Menu Sidebar

Book Review: In Camera: Perfect Pictures Straight out of the Camera, by Gordon Laing

In CameraI like photography, but I like the process of taking pictures, not manipulating them in software like Photoshop. I’d rather take a bit more time and find the right composition to capture what I see than to spend time doctoring pictures in software. To be fair, Photoshop and other apps are in some ways similar to working in a darkroom, tweaking prints, but these apps allow you to take a photo and make it very different from what you see.

In his new book, Gordon Laing looks at the types of photos you can take in your camera. (, Amazon UK) He shows 100 photos he’s taken as JPEGs, with no post-processing, and discusses their composition, lighting, exposure, and more.

Since today’s cameras are so powerful – they’re great in low light, and you have plenty of lens options – it makes sense to use them for more than just a basic capture. I’d long sniffed at the “artistic” filters available in digital cameras, but since I got my new Olympus Pen-F, I’ve been using them to great effect. (I especially like the monochrome profiles available in that camera.) Laing praises these filters and profiles, and shows a number of photos where they really do make a picture great.

I’ve only gone through about half the book so far, but it’s full of tips and ideas. It’s not necessarily a book to read cover to cover; you can just flip through it and find a photo or two that you like, then read how Laing shot it. Each photo is full page or on a two-page spread with a page of explanations, including EXIF data about the camera, lens, and type of filter or profile used. Here’s an example of a two-page spread from Laing’s website CameraLabs:

In camera spread

Unfortunately, the book has made me realize how useful a wide-angle zoom lens would be in my camera bag; Laing uses this type of lens for many of his photos, and I now understand how it would be useful. And I was trying to stop buying lenses… It’s also made me very interested in trying out a Fujifilm camera, because of the film simulations those cameras offer. Laing uses them for a number of his photos, and they look very nice. (I’m off to eBay to try to find a cheap Fuji camera…)

This is a great book for those interested in learning more about how to get the most of their camera’s powerful features. The photos are lovely, the explanations practical, and it will give you lots of ideas for how to make your own great pictures without Photoshop.

Why teabags are the work of Lucifer! – Daily Mail Online

Teabags are the very work of Lucifer because they encourage sloppy habits, allow big business to make fools of us and because they have added to the dizzying vortex of modern life’s stresses.

I hate linking to the Daily Mail, but Quentin Letts explains why teabags are evil in this article. Apparently a lot of British people think they’re one of the greatest inventions of all time.

Me, I’m a tea snob, so I don’t use bags.

Source: Quentin Letts: Why teabags are the work of Lucifer! | Daily Mail Online

Apple’s ‘Planet of the Apps’ is even worse than you thought – The Outline

You knew Apple’s reality show Planet of the Apps — in which entrepreneurs present their app ideas to celebrity advisers and then a panel of investors in the mode of Shark Tank — was bad. But did you know just how bad? Dubious ethics, terrible advice, heavy-handed branding, and the sense that no one knows what the hell they’re doing

I really don’t get it. As I wrote in February:

Is this really the best they can do? Can’t they do more than a lowest-common denominator talent show? Sure, it’s about apps, and that links it to Apple, but this seems like they’re targeting a pretty low level of viewers.

With a reality TV star president, I think the time is right to pull back on these cheap, sensational shows. I’ve never watched reality shows, and, while I admit some may actually have merits – The Great British Bake-Off, for example – this is just mindless entertainment for the masses. I think this type of TV content sets the bar very low for Apple.

Either Apple is full of executives with really bad taste in TV, or they got roped into something by a Svengali who convinced everyone that this would be a good idea. They should pull the plug so it will be forgotten like Ping, and other failures.

Source: Apple’s ‘Planet of the Apps’ is even worse than you thought | The Outline

Photo: Rhubarb

I’ve been doing a photo project lately: I’ve been documenting my garden. I’ve been shooting plants, flowers, walls, sheds, trees, and more. I’m finding this to be very interesting, because there’s a wide variety of pictures you can shoot in a garden.

So here’s what a rhubarb plant looks like when its flowers are dying.

Link to full-size version.

Follow me on 500px, Flickr, & Instagram.

Older Posts


Writings about Macs, music, and more by Kirk McElhearn