George DeWolfe is an internationally recognized photographer. He is well known for his workshop on the master print, and I believe this book is based in part on this course. (I have not taken the course.)
It's important to realize that this book was written by a photographer with decades of experience in darkroom work. Thus visual evaluation of prints is paramount to obtaining his desired result. So DeWolfe recommends leaving auto settings off, and your eyes and brain to 'see' the print. The workflow he presents uses an approach I have not seen elsewhere, and my initial trials are very pleasing. He suggests that in Adobe Camera Raw, saturation be reduced to -100 to view a B&W version of the image, and adjusting to achieve the best image based on luminance values. Saturation is restored afterward. This makes perfect sense photographically, and it works! With too many Photoshop books being written by Photoshop gurus with little talent in photography, this is a breath of fresh air!
What disappoints here is that there are so few examples in the book on evaluating images. This is clearly DeWolfe's strong point and more would have been better. Indeed, he shows a number of "images from hell" he uses in his workshops to show case what can be done with his technique, but these are not included with the book, or available on his web site. He also describes a process he calls outlining, but unfortunately there are no explicit details.
In general, I would say that the author has assembled a collection of Photoshop techniques he has learned to use very well, and, of course will work for the reader. Many go back several versions in Photoshop, but are no longer current or best practice. For example, he describes a workflow which creates a set of layers for global, local and defect correction, based on a layer copy of the original image. This should lead to non-destructive adjustments, and in fact he recommends saving this layered version in case future adjustments are necessary. However, in one example, he applies separate balancing corrections to the left and right sides of image copy layer directly then saves the file. Neither of these changes can be re-adjusted individually, other than by adding more corrections on top, or deleting the layer copy and start over. It is quite possible to make identical adjustments using the gradient / mode technique on real layers that can be individually changed later.
This book promotes the use of a few specific tools, especially Optipix 3.1, to achieve certain outcomes that would usually require tedious and repetitious effort to achieve. I have no problems with this since several additional tools, as well as comparable Photoshop features are also discussed. An Optipix Demo is available for download and evaluation. Such time saver tools are wonderful if they meet your expectations.
His discussion of interpolation to larger image sizes is based on comparisons of third part tools with the Photoshop "bicubic" interpolation method. But Photoshop CS2 has a new and much better tool for this called "bicubic smoother" that improves greatly on bicubic. Thus you might be mislead into using a tool that is less capable than Photoshop. Again, trial versions will be useful before purchase.
The author devotes some attention to correcting color casts and white balance in Photoshop, an important and frequently needed adjustment. He totally omits any discussion of the use of gray cards in the establishment of more exact settings. While final white balance and color are always the prerogative of the artist, this seems really strange for an Ansel Adams 'trainee'.
Overall, I find the book decidedly under-edited. There are several areas where the reader can become confused. Pages 142 and 143 describe adjustment of overall contrast and brightness for grayscale images. However the resulting image has a distinct color cast vs the original gray. Looks very much like a selenium toned B&W print! Perhaps this is the intent, but it is not described as such. Pages 144 to 147 show a similar adjustment for color (RGB) images, yet the image appearing in the channel clipping displays is not the image being adjusted. Go figure.
On page 59, the use of a Wrattan 90 to previsualize contrast is described. This technique is well known. (Ansel Adams has given similar tools to his workshop students.) But the original photograph shown, as we discover later on page 178, is not the original image, but one greatly modified though the suggested workflow. So what is the Wrattan 90 really doing?
So, two stars for the fine and unique content provided by DeWolfe on visualization and use of desaturation in the image work flow. Follow his Photoshop technique initially, but read elsewhere for finer control in Photoshop. Let's hope the second edition has more DeWolfe!