vision have come up with another great winner. This is the most comprehensive and up-to-date guide to the latest version of Lightroom available and at only $20.00 this is the bargain of the season. This is quite different from the usual e-books published by Craft & Vision. It’s still an eBook, but it’s BIG. I mean, really big. Lightroom 4 UnMasked is the complete guide to Adobe Lightroom 4. It’s over 300 pages long and it’s packed with everything you need to know to get under the hood of Lightroom 4. This e-book is aimed at both beginners as well as advanced Lightroom users. 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.
Talking of Craft & Vision, David duChemin’s latest book, The Print and the Process: Taking Compelling Photographs from Vision to Expression has just been published. This is the typical David duChemin book full of ideas, thoughts, and techniques about our photographs and the process that leads to the final image. (To be clear, it is not an instructional book about how to print your images.) In this beautiful book, David duChemin takes the reader behind the scenes on four distinct photographic projects, discussing motivation, image creation, and post-production. The projects he walks the reader through are from Iceland, Kenya, Antarctica, and Venice. For each he discusses the hows and whys of his own image-making process. Each project begins with a beautiful series of 20-30 final images from that project – this is “the print” section, and it’s geared for the reader to really take in those images holistically. Then, duChemin discusses “the process” behind creating those images.
From Oz to Kansas: Almost Every Black and White Conversion Technique Known to Man is the latest book from Vincent Versace. Depending on the image and your goals for it, there are many paths you can take in order to arrive at your final destination. Working through Versace’s techniques will give you the essential knowledge you need, as well as the ability to select the appropriate conversion technique for any image, allowing you to create a black and white image that best and most accurately reflects what you felt at the moment that you pressed the shutter.
The Hidden Power of Blend Modes in Adobe Photoshop by Scott Valentine. Blend Modes can be used to for a wide range of imaging effects and challenges, such as noise reduction, working with HDR images, compositing, and many other uses. Although blend modes can be easy to use, they aren’t always easy to understand. Scott Valentine translates the technical elements into every day language and demonstrates techniques using real-world examples. Beginning and intermediate users of Photoshop will learn how blend modes work and get up to speed on the most common techniques. The book also features power tips and blend mode techniques from some well known experts, including Katrin Eismann, Matt Kloskowski, and RC Concepcion. More than just a collection of effects and recipes, The Hidden Power of Blend Modes explains why the techniques work and how to tune them for your own specific needs.
My final recommendation is a little different but maybe the best selection of them all. I got this recommendation from Scott Bourne on his Photofocus blog – Shooter: Combat from Behind the Camera by Stacy Pearsall. A soldier’s job is to engage the enemy; Stacy Pearsall’s job as a combat photographer is to document the action. This book of some of the most compelling images I have seen in quite some time is Pearsall’s account of her life behind enemy lines as told through photographs and essays that reveal the realities of war. Pearsall was situated just north of Baghdad in the Diyala Province, a place known as Deadly Diyala, where the Battle for Baqubah ensued. She encountered close-quarter combat, recovered the body of a mortally wounded soldier, and captured soldiers’ final moments with her camera, enduring all the hardships of war with the soldiers.
I am taking some well deserved R&R for the upcoming holiday season – R&R in my case means reading and research. The blog will return in the New Year with new images and techniques. Until then I wish all my readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!