Digital: Pro Tips for Taking Great Pictures with Your
Digital Camera, by Mikkel Aaland
to the web site
$35.00, Can $53.00, UK £25.99
Digital deals with digital photography as a medium
which has its own demands, constraints
and merits. At first glance, I thought that author
Mikkel Aaland would have a hard job covering all
the material in such a small book, but he does
do a very
good job. The book begins with an overview of the
differences between traditional and digital photography
with each subsequent chapter devoted to one aspect
or another. The information is effectively conveyed
with references and web links. Admittedly there were
things which I felt should have been left out of
the book or reordered, but as you read there is a
sensibility to the order of things as each chapter
flows quite nicely into the other.
There is no bias on the type of camera that should
be used and the book even highlights several instances
where a point-and-shoot digital camera is more effective
than a professional or prosumer model. This book
doesn't try to emulate other how-to books and avoids
the pitfall of becoming mired in too many technical
Chapter by chapter the book reveals some very useful
hints and tips from some very talented and experienced
digital photographers. The case study approach for
many of the photos is nice as it provides some very
valuable insights into the thinking processes involved
in creating each image. This book will provide you
with some very good information for structuring your
own set of tutorials and projects to test and enhance
your knowledge of photography and the tools required.
Simple factors like file type selection, shutter
release lag and preparing for your shoots are covered
in a variety of places in the book and for a variety
of scenarios. Coverage of techniques like bracketing,
lag compensation and lighting all add to the mix.
The last few chapters feel a little rushed. The coverage
of topics like infrared, underwater, night shooting and
compositional techniques could all have benefited from
more comprehensive coverage. The book finally touches on
data storage, file formats and image processing which again
could have been covered in more depth. Even so the book
has a lot of very useful advice on these subjects from
which the non-professional can genuinely benefit.
Cons: Some of
the chapters were in the wrong place. The chapters on
mini-movies, panoramas and VR should have been
placed in the back of the book as they cover techniques
which although interesting, most folks using digital cameras
will not use in day-to-day shooting. The examples used
in the chapter Shooting Great Portraits were a little weak.
There was also very little coverage of Black & White
photography and composition theory. The web site needs
an update as some of the links are no longer active. I
would also love to see an online gallery of some of the
images featured in the book.
Pros: Shooting digital is nicely structured and formatted,
the writing is clean and imparts information in a (mostly)
logical and easy manner. I particularly like the notes
which highlight key subjects and indicate good reference
sources. The photos used in the book are nicely balanced
between what you would expect a home user to create and
the kind of images that a professional might present. The
technical tips are very well detailed with illustrated
examples where required. The web site reinforces the book
with a chapter by chapter breakdown of relevant links.
This book is also very upbeat in its mood and vision -
the key thing to remember here is to read between the lines.
This book is highly recommended and provides good foundation
on which to build your experience with Digital Photography.
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