Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My book is done, my book is done!

I don't have a lot to report today. Except this:

My New Book is Finished!

I'd like to thank all the little people...

After many months of effort, my new book "Pathways", has gone to the publisher. It is a 96-page coffee table size book and it is a themed collection of some of my favourite (and best!) photos.

I should elaborate, I guess. When I say "publisher", I mean "Blurb.com". I ordered one copy so that I could proof it for typos and look for picture problems (see below). Everyone knows that typos grow invisibly overnight, only to appear when the first 100,000 copies are off the printing press. I already discovered that the customized text I had written on the Copyright page had disappeared, so I have to wonder what other problems exist.

Picture problems: I'm going to assume that Blurb knows what they're doing (yeah I know, "makes an ASS out of U and ME"). But do I know what I'm doing? Here's the thing: In my first Blurb book, I diligently resized each and every image to match the pixel size of the container it was going in. There were no digital artifacts that I could see, no jaggy lines, no sharpening issues. For this book, I took a different approach: I made sure the pictures met at least a minimum and didn't exceed the actual pixel dimensions by more than about a factor of 2. So if I had to fit the picture in a container that was 2342 pixels wide, I just made sure that it was somewhere between 2000 and 4000 pixels in size. Let's see how the Blurb software handles that. I'll report again when I see the physical sample.

I started the book and did about half of it last spring. The phrase 'many months of effort' is a bit misleading: I did nothing but occasionally think about it for many months. Then when I knew which pictures I wanted in it, I sat down and crashed through it in 2 days. That's kind of how I work on projects. Once I know, I go. The interesting thing is, the number of hours I actually worked on the second half of the book was surprisingly low. Why? LIGHTROOM.

If you've been reading my articles, you'd understand. I selected the pictures I wanted. Tweaked them. Stored them in a Collection. Then I clicked "Export", set the criteria I wanted (sharpening, size, location, etc) and clicked Export. Now I had finished jpegs in a folder and simply dragged them into the Blurb containers. The new version of the BookSmart software helped too, I was able to edit page layouts much more easily than in the past. So let's see, shall we?


Screen Capture of the front cover of the book. Read below how to see the rest of it!

"Where", you may ask, "can I see this book"? I thought you'd never ask: here — http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1217216. Click on "Full Screen". You can even zoom in on any page by right-clicking, but I found that you have to right-click back to 'original size' to navigate through the book. Knock yourself out!

(small edit after-the-fact: clicking that link takes you to the Blurb bookstore with that book highlighted. Click on the cover of the book to preview it. It opens a new page with a fake wood background -- and a button that says "Full Screen". That's the best way to preview it. You can click on the book to turn the pages, you can right-click to blow it up. You can order a copy on the original page but wait until I get the preview copy to see what edits I have to make, unless you want an "artist's proof" copy. I'm going to reset the paper option so it is available with and without the premium paper if I can.)

Keyboard symbols
I like using ASCII symbols when I write. Stuff like, º for 'degrees' (as in, "it was -20ºC today") or ©2010 instead of "Copyright". How do you type these? On your numeric keypad, by holding down the "Alt" key when you type the code. For example, 'alt-167' is the º symbol. 'alt-0151' gets you an em-dash (—). Where do you find these codes? Google "ASCII Numeric Keypad Codes". I found this site: http://www.tedmontgomery.com/tutorial/altchrc.html. Try it. It's a mystery to me how to do it on my laptop, though. There's no numeric keypad, so it's something to do with the "Fn" key, but I haven't figured it out. If someone knows, email me!
Spring is here.
Well, not yet. There's still a foot or two of snow on the ground up here, but you wouldn't know it if you were in Toronto. But we've had some warm temperatures which turned my driveway into a slippery sheet of wet ice, and the roads and bush into greasy, ugly mud. Not a very photogenic time of year. So I haven't done a lot of pictures, just a couple to share.

I think this tells a story. I named this image, "Only in Canada, eh? Pity." Anyway, that's what it looks like out on the lake. I did some work on this image, enhancing the sky and some of the detail on the flag, and I removed a few twigs and stuff at the bottom.

One day I'm going to find a killer image like this. I kind of like this one.
Onward & Upward!

PS: small addendum. My file of images that I would like to use in my next book is virtually empty. I feel as though I'm starting all over again. It's strange not having that hanging over me. I have some ideas about my next photo projects, which I'll share next time. In the meantime, the working title of my next book is, "The View from Inside my Head" (or maybe, "Inside my Head, {subtitle}The view from here" ). Say next year, this time. Not a bad target, huh?