Outside of a dog ...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Gerald C Koch, May 27, 2012.

  1. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend ..." is a famous quote by Groucho Marx. Nothing is truer than for a beginning photographer. In a fact a good book on photography is probably the most valuable piece of equipment a budding photographer can have. Often it appears that people on APUG just jump into photography with the belief that if any problems arise they can find a solution on the web. While the web is good for researching specific problems there is a paucity of sites that offer a truly comprehensive learning experience. Here is where a good book on photography is important. There are many to choose from. The Ansel Adams' series specifically The Negative and The Print come to mind. Maybe if more people did some reading we would not see the same questions being asked over and over again.
     
  2. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    I agree, RTFM is the first thing you should do, then get some good books, they are usually plentiful and dirt cheap(used intro to photography books in particular), they pretty much cover most common problems encountered with cameras and film development. Photography has been around for a long time, there is a plethora of information out there in books before the web was created.

    I'll recommend:
    Black and White Photography: A Basic Manual by Henry Horenstein
    Lootens on Photographic Enlarging
    The Art of Black and White Photography by Garrett
    Introduction to Photography by Rosen & Devries
    Way Beyond Monochrome by Lambrecht & Woodhouse (a bit more advanced)

    All of these can be found used super cheap on sites such as amazon.
     
  3. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    I love reading all kinds of books and photographic books are wonderful. I remember finishing a book, realizing that I had gotten one good photographic tip out of it and thinking that it was worth reading the whole book just for that one tip. I don't mind people asking questions when they can't find the answer or don't know where to look; I mind when they say "I know this is probably been answered but I am too lazy to search...", especially when the question has been answered multiple times before (might even have a sticky on this forum). To not even try to research (especially with the ease of Google), I have no time to answer those questions. It is no different that people walking into a store and asking for the $5000 camera, because their friend has one and it takes beautiful pictures and they want beautiful pictures; it completely degrades the decades of experience and effort people put into their efforts. You don't want to spend the time entering a Google search or the trouble of using the public library, I don't need to spend my time providing a response.

    I also recommend "The Art of Photography" by Bruce Barnbaum and "The Tao of Photography" by Gross & Shapiro. Less specific on technical aspects but more on the philosophy behind good photographs and visualizing prints.
     
  4. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    I think the whole quote needs to be shared:


    Steve.
     
  5. ken472

    ken472 Member

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    I have been a firm believer in photography books for a long time. My wife says I have too many, I also usually find at least one gem of wisdom in a book to make the whole book worthwhile.
     
  6. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Dunn & Wakefield, Exposure Manual, 3rd or 4th edition.

    Out of print but available used.
     
  7. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    The Zone VI Workshop by Fred Picker

    Also, go browse your local indie used booksellers to find them. Many of the standards, like the Horenstein, and Saint Ansel's series will be right there waiting for you, faster than searching for them online and much more fun.
     
  8. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    I always say: better to buy one book that you need - than another lens or camera that you don't need :smile:.

    My favorite books are from that I usually study and recommend to others: The man, the image, the world and Photographer from Bresson and Migrations, Other americas and Workers from Salgado :smile:
     
  9. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Subscriber

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    I still have have some of these books packed away somewhere. The Adams series (The Negative, The Print, The Camera) are probably second edition but I bought the Zone VI Workshop by Picker when it first published. I think I was fifteen? I coveted those books like a lusty teen boy with naughty magazines. I bought them just after first moving into sheet film. I have boxes of books... somewhere. Memories...
     
  10. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    there are many excellent books, sure, but there's still nothing like having someone who knows it tell you in person -- or on a forum like this.

    each of you guys IS a book, and you should be flattered at the steady stream of newbies coming to you for inspiration and help ... I always am, always take a question as a chance to spread the magic and mystery, to get a new person interested, then tell them to find a good book.

    the ansel adams books, by the way, I've always found impossibly impenetrable -- too technical -- the zone system is good for the technician, but will scare most people away. John Hedgcoe had some good basic books in t he 70s and 80s with lots of illustrations that are far better for a beginner.

    but there's nothing like someone who knows. So be patient with newbies, guys -- they're the ones who'll make sure Ilford stays in business.
     
  11. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Funny, I've always found the bulletin board a poor way to transfer knowledge, especially when the question demands a long answer. Spend some time reading posts here and on photo.net. The shoe polish/excrement ratio is low.

    Right, and most are from vanity presses. If you don't know what a vanity press is, the modern equivalent is a blog, except that the blog form is, like the bulletin board, hostile to anything longer than one screen.

    Interesting idea. So tell me, when you went to school how many of your teachers dispensed with a text or collection of published papers and simply taught off the top if their heads?
     
  12. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Zen in the art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel. I believe this book was given to HCB in the 1950’s by Georges Braque and probably the result of a discussion they had about technique. Definitely worth reading for any serious photographer.
     
  13. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Member

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    Not very may. Only the best knew their subjects well enough to do that. And it was from those that I learned the most.

    :wink:

    Ken
     
  14. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Ken, I've had teachers who lectured without notes, only one who assigned no readings.

    The exception was a crazed mathematician -- Alex Abian, a very bright man -- who taught the diff eq for engineers and other idiots course. He didn't teach from the standard text, instead developed on the fly a course on the algebra of the differential operator that led naturally to solving differential equations. He did, though, hand out problem sets.

    For most subjects a college-level course with no readings is inconceivable.