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November 20, 2003

"Digital Photography Pocket Guide, Second Edition": Who's Really in Charge--Your Digital Camera or You?

Sebastopol, CA--The nature of your relationship with your digital camera is determined early on in your association, and it all comes down to a question of which of the two of you is going to be in charge. According to Derrick Story, author of the newly released second edition of the Digital Photography Pocket Guide (O'Reilly, US $14.95), you'll soon reach a crossroads with two paths before you. Along the first path, you take what you've learned about your camera in the first few minutes and use that knowledge to take the best pictures you can. Here, the camera is merely an acquaintance: it'll suffice to take snapshots on vacation or at birthday parties. But it's clearly the camera that is in charge.

The other path, Story explains, is much different: "The first few steps are the steps that everyone takes with a new camera. 'How do I make the lens zoom?' 'Where's the battery compartment?' But after a short while, you find yourself in territories previously unknown. You begin to wonder, 'How can I take a close-up of that flower?' or 'Can I shoot a portrait at twilight?'"

The "Digital Photography Pocket Guide" is a friendly guide for those who want to take the second path. Now in full color, the new edition expands on the basic photography techniques introduced in the bestselling first edition to help photographers take the kind of pictures they've always wanted to. The book covers everything from image resolution, shooting sports action, close-ups and night shots, to memory cards, transferring images, archiving, making QuickTime movies, and much more.

"Digital cameras are great, no doubt about it," says Story, "but the more features they get, the more they seem to control the picture-taking process. I want the user to be in control. And based on the cameras I see today, this is a very important issue if digital cameras are going to reach their potential as tools for creative expression."

Story's friendly, matter-of-fact style of rendering perplexing technology accessible has led many a budding digital photographer to new heights of expertise. "I've been teaching and writing about photography for some time now," Story explains, "and one comment that I consistently hear is that most photo books 'talk down' to the reader, or they don't do a good job of explaining the techniques. I wanted to write a book that spoke to the reader clearly, intelligently, and with a hint of excitement about digital photography. Based on the mail I've received from the first edition, people like the tone of this book. One reviewer said that I was the 'Mr. Rogers of technology.' I don't wear comfy sweaters, but I do like clarity and brevity."

Like the first edition of the book, the new "Digital Photography Pocket Guide" is divided into three sections:

  • "What Is It?" is an alphabetical quick reference to all the parts of a digital camera
  • "What Does It Do?" provides lessons on techniques and how to use the camera
  • "How Do I?" explains 21 professional techniques in easy-to-understand language
  • This handy pocket guide will prove useful to anyone who uses a digital camera. Even advanced amateurs forget whether to overexpose or underexpose in certain lighting conditions, and novices will appreciate the clear explanations of the various camera functions.

    Praise for the first edition:

    "The pages are packed with information useful to new and intermediate users of digital cameras as well as to persons contemplating their first purchase...Several times I murmured 'Aha,' as the digital style of exposure compensation became clear, or 'That would be nice [as a feature in my next camera].' Most importantly, it eases the transition from film to digital photography. If you've ever stood with your camera, wishing you'd memorized your camera's CD-based manual, this book is for you. In summary, this slim volume is worth every penny!"
    --Mary Ginsburg, New York Personal Computer User Group

    "Derrick Story's 'Digital Photography Pocket Guide' may be small in both size and price, but it's long on useful information for the fledgling digital photographer. I carry my copy in my camera bag and refer to it often. It's the perfect gift for anyone just getting started with a digital camera, but it's got plenty of helpful info for even more experienced shutterbugs."
    --Bob Levitus, Houston Chronicle, Dec 20, 2002

    "If you're considering making the leap into digital photography, this book proves invaluable for most everything from selecting the right camera to making the most of its available features."
    --Fotophile.com, Dec 2002

    "The quality and depth of the information provided in this little pocket book is truly amazing, and all digital photographers, amateur or professional, can benefit by using it."
    --Joseph Kluepfel, Broward Personal Computer Association, Dec 2002

    Further reviews of the first edition

    Additional Resources:

    Digital Photography Pocket Guide, Second Edition
    Derrick Story
    ISBN 0-596-00627-6, 113 pages, $14.95 US, $23.95 CA, 9.95 UK
    order@oreilly.com
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

    About O'Reilly

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