Sunday, February 14, 2010

Book Report: Light Science and Magic

It has been a while since I wrote a book review, I haven't stopped reading, just stopped writing.

I have to say that this is one of the best books I have read on the subject of photography, it is not a casual nor easy read, but the information contained inside is invaluable.  I have read it from cover to cover, but this is probably not the best way to approach this volume.  It is in essence a cook book for lighting, providing recipes for lighting virtually all types of object and situations.  Starting very simply with a single light and perhaps a reflector it deals with solid objects, discussing how to light different surfaces, depending upon their reflectivity and light absorption properties.  It moves onto a very comprehensive study of lighting the human face, working from a single light through to 4 or more lights.  It then works through a number of "impossible" situations.

I cannot say that one read is sufficient for this book, however, having read through it I now know where to go back for detailed information on lighting any object.  It has proven exceptionally useful in this 6th chapter of AoP, on which I am currently working.  A particularly interesting item for me was the fact that using a polarizing filter can dramatically change the property of reflection from certain surfaces; I had never thought to use a polarizer in the studio.

My only warning for those reading this book is that it could prove to be very expensive.  I recently purchased a low cost studio lighting kit, with 2 400J lighting heads and soft-boxes, after reading this book I now realize that I should have double this (Ideally and assuming I had the space to store and deploy it properly.  Anyway, a great book and very useful reference for the future.

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