Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I can't remember on which blog I first read about the book Elevate the Everyday by Tracy Clark, but I immediately ordered it from my "local" indy book store. Unfortunately local means twenty-five minutes from my house, in the opposite direction from work.

So it was a few weeks before I actually got my hands on it, after my parents picked it up for me on one of their expeditions. But, oh my goodness, it was worth the wait. I'm loving reading it, and even though I'm only partway through, I'm already having a wonderful time playing with my photography.

I have been trying to read a couple of other photography books, but when they get to the exposure part (which usually comes first) it's all math: each F-stop is double that of the previous F-stop, so you're letting in twice as much light, but the settings on your camera may not be full stops, blah, blah, blah. Talk about taking the fun out of something.

But Tracy Clark deals with focal length and shutter speed and ISO in a very casual, non-technical way, addressing the results changing each will achieve, over the mathematics of it all. I'm not saying it is not useful to have a complete technical understanding of those settings--some day I would like to take the time to fully understand it all--but in the meantime, I want to take pictures and experiment without being overwhelmed by F-stops, if you know what I mean. So, I've been taking my camera off of automatic setting (dipping my toes into either focal length or shutter speed, keeping the other on auto) and playing around, having fun and making some mistakes, but that's the beauty of digital, right?

What I really love is this idea of telling a story with a photo, rather than just taking a snapshot. Why have I never thought of this before? Now it's something I think about whenever I'm taking pictures. I can't recommend this book enough!

On the other hand, E piled all of the sofa pillows on top of this book one evening. When I asked him why, he said he didn't like the picture on the front, of the little girl with the tiny camera necklace, because it made him think of spies. So, as long as you're not freaked out by things that make you think of spies, get the book, and if you are, maybe a brown paper book cover would help.


  1. I gave this to one of my sisters who is a new mother, though I held on to it long enough to give it a quick read. I thought the pages devoted to the mechanics of camera and film -- f-stops, aperture, shutter speed -- were particularly straight forward and useful. Enjoy your copy. I look forward to seeing the results.

  2. I'm okay with spies, but hopeless when it comes to photography. I'd love to be better about recording moments with my kids. Will definitely have to check this book out. Thanks for the recommendation!


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