Sunday, January 03, 2010

A World in HDR by Trey Ratcliff...A Brief Review

I have never done a "book review" or a "camera review" or a "software review" or ANY review for that matter. But being that it is now the year 2010, I will start to do some reviews this year. I will say one thing up front...

I will only do a review of a book, software or other product that I actually have read or used, and I will never get technical as I don't like technical reviews...I prefer to read reviews that sound like a friend is giving me advice, so I will write reviews with that in mind.

So, for my very first review, I would like to tell you about Trey Ratcliff's book on HDR called,
A World in HDR (the cover of his book is below).

As many of you probably know, I have been a big fan of Trey's work for a few years and have had a link to his site, on my blog since I started blogging. When I first stumbled on his blog, I had not even heard of HDR...but was certainly intrigued with his photography and wanted to learn more about the "art" he was creating. I read his tutorial on HDR photography on his site, and quickly started experimenting on my own. His style and constant innovation is an inspiration to literally millions around the world. His site is probably one of the most popular blogs on the planet and receives millions of hits every month. He admits that there are other photographers just as good as he if not better, but I would find it difficult to find anyone better at marketing on the web than Trey...he is the master. Having said that, he is also one of the few popular photographers out there that is willing to share his secrets, and to help other photographers reach their potential in creating art, and I respect that. His new book is a prime example of his willingness to share.

Reading Trey's blog, I of course knew he had written a book. Frankly, since I was a daily reader of his blog, I was not really interested in purchasing his book as I thought it would be just a collection of his photos that I had already seen and admired. Yesterday, I was at Barnes and Noble browsing books, and saw his book on the shelf nestled amongst some other HDR books. My first impression of the book when I picked it up was that it was smaller than I expected. I thought it would be more of a coffee table sized book (this was NOT a problem, however). I flipped through the pages, and saw some familiar images, but also saw some images I had not seen before...and then I spotted "chapter 5" where he has his tutorial on HDR. I started to read that chapter in the store when my wife said it was time to leave. Based on the new images I saw, and "chapter five", I grabbed the book (the last copy on the shelf) and bought it. When I got home, I read it cover to cover.

I am picky when it comes to books on photography. Most I don't like. There have been only a few that I have liked, and this one I liked....I liked it ALOT. The style of the book reminded me a great deal of another one of my favorite photography books, The Moment it Clicks, by Joe McNally. His images are top notch, and even if I had seem them before on his blog, they were great to see again in this book. Trey is a great writer as well, and his descriptions of each of the photos are entertaining as well as informative, and like Joe McNally, he gives technical advice on most of the photos as well. Us photographers, professional as well as amateurs, like to read that stuff as we can always get better at what we do. Reading what other photographers think about when getting a shot, and how they got a shot is always a good read and helpful.

His tutorial in Chapter Five is updated from his tutorial on his website. I found it very helpful and learned a couple of new things from reading it. That chapter alone makes this book worth buying. Although most of the descriptions of his familiar photos were similar to what he had written in his blog, he added some new details and stories to his descriptions which I enjoyed reading. After reading his book, you feel like Trey is one of your friends.

In conclusion, I highly recommend his book. Although I have never met Trey in person, I get the impression that he does nothing half-way. When he puts his mind to something, it becomes gold, and his book is nothing short of gold.

Hope you enjoyed this review...I will write more in the future from time to time as I run across something I like...


Anonymous said...

Great review Scotty! That was super kind of you - your work is awesome - and your family is beautiful - hope you had the best of holidays!!

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