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Usually, I buy at least one Mac per year. Since my Mac Book Pro is about two years old, I was keen to upgrade to the new model. However, I will not be buying this generation (October 2008) of Mac Book Pro (or Mac Book, for that matter) for two simple reasons:

1. The glossy display is hard to see under the best of conditions. With only moderate levels of ambient light it turns into a mirror reflecting all kinds of things instead of showing what I want to see on screen. There is also the problem that glossy screens are much worse in a color calibrated environment due to color shifts with the viewing angle. Unfortunately, there is no option to select a non-glossy screen.

2. The keyboard is a piece of junk. Sorry for the blunt words, but fast touch typing is simply not possible on what feels like the cheapest and nastiest keyboard I have touched in years. A $5 keyboard bought at the supermarket is better than this.

So for my two most important applications, digital photo editing and typing text, the new Mac Book Pro is much worse than what I currently have, so I will refrain from updating and Apple looses the sale.

I hope that despite the strong words about the keyboard Apple take this as positive criticism and – perhaps – improve their product. I really would like to buy a new Mac Book Pro once I can justify the purchase. 😉

There are a few contemporary photographers who’s work I find truly inspiring. Alain Briot is one of them. I know many of the places he photographs and his pictures capture their essence. I wish that I could transform what I see into a picture like he does.

So I was quite excited when I saw that Alain Briot has authored a book on his way of photographing landscapes. Read the rest of this entry »

Rick Sammon’s Complete Guide to Photographing People is just that: a comprehensive, in-depth look at how Rick Sammon takes pictures of human beings on his travels.

Rick starts by explaining that the camera looks both ways, which means that there is always an emotional connection (or lack thereof) between the photographer and his or her subject. This connection is at least as important as the technical aspects of taking the photo, since it determines the content. I believe that it is far too common for photographers to become far too focused on the technical aspects of photography instead of the content, so I like being reminded of this simple fact.
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In general, I dislike books that try to cover everything to do with digital photography because they are usually good on some subjects and poor on others. I feel that these books would benefit from a tighter focus on what the author is really good at.

Mastering Digital Black and White by Amadou Diallo covers a lot of ground, but it focusses completely on digital black and white photography. In fact, it is the most comprehensive book on the subject that I have found to date. What a pleasant surprise!
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Picture This – How Pictures Work by Molly Bang

This is certainly the book that has surprised me most this year! Molly Bang uses four differently colored papers and cuts out shapes from them to make images. I was fascinated to see how simple shapes cut from paper can have such a powerful emotional impact. The woman is clearly a master. Read the rest of this entry »

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