GraphicPhotoshop Lightroom AdventurePhotoshop Lightroom Adventure

Photoshop Lightroom Adventure
Author: Mikkel Aaland
Publisher: O'Reilly Press
Retail Price: $39.99

Although I'm a great fan of Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom, there are times when its interface will confound me or I forget how to perform a rarely used (for me) task. That's why I was excited to read Mikkel Aaland's Photoshop Lightroom Adventure.

Lightroom Adventure is different from your traditional computer software book. Rather than just offering flowcharts and how-tos, readers follow the Lightroom Adventure team on an Icelandic excursion to see how the software performs in the real world. The result is a book that is as visually stunning as it is informative.

Lightroom Adventure follows a logical flow by introducing skills in the order the new user will need them. First, there's a discussion of the Lightroom space, importing and the different modules. Then it becomes more complex by discussing the finer points of Lightroom such as proper tonal distribution and color tuning and, finally, it ends with a discussion of slideshows, printing and the web gallery (as an aside, the web galleries in Lightroom are gorgeous and there's a fair amount of information on the net showing how to customize them further).

As you can see, there's too much to cover in this short review so what I'm going to choose a few techniques I found interesting.

Being a color photographer from the old days, I was pleased to find a recipe for making your images look like they were printed on Cibachrome. For those who don't know, Cibachrome (AKA Ilfochrome) was a process used to print color slides. The prints were extraordinarily vibrant and Cibas, as they were often called, had their own unique look that made them instantly recognizable. A traditional "C" print looked like a mud puddle compared to a Ciba. I printed Cibas in the '80s and found the process both rewarding and infuriating.

But Angela Drury's Cibachrome recipe allowed me to reproduce the look of Ciba without the frustration. In a simple step-by-step fashion, I was able to reproduce what she had done with little distraction and quickly create a useable image.

But, like I said, I'm a color photographer from the old days. These days I capture in color and convert to black and white. Lightroom Adventure offers a whole chapter of tips and techniques for converting to black and white and getting the most out of your images. I've found Lightroom so powerful that I rarely take my images into Photoshop to adjust; I can do it all in Lightroom, and I consider this chapter a must-read for the black and white Lightroom user.

Finally, I was pleased to see Bill Atkinson's images in this book. Long time Mac users will recognize Atkinson as the author of Hypercard, software that was bundled with Apple's OS before OS X. What many people won't know is that Atkinson has been a digital photography evangelist for years. His photos in Photoshop Lightroom Adventure differ from the other photographers because he prefers not to do much postprocessing. Atkinson's inclusion shows the power of Lightroom. It can be used by those who prefer to do little post-processing or those who want split-toned heavily adjusted images.

Lightroom has taken the photographer's market by storm and Photoshop Lightroom Adventure makes using Lightroom easier. It weighs in at 332 pages, includes color and black and white images and is priced at $39.99.

Review by NCMUG member James Bleifus