Creative Black and White Photography By Les McLean

Discussion in 'Book, Magazine, Gallery Reviews, Shows & Contests' started by bmac, Nov 22, 2002.

  1. bmac

    bmac Member

    Messages:
    2,156
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Hey guys,

    I was at the local Barnes and Noble last evening and picked up Les' book. I have got to say it is a really good book. Not a basic darkroom book, those are dime a dozen. This one starts out with testing for your own personal film speed and ends with Printing a fine print. The N+/- development is explained much simpler than Mr. Adam's book. The last chapter is on digital b/w print, and you can totally tell this is not his forte, but otherwise, a great book for those looking to take their printing to the next level.

    Brian
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,942
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I just picked it up as well this evening. Brian's description is right on--a fine book for someone who knows how to make a basic print and wants to do the next thing.

    One thing I particularly liked was that most of the prints are accompanied by a straight image of the negative. It's hard enough to learn what a good print looks like, but I think it's even harder to learn what a good negative should look like, and Les has included variations on certain images that show both good and problematic negatives from the same scene. Les is also working mostly with rollfilm, so one doesn't have to get the sense of "I'm not shooting large format, so I don't really have any control," that most of us have had at one time or another (at least until we started shooting large format! Maybe you have to do large format to realize what you can do with rollfilm).

    Les was also kind enough to send along with his contribution for the Traveling Portfolio a print of "Door, Bodie," which appears on the "Contents" page (in a different crop from the print), and I can verify that the reproduction quality is pretty good.
     
  3. David Hall

    David Hall Member

    Messages:
    470
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2003
    Location:
    South Pasade
    Les will blush, but I have some experience here...

    I bought this book last year, and found it to be much better than a basic photo book. Then I tracked Les down, not yet knowing about APUG, to ask some follow-up questions to things I read in the book. He wrote long, detailed, instructive answers and then asked for more questions. I have never had such attention from an author before.

    Then I found Les here.

    So yes, it is a great book. More informative than most in its genre.

    dgh
     
  4. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,842
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Location:
    Rotterdam, T
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Received my copy of Les's book last Saturday and I quickly browsed through it.
    I like it a lot. Now, where to find the time to put all this info into practice?
     
  5. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    2,611
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, N.Y.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I told you so. I got it for Christmas and it has helped me a great deal. Not only is it a great read, it is a must read.
     
  6. David Hall

    David Hall Member

    Messages:
    470
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2003
    Location:
    South Pasade
    One of the bigger things I got from the book was a very good explanation of the split-grade printing technique. But what was missing in the book (and what les was nice enough to write in full detail in an email) is the follow-up of several points he makes. Seems the book was not well edited.

    For instance, he says to do a first test stip with the softest contrast, and that the darker values from that strip will be necessary and discussed later. But later never comes.

    Perhaps we could talk Les into writing a post with some further thinking and follow up from the book?

    dgh
     
  7. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,609
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2002
    Location:
    Northern Eng
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've just returned from an assignment in the south and logged in to see what's going on and did feel somewhat embarrassed when I read this thread. I do appreciate your comments for they do help me know whether I've got it right or not, so thank you guys. With regard to David's comment re: a further post on split grade printing; how about an article with illustrations, or even two, on split grade printing. Please let me know if there is interest and I'll sort it out with Sean, although I cannot write it until sometime in April for I'm planning to move house, and darkroom, at the beginning of April.
     
  8. baronfoxx

    baronfoxx Member

    Messages:
    97
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    I to am a fan off splitgrade printing and find that overall there is an imrovement in my prints since adopting this technique.

    Any articles published in this forum will be very usefull.
     
  9. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

    Messages:
    2,767
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2002
    Location:
    Denton, TX
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I second the suggestion for the article. I'll pick the book up from the bookstore as soon as I happen to have some extra scratch!
     
  10. jansenh

    jansenh Member

    Messages:
    32
    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Location:
    Stavanger -
    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Les McLean @ Feb 18 2003, 06:03 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>I've just returned from an assignment in the south and logged in to see what's going on and did feel somewhat embarrassed when I read this thread. </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Embarrassed or nt... [​IMG] ... I have been reading Les' articles in the UK Black & White magazine - which are very good. They are in fact one of the best elements in what I consider to be the best photo magazine ever.
     
  11. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,126
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I grabbed a copy based on all your recomendations (and my book shop had it in their monthly newsletter... $5 off too!) Cost me $42 AUS (divide by 3 to get pounds) which was pretty good, although the journey to get it was a drama... 20mins to get there, 5 mins in the shop and over an hour to get home due to a little buit of rain causing all the incompetent drivers to tippy toe everywhere and cause kaos! I'm going off to read the book now [​IMG] Will report back [​IMG]
     
  12. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,247
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Port Hueneme
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I just ordered the book
     
  13. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    2,611
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, N.Y.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Snipped from the Pure-Silver list:

    In addition, I can offer Les McLean's "Creative Black and White
    Photography" as well, see www.rhdesigns.co.uk/cbwp.html.

    Both books are comprehensive texts on all aspects of pure silver photography, the major differences being that Ralph and Chris tend towards the technicalities while Les is concerned more with aesthetics. If in doubt, buy both :smile:

    Best wishes
    Richard
    end Snip
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

    Messages:
    2,767
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2002
    Location:
    Denton, TX
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I picked up a copy of Les's book today while in Hastings and will start poring over it when I get to work (I work the counter at a dry cleaners).
     
  16. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

    Messages:
    9,297
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well, since I'm heading to the US for 3 weeks (and being in South Carolina), I'll need something to do. So I just ordered the book from Amazon. Les you'll be happy to hear Amazon had a notice posted that there were only 3 left! Hopefully that is a good sign :smile:

    I look forward to learning some of your techniques. Your posts in the gallery continue to -wow- me.
     
  17. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

    Messages:
    1,627
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2003
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    If you really need something to do, Stop in and say hi to my father. Then explain to him how important this photography thing is. He still has his doubts! Have a great time their, my wife and I have spent a lot of time their and love it. Every where you turn theirs a photo OP.
     
  18. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

    Messages:
    9,297
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My Dad is slowly coming around, maybe in 10 more years. Currently the digital marketing blitz has him brainwashed. He can't figure out why I bought an 8x10 camera and 12x12 enlarger instead of a 2 megapixel cannon powershot....
     
  19. Juraj Kovacik

    Juraj Kovacik Subscriber

    Messages:
    475
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Location:
    Bratislava,
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Generally, I like the reading of books when I'm trying to improve in something - shame it not works with my MTB or parent skills :smile:. I ordered this book from Amazon.co.uk and after few weeks of waiting I have got it.

    This book is perfect book if you want improve your technical skills above some basic level, but there is something more interesting. Les McLean loves photography and he is a very, very good photographer and both of these points made from book something much more valuable.

    I can only suggest this book for everybody, who is trying to express him/herself through photo. JK
     
  20. Fintan

    Fintan Member

    Messages:
    1,793
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Location:
    Ireland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    this is a truly excellent book
     
  21. harveyje

    harveyje Subscriber

    Messages:
    166
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    Location:
    Colorado Spr
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I'm glad to hear the recommendations - I just ordered the book from Amazon and anticipate its arrival next week.
     
  22. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

    Messages:
    3,221
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Location:
    S.E. New Yor
    I'm reading it now. It is very nicely formatted and printed. I especially like the technical information included in all the captions. Also greatly appreciated is that he used a font that even folks who have been looking through cameras for way too many years can read comfortably without a loupe.
     
  23. mobtown_4x5

    mobtown_4x5 Member

    Messages:
    244
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    Location:
    Baltimore
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Gee- I just knew of Mr. McLean from reading his always informative posts here on the site- I had no idea he was a celebrity...

    I just popped over to Amazon and ordered a copy- I look forward to adding to the chorus of glowing reviews!

    Matt
     
  24. leeturner

    leeturner Subscriber

    Messages:
    491
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2004
    Location:
    North of Eng
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The only reason I used to buy Practical Photography was for Les Mcleans articles, so you can imagine how I felt when finding APUG and discovering Les is a member. His articles are always informative, well written and down to earth. Since joining APUG I don't feel the need to buy magazines (much to my wifes glee) as there is so much info on this site.
    On to Amazon to buy the book.
     
  25. Ka

    Ka Member

    Messages:
    215
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Location:
    New York
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I expect my copy to arrive today or tomorrow... and I can hardly wait.

    I am thoroughly enjoying exposure to so many brilliant minds.
     
  26. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Member

    Messages:
    957
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    Iowa
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I ordered my copy today. Can't wait for it to arrive!!

    Jim