May 26, 2004
"Digital Photography Hacks": Transform Your Camera into a Magic Photo Machine
Sebastopol, CA--The excitement that most of us felt at owning our first
camera was often tempered by the pressure to take "good" photographs.
Unless money was no object or you were extraordinarily gifted, the cost
and inconvenience of developing film precluded taking photos just for
the heck of it. Digital cameras have changed that, offering new outlets
for creativity: the ability to experiment without worrying about expense,
the instant gratification of seeing your photos immediately, the
technology to fine-tune your work with advanced professional techniques,
and the means to share your photos instantly with anyone, anyplace in the
world. With a digital camera in hand, you can easily capture the moment
when baby pulls herself to standing for the first time (and subsequently
discovers gravity), or memorialize that rare exhibition of fire dancing
with puppets you witnessed while on vacation. And if the photo doesn't
work? Tweak it, or delete it and move on.
"Digital photography brings out the most wonderful things in people,"
observes Derrick Story, author of Digital Photography Hacks (O'Reilly,
US $29.95). "An otherwise conservative businessman will shoot with
carefree abandon when a digital camera is placed in his hands.
Self-conscious teenagers transform into rock stars in front of a zoom
lens, and senior citizens become instant and adept historians.
"Digital photography encourages you to take risks," Story adds. "If it
doesn't work out, erase it before anyone knows. The path to photographic
success is littered with discarded pictures that no one ever saw."
Featuring exquisite, full-color photos throughout, Digital Photography
Hacks shows you the risks that real-world photographers take, sharing
their techniques, shenanigans, and secrets for "getting the shot." The
term "hack" refers to a quick-and-dirty solution to a problem, or a clever
way to get something done. As Story explains, photographers have been
"hacking" for years. He points out that the contact print for Ansel Adam's
"Moonrise, Hernandez" looks much different from the finished enlargements
we see in museums today. Adams admitted it was a difficult negative to
print; he masked certain areas and intensified others. Or, as Story
phrases it, "He hacked the heck out of it."
The techniques described in Digital Photography Hacks go beyond the
standard fare of most digital photography books--such as camera basics,
understanding memory cards, and when to use a flash--to the things that
professional photographers have learned through years of experimentation,
fiddling, and hacking. "They're inside tips that pros have been using for
years to make their pictures look better than yours," says Story. Neither
elaborate nor especially exotic, the hacks in the book are fun, useful,
no-nonsense ways to help photographers of all levels take the types of
photos they aspire to. "For example, how many digital photography books
have you read that include a full chapter on camera phone hacks?" Story
asks. "Did you know that you can make amazing movies without ever picking
up a digital camcorder? And even though your camera might not accept a
telephoto lens, it can use binoculars for breathtaking close-ups of wildlife."
With Digital Photography Hacks, photographers who don't have the latest
in digital cameras will learn how to extend the life and functionality of
their existing cameras. All of the hacks in the book are platform-agnostic,
designed for use on both Mac- and Windows-based computers. Featuring
a foreword by photographer Rick Smolan, co-creator of the bestselling
"America 24/7," this book offers 100 proven techniques in the areas of:
Daytime and nighttime photo secrets
Digital camera attachments
The computer connection
Weekend photo projects
Camera phone tricks
This book is for the photographer you are now, and the one you want to be.
Digital Photography Hacks will bring out the creative adventurer who
resides in each of us.
Digital Photography Hacks
ISBN 0-596-00666-7, 309 pages, $29.95 US, $43.95 CA
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