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Vivid Light Photography, digital and film photography online

Photoshop 7 Savvy 
By Steve Romaniello
Paperback, 704pp.
ISBN: 0782141102

What you get from this book will be largely driven by your personality. Sybex is well known for their technical reference books and it shows in the layout and design of this book. If you're an impatient learner who prefers to learn software by using it, then the comprehensive index of this book will help you with specific questions when you get stuck. If you're a patient learner who likes details then you'll do well to go through this book from front to back. A huge help is that the images for each lesson are contained on a CD that is stored inside the back cover.

But be forewarned! Working through this book from cover to cover is no small undertaking. It is 624 tightly packed pages. The good news for the patient among us is that if you treat this as a Photoshop course book, which is what it really is, you will not just get Photoshop 101. You'll go from 101 right up through a 400 level course. If you have the patience to use this book as it's intended you'll not just be Photoshop savvy but a Photoshop expert.

You'll work at it though. This is no breezy introduction. It is written in the technical concise style of Sybex's computer reference books, so when you're done you won't just use Photoshop like an expert - you'll be able to sling the jargon too!

Kodak Guide to 35mm PhotographyPolaroid Manipulations: 
A Complete Visual Guide to Creating SX-70, Transfer, and Digital Prints
By Kathleen Thormod Carr
Paperback 192pp. 
ISBN: 0817455558

If you're tired of looking at a computer, they tell me that photos were once made using a chemical process. No kidding!

Seriously, Polaroid transfers yield images that look nothing like photos but more like impressionist paintings. Kathleen Thormod Carr walks you through the whole process, from finding an old Polaroid camera, to modifying it for the Polaroid Time-Zero film used in this process through the creation of the final image. There's even a thorough cross-reference of all those old Polaroids that you're likely to find at a yard sale.

But even here you won't get totally away from the computer. Kathleen talks about scanning the results into the computer. Once in Photoshop you can make minor corrections and tweak your images. When you're done you can output your work of art, and many of these images are works of art, onto any size or type of paper. For those of you who think only digitally, this is a low cost approachable way to "play with chemicals" that will give you results that are like no other photographic process.

This is a fascinating introduction to what could be a very addicting kind of photography.

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