Dr. Jason Odell has recently released a new eBook. As blogged earlier I reviewed an eBook that I find indispensable, The Photographer’s Guide to HDR Efex Pro that he and Tony Sweet published earlier in the year. This new book Field Notes: A Photographic Journey is a different style than a software guide. Dr. Odell is alone this time as the sole author. I will let Dr. Odell’s own words describe what he hopes to accomplish.
“While every image tells its own story, these are the stories behind the images that I enjoy the most. Along with each image, I present the technical (camera/lens) and processing (effects, software) details that I used to create it. More important, I tried to present my mindset and the small tidbits of knowledge that I’ve come across over the years as I turned my hobby into a full-time endeavor. My goal with this book is to present to you images that you will hopefully enjoy, along with techniques and best practices that you can incorporate into your own photographs.”
As most know I am never one to pass up listening to a good story so I eagerly awaited Dr. Odell’s narrative about his images as well as the field and gear notes in each vignette. The eBook is broken up into three main sections as well as a final About the Author section. The main sections are the individual image pages, Location Notes, and Gear Recommendations. The eBook itself is formatted for easy viewing on the iPad. This is a welcome change from other eBooks published in pdf format, which makes me scroll and resize on a continual basis. Not an insurmountable problem, but something that can be an annoyance. Here, I loaded it on my iPad, but in my eagerness to see it all, I wound up finishing the book on my computer.
Each individual photo is limited to one page, which includes the image, and the photo comments listed with it. The images look phenomenal when viewed on my computer or iPad. These are by far the best looking images I have seen in any pdf book. Other photo eBook Authors should take the note – have the photos look like this!
The images are captured around the country and are not limited to landscape; there is also Wildlife, Cityscape, and Air Shows. Every image is taken outdoors and Dr. Odell labels himself as a Nature and Wildlife photographer. This eBook is not aimed at the Strobist or lighting wannabe. In the eBook there are tips and tricks not only about capturing photos, but also post-processing and the equipment needed. The Location section you learn where to go and what gear to take. The eBook does a very pleasant job on looking at a broad overview of each photographic style and the gear associated to it. Sprinkled in is also some photographic technique. This is not the heavy canvassing of Dr. Odell’s software eBooks. This is a broad look at photos, how to take and post-process them and where to go. Because of the subject matter the eBook is much smaller than his other efforts, at 60 iPad sized pages. There are also hyperlinks to maps and locations of the various places. There are also links to equipment kits needed for the various styles of Photography.
I would compare this eBook to one of my favorite newsletters that I receive on a quarterly basis The Photograph America Newsletter. Although I delighted in it just as much, it is different not only in its look but also in it’s content. This eBook gives you a look at many different areas of the country and many different styles of photography, and the equipment needed. The Newsletter gives you one particular style (Landscapes) and a single area of the country in each issue.
Reading it can be quite addictive. Each image section isn’t long, so you can get through them quickly and it can be read in one sitting without issue. My day has constant interruptions, but I finished in a single sitting. This doesn’t mean it’s short, more to the point how addictive looking at the photo, then reading each story, how it was captured and processed.
I suggest reading each vignette more than once. There is a story about an image, but there is also in each one an overlaying concept that can apply to your own photography. Look through each image once and not read the vignette, then read it the second time through. I think you’ll find yourself with more thoughts than you did just looking at the image.
This eBook is priced at $9.99, which is lower than Dr. Odell’s other eBooks. I find myself even after reading it yesterday wanting to go back through and see what ideas or concepts I may have missed the first time around. The nice thing about this book is it is long enough to provide good information, but short enough that when you’re on a plane or car on your way to a photo expedition you can reread it as a refresher in creativity to focus your thoughts. I find $9.99 a good value for this eBook. Buy it and enjoy it here.