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If you want a truly wonderful adventure in learning Lightroom, then this book has your ticket.

Book Review: Photoshop Lightroom Adventure by Mikkel Aaland

Photoshop Lightroom Adventure began as an idea by award-winning photographer and the author of nine books, Mikkel Aaland. Aaland, a pioneer in digital photography since 1980, asked Ansel Adams in an interview what he would pursue if Adams was just starting out. Adams began discussing the ideas of digital photographs. Aaland has pursued this topic ever since.

As a beta tester for Lightroom in 2006 and knowing that he was going to write a book on the subject, Aaland also knew that there would be seven or eight other books to compete against. Instead of just writing a standard how-to book, he talked to the people at O'Reilly about putting together an excursion to a far-off land and inviting professional photographers to go along and see how they all used Lightroom (still in beta) in a real live environment. Soon Adobe became involved and the project became the O'Reilly Photoshop Lightroom Iceland Adventure and the book became Photoshop Lightroom Adventure

Photoshop Lightroom Adventure is divided into 12 chapters and 332 pages along with an introduction and a forward by George Jardine; Pro Photo evangelist for Adobe Systems. Why do I include the forward in a review? Not so much for its interesting viewpoint on the creation of the book, but rather because the author of the forward has put together a series of podcasts featuring the major players in this adventure that can be found on his Blog as well as on the O'Reilly page. The podcasts, tied with the book, really makes the adventure come alive in multi-media format.

Chapter 1, "The Lightroom Workspace Revealed," takes you on a tour around the Lightroom interface and explores all of the features that are Lightroom. Chapter 2, "Importing Images into Lightroom," explores the fact that images are not opened in Lightroom, as in other application, rather they are imported. You will learn why this is so and why it makes Lightroom so effective at what it does.

Chapter 3, "Using the Library Module," will show you the how and why of using the Library module to edit, rate, sort and perform some basic image processing. Chapter 4, "The Develop Module," gets you into the meat and potatoes of image processing in Lightroom. Here you will find the sophisticated and easy to use tone, color, cropping, and other basic retouching tools.

Chapter 5, "Develop Great-Looking Photos," continues in the Develop module to introduce you to the more advanced tool that will have you evaluating your images to make sure that they are coming out their best. Chapter 6, "Color-Tuned Photos," shows how, in the Develop Module, you can adjust colors with ease using the sliders to help make global corrections.

Chapter 7, "Black and White and Special Effects," shows how to create great Black and White photographs from within Lightroom as well as how to simulate the rough equivalent of colored filters for additional effects. Chapter 8, "Develop Recipes from Iceland," finishes up the Develop module by showing how to apply custom look and feel techniques to your images and showing how several of the Iceland team members did it.

Chapter 9, "Exporting Files," explains how you don't actually save files in the Lightroom environment; rather it saves instructions on the processing for your images. So, if you want to process outside the Lightroom environment, you will need to export the file for use elsewhere. It also shows how to export them to a catalog for use in another Lightroom Catalog. Chapter 10, "Lightroom Slideshows," will take you through the steps in creating a slide show to present your images to your clients or friends.

Chapter 11, "Power Printing," takes you to the next level of printing images. Many say that the Print module is, along with the Develop module, the most powerful part of Lightroom. Here the Print Module is revealed. Chapter 12, "Creating a Web Gallery," shows how Lightroom can create all of the components to generate a full fledged web gallery in either HTML or Flash. You can even upload your ready-to-go gallery directly.

Photoshop Lightroom Adventure is a concept book and because of that, it may not be for everyone. If you are a total beginner to photography and to the software needed to process images, this book may not go into enough detail and may not explain enough about the controls that are used within Lightroom. The same may be the case if you need step-by-step hand holding to learn a new piece of software.

But if you have worked with Photoshop, Elements or some of the other photo editing software out there and want to learn how to use Lightroom Photoshop Lightroom Adventure will provide you with a unique opportunity to see how many of the master photographers and leaders within the industry use Lightroom and just as importantly, the photos that they took on this adventure.

The imagery is just astounding. Interlaced throughout the book are the photos that they took along with the why and the how. If you get the enhanced podcasts, you will see the images as they describe the experience. You can also see many of the images on the O'Reilly Lightroom Adventure website.

If you want a truly wonderful adventure in learning Lightroom, then Photoshop Lightroom Adventure has your ticket. One additional note Photoshop Lightroom Adventure is the first book that includes the tools provided by Lightroom 1.1 and so it is completely up to date. My only hope is that O'Reilly with do the next logical thing, produce a full photographic image book from this adventure. That would complete the experience.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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