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

Update on CDP 9

We’ve hit a snag with the ninth edition of Complete Digital Photography, and as a result have pulled the book from distribution while we work through the issues. This is not something we wanted to do, but it is clear that the print quality of the book isn’t at an acceptable level for some readers. We are looking at alternatives to the company that handled the printing and distribution, and once we have determined a path forward, we’ll make the book available again. (The ebook version is underway on a separate track, and we’re still targeting next month for the release of the ebook for Amazon and Apple’s stores.) Read more »

Comparing the Fujifilm GFX 50S to the Fujifilm GFX 50R

We’re not big on equipment reviews here at Complete Digital Photography, partly because there are plenty of other places to get that kind of information, but also because we would like to encourage people to focus more on the art and craft of photography, rather than worrying about gear. With camera marketers constantly hammering you with news of career-saving new features, it can be hard to resist the idea that a new piece of gear is somehow going to make you a better photographer.

Nevertheless, I am a photographer, which means I do depend on gear, and while no equipment upgrade will do as much for your photographic skill as will hours of dedicated practice, from time to time I do find myself facing some gear-related questions.

Over the last few weeks I’ve had the chance to use the Fujifilm GFX 50S and GFX 50R side-by-side. These are both medium format cameras that offer identical image quality and mostly identical feature sets, but very different physical styles. In the following video, I walk through my impressions of the strengths and weaknesses of each model. This is not a discussion of whether medium format is right for you – that’s a bigger question – but rather a look at what these two specific cameras offer.

In the process of preparing this video I was surprised by a number of my conclusions, and I learned that W.C. Fields was right: you should never work with children or animals. They’ll upstage you every time.

Check out the video here:

Hudson Henry’s Advanced Pano Course

Hudson Henry Advanced Pano CourseOur good friend—and ace adventure photographer—Hudson Henry has just released his long-awaited Advanced Panorama Course, and is offering it at half-price for a limited time.

Building upon Hudson’s best-selling Panoramas Made Simple ebook (published by CDP Press), this new course contains more than two hours of videos, focusing on all aspects of panorama creation, from choosing gear to field setup, capture, and postproduction.

The Advanced Panorama Course includes everything you need to know to capture both simple panos and complex multi-row and HDR panoramas. Hudson also shows you his process for assembling and editing panoramas in Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop and ON1 Photo RAW. (There are two versions of the course available: one for Lightroom and Photoshop, the other for Photo RAW.)

Included with the course are the raw files Hudson uses in the videos (for you to follow along), as well as a gear list, course notes and cheatsheets.

The Advanced Panorama course is currently on sale for $29.99 directly from Hudson, and will be priced at $59.99 after January 31.

You can find out all the details on Hudson’s website. If you would like to get a sample of the course, Hudson is also offering a free download of one of the videos: “Finding the No-Parallax Point (aka the Nodal Point)

Hudson Henry on the Exposure Triangle

I’ve been heads-down the past few weeks, working hard on the 9th edition of Complete Digital Photography. Last week, I was proofing the section of the book that covered reciprocity and the exposure triangle, and, in a little bit of synchronicity, my good friend Hudson Henry posted this cool video on that very topic. Hudson and his friend Andy Adkins — a true video wizard — did a fantastic job explaining the relationship between ISO, aperture and shutter speed. It’s worth a few minutes, especially if the topic is something that remains a bit confusing to you, or if you want a refresher.

For those of you who have been waiting patiently for the 9th edition, we really are in the final stages. You can find out more — and download a free sample chapter — via this link. I’ll post an update once we get our final proof copy from the printer, which should be later this week.

Complete Digital Photography 9th Edition sample chapter

Ben and I are in the midst of our final push to get the 9th edition of Complete Digital Photography out the door (the final cover is on the left). My office is littered with page proofs — each chapter gets read a minimum of eight times — and my ever-patient wife is wondering if we’ll ever get this darn book out, but we’re feeling confident overall.

[UPDATE (December 2018): The ninth edition of Ben’s Complete Digital Photography is now available. You can find out more on our CDP9 book page, or, you can order the book directly from Amazon.]

Read more »

Epson November Printer Rebates

Epson P600Speaking about photo printing, Epson is currently having a mail-in rebate sale on their SureColor P400, P600 and P800 photo printers. The rebates range from $200 to $350, depending upon the printer, for any of these models purchased between November 1 and November 30.

The rebates are good when you purchase a new printer, but Epson is adding $50 for folks upgrading from any 6-ink (or more) photo printer, from any vendor; to get the additional rebate, you just enter the printer serial number and model on the rebate form.

The specifics on the rebates are:

(The links above are to Amazon—which has the cheapest online prices (in the US)—but you can also find out more on the Epson website. The rebate forms are PDF files.)

Why you should care

I’ve used both a P600 and P800 for a few years now, and love both of them. They have bigger ink cartridges than older models, with a better paper feed and excellent print quality—and are pretty much always been ready to print. I will say that Canon is doing a pretty good job in the desktop photo printer market these days, but it’s hard to pass up these prices (and rebates) if you think it’s time to start printing—or upgrade.

(If you’re thinking, “Why print?”, check out my chat about printing with the great guys of the PhotoActive podcast.)

PhotoActive Podcast: Talking About Printing

Last week, I was a guest on the PhotoActive podcast, chatting about photo printing with the hosts Jeff Carlson and Kirk McElhearn. We talked about such things as “Why print at all?” (heresy!); why printing today—whether online or with your own printer—is better than it has ever been; and how learning about printing is no different than learning about your camera (practice, practice, practice!). It was a lot of fun, and if you are interested in the state of photo printing today, I humbly think it’s well worth taking time to listen in. It’s short—my segment is only about 30 minutes in length.

I’m not a huge podcast guy—especially ones about such a visual medium as photography—but I’ve really enjoyed PhotoActive since Jeff and Kirk started it up earlier this year. The episodes are brief, with minimal chit-chat, and they find interesting guests (who mostly don’t talk about gear, which I also love). If you want to get a taste, but don’t care about printing, I recommend the recent episode with photographer and author Michael Rubin, who spoke about how his family collected fine-art prints when he was growing up, and how it has informed his photographic life.

PhotoActive is subtitled, “A Podcast about Photography and the Apple Ecosystem,” but the Mac angle is fairly low-key. If you’re a Windows user, don’t avoid it; I’ve found most episodes are focused more on photography than the Mac, and I almost always learn something. It’s worth checking out.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or Spotify, or download it directly from photoactive.co.


[When it rains, it prints: Epson has great rebates this month on their SureColor photo printer line.]