PUSHING LIGHT Review
PUSHING LIGHT: Extending Dynamic Range with HDR & Other Techniques is the latest ebook from Craft & Vision author Piet Van den Eynde, one of my favorite authors writing on Lightroom and photography in general. The book is a 112-page discussion about the tools available to photographers to manipulate the most basic building materials of a photograph -- light -- in camera and in post-processing. The book also includes access to 12 online videos which illustrate its concepts in motion.
PUSHING LIGHT hits the ground running. The book entirely foregoes the usual Photography 101 material that's seemingly become a stock inclusion in nearly every photography book under the sun. And so, in a market awash with material for novice and amateur photographers, PUSHING LIGHT is something unusual, a book unapologetically intended for the experienced photographer.
That's not to say that the book is unapproachable by photographers with less experience, but it assumes from the outset that the reader has got a grip on the fundamentals of camera exposure and light, and at least some basic understanding of how to read the histogram.
As an opening, the book contextualizes itself using Ansel Adams' Zone System as a point of reference for preserving dynamic range during capture and post-processing, and quickly dives into a technical discussion of hardware factors which contribute to a camera's capability (or lack thereof) to capture dynamic range in digital image files.
From there Piet explores the manipulation of light in a variety of ways, including the use of neutral density filters, fill flash and reflectors at capture, then post-processing techniques in Lightroom and Photoshop which allow you to draw the greatest response from a single raw capture, or to combine multiple captures into a single image to expand the dynamic range of the scene, using both manual and automated blending techniques and applications.
Case studies are scattered throughout the book to provide practical context and perspective for the techniques discussed, and draw upon the experience of photographers Bart Heirweg, Carl De Keyzer, Toon Grobet and Fernando Gros. I absolutely love these inclusions, as they really serve to illustrate the value of the techniques.
PUSHING LIGHT is hands-down the best photography book I've read in the past year, and easily the best Craft & Vision release of 2013. There's just so much information packed into it, but all of it digestible and not a wasted page. Whatever your experience level in photography, post-processing or Lightroom/Photoshop, you will find something worthwhile in this book.