Thursday, March 29, 2007

Website/Video Review: The Luminous Landscape Video Journal: Issue 15

by T. Michael Testi ( , PhotographyToday, ATAEE)
For those who don't know, The Luminous Landscape is a phenomenal website for those who are into photography, especially landscape photography. As with any quality photography site it has its galleries and essays as well as product reviews and tutorials. It has all the things one would expect in a professional photography website.

You may have read my review of Alain Briot's Mastering Landscape Photography: The Luminous Landscape Essays, a wonderful book that explores what it takes to become a master of landscape photography. On the site you can also read Briot's column called Briot's View. The publisher and primary author is Michael Reichmann. He has forged the site into a multimedia learning center with the The Luminous Landscape Video Journal. He is also the host of the video.

The Luminous Landscape Video Journal: Issue 15 is the latest offering from the Luminous Landscape. Although this is the first issue being offered as a download version, the one I am reviewing is the DVD version I ordered from the site. Let me make one point; my only minor disappointment is that from the time I order a DVD until the time I receive it takes about two to three weeks. I suspect this delay has to do with it coming from Canada. Our friends to the north will find the delivery time much shorter, but to me, it deprives me of my instant gratification. When issue 16 is available, I may be trying the download.

In this video, Michael (I have to use the familiar, since I feel acquainted with him from the videos) and the workshop participants are on location in Bangladesh. They have workshops also. The next one is going to the Amazon in April, which already sold out. They explore the wonderful aspects of being in an exotic location and getting the kind of shots one could only imagine being done by a National Geographic photographer. They journey down the river to the woodland of the Sunderban. They explore the Sadarghat - Dhaka's main ferry terminal. They examine the Bangladesh people - poor in wealth, but rich life and spirit.
What makes this work is that the experience is videotaped and shown as a travel film so you can experience the trip, but then they show the stills that came from the trip. You can see the scenery, then you see the image. It gives you the sense of being there and taking in the pictures. The video journal does not stop there. There is a second section featuring Bill Atkinson on Color Management. This is the first of a two-part video that features discussion on color management and profiling. There is a lot of interesting inspiration you cannot get anywhere else.

Part three continues with Bill Atkinson on matte board cutting and print mounting. Here they demonstrate Atkinson's method of cutting and building double matte techniques for gallery quality prints. The last segment is with Brooks Jensen, the creator and co-publisher of the bi-monthly Lenswork, the magazine on the art of photography. It is truly amazing to see what it takes to put together a high quality magazine on a regular basis.

I have been sold on the video journals since the first one I ordered. These are quality DVDs that will provide you with the confidence you need to explore your world. You can now see through the eyes of a photographer and learn the techniques that will elevate your skills to the next level. You can only buy these DVDs at the Luminous Landscape store. If you are trying to enhance your skills as a photographer, and it really does not matter if you specialize in landscape or not, you will want to order The Luminous Landscapes Video Journal # 15.

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