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on February 6, 2010
In my opinion, there are both good and bad things to say about this book, as well as about the author. I'll start with what I do like.

Trey is excellent at taking a collection of photos with different exposures and merge them into one HDR image. He achieves an arty fantasy look in the images which is very impressive. In my eyes, this is where his great talent is.

What I don't like are the photos themselves. If it had not been for the look created by the HDR process, most of his images would be boring, and nothing more than snapshots. I believe that the same amount of thought about composition should be applied to an HDR image as to a normal one. This is where Trey looses one star.

The other star is lost in his descriptions about the pictures. He gets overly arty and philosophical, and uses words you'll need a dictionary to understand. These paragraphs gave me nothing, and I believe the book would have been better without.

At the end, there is a good tutorial about how to go about making your own HDR images, but this is also available at Trey's blog.

As a summary, this books contains a large collection of images showing what most photographers can achieve if they practice their computer skills, and this inspiration is the best reason to buy the book.
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on January 9, 2010
What this book is:
- A collection of some of the best images from Trey's portfolio.
- An accompanying narrative of details surrounding the creation of each image (the emphasis is on the story behind the images, not the technical details).
- A compelling rationale for why HDR is an important development in photography.
- Inspirational material to encourage the reader to think, envision, and create in HDR.
- A basic tutorial to get you started with image capture and HDR processing.

What this book is not:
- A "how to" manual.
- A book of photography technique.

Some reviewers expressed disappointment that the majority of the tutorial portion (if not all) is freely available on Trey's site. That is true. The tutorial is a small chapter and I really see it as being included in the book as a matter of convenience to the reader. I myself prefer to have printed "manuals" when possible and it's nice to have it. But that's not why I bought this book. I bought this book because of everything else in it. Having had the pleasure of meeting Trey and hearing him speak a couple of time now, I can say that reading his book is like having a conversation with him. There is a passion for the art communicated through his words and images in this book. I found it refreshing that Trey steers more towards the art, rather than the technical side of things.

This book is a great starting point for those who are curious about HDR and it is an equally effective inspirational reading for seasoned photographers. Just keep in mind that this is not a comprehensive "how to" manual. I'm not sure anyone could write such a thing. You can't really give someone step-by-step instructions for creating a unique masterpiece. If I've learned anything in my own personal pursuit of HDR photography, it is that there is no single way to achieve works of art like those in this book. No two pictures are exactly alike. Don't get too hung up on what someone set their Photomatix sliders to. What matters is YOUR vision - what looks right to YOU? Do the images reflect the scene in your mind's eye?

A World in HDR is an enjoyable read. Get inspired and go create your own art!
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on October 6, 2010
There is only 1 chapter that addresses "how to" make HDR and that is chapter 5, out of 6 chapters. About 80% of the chapter can be found on the web or blog. The rest is a description of some of his shots and how they were made but the photos are not that great, meaning perhaps they dont show that well in the book paper or the size. So it is also not a coffee table book. Somehow the photos just look amazing on the web site but less so in print. Too many not-so-funny jokes, too much fluff, and too much basic info in the tutorial. I was disappointed and hoped for much more. Basically I read Chapter 5 in 15 minutes and was done with the $ 30 book.//:(
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on December 23, 2009
I have been a follower of Trey Ratcliff work on [...] for a while now and when I heard that he was publishing an HDR book I knew had to have it. "A World in HDR" is much more that another book on HDR, it is a visual journey into the heart and mind of an HDR artist. The book has beautiful images that will inspire and challenge the reader into picking up his/her camera, get out there and take pictures, then come back into your computer to continue the journey.

By looking at his images and reading his comments you can tell that HDR is just a means to an end. It is a tool to celebrate life and our world. It is his means to connect with creation and to share beauty.

His tutorials and techniques are easy to understand and follow. They are not lost in technical jargon, but practical. Not a formula book, but one intended to help us understand the HDR process and motivate us to experiment.

A combination of Fine Art Book and practical how to, "A World in HDR" is a must have for every HDR enthusiast, from beginner to advanced!
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on February 15, 2010
I have played around with a couple attempts at HDR but want to get into it a lot deeper and this book is so far the best I've found on the subject. Trey's insight and thoughts that go along with the stunning photos are a welcome departure from the more technical details I found in other HDR books. While I haven't gotten far enough into the tutuoril chapter the brief review I've done seems to break the process down into simple steps using the HDR software and Photoshop. There is also a chapter that describes other software tools that will improve the HDR process and allow the photographer to obtain the look and feel they are going after. The photos in the book are inspiring and make one want to go out and look for opportunities to capture the world in HDR.
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on February 15, 2010
Acompanho o trabalho do Trey faz um bom tempo e li muita coisa sobre HDR, inclusive pela Internet. Comprei outros dois livros sobre o assunto aqui na Amazon, mas posso dizer que este vale a pena e está acima dos outros dois. Excelente!
Aguns podem achar que o tutorial é curto e tem poucas explicações. Entretanto, se você for um leitor atento encontrará dicas que não vai achar em outro livro sobre o tema. O tutorial do Tey vai além dos demais livros e sua técnica não é apenas explicar como funciona o programa, mas sim como usar corretamente as ferramentas e o que fazer depois de processar a imagem no Photomatix. Essas dicas eu não encontrei em outros livros, pelo que as críticas de outros consumidores são impertinentes.
Recomendo!
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on July 12, 2011
Well, I did not know of the author and had never been on his web or blog site and had absolutely no preconceptions. I bought the book based on the ratings and the few preview pics that I could see on the web. I was initially somewhat taken aback by the author's wide ranging discussion of all sorts of philosophical items and I spent a bit of energy trying to unsuccessfully tie the lovely photographs to the text. Then, very subtly the authors discussions of all the wonderful famous people he had met started to grate on my nerves and I still couldn't tie the lovely photos to the text.
Soon the list of wonderful exotic places where the author had taken photos started to depress me. I started to get worried that for someone who couldn't visit Iceland very easily or stroll along the Great Wall of China I wouldn't get any real insights into what I needed to do to improve my skills.
Finally, I did come on a bit that crystallized the book - if I can paraphrase, it said "There is no quick fix; figure it out for yourself, I am not going to tell you". This helped set my expectations properly but the travelogues, name dropping and philosophical musings became hard to bear as I could no longer deny that I had done my dough and bought a dud.
The book had a tiny bit of advice on technique in chapter 5 which is so widely available that it cannot justify buying the book. It also had a great nugget of information about blending images in a software package he uses which is probably outside most people's price range.

All up - this book should not have been a book. It should have been a lovely 52 image weekly calendar where I could really appreciate the lovely pictures and not worry about the rest of the content.
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on January 10, 2010
Trey likes to philosophize. And he likes to imbue each picture with a boatload of meaning. And that's fine if you have a Website that people like, which he does. There you have time and license to chew the fat about your travels. Trey's [...] is the same mix of wide-eyed rumination and HDR photography.

This apparently pleases many people, but I would have preferred more talk about how some of these great pictures were taken. The images themselves are often wonderful and technically impressive. I just wish I had a little better idea of how the photographer actually produced them. Sometimes you get a hint in caption, but more often you don't. This aligns with Ratcliff's general philosophy that you learn more by playing around and trying things than you do from instruction. How well this works in a tutorial I will leave for you to judge. But if you wanted some detail about how best to approach HDR photography and how to process your images you may be disappointed. HDR can be tricky, and we have all seen it done poorly. So a little help in how best to blend your processed image with the original images in PhotoShop layers would have made me happier. Photomatix has a number of mysterious sliders, and I am still waiting for the book that helps you decode what some of these actually mean. Yes, you can play around and experiment with the program, but isn't that what a book should help you with?
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on July 30, 2011
Well, from now on, I will read the reviews first......Not nearly what I expected....I was looking for an instructional text, you know the use of different software and so on.....as stated in other reviews, this is nothing more than a coffee table book.....By-the-way, the LOOK IN THE BOOK thingy doesn't help at all ....But, like I said before, I should have read the reviews before I purchased this one...Sorry Trey
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VINE VOICEon January 18, 2010
I've been using HDR techniques for more than a year, but when I look at the images of really talented photographers who have mastered this process I realize that I still have a lot to learn. That's why I was delighted to learn that two books by two masters were recently released. Practical HDR by David Nightingale (ISBN: 9780240812496) is the other, and has its own review. They are related books with different strengths and weaknesses. I encourage you to look at both reviews (by myself and others) if you have to choose only one. However, both get 5-Stars and if you can buy both your resulting prints will be better for it.

The author, Trey Ratcliff, is also the force behind a very popular HDR oriented blog, stuckincustoms. Anyone interested in (or addicted to) this technique would enjoy following it. In addition, there are several free tutorials on that site.

The opening page has the title, "What is HDR". It contains two images. One is a single, properly exposed image that most photographers would probably delete and the other is an HDR version that is spectacular. A quote from that page sums it all up, "HDR is an evolving art that enables the photographer to capture and display the full range of light that can be realized by the human eye." The rest of the first chapter includes some stunning photographs and some explanation of what HDR does. Here's a simplified summary: a human eye can see details in shadows and at the same time see details in bright areas. A camera can't. However, that same camera can be told to take three images, but to pay attention to the bright spots in one image, the mid ranges in another and the shadows in the third. After that, software can merge these images (taking the best details from each) and create a picture that resembles what the eye can see.

The book is broken into sections and chapters that take readers through introductory materials and then into more advanced concepts. The last third is devoted to tutorials with more text and fewer finished images.

Most of the pages in the first two thirds of the book have a great image on the right and a description on the left. The description always adds some detail about what was done to make it better. Not a full blown tutorial, but a clear insight instead. For example, a page with a picture that has a lot of grass in the foreground has a comment that tells us that bright sun reflects off of grass and often gives it a garish look, especially after tonemapping. Trey's advice is to go into Photoshop and adjust the Hue/Saturation slider to remove some yellow. (As a mid-level PS user, I would have instinctively worked on the green.) As sections progress, more and more details are uncovered. Much of what Trey has to say is about how the eye and brain process images. He tells of visual experiments where the experimenter projects two colors on a screen and asks the audience to pick the white one, then projects a third image that makes it clear that the first two were merely different shades of grey. Trey then uses this to explain how the mind processes pictures and how to use that information to make images more pleasing to the viewer.

The last part is where this book stands apart from the others on this topic. Trey gives us several tutorials covering the usual how to use the software, and then moving on to more advanced techniques such as creating an HDR from a single image or double processing an HDR image. He shows us how to make the impossible happen, such as a multiple shot HDR that includes moving objects like a Times Square ticker or a bus.

One more thing, though it is not directly related to the book. Trey started a site called "hdrspotting". On it you'll find great examples of HDR images from a variety of photographers. Participation is by invitation, so you're only seeing the best work from the best in the field. I recommend bookmarking it and visiting regularly.

This book comes with my highest recommendations. If I could give more that 5 stars, I would. It is printed on quality paper and is a pleasure to look through whether you are a photographer or not.

NOTE: I am an Amazon Vine reviewer, but this is not a Vine book.
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