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Practical Artistry: Light & Exposure for Digital Photographers: 10/02/17

Practical Artistry: Light & Exposure for Digital Photographers by Harold Davis

Practical Artistry: Light & Exposure for Digital Photographers by Harold Davis was the last of a group of books I read to prepare for the total eclipse on August 21, 2017. I was specifically looking to improve my understanding of exposing for extreme lightning conditions.

Photography is reaching its second century. While cameras and media have changed, the basic puzzle hasn't: exposure, shutter speed, and light sensitivity (either as ISO or type of film or other recording media). Other aspects of the equation include color temperature (the lightning conditions) and focal length.

Photography how-to books fall into two camps. The first is the books that focus on specific technology (cameras, programs, equipment). The second are those that take a broader approach, leaving the specific how-tos to the reader.

Interestingly, the former approach almost always takes the tone that the book is for advanced readers — because who else would own such fine, high-end equipment? The latter, almost always takes an informal approach, with the jolly assurance that anyone can take beautiful, meaningful photographs.

Practical Artistry is of the second camp. Davis includes a variety of recipes and relatively easy to remember formulae for calculating exposure and how to adjust one's camera to have the same exposure as lightning or atmosphere changes.

I would argue, though, that the "practical" books are the more advanced. They require more first hand knowledge and participation from their readers. As long a reader knows their camera (or is in the process of getting to know it), the reader can advance their skills from reading books from the second camp.

Combined with the pyramid charts of Jennifer Bebb's Beyond Auto Mode, I was able to work with the the steadily changing conditions and record both the eclipse and the people watching the eclipse while swapping between cameras.

Five stars

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