Friday, August 12, 2011
Review of "Chasing the Light" by Ibarionex Perello...
One of the fun things about writing this blog is publishers send me books all the time to review, some get reviewed and some don't.
I have been a big fan of Ibarionex Perello for some time, his was one of the first photography podcasts I listened to when I plunged into photography, so I was excited when the UPS truck rolled up and left his book "Chasing the Light: Improving Your Photography with Available Light" on my doorstep.
Excited but nervous to, because what if i didn't like the book of a person/photographer I admired and respected.
It only took the acknowledgement and dedication of his book, you know that part of the very beginning that most people skip right over, to increase my admiration of Mr. Perello. I think that's the part of the book that an author puts more of themselves in than anywhere else and it reveals a glimpse of who they are and what they hold near and dear. So I was far less concerned about what followed because I knew it would be the best a good man had to offer and you just can't ask for more than that.
I can sum up the review pretty simply "Chasing the Light" is a great read. It is the best source for understanding natural light I have read. Period.
Two of the hardest things to do is shoot in harsh mid day sun because, well, it's harsh mid day sun, and "street" photography because things move and change so quickly that you don't have much time to press the shutter button before the opportunity is gone forever.
The two hundred and fifty pages of this book will give you the information to do both very, very well.
There is a bunch to love about this book, including the fact that every time you turn the page there are pictures, lots of pictures, at least one but sometimes as many as three. Each image demonstrates the point Ibarionex is trying to teach us with his words. There are the camera settings and mechanics that went into capturing the image including the thought process (the how and why he took this shot). So you read AND see everything that went into it. To make the learning experience complete Ibarionex includes the why as well.
Just because you can take a good picture doesn't mean you can teach the process to another how, Ibarionex. Throughout the book it feels he is talking to you (not at or down to you) in a way that is easy to understand and follow.
One of the points he strives to get across is the importance of getting things right in camera, because shooting is way more fun than "fiddling around in Photoshop".
And I love when I read a book and learn new things, like the rule of thumb that minimum shutter speed is 1 over the focal length (so minimum shutter speed for a 100mm lens is 1/100, 200mm lens is 1/200, etc.).
There is a cool self assignment in chapter 4 (which is about color), Ibarionex looks at color as an important ingredient in a recipe, so to help develop your eye for color the assignment is to shoot single colors... only red, only yellow, or only blue... a great idea for developing how color impacts an image.
Ibarionex covers color temps and white balance in great detail as well, did you know that open shade has a bluish color cast? Or that setting your cameras white balance preset to "sunny" (instead of auto) will give you richer and more vibrant colors during the "golden hour"?
I could ramble on and on about the great information covered in this book, but you can check it out yourself by reading a full chapter. Find out for yourself just how good a teacher Ibarionex is and how good this book is by following this link... you can read all of chapter 4 online or download it to your computer.
But wait, there's more, you can watch his podcast on metering choices when shooting a scene. The series of podcasts this cam from can be found here.
There are so many things covered in this book that I haven't even touched on, but let me close by saying that if you want to know and understand how natural light impacts photography there is no better book than "Chasing the Light".