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Thread: Vincent Versace's book about B&W

  1. #1

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    Vincent Versace's book about B&W

    I began reading Vincent Versace's From Oz to Kansas a couple days ago and it's so good that I'm having a very difficult time putting it down. Despite that I have been emphasizing black-and-white photography for over a year and feel very comfortable with it, I'm finding stuff in this book that is both new and exciting to me that also applies to color photography. Lots of stuff!

    Buying the book provides free access to some Nik Color Efex plugins and image files discussed in the book (though I bought mine used and won't be surprised to learn that I won't be able to access them). You can follow along step-by-step using CS6, though the concepts are not limited to that version or even that software. The freebies include actions of every conversion explained in the book and a PDF explaining the author's workflow.

    However, the really important part of the book for me is the conceptual stuff ranging from philosophy to details of how and why RGB is almost always central to black-and-white digital photography, and to the details of post-processing that finalize the making of the image. Despite that I have been reading the book without the computer at hand and have never used CS, I have enough post-processing experience that I'm having no troubles whatsoever grasping everything. Those with little post-processing experience will benefit from following each step at the computer.

    I am far enough into the book that I can't recommend it highly enough to both the newbie and experienced monochrome photographer. The book is so good that I have already placed its prequel, Welcome to Oz 2.0, on my Amazon wish list even though it is definitely not limited to black-and-white photography and may not even discuss it.

    I considered waiting until I have finished the book before writing this post and decided not to for two reasons: I learned so much from reading the first three chapters (actually, I learned a lot just from the Preface) that even if I don't learn anything from the remaining five chapters and two other sections, which is highly doubtful, I will put the book down feeling very satisfied. There may be someone out there in the CiC community who could get as excited about this book as I am that should not have to wait for me to finish the book to learn about it.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 15th June 2013 at 03:52 PM.

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Vincent Versace's book about B&W

    Just been reading the extracts from the 'Look Inside' option in Amazon. That looks very good. He writes well, in a very easy-to-follow style.

  3. #3

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    Re: Vincent Versace's book about B&W

    Vincent Versace has a few video tutorials on Kelby training. You have to subscribe to KT but you can do that monthly and unsubscribe when you want to. There are a large number of good tutorials there.

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    Cantab's Avatar
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    Re: Vincent Versace's book about B&W

    Mike, you sold me on the book. Thanks to Donald's comment, I had a look inside the book at Amazon (but then promptly ordered it from someone else!).

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    Re: Vincent Versace's book about B&W

    His videos on Kelby also allow you to download the freebies.

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    James G's Avatar
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    Re: Vincent Versace's book about B&W

    Following the recommendation, I've purchased Vincent Versace's book. It's bringing me rapidly back up to speed with B&W. Mind you, I probably never was quite there , and is proving both educational and a good read!
    Thanks Mike

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    Cantab's Avatar
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    Re: Vincent Versace's book about B&W

    Quote Originally Posted by James G View Post
    Following the recommendation, I've purchased Vincent Versace's book. It's bringing me rapidly back up to speed with B&W. Mind you, I probably never was quite there , and is proving both educational and a good read!
    Thanks Mike
    I'd like to echo James' comment. My copy of the book arrived in the mail yesterday. It looks like it will be very interesting and useful.

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    Jeff S's Avatar
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    Re: Vincent Versace's book about B&W

    I bought From Oz to Kansas about a month ago but didn't start it because I bought it with his two earlier books, Welcome to Oz and Welcome to Oz 2.0, and wanted to read them in order. Versace indicates that the books build on each other and are not just a rewrite.

    Now that I hear that the third book, From Oz to Kansas, is so good, I am not sure I want to wait. By the way, the first book in the series is good too.

    So much to read... So little time...

  9. #9

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    Re: Vincent Versace's book about B&W

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff S View Post
    Welcome to Oz and Welcome to Oz 2.0...Versace indicates that the books build on each other and are not just a rewrite.
    Thanks so much for answering my question about that before I got around to asking it!

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    Re: Vincent Versace's book about B&W

    I too have bought the (digital) version of the book. I enjoyed the initial chapters explaining background and the relation ship between colour and b&w. However, faced with the first worked examples which use CS exclusively, I am finding it hard to follow.

    Admittedly, I am reading on an uncalibrated tablet without access to my computer, but I just thought I'd inject a note of caution.

    Unlike Mike, I do not have the experience or ability to move easily between a layered CS approach and the Lightroom way of working. It may all become clearer when I can work on the samples for real (or when I arrive at the sections on Efex Pro), but for now I wonder if I've got a bit above myself.

    Any other views?

    Dave

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    Jeff S's Avatar
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    Re: Vincent Versace's book about B&W

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    Thanks so much for answering my question about that before I got around to asking it!
    I took a closer look at Welcome to Oz 2.0 last night and thought I should make a clarification, given my earlier post about what Versace indicates.

    In the Introduction to this book, Versace says, "... this book is not a revision. It is a complete re-write. The approach that I took when re-writing was to tell you what I would do today, this moment, with these images, as if I were working on them for the first time. I also felt it important to use a new image, shot with the largest file that I can produce, and show you a large megapixel workflow."

    Fair enough. Things change, so do workflows. However, I took a closer look at Table of Contents and there is a significant amount of overlap, although not identical with the original book. Given that he is talking about processing photographs, it is not unexpected that some of the same ground would/should be covered in 2.0. And there certainly can be value in understanding how a photographer might do things differently now (PS CS5 is used in 2.0) than he would have in the past (not sure which version of PS he is using in the first book published in 2007). Also, despite the overlap, 2.0 has approximately 100 additional pages.

    So there you have it. I am still working my way through the first Oz and will still read 2.0 when I am finished...assuming I can refrain from jumping ahead to Versace's latest book based upon Mike's glowing report.

  12. #12

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    Re: Vincent Versace's book about B&W

    Thanks for the clarifications, Jeff. Very helpful.

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    Re: Vincent Versace's book about B&W

    Dave,

    Even if the details of the post-processing steps that Versace explains are foreign to you, try to grasp the concepts. Consider the example of the three approaches explained beginning on page 34. Even if the specific steps aren't making sense to you, it's the overall approach and final results that are far more important in my mind.

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