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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Resources To Help You Take Better Photos


Our landscape guru’s list of top photo tip books, videos and more

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This Article Features Photo Zoom

on landscape
Winter Forest, Yosemite National Park, California
What I enjoy most about being a nature photographer is being in nature. Outside. Fresh air. Beautiful light. Peace and quiet. No matter how obvious that sounds, it’s a good reminder, especially since I spend most of my time in my studio in front of this computer monitor. It’s hard work and hardly glamorous. My work day includes dealing with the daily chores of running a business, critiquing student work in my BetterPhoto classes, processing and mastering new images, making prints, filling orders, answering e-mails, updating my blog, writing this column, developing new projects like designing new e-books or sending out promotional materials. Thankfully, I love making images and the challenge of running my business. Plus, I have the good fortune of living in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where many inspiring subjects are near at hand. I count my blessings daily!

There’s another task I have to deal with in this digital age—keeping up on the latest imaging techniques and software. This isn’t my favorite chore, but as a teacher and a writer, I need to stay informed. As a photographer, I’m always striving to improve on my ability to resolve my vision through better technique. However, I often feel like I’m falling behind on all the rapidly changing digital tools. Fortunately, there are many great resources for staying current, such as podcasts, blogs, DVDs, e-books and tutorials for download or in PDF form on CD.

In a past column (July 2007), I wrote about podcasts that I’ve found educational. For this column, I’d like to list several instructional resources that have been valuable to me.

Michael Reichmann, who runs The Luminous Landscape website, offers a useful selection of tutorials, including a thorough study of Lightroom 2 and a “From Camera To Print—Fine-Art Printing” tutorial. The QuickTime movies are purchased and downloaded online, which I find very convenient. There are also many free learning resources here, especially the Understanding Series.

John Paul Caponigro has produced a series of DVDs that give excellent tips that can expand your ability (and mine!) to refine your images creatively in postprocessing. I greatly appreciate that he focuses on artistic vision, that is, focusing on the use of technique as it applies to the creative process.

Lewis Kemper has created excellent DVDs on using Photoshop called The Photographer’s Toolbox for Photoshop. Lewis has a down-to-earth, practical and easy-to-understand teaching style, which makes his lessons valuable for photographers at all levels.

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