Fall Moab workshop with Hudson Henry

canyonlands sunset

I’ll be helping my good friend and ace landscape/adventurer photographer Hudson Henry in late September for a five-day workshop in scenic Moab, Utah.

Moab is one of the most spectacular places on the planet, home to the magnificent Arches and Canyonlands national parks—and Utah’s own Dead Horse Point—and centered around a delightful small town with tons of charm and great food.

It’s hard to beat the sweeping vistas, magnificent rock formations and rivers in Moab, and this workshop will exercise your photographic passion in this beautiful place. As Hudson notes:

There’s no place like Moab, Utah. This location has something for every photographic style and taste. In this small (10 person) workshop we’ll split time between exploring this epic location and honing your photographic skills and creative vision through classroom training, shooting, editing and critiques.

Workshops are a fantastic way to immerse yourself in all types of landscape photography, and Hudson is one of the most amazing guides you’ll ever encounter. Hudson has a unique understanding of the landscape as subject and place, and Moab is one of his favorite locations (as it is mine), so come along with us to celebrate this special land.

I have helped Hudson on workshops to the Oregon Coast, Death Valley, and the Palouse, and I can guarantee that you will find yourself exhausted, energized and exhilarated at the end of one of his workshops. (I learn something new every time I tag along on one.) You won’t look through the viewfinder the same way ever again, nor will you want to.

The Moab workshop, which goes from September 27 to October 1, is the only one of Hudson’s remaining 2019 workshops with spaces available, so, if you’re thinking about diving in, sign up today!

Do You Really Need New Gear?

If you’ve been with us for a while, you’ll know that we stay away from the rough-and-tumble world of “Which camera should I buy?” While we’re happy to talk about the plusses and minuses of specific cameras with people, it’s not our focus on the website. We strongly believe that it’s not the camera that makes you a better photographer—it’s you.

In that vein, I recorded a short video with Hudson Henry last week, as part of his Approaching the Scene series on YouTube. We had a lively—and short—conversation on the topic, focusing on the things you can do to develop your photographic vision that don’t involve buying new gear. Along the way, we talk about understanding the gear that you have, knowing the principles of composition and exposure in the field, and looking at other photographers’ work as a way to inform your your own work.

Below are links to the CDP articles referred to in the video:

Taking Better Pictures Doesn’t Mean a New Camera
Overviews of Photographic History

If you’re interested in Hudson’s Moab workshop this fall, you can find more information on his Workshops page. I’ll be helping him in the field on that one.

And, if you have comments or questions on this topic (or anything else), we would love to hear from you. Drop us a line via our Contact Us page.

Complete Digital Photography ebook is now available

The ebook version of Complete Digital Photography is now available on both the Apple and Amazon bookstores for $34.99, which is $30 off the print price.

The following is from the “about this ebook” section:

The ebook version of Complete Digital Photography is identical to the contents of the printed version, including that version’s fonts, and was designed for optimal readability on most iOS and Android tablets that support either Apple’s or Amazon’s book files. While this ebook is readable on most modern Kindle e-ink readers, we don’t recommend this solution as a primary reading platform for the book, given that those readers lack color screens.

The images, graphics and charts found in the book are high-resolution, and double-tapping on any image will let you view it full-screen. Due to the large number of images and other graphics, some readers might find that turning on their app’s continuous-scrolling feature will be helpful in preserving the continuity of the text.

CDP ebook update

It’s been a long road, but I’m happy to report that the ebook version of Complete Digital Photography is almost here.  Today, I finished the final merge of the ebook: text and images are in their proper location, and the book passed its first validation test. It will take a week or two of device testing, CSS tweaking, and image checking to finish up.

One of the things that has made this process so labor-intensive is that an ebook doesn’t really have the same concept of a ‘page’ as found in a printed book; it’s closer in design to a web page. For a book largely made up of text, this isn’t too big a deal, but CDP’s volume of images meant that nearly every image had to be formatted for the ebook.

We feel good about what we’ve created. CDP9 uses the book’s fonts, and, like any other reflowable ebook, you can resize the text or change it to one of your preferred fonts. Tapping an image will open it full-screen, and it should look good at that size. And, the index in the back of the book is fully linked to the text, helpful for digging into into a subject that is referenced in different places throughout the book.

Blah, blah, blah–when will it be available?

We are hoping to upload the final version to Amazon and Apple for distribution in early May (we’ll be looking at alternative choices after launch). We’re still working on pricing, and won’t be able to announce that until we’ve worked through the specifics of different online stores. (I can tell you that it will be under $40.)

Below are some screen shots of current pages in the book, from an iPad and from Apple’s Books app; just click on one of them to see the gallery. We’ll have more information in a couple of weeks, after we’ve submitted the final book.

Fifty Years, by Keith Carter – Learning by Looking

The new book Fifty Years offers a wonderful opportunity to explore a sampling of the complete career of a single photographer. When that photographer is Keith Carter, such exploration is especially satisfying because for the last fifty years, Keith has produced work that is sometimes exemplary, and is always interesting. Even if you’re not taken by Carter’s style, diving deep into a single photographic career is a valuable exercise.

It can take a long time, and a lot of work, to develop your own style. During that process, you can find yourself worrying about all sorts of things from “am I repeating myself?” to “is this a cliché?” to “Is this a dead end/have I taken a wrong turn?” In addition to sapping your confidence, such thoughts are a distraction – they keep you from doing the thinking you should be doing when you’re working. What can be difficult to understand is that everyone has these thoughts, and no one follows a simple, consistent, linear path when pursuing any creative endeavor.

Read more »

Lightroom & Photoshop intro videos

The postproduction tutorials for the 9th edition of Complete Digital Photography use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, but if you don’t have a lot of experience with either app, or need a refresher, we’ve posted a page with introductory videos from Ben Long.

Links to all of our support material can be found on the Complete Digital Photography 9th edition support page. If you’re still using an earlier version of the book, we also have dedicated support pages for the 8th edition and the 7th edition.

 

Coming Soon—Advanced Flash: Modifiers and Strobes

Last week we wrapped the shooting of my latest LinkedIn Learning (Lynda.com) course, Advanced Flash: Modifiers and Strobes. This was a fun one because we crafted scenarios to light and shoot. Shown above is “writer having a good day” which contrasted heavily, lighting-wise, with “writer having a bad day.” We also brought in dancer Andrew Palermo to provide some fast-moving action to freeze with strobes and to do a little modeling. This course will walk you through more advanced uses for your handheld flashes, how to work with larger strobes, addresses the question of when you need to move to a larger strobe, (and how to buy one) details the use of several kinds of modifiers, and outlines a thought process for solving lighting problems. Keep an eye on this site for details of when it’s live, or you can check out my LinkedIn Learning author page.

Flickr’s top photos of 2018

Father and daughter
“Father and daughter,” by Dan Perez ©All rights reserved

Every December and January, there are plenty of “image of the year” round-ups, many of them quite good. This year I was particularly drawn to (and inspired by) two blog posts over on the newly resurgent Flickr. The first, And the winners of Your Best Shot 2018 Are…, contains five spectacular shots chosen from more than 8,000 submissions. What is special about these five is that they have a heart that is transcendent in this day of the ever-present photo stream. And, in the case of the shot above, there is a truth and a poignancy that hits you as you scan the scene, even before you read the attending caption.

...lonelyalleysofvenice...
“Lonely alleys of Venice,” by ines_maria. ©All rights reserved.

Read more »

Ben Talks Photography on PhotoActive Podcast

Ben was recently a guest on the PhotoActive photography podcast, hosted by Kirk McElhearn and Jeff Carlson. Ben spoke a little bit about the release of the new book; things to think about when learning composition; photographers he likes (and why that changes over time); and why instructing beginners to start with their camera’s Auto mode is one of the best teaching tools out there. At a mere 36 minutes, it’s a great listen.

Episode 34: Ben Long and Complete Digital Photography

(I was on the podcast in November, discussing the state of photo printing; as I noted at the time, Kirk and Jeff have created a well-focused, engaging show with a wide-ranging pool of guests. It’s worth subscribing to if you’ve got a interest in photography and want a podcast that spends less time on gear, and more on thoughtful topics of interest. They also keep the segments short, which is a big plus for me.)

Complete Digital Photography 9 back on Amazon

We’re happy to report that an updated version of Complete Digital Photography 9, with higher print quality, is now in stock on Amazon. Since our previous message, we’ve pored over proof copies from the two largest print-on-demand companies, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and IngramSpark. (We had been printing using IngramSpark’s basic color process for the original release, and tried out their higher-end print service for this test.) 

Ben and I ultimately chose to go with KDP to print and distribute the book on Amazon. The quality of the photos was clearly better than either of IngramSpark’s two color printing processes, and KDP’s binding seemed to be better than the occasional (and slipshod) binding issues we were seeing with IngramSpark.

Because we had to move to a higher print level, we had to price the new version at $64.99. With the higher printing cost, and with KDP taking a bigger cut of the proceeds, it was impossible to keep the book at the old price.

Amazon still has a few copies of the original version in stock, but the new version has a different ISBN identifier (978-1-7326369-2-7), and there is a note about the update in the description. You can find the new book’s page here. (Once the inventory of the old version has been depleted, any confusion between the two versions should fall away.)

Ebook status

We are also working on the ebook version of Complete Digital Photography. The text is in very good shape, but the images need some HTML/CSS love to get them to be displayed optimally on both Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iBooks platforms. It’s a bit tedious, but we’re on it, and we’ll let you know when we have firmer dates.

If you have any questions, the best way to start the conversation is to send us an email.

Thanks!

Rick