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The Complete Guide to Black & White Digital Photography Paperback – Nov 3 2009
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The images are beautiful and to the point. The examples show that seeing in color is so different from seeing in B&W. Michael makes us aware of thinking beforehand in B&W, shown also in work made by the masters (Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and more). The Zone system is not left untouched in this book. If you think: B&W? Easy: desaturate, done. Then think again, from what you see here, you know this conversion can be done so much better. The displaying, mounting, presenting of the work are also covered. This really is a complete guide!
When you pick this up you have a very attractive book in your hands. Written for easy reference, no lengthy chapters, but concise and direct 2, 3 pages on each subject. And believe me, you want to pick up this book, time and time again, to become a master yourself, at least in the processing and finishing department.
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The Complete Guide to Black and White Digital Photography is just as good as the others. The layout and quality of prints is pleasing. More importantly the author not only displays a deep knowledge of the topic but supplements each one with detailed pictures. Mr Freeman writes well and I find his explanations well reasoned and easy to understand.
Post processing is a big part of digital Black and White photography. Photoshop/Camera Raw curves and color sliders are used to explain many of the processing steps, but these are common in most photo processing software. I like the way the author discusses a topic, shows an original color photo, its default transformation to black and white, followed by several steps showing effects of changing one or two hues.
Digital processing is just one of the four sections in the book:
1. The Black and White Tradition
2. Digital Monochrome
3. Creative Choices
4. Printing and Display
The two hundred plus large size pages are quite absorbing.
The bad is the production of the book. There are obvious and easy to catch misspellings. Sentences that make no sense. Sentences that aren't. On one page two of the example graphics are incorrectly labelled (the labels were switched and the examples and descriptions were opposites). All this carried on throughout (I had hoped the situation would improve as the book went on - it didn't). On the first page of each section there are several lines of boldface type. I thought it would be a very brief overview or a short pertinent quote from the text. No, although it is located halfway down the page, it is the beginning of the text. You must read it first.
I'm glad Mr. Freeman's newer book(s) are from Focal Press, they seem to have a much better grasp on putting together a quality product.
This "Complete Guide" covers all the facets of digital B&W photography, and on opening the book one is immediately impressed by the design. Echoing others' complaints, where it falls down is in proof-reading! I will think twice before buying another Lark Press book for this reason alone. Yes, the images are helpful and, even with the typos, the text is informative. But the typos and either flipped illustrations or erroneous captions become intrusive in a hurry. Given the production costs and the costs of licensing Ansel Adams' and others' photos, a few hundred extra bucks for a proof reader doesn't seem out of line. Still, if you're interested in exploring black-and-white digital photography and you have a DSLR and Photoshop CS4 or later, you'll find a great deal of helpful information and inspiration in this book.
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