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Friday, 03 August 2007

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The book on BW printing is precisely what I was looking for. Thanks. And keep up the fruitful discussions!

Thanks for the tips, especially the Diallo seems very interesting, at least to me. I sometimes find it very hard to get hold of a decent book about digital photography, the choice is huge and the quality most often very poor. So far your recommendations have always been worth it, so I make sure this one will end up in my (yet small) collection...

I bought the Diallo book some weeks back, and have found it to be little more than a competent, if quick and once over survey. As genial and as well informed as the book was, it did not strike me as a practical guide to much at all.

Graham Nash is my artistic hero. He's the Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and has revolutionized not one, but TWO artforms in his lifetime. Imagine yourself walking away from world-class fame and success in photography to begin a new career as a musician, and then completely transforming the way that music is created. That, in reverse, is what Graham Nash has done.
From bringing the house down at Woodstock to tearing down the house of traditional fine art printing, he's an icon of artistic creative destruction.

"I bought the Diallo book some weeks back, and have found it to be little more than a competent, if quick and once over survey."

Maybe "Mastering Digital B&W for Beginners" didn't quite have the tone the publisher was after. I'm surprised at the number of endorsements for this. More worrying is the number of technical bloopers therein, only some of which I noted in my amazon.com review. Maybe people just have lower expectations for computer type books (quick to market before everything is dated) than for other publications.

I found the Diallo book to be quite informative, and I am by no means a beginning digital b/w printer. Of course there are the uber-basic settings and standards that experience photographers will find a bit dull, but there are also a number of tricks and tips for the already experienced, many that I either didn't know or had forgotten. I've actually incorporated a couple new ideas into my workflow.

What's best about the book, however, is how the author presents the entire process from capture to portfolio to display. It's quite informative, especially for a photographer, such as myself, far from many other serious photographers.

And, as an added bonus (at least for me), the author used a friend of mine, Jean Miele (great shooter and teacher), as one of his numerous case studies in the book.

Diallo writes in a very comfortable and easy style, and knows his stuff. I'm with Mike....this is must read.

Mike, just a brief follow-up to your follow-up. I'd consider myself a digital B&W beginner so no offence was intended. I print some B&W for others (most of the work I get is colour) and thought the results were pretty good using both Epson's Colour and ABW mode. Really, decent B&W output with any current printer with 3 (or more) concurrent blacks isn't rocket science. I bought the Diallo book specifically to lift my game. Frankly I got nothing out of it. Moreover, I got annoyed at the number of incorrect statements of fact. A peer review prior to publication wouldn't have gone amiss. But I agree that it's a competent and comprehensive (if slight) overview and I said so in my review. People should be careful with it though due to the errors.

Subsequent to reading the book, I spent some time myself with ABW and a densitometer and got to where I wanted (for now with the standard inks). Also with QuadToneRip which should have had at least a chapter devoted to it in Diallo's book. QTR isn't the best documented tool and was hoping for some insights from the book. If people are aware of the scope of the book, then they're in a better position to judge whether it's for them. A more suited title may have avoided disappointment, that's all.

Stephen,

I'm not sure it's fair to expect the author of an instructive manual to offer comprehensive coverage of each and every software RIP package available. For every reader wanting a chapter on QTR, there would be someone wanting a chapter on Imageprint or Colorburst. Let's not forget software for tone mapping, sharpening, bw conversion, etc. It's simply too much for the scope of ANY book.

I guess Diallo could have provided links to appropriate web pages where specific software packages are discussed in depth, but they're fairly easy to find with the blessed Google.

Does this book make you, or anyone, a "master" b/w printer by simple sake of reading? Nope. However, it does give a very solid foundation for mastering the process. As with any instructive media (workshops, classes, manuals), there's an understanding that both the teacher and the student work together for the educational benefits of the latter. It's a partnership rather than a guarantee.

Regards,
Chuck

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