Category Archives for "Book Review"

BookExpo America (BEA 2013) Overview with Recommended Photo-Related Titles

I had a great day yesterday at the BookExpo America (BEA 2013) in New York City. I generally cover photo- and art-related trade shows and news, and this one had quite a bit to offer in those areas. The show ends today (Sat. 6/1/2013), and 6/1/2013 is the only day of the show in which non-industry professionals can attend the show. The cost to attend today is $49, and details can be found here:

The entrance to main trade show exhibits at BookExpo America 2013 at the Javits Center in New York City. Photograph © Andrew Darlow

Even if you don’t attend the show, virtually all of the products I mention below can be found either online or in stores. Here are just a few of the booths I visited in which I saw things that really impressed me (the first four are photo-related, and the last four offer educational resources for children, which is a major category of the show). I think that educators and anyone who enjoys books will find the show fascinating.

If you’d like to see a full list of all the exhibitors, visit this page (just click on any company name for a link to their website).

1. Abbeville Press (Booth #1206): The art books on display in this booth are incredible. Two in particular caught my eye were: Southern Light: Images from Antarctica by David Nelson, and Celestial Realm: The Yellow Mountains of China by Wang Wusheng. The reproduction and image quality of both books is truly incredible. I also browsed through Photojournalism: 1855 to the Present (published in 2009) and thought that it was very well written. It is illustrated with many striking (and in some cases, upsetting) photographs, and is presented in a way that highlights the work of 54 different photographers. At the booth, you can also pick up a free poster highlighting 80 years of Best Picture Winners from the Oscars.

2. O’Reilly Media Inc. (Booth #1269 ): O’Reilly is known for their technical books, but the company also distributes books from photo book publisher Rocky Nook. Two books on display absolutely blew me away: The Art of Photography by Bruce Barnbaum, and Photographic Visions. Photographic Visions is a collection of images and tips from many different photographers.  An image is presented beautifully, and it is then deconstructed on subsequent pages so that the reader can truly understand what went into creating it. You can also get a “sneak peek” at an upcoming book entitled Beautiful Lego that showcases a lot of truly incredible artwork created using Lego-brand products.

3. Parragon Publishing (Booth #1846 and #1847): I was amazed at the photo quality of the following four books from this publisher: BIRDS, WOLVES, WILDCATS and HORSES. I also enjoyed browsing through the beautifully designed book: The Complete Guitar Encyclopedia, and the books: Then and Now: A world history of how people lived from ancient times to the present, 100 Cities of the World, and 100 Wonders of the World. There are also many innovative products on display from this publisher that combine products with books. One example is “Make Your Own Ice Pops,” which includes ice pop molds and a recipe book (perfect for the 95 degree weather we’re having in the Northeast!)

4. Browntrout Publishers (Booth #C1183): This booth is worth a visit just to browse through the many outstanding calendars that they produce (many featuring photography, including the work of photographer Dan Borris, who created the very popular “Yoga Dogs” and “Yoga Cats” books).

Even though I generally don’t cover children’s books for my website, because I have a young son, I’m always on the lookout for good books and apps for children, and I’ve purchased and read hundreds of titles over the last few years. Here are three companies who produce educational materials for children that really stood out in my mind:

5. Beaver Books (Booth #1167): This company produces many educational titles for children. One group of books that particularly impressed me were a series of books, each of which contains large posters and 100 stickers with the names of specific animals, dog breeds, etc. clearly typed out under each sticker. The four titles I saw were: My Favourite Playful Puppies, My Favourite Cuddly Kittens, My Favourite Baby Animals and My Favourite Farmyard Friends. Another product that truly amazed me is a series of books that uses a pen filled with water to bring out colors from specially-treated paper. They call them: “Palette Pages Painting Books.” The colors are quite vivid, and when the paper dries, the books can be used again, which is pure genius. What’s also nice is that there is quite a bit of text on each page that challenges kids to find things “hidden” inside the pages.

6. Nina Charles Publishing (Pumpkinheads) (Booth #C1182): Pumpkinheads has published five children’s board books to date, and they have some great-looking apps that look incredible on tablets. The author of all the books is Karen Kilpatrick (she is also one of the illustrators). You can learn about the company’s products, view and listen to a great read-along story, play online games and more on the company’s outstanding website:

7. AZ Books (Booth #1703): This company’s pop-up books with music are truly amazing. They also have many other educational materials for young people.

8. Publications International (Booth #2538 and Booth #2539): This company has a dizzying selection of products for children, as well as books for all audiences. My son loves one of their Disney book collections that comes with multiple books and a standalone reading device that resembles a smartphone. The audio is very clear, and it makes reading a lot of fun while imparting the many benefits that come with listening to a book being read as a child follows along with a story. They even offer books with embedded piano keyboards.

Book Review: From Fleeting to Forever by Greg Scoblete and Michael McEnaney

I recently had the opportunity to review a new e-book by Greg Scoblete and Michael McEnaney entitled: From Fleeting to Forever: Enjoying and Preserving Your Digital Photos and Videos. The book covers many topics related to the challenges and opportunities that virtually all of us experience with regard to downloading, organizing, printing, archiving and displaying our digital photographs and videos.

Virtually everyone knows the damage that Mother Nature can cause to our homes and electronic devices, often with little to no notice. Like a news report of a severe hurricane or tornado, I believe this book can serve as a good “wake-up call” for those who are not properly backing up their photographs and videos because the book gives an overview as well as some specific advice on how to back up and archive digital content. I often speak with people who are just one power surge away from losing thousands of their photographs and videos (and in some cases hundreds of hours of editing). That being said, this book does not go into great detail on many of the topics that are covered. Instead, it offers a lot of useful advice to help people understand their options so they can get step-by-step help from other sources, or from an expert.

What I like most about the book are the many specific suggestions for print service providers and photo/backup-related software and hardware. I pay close attention to what’s new and interesting on the market, yet I found quite a few new product options in the book, from free software that converts photos into “sketches,” to a service that prints and creates “pop-up” frames that can be sent to any address, to photo rugs, to higher-end offerings like a company who prints directly onto glass. I was also impressed by how the authors covered digital frames, a product category that can be very confusing for consumers.

I recommend “From Fleeting to Forever,” to photographers of all skill levels (especially to those who are not backing up their images both on- and off-site). An example of a good off-site backup option would be in “the cloud,” using a service like Carbonite, Backblaze, DropBox or SugarSync (a few online storage options, plus some of the positives and negatives related to using them, are discussed in the book). There is also a companion site for the book at; it contains some very useful tips and additional information about specific products and companies who offer them.

Availability (from the press release)
From Fleeting to Forever: Enjoying & Preserving Your Digital Photos and Videos is available now for $6.99 at Amazon, Sony, iTunes, and Kobo bookstores. Here is a direct link to purchase the book on (affiliate link).

Disclaimer: I was sent a digital version of this book for this review.

Below is the full text of the book’s press release:

Morris Plains, NJ—Every day, we snap an estimated 266 million photos or about 97 billion photos a year, according to the research firm InfoTrends. Between our cameras and our phones, we’re being snowed in by a blizzard of digital data and like any massive storm, many people find it overwhelming to dig out. A new e-book—From Fleeting to Forever: A Guide to Enjoying and Preserving Your Digital Photos and Videos—aims to help consumers not simply poke their heads above the snow bank, but to find new ways to enjoy their most precious digital memories.

In seven detailed chapters, From Fleeting to Forever outlines how you can organize a vast and growing collection of photos (from prints to digital camera and smartphone photos) and how to bring those digital images out of your phone and computer and into the real world in the form of unique products such as prints on glass and bamboo, canvas wall art, 3D prints, photo merchandise and much more. Each chapter combines a comprehensive overview of the subject as well as specific recommendations and links to service providers so that readers can immediately begin creating the products they’ve been reading about.

“We really view this e-book as a practical reference that will not only shed light on all there is to do with your photos but also point directly to high quality services so you have a concrete starting point,” said co-author Michael McEnaney.

From Fleeting to Forever also tackles some of the under-appreciated challenges of photography in the modern era, such as how to maintain your privacy while sharing your images digitally and, crucially, how to ensure that your digital photos will survive for future generations to marvel at. Readers will find step-by-step suggestions and detailed advice that can help them safeguard a digital inheritance.

“Many people don’t realize that the digital memories they’re recording with smartphones and cameras may not last as long as prints made from film cameras,” said co-author Greg Scoblete. “Digital photos are vulnerable to hard drive crashes and changing technology trends that can render old storage formats, like compact discs, obsolete. We take photos and videos to preserve moments in time, but today, keeping those memories safe for future generations is a lot harder than dumping a print into a shoebox.”

Authors Greg Scoblete and Michael McEnaney have covered the photo and technology industries for a wide variety of print and online publications. McEnaney was most recently publisher and editor-in-chief of Picture Business Magazine as well as the editorial director of the TechnologyTell network. Scoblete is currently the editor of RealClearTechnology and has contributed to numerous photo publications including Photo District News, Digital Photographer, Digital Photo Pro and Photo Industry Reporter.

The authors have also joined to launch, a website dedicated to expanding on the themes covered in From Fleeting to Forever. Unlike most photo and technology sites focused on camera reviews and gear, Your Digital Life is centered exclusively on what happens after the camera shutter is snapped—whether it’s a traditional point-and-shoot camera or a smartphone. It’s the go-to site for the latest apps and photo products that will help consumers enjoy and preserve their digital photos and videos (their “digital life”).

From Fleeting to Forever: Enjoying & Preserving Your Digital Photos and Videos is available now for $6.99 at Amazon, Sony, iTunes, and Kobo bookstores. It will be available at other e-book sellers by the end of April.


Hands-on Review: c’t Digital Photography Magazine

A few months back I was sent Issue 7 (Spring 2012) of c’t Digital Photography magazine to review. The magazine’s tagline is “The in-depth quarterly for the photo enthusiast,” and I wholeheartedly agree. It’s a very in-depth magazine that reads almost like a series of well-written and illustrated “mini books” by people who truly know and take time to research the topics they cover. The magazine is published quarterly by Rocky Nook and is available in print form, as well as via an iPad app and


Below are just a few of the topics that are covered in detail in Issue 7 with some of my comments below in quotes. You can see a full overview of the issue (and all of the issues printed to date) on the company’s website at, or in its entirety in low-res prior to purchase via its iPad app or on

Portfolio: Martin Stranka: “An outstanding body of work by Martin Stranka, and a great Q&A with the artist.”

The Making of Times Square by Bert Monroy: “I had a chance to see the 300 inch wide (7.62 meters) Times Square backlit print at PhotoPlus Expo in NYC in 2010 that took Bert Monroy four years to produce. It was output on an Epson Stylus Pro 9900 and Epson’s DisplayTrans film. Jaw-dropping is the description I would use for the amount of detail and clarity in the image, not to mention the scale of the piece. Many short video tutorials by Bert Monroy, showing examples of how different sections came together are also on the issue’s DVD.”

Gigapixel Images: “Just an incredible overview of gigapixel photography, from double-page spreads of amazing imagery, to techniques and equipment (some affordable, and some costing as much as a car!)”

Your iPad Assistant: “A very-well written overview of a very complex topic. I’ve used an iPad as a wireless “Polaroid” and it is amazing once you have the right SD card or other wireless transfer solution, once all the right apps are downloaded, and once all the settings are properly set on the iPad.”

Pseudo DRI and Pseudo HDR: “Another incredible article that digs deep into a complex topic. I was truly amazed at how much information was included on how to get amazing detail from a single exposure. Shooting tips and specific step-by-step tutorials for the Photomatix Lightroom Plug-in and tips for using Adobe Photoshop’s CS5/CS6’s HDR tool were also covered. They even included some presets for Photomatix on the DVD, which will be welcomed by anyone who owns the application.”

Light Art Performance Photography (LAPP): “This was over-the-top amazing. If you’ve ever wondered how people create spheres of light or other amazing effects with light on film or by using digital cameras, Joerg Miedza and JanLeonardo Woellert, co-authors of the book “Painting with Light” go into detail about how it’s done, including specific information about what lights work particularly well, and how to build a “Performance Stick.” Also, the imagery in the book and in the e-book is stunning; even if you have no interest in learning the techniques, you should take a look at the images.”


System Camera Test: “I’m sure that this in-depth review of high-end and mid-range mirrorless cameras took a lot of time and effort (when you see the charts full of specs you’ll see what I mean!). I think they did a fantastic job testing these five cameras: The Nikon 1 V1, Olympus PEN E-P3, Nikon Coolpix P7100, Sony SLT-A77V and the Sony NEX 5N.”

Free RAW Processing with RawTherapee: “This was an impressive overview and tutorial of a free piece of software for converting RAW images.”

The Lightroom Workflow: “An excellent guide to getting started in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, with many tips for importing, organizing, developing, exporting and presenting your images. Lightroom 3 is used since that was the shipping version when it was written, but the vast majority of the information will pertain to Lightroom 4.”

I found something of interest in every article, and thought that the e-book alone that is on the enclosed DVD for Issue 7 entitled Painting with Light (Rocky Nook, 2011) was worth the $14.99 cover price (US/CAN) or $9.99 per issue for the iPad version. The DVD download for each specific issue is also provided when you purchase the specific issues via the magazine’s iPad edition, and according to the information on, “As of Issue 8, the free DVD supplied with the print edition is available for download to purchasers of the Zinio edition.”

I highly recommend c’t Digital Photography magazine and will be subscribing soon (probably to the Zinio edition, but the printed edition looked so good that I might go for the ink on paper option instead). Decisions, decisions…