BOOK REVIEW: Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure


Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure

True story: last year my wife and I toured South Dakota’s Black Hills, and we stayed at a bed-and-breakfast that coincidentally was run by a couple whose son worked for Adobe as a Photoshop Lightroom developer. The couple told me that their son (and all the other Lightroom developers) were given digital cameras to keep and to play with, which shows that Adobe really wanted everyone associated with Lightroom to understand what photographers need in such a product.

Another example of Adobe’s desire to instill a love of photography in its team members is the Photoshop Lightroom Adventure, which takes a group of elite photographers and Lightroom team members to exotic locales to shoot, process and present photos with Lightroom. The first adventure went to Iceland in 2006, and in April 2008 another group went to Tasmania to shoot and play with the then-unreleased Photoshop Lightroom 2. Their coordinator, photographer and author Mikkel Aaland, wrote Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure as a result.

Too much Lightroom (ironically)

There are a lot of Lightroom books on the market, and Adventure could have been unique if it had only put more emphasis on the trip participants and how they used Lightroom 2 in Tasmania (a glimpse into these professionals’ workflow would have been invaluable), but instead Adventure is a lot like all the other Lightroom books, basically walking readers through the various features and modules from importing, filtering, developing and producing prints, slideshows or web galleries. There’s no particular emphasis on features new to version 2, which is disappointing. However, every now and then Mikkel shares some insider Lightroom knowledge in sidebars labeled “Under the Hood.” This is knowledge you won’t get elsewhere and it’s like an oasis in the Tasmanian wilderness.

The good news is that most of the photographs in the book are from the Tazmania trip and quite inspiring. There are also spreads throughout the book that feature a photograph from a particular adventure participant, with some intriguing text alongside it. These photos can be anything—landscapes, animals and sometimes the photographers themselves, in the brush or on the airplane. This was my favorite part of the book, and I wish there were more photos of the trip itself.

Conclusion

Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure is a perfectly good book on Lightroom that covers the features thoroughly. Anyone who is new to Lightroom would benefit from reading it cover to cover. There are a lot of other books that do the same thing, and I think Mikkel missed an opportunity to really produce a unique book that shows how the pros use Lightroom 2 in a place as exotic as Tasmania. Despite that, at least the pictures throughout can convey some of that aura of adventure.

Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure
Mikkel Aaland
Published by O’Reilly
Rating: 8/10
US$44.99