This book is excellent, and it's huge: 600 pages. It's profesionally edited with beautiful illustrations and photos. It's organized well. It covers everything from how an image sensor works(in detail) to how to employ the most-used functions in an image editor. Photoshop is the software he takes examples from in the book.
Other subjects he covers that aren't often found in other photography books: how to use a white balance card; calibrating your monitor so the image you see on the screen is accurate; a couple of tidbits on Canon SLRs that aren't in the Canon manual(i.e. in spot, partial, or center-weight metering mode, if you press the shutter button halfway down, hold it, and reframe, the camera will automatically re-meter your scene and choose new exposure settings; but in evaluative metering mode, the exposure locks once the shutter button is pressed halfway down, even if you reframe); proper settings to output your images, whether it's to attach to an email or print at home.
Because this book covers almost everything you can imagine, the author couldn't go into great detail about every subject. If you want to learn how to improve your flash photography, you'll need a dedicated book on flash photography. The author touches upon reflectors, but doesn't cover everything you can do with them. The chapter on lighting covers 18 pages; the book is 600 pages thick. If you want to know what camera settings you'll need to shoot a low key image, you won't find that here.
The second half of the book covers software -- editing your images, printing, importing, workflow, etc. Even though the author covers quite a bit on photo editing in Photoshop, you'll want a dedicated book or DVD on how to use Photoshop. He doesn't always give you all the steps you need to perform a particular function, but then again, this isn't a how-to book on Photoshop.
This book is fun to read. It's easy to read. Everything makes sense and the author is encouraging throughout. I think it'll inspire you to want to improve your photography. I know it inspired me.
I own this book, a book dedicated to flash photography(Syl Arena's Speedliter's Handbook), and a Photoshop instructional book. Photography can be a complex hobby, so i'm sure i'll keep reading and studying as the months go by. But this book by Ben Long will keep any beginner/intermediate photographer busy for awhile as you start to employ all he has taught you.