Top positive review
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Personal insights from an expert
on 17 July 2016
The name of the book and its style (initially at least) obviously hope to echo Ansel Adams book ' The Negative'
As others mention, yes, the author name drops a lot and it might well be irritating to the Brit mind as it's definitely considered a faux pas over here but then, having been to Cali I get it, thats just what they do over there. As a Brit I also found it irritating to start but then thought, cut the guy some slack, he does know these people and so why shouldn't he talk about them? It's just not very British that's all but after all he's no Brit! (a Brit would be embarrassed to 'show off' his studio like that - so blatant..but hey..... he's not a Brit! ( ;) )
The name of the book and its style obviously hopes to echo Ansel Adams seminal book ' The Negative'
Initially I enjoyed the writing style, it felt less hurried than the first edition, and the personal anecdotes made the tech details easier to navigate but as the book progresses it becomes increasingly technical and less anecdotal, which in itself is not a problem (we did buy the book after all for technique) but some statements are made that are not explained, e.g. on p56 he states he uses a gamma of 1.8 but doesn't say why, and some paragraphs are rambling e.g. pages 153 to 178 just have too much of 'I did this, then I did that, I added a bit of this and a bit of that, then some of this, than some of that, then this , then that' etc. That style of writing unfortunately blurs into a repetitive haze which makes it hard to refer to or to remember details.
This could be mitigated somewhat if there were an appendix at the very end, or maybe at end of each chapter ( like Scott Kelby's style) with bullet points on what to do where and when, i.e. once you had read the meat of it, give easy reference to salient points, more than a simple index. Otherwise, you're just left with an index that refers you back to pages of almost stream of consciousness writing style. Yes there are little info boxes etc but it needs much more than that to make workable sense from what is otherwise useful and interesting information, and to avoid having to trawl again though 'lists' style of writing.
The first edition seemed as though they hadn't employed an copy-editor at all; thankfully a copy-editor has been used this time and in that respect it is a huge improvement over the first edition ( although not perfect: e.g. on p.134 "if you grab the ping" should read 'if you grab the pin'. E.g. on p107 fig. 3.38 doesn't show settings described on p106 and on p90 where the radius preview supposed to be set to 3, it isn't ).
Some of the last chapters are a straight copy/paste from his other book with Bruce Fraser, on sharpening, which is fine I suppose if you haven't bought that one as well, but it felt like cop out. This section could have done with a bit of effort to add at least some interest for those that bought that book, something at least to forgive the simple duplication of the other book.
Perhaps those chapters are perfect (really?) but after all, the expectation is that being is at the very top of the knowledge tree on this topic, (along with his buddies also at the top that he often mentions) there would be some new insight or new tidbit, rather than '...and here's what I wrote before...' If nothing else quoting yourself, literally chapter and verse, is a disappointment.
I would consider myself an intermediate user (of Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop etc) and though there were bits of interesting advice and info, I felt no sense of revelation or intrigue, perhaps that shouldn't be expected (he does state that Martin Evening's book is the go to for in depth technique) but I hoped for more than the use of a copy-editor and and blog style text from this second edition.
As much as I have actually grown to like the way the author takes you into his world with an open heart, just being himself, this book seems to be more like a transcript of some of his videos [e.g. on Luminous-Landscape] than a well designed instruction and reference workbook, though to be fair he doesn't claim to do the same job as others [like Martin Evening etc]
I just wish that a book like this would be something you can refer back to easily to find what he said on any aspect, but trying to fully assimilate the information from what seems more like a personal blog, is difficult, it's hard to use for easy reference, which is a shame as with a little more work it could have been a much more efficient learning tool. As it is, I did enjoy reading it from cover to cover, though more as just a nerdy read. Other than that I doubt I will dip back into it much, it's just not organised well enough to use as a workable reference.
Ansel Adam's book 'The Negative', (which I feel this hopes to emulate) was not an easy book for me to understand when I first read it, but when I finally did understand it I felt I had learned something new and exciting and easy to refer back to. Will beginner's get that, from this book? Perhaps, if they find the style decipherable.
However, it is actually quite good fun to read, it is a good book, just not great, not groundbreaking , unlike Ansel Adams 'The Negative'.