The Art of Photographic Lighting by Eib Eibelshaeuser – Rocky Nook, O’Reilly

This book is really more a reference encyclopedia than a textbook.

The author is clearly very knowledgeable about light theory, the history of light, and the different types of lights that are available. I suspect much of the basic information provided on the different construction of various light bulbs will neither be of interest nor much use to most photographers.

However, there are several valuable chapters such as “Light and Shade” and “Controlling Light” that are well worth reading. In addition the sections on hard and soft light, direct and indirect light are very useful.

I feel this is an excellent supplementary text for anyone learning photographic lighting. For schools teaching photography, I’d recommend they include this book in their libraries.

Focus on Photographing People by Haje Jan Kamps – Focal Press

I consider this book an excellent introduction for anyone who is starting to do serious photography and for the occasional serious photographer who may not have previously done portrait photography.

The author opens with basic information about equipment and camera settings. I like that he emphasizes that an expensive camera is not a requisite for successful imaging. He then discusses composition including how to direct a model, elements of lighting, and some basic rules of composition. There is a discussion of the merits and techniques of street photography. The last section discusses photo editing.

In addition to my opening comment, this would be a good text for an Introductory Course at the high school or college level.

GIMP 2.6 for Photographers by Klaus Goelker – Rocky Nook, O’Reilly

This book is the complete package. It contains a DVD that provides all three versions (Windows, MAC, and Unix) for GIMP. In addition there is an introduction to GIMP 2.8 which is currently under development. And last, but hardly least, the images used in the book’s tutorials are included.

The book progresses in an A to Z fashion in teaching one about GIMP. In addition to the “how to” instruction, there is sufficient, but not overwhelming, information on theory, the “why” part of processing.

GIMP is the “high end” of free photo processing software and approaches Adobe CS 5 in its capabilities. Even if you are not on a budget, consider GIMP. And if you do, or if you are currently using GIMP, add this book to your library. You’ll be glad you did.

Light, Science & Magic 4th Edition by Fil Hunter, Steven Biver and Paul Fuqua – Focal Press

I have used the 3rd edition of this book when I teach. The 4th Edition improves on the earlier version and brings one “up-to-date.” This is a text I’ll continue to recommend.

The authors introduce the book with some basic information on the physics of light. If you really want to know the how and the why of lighting, this information is important. In my opinion, too often photographers know some basic lighting formulas such as for lighting portraits but they don’t know why these formulas work. The why becomes very important when one encounters a situation that varies from the usual.

As everyone knows, a photographic image is two dimensional. The proper use of lighting is critical to provide an illusion of three dimensions. Another important facet of lighting is the avoidance of unwanted reflections, particularly when photographing a shiny object. Do you ever photograph a black object on a black background? How to do well in all of the preceding situations, and in many more, are explained.

This is a book that all photographers should have in their library.

Focus on Composing Photos by Peter Ensenberger – Focal Press

The major portion of the book covers the “Rules” of good photographic composition. The author performs competently as he progresses through the various chapters. The text is clearly written, and examples abound.

But the very best has been saved till the end; “Epilogue: Where Do You Go from Here? Like the author, I am an advocate of “having a game plan” and being prepared. In the earlier pages the author speaks of scouting out one’s subject and determining different perspectives. On pages 126 and 127 you will find six very different images of the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Clearly photographic evidence of the truth of the author’s instruction.

I teach photographic composition to beginning photographers and I’ll be using this book in my next class.

Charles Heisterkamp, III, M.D.

Photoshop Elements 10 – the missing manual, Barbara Brundage, O’Reilly Publishers

Highly recommended I have been teaching Photoshop Elements since version 7 and have used Ms. Brundage’s series of books for version 7, 8, and 9. This book is an A to Z manual on Photoshop Elements. One feature I particularly like is that the author lists a number of websites for additional material such as plug-ins. Also, she will reference a book not published by O’Reilly, an action for which both the author and publisher deserve credit.

As the author states in her introduction, this is a how and when book. The book instructs one how to use various techniques and tools, as well as when not to use them. In addition to the book content, one can go to the O’Reilly website to download additional material that is pertinent so that one can better complete various exercises in the book.

The bottom line; if you use Photoshop Elements 10, buy this book.

Charles Heisterkamp, III, M.D.




“By taking the time to browse through the posts here, you’ll find plenty of beautiful photographs, thoughtful reflections and inspirational content, as I communicate my deep passion for specialness.”

Photography, Books, an unusual Blog. Worth a visit. You might be inspired.

Charles Heisterkamp, III, M.D. – Photographer

The Alienated Photographer

“Kalisher’s images are razor-sharp and always shrewdly graphic…sequenced here with sophistication, they flesh out issues of the time: race, class, politics, religion, anxiety, alienation” said Peter C. Bunnell (Professor of the history of Photography Emeritus Princeton University) in his evaluation of the book. 

“The Alienated Photographer” by internationally renowned fine art photographer Simpson Kalisher is being released in a limited quantity first edition printing this summer, timed to coincide with his new solo exhibit at the Museum of Fine Art, Houston.

 Kalisher, who turns 85 this July,  spent much of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s shooting in New York, calls this new collection his finest hour. “I spent years reviewing my contact sheets,” Kalisher said, “understanding what I was doing with the camera, and making  a selection that is a statement about the time we live in, about photography and, clearly, about what photography has meant to me.”

 You can learn more about Kalisher, his work and “The Alienated Photographer” by clicking on: 

For a limited time, reduced prices for pre-publication orders are offered. Check it out.

I’ve ordered the book.  Based on the preview images on the Internet site, I’d suggest you consider this book.

Charles Heisterkamp, III, M.D., Photographer


Photoshop Elements 9 – the missing manual, Barbara Brundage, O’Reilly Publishers

Overall, an excellent book. I have been teaching Photoshop Elements since version 7 and have used Ms. Brundage’s series of books for version 7, 8, and 9. Essentially, they are an A to Z manual on Photoshop Elements. One feature I really like is that the author lists a number of websites for additional material such as plug-ins. She will reference a book not published by O’Reilly, an action for which both the author and publisher deserve credit.

If I have one mild criticism, it is that not enough emphasis is given to the use of the camera raw converter. What many Photoshop users don’t realize is that the raw converter can be used for jpg images, and in my opinion, generally does a better job than when they are simply adjusted in the edit section. If layers is the heart of photoshop, then the raw converter is the brains.

The bottom line; if you use Photoshop Elements 9, buy this book.

Charles Heisterkamp, III, M.D.


Serial Photography – Using Themed Images to Improve Your Photography, Harald Mante with Eva Witter-Mante, Rocky Nook, O’Reilly

The author discusses the benefits of serial photography and provides a host of illustrations to support his thesis. The book is divided into four sections; general themes, serial photography and design theory, serial photography and color therapy, and special themes. The first section includes subjects such as cars, street lamps, laundry, balloons, and boats. Under design theory one finds triples, lines and stripes, checkered patterns and more. The color theory section provides thoughts on the color blue, colors and non-colors, and monochromatic pastels. Included under special themes are glass facades, still lifes, and mirror images.

I could readily relate to this book as I have produced my own series including “Trucks I have Followed”, “The Left Rear End of Automobiles”, and “Fire Hydrants”. Thus, I particularly found the sections on design theory and color theory very interesting. There is significant depth to this book. I enjoyed it. I think you will, too.

Charles Heisterkamp, III, M.D.