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.
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.
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.
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?
Digital is best taken with a grain of silver.
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.
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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?
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.
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.
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!
Let's see what I've got in the magic trash can for Mateo!
</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... ... 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.
Stavanger - Norway