6.22.2009

I love writing books almost as much as I love being finished with them.

Time is ticking away and I'm spending more and more time in the office trying to read what I've written and write more of what I read that didn't make sense the first time. What a weird sentence. In case you didn't know I started writing books about photography a couple of years ago.

You'd think it's pretty simple because you are ostensibly writing about what you know but it's not that simple. Just because you know it you don't know where a reader who is coming from a totally different background will feel comfortable stepping in and easing into the flow of words and theories.

How do you presume what your audience knows? More importantly, how do you presume to know what they'd like to know? I think it's a sticky thing because if you write at one level to hit someone who is a complete novice you'll alienate everyone else and no one but tyros will ever read your stuff again.

So, here I am, a week away from deadline still adding information to a book that I thought would be a slam dunk. It's an overview of all the cool types of lighting equipment that photographers might want to try their hands at over the course of their explorations. But here's the issue: Some stuff seems really cool to the Magellans of the world but a lot of the world is made up of good, solid Burghers who just want to know how all the other pros do it.

At some point I gave up guessing and just started writing about the stuff that I'm interested in. Last week I was getting worried but this week I'm guardedly optimistic. I've finished my little sections about: Lighting with your laptop screens. Fun with florescence. Why constant light is my constant companion. Casting darker nets. And much more.

One way or another it goes into the Fedex box at the end of the week and then my brain shuts down and deals with only primordial stuff. Like actual photography. And boy I am long past due to walk around with no agenda and a camera in my hand.

Don't know how the big time guys with big time schedules do it (the Joe McNally's and Scott Kelbey's of the photo/writer world) but I presume the word for it in the publishing world is: Ghostwriters. (Don't take that too seriously! I'm sure Joe and Scott write their own stuff. I just have to say they've got more energy than the rest of us!).

On another note, I can't make sense of how people buy books. I am thrilled that they are still rushing to buy my first book, Minimalist Lighting: Professional Techniques for Location Photography, but I can't understand why the second book, the one on studio lighting, isn't beating the crap out of the first book. I think the second one is just great.

Since this is the web and we can do tons of good research here I'd like to hear from people who've read both of the first two books to better understand the appeal of the first over the second from something other than a proud parent's point of view.

Finally, I'm letting everyone know that I've been selling off all but my essential Nikon Stuff and I've started to buy some Olympus gear. Reason? I love their optics. Two lenses, the 12-60mm and the 50-200mm would suit me for 99% of what I shoot. And wow! have you played with an E-30 body? Really, really nice. It's about time someone made a fun to shoot body with good IS built in.

Keeping the D700 and a range from 18 to 300. Just about everything else goes.

No. I won't be letting go of the 50mm 1.1.2