Originally Posted by BradS
Can anyone here comment about the relative value of the various editions of "Light, Science and Magic"?
I've considered buying a less expensive but older used version (1997 vs. 2007).
I don't really care about any specific equipment references that may be contained in the book, so any information of that type that has become doesn't concern me.
Oh-oh. Is licensure required?
I avoided the use of flash for 25 years because my first attempts at it were so pitiful, and so remained blissfully ignorant of anything beyond available light. Then last year I discovered that the Minolta X outfit I got from my father-in-law's estate included a pretty hi quality flash and that there was such a thing as ttl metering! So I went to a party, set the exposure on automatic, let the camera tell the flash what to do, and results were fabulous.
Now I have grand-nephews and nieces, my sister's cancer has turned the wrong direction, and our first grandchild will arrive later this year. I see the awful pictures that my extended family finds acceptable for passing around on the web. I compare them with the tack-sharp 6x9 contact prints of my uncle and aunt who died in childhood in 1918 and feel a need to do something about it. That little bit of success with on-camera flash makes me want to learn to use multiple-source setups with my 6x6 to produce photos that will hopefully be enjoyed 100 years from now.
Heck, since you're shooting film your probably better off with the older book, anyhow.
The book is really all about principles, and how light works, taking into account different kinds of objects, reflections, angles, revealing shapes, surfaces, contours, etc. There are whole sections on lighting transparent objects, metals and reflective surfaces, portraits, etc. It's not a cookbook, but if you learn what's in the book, you shouldn't need cookbook "place your lights here, here, and here" to get what you want instructions, your results will be more predictable, and you'll be able to work with whatever you have at hand.
Any edition should be good, as light still behaves the same way as before digital photography, and there's little to nothing about specific lighting equipment.
Here are some good used prices for all three editions:
I've read a lot of lighting books over the years. What I've found most rewarding is to study photographs that I really liked and to figure out how they were lit. looking at shadows and the quality of the light will get you going. I spend a lot of time studying Penn's work - both portrait and comercial.
I take my info and try to reproduce the lighting. Trial and error has taught me a lot.
Hope this helps.
the one by the Larson lighting guy
and the one by Arriflex are very helpful and have diagrams and examples