Monday, April 28, 2008

Promised Book Review

Well, I promised a review or at least a comparison of the two Blurb Books on the Spanish Missions of San Antonio (see previous post.) I received the second book today.

You may recall that after seeing the first book printed I felt there were two problems. First I used a black background. I like color photographs displayed against black because it eliminates the white border overpowering the light areas of the photograph. In my case, because I like to post process my photographs darker than most people, some of the edges of the photographs were lost on the black background. Also, photographs seemed to come out darker even than I expected. That is not a big deal, but I wanted to see how the same photographs would look on a white background.

The second problem was my fault. When I chose the point size for the fonts, I went with what looked good on the screen. In the book they look larger than they needed to be. On the new book I reduced the font size of all the chapter titles. They do not look quite so garish.

I did take time to resize and sharpen each and every image for the new book. I probably did that on most of the images in the first book, but some of the pages I did not take that much care. Going from digital to the printed book looses a degree of sharpness so I decided to be more careful this time.

As a result, I think the sharpening made a slight difference. Not enough that you would know it without putting the two books side by side and making a comparison. I think it is enough that I will exercise that same care in the future but that is more my details getting in the way than anything that is absolutely necessary.

As far as the dark photographs, even though I lightened a few that were exceptionally dark, they don’t look a lot different. I think it is natural for dark photographs to look even darker when viewed on white. Since I absolutely want black in my photographs I refused to lighten them to the point where the black took on a grayness. It probably would have been okay to do that, but I would rather have dark photographs than take the chance on the photographs in the book not having rich blacks.

In comparing the two side by side, I like both. It is simply a matter of a slightly different presentation. The only perceptible improvement is in the size of the title page fonts. I used a point size about half of the original and it does look much better to me.

Was it worth the expense of reprinting the same book? Yes, if for no other reason than seeing the same photographs presented two different ways. ..

The Many Faces of Janet book has shipped so it should be here early next week. After that I probably will not do another book until early July when I do the first half of this year’s photo journal. I planned to wait until the end of the year, but I am up to page 170 and we are just completing the forth month. Working at the same rate that will be 260 pages by the end of June.

Books Completed: Spanish Missions of San Antonio (new); Spanish Missions of San Antonio (first); Many Faces of Janet; Me and My Camera, The First Half Century; Photos 2007

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