Photography Book Review: Understanding the Exhibition

Understanding the Exhibit has been written with DSLR novices in mind who will benefit from Bryan Petersen’s easy prose style, straightforward non-technical explanations, and the plethora of associated photographs to illustrate the point. Intermediate or more experienced photographers will be able to hone their skills by reading about special techniques for more difficult lighting conditions, such as capturing snow or low light or night scenes, and the use of polarizing and neutral density filters, multiple exposures, and high dynamic range (HDR). ) shots. Note, however, that the book isn’t particularly useful for point-and-shoot cameras.

In his introduction, Bryan Petersen highlights the fact that the modern DSLR camera has so many controls and modes that even an experienced photographer can get confused. He can use the camera’s automatic settings and take perfectly good pictures, but he can never explain how he achieved that particular result. He suggests that the only way to fully understand exposure on a modern DSLR camera is to use the manual mode and take control of the settings yourself, or “fly solo”.

While he defines exposure in a traditional and technical way, I gained a much greater understanding from his “Photographic Triangle” explanation of the basic concept of the interaction of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. For me, this is the highlight of the book and removes most of the confusing technical jargon so often associated with photography books. Also, your “Heart of the Triangle: The Light Meter” example of getting water through a kitchen faucet, as it explains the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO, very simply illustrates the concept of exposure.

Not only does it provide simple explanations of terms and concepts, there are also exercises at the end of each chapter to help round out your understanding.

There have been three editions of this book by Bryan Petersen: 1990, 2004, and most recently 2010. While there have been notable advances in camera technology in the twenty years between editions, it is fair to say that the overwhelming message about the “Photo triangle” is still true. It is by far the simplest explanation of the exhibit you will ever read and the easiest to understand. Once you embrace the concepts of manual mode on your DSLR and apply Bryan’s explanation of exposure to any situation, the “light bulb” moment will happen for you and will remain forever. However, I recommend that you revisit the book from time to time because each time I reread it, I have gained another kernel of knowledge from it. I consider it to be one of the best books written on this subject and recommend it to anyone looking to understand exposure and produce perfect photos every time.

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