A brief note
Interesting that Wednesday’s post was about backup strategies and then the website went down yesterday, not exactly a good time to make sure that you have a backup of the website and all of its contents, right? Turns out it was a problem with the server over at Bluehost and Cory was able to get them to work on bringing back the server as soon as possible. Sorry the site was down for a few hours yesterday afternoon / early evening. Now back to today’s regularly scheduled post…….
I mentioned in my post about New Year’s Resolutions post that I wanted to do more photography reading this year. I found there are a ton of good photography books at my local library (who knew?) and I was going to try and do a book review each month. First up in the queue though is a book series I actually own, Scott Kelby’s The Digital Photography Book series which is now available in a box set so you can get all five books in one. For those unfamiliar with Scott’s work, I’ll over a short introduction. Scott Kelby is an incredibly good photographer, but what I like about him most is his ability to poke fun at himself. He shoots college and pro football games for a wire service and he does great work. But Scott isn’t afraid to post the clunkers that he gets on the sidelines too (or the time Aaron Rodgers broke his monopod). He has tons of books available on Amazon, goes out on tour teaching classes across the country (and internationally) and runs KelbyOne an online platform that offers TONS of video classes on improving your photography technique, Photoshop skills, and more. If you haven’t tried it out, there is a free month trial subscription available. You really should give it a shot.
The Digital Photography Book
The Digital Photography Book is a series at this point with 5 books in the series (with a 6th book essentially being a “best of” the first four). If you hurry – KelbyOne has a contest to give away a free copy to people who retweet a message. I don’t own the 5th book yet as I already own the first four, so I’ll stick my review to those editions.
The best part of this book series, and the reason I keep coming back to them is the layout of the book. After a brief introduction of the topic with some basic tips, Scott then gives a quick primer for creating a shot that looks like the one he posts. These aren’t master classes on the subject matter and they aren’t meant to be. There are entire books dedicated to each one of the topics he covers. These primers act as your first step to getting your photography better. They also serve as a great reference works as they literally cover just about everything. I find that before an event (like my stepson’s football game or a vacation trip), I’ll pull the books out and do a quick re-read of the sections that apply. I’m not a wedding photographer, nor would I ever want to be. But I will read through the wedding photography section before going to a family wedding. Think of this book series as the perfect book to just keep in your camera or travel bag. Anytime I know I’m going to be on an airplane for a long time, I’ll wind up flipping through one of these books.
Photo Recipes for the Disney Photographer
Now even though Scott has been known to shoot in the parks for fun when he’s on vacation, there isn’t a section in any of these books that end up being a photo recipe for shooting at Walt Disney World or Disneyland. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t information in there that can be used! I know Cory did a great job of posting Dark Ride tips here, but Scott does offer tips that would apply to shooting Dark Rides as well. Just read through is sections on low-light photography (like shooting in a dark church for a wedding, etc). You might not think the sections on better Portrait photography apply, but what are we doing when we shoot character meet & greets? Those are portraits aren’t they. One of the best little sections is in Volume 1 where Scott talks about shooting something that has been shot to death. The one tip he gave was looking for unusual weather, which is echoed Cory’s sentiments here in his Dark Skies at EPCOT post from last month.
I think you can tell by this point that I really like the first 4 volumes of this book and I should probably pick up the 5th with how much I use the first 4. They are my go to books when I want to do some reading about photography. Like previously mentioned I don’t have the 6th book in the series. The description lists that one as a “Best of the Best” type book with a new section on making the transition from iPhone shooter to DSLR (why isn’t there a section on switching to the iPad as your primary camera, eh @WDWiPadography ??!?!?!?!). So I don’t think the 6th volume will be on my wish list for now.
The next book in the series will be Harold Davis’ Monochromatic HDR Photography book. Are there any books on your shelf that you think I should be reading this year? Leave a note in the comments (click Read more to bring up the form) and I’ll add it to my reading list.
On a side note, Walt Disney World just announced that Lights Motor Action was being removed and there are rumors that the Earful tower is going to be moved / removed from Hollywood Studios. It makes my post from last Friday even more of a must read. There are more things disappearing from the parks and I’m definitely going to have to try and get some photos of these before they are gone.