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Kindle Books by your photography teacher

Ed Ruth teaches individualized photography classes in Bakersfield California and has written a number of Kindle books about digital photography. The most recent books are part of a series called “Let’s Get Serious.” I felt a need to write about my techniques for obtaining professional results (shortcut to all my Kindle books). For a one-to-one camera class in Bakersfield, California email me Here.

An Amazon Kindle book by Ed Ruth Photography Instructor in Bakersfield California, The Nikon Z50… Let’s Get Serious

In this book of 9,800 words, I describe all the steps I take to produce professional quality photographs using the Nikon Z50 mirrorless camera. Quality results are a matter of skill, experience, and knowledge of the mechanics of photography. But awareness of the physics of sensor, lens, and light are also significant contributors to high-quality results. None of it is particularly demanding but there is a lot of it. In this book you will find all the basics and a bit more. That bit more is what will carry you to exceptional results. An expert, after all, is someone who has mastered the basics. What else can an expert be?

The Z50 camera is smaller and lighter than full-frame (FX) Nikon cameras. The cropped sensor extends the field of view (FOV) of telephoto lenses quite nicely. Because the APS-C sensor is half the full-frame sensor’s size, we multiply any lens used with an APS-C sensor by 1.5 to find the lens’ FOV. So, a lens that has a FOV of 300mm on a full-frame camera has a FOV of 450mm on a half-frame sensor (300 x 1.5 = 450). Nikon DX lenses are made specifically for Nikon cropped sensors cameras. They need only produce an image circle large enough to overlap the smaller sensor. Consequently, the lens can be smaller than required for a full-frame camera. Lenses for the Z50 should be less expensive and lighter, in theory.

I have six reasons for buying the Nikon Z50: to learn more about mirrorless technology without going all in, for a backup camera at events or weddings, lower price, less weight, smaller size, and an interesting technical challenge to squeeze every bit of image perfection from the already excellent sensor. In fact, the information here may well be applied to any Nikon mirrorless camera. While the first five are self-explanatory, the “challenge” is less obvious. I have challenged myself to learn to use the Z50 in such a way that I wring every last bit of image quality from its smaller but exceptional sensor. This is why I authored the book.

Sylvia is my science fiction novel about artificial intelligence and how it may change individual lives. I believe you will find it quite thought-provoking and entertaining.

Sylvis is now available as an audio book! This makes a great gift.

Sylvia, Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more common in digital photography post-production. For example. I genuinely love Topaz Labs, Topaz Sharpen AI. Some predict dire consequences from AI. It depends on your point of view.

Review… “The Gouzelinktum must be read with the same level of disbelief as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. In Ed Ruth we have a new Scott Adams, for sure. The story is gripping and the humor unsurpassed!”

Think AI won’t be in your life? Think again!!!

An Amazon Kindle book by Ed Ruth Photography Instructor, Professional Digital Photography… Let’s Get Serious

In this book of 22,000 words, I explain the ten things that professional digital photographers need to know. The chapters include: The Mirrorless Digital Camera, Lenses, Field of View, Lenses and Sensors, From Molecules to Pixels, Exposure, A Raw Concept, White Balance, Color Management, Color Spaces and Bit Depth, Histograms, Composition, and Black & White Photography.

This book is number two in my Let’s Get Serious series. The first book, The Nikon Z50, Let’s Get Serious is a foundational guide to mirrorless photography. This book takes things a step further. I am a Nikon user and the Nikon Z50, coupled with the Z50mm S (S Line – superior optical performance) and Z85mm S lenses, has proven to be a remarkable instrument of creativity. While I reference Nikon in examples, I cover elements of digital photography that are true “across the board” for Nikon, Fuji, Sony, Canon, and many other brands. The information in this book applies to all photographic interests, not simply areas of interest such as portraits or landscapes.

This book is a must read for those wishing to excel in digital photography. This book doesn’t just tell you what you need to know, it teaches why you must know what you need to know. I would know! In all modesty. I teach this stuff and I have been teaching it for a long, long time.

This is my latest book about digital photography. It is a fun read yet comprehensive. This is my latest offering for those new to digital photography who wish to become more professional and exacting in this craft. Digital photography offers an opportunity to capture stunning, high-resolution, color accurate images but you must invest some time and effort to obtain optimal results. This book contains everything you need to know to excel. I have never offered a guide so concise yet comprehensive. I know you will enjoy this book. The book covers it all for the beginner yet holds quite a bit of solid information for the practiced novice as well.

I have included information relevant to Adobe Lightroom as well.

The Project: Thinking, Leadership, Planning. Performance, and Review is a revelation of my experiences regarding decision making and leadership. I think we have all seen projects or initiatives that have failed. We may wonder how they failed but I think that deep down inside we all know the answer. Failure starts from the very beginning of an undertaking and grows, as if a living thing, as the project evolves. So much so, that at the end we can almost say, “There it is the colossal failure we planned for and achieved.”

But failure runs deeper than the fact that every group must have a neurotic, an egomaniac, and a divisive defeatist. Failure goes to the fundamentals of human nature that embraces wishful thinking, fails to think and think deeply, and envisions a glorious opening day celebration even before the first brick has tasted mortar.

This book is a guide to leadership. In my life I have led groups of three to thirty-five people, in capacities such as squad boss on wildfires, law enforcement officer in crime prevention, or Homeowners Association Manager, on well over one-hundred occasions. There are a number of simple skills for achieving effective leadership, but our own personalities may defeat us if we do not study our behavior. I have seen profound leadership failure, and, for some people, an inflated ego or subconscious drives sabotage their efforts again and again. This book cannot help these individuals but if you have a sound mind, it will help you.

I have updated my Laserjet and Inkjet Printers book while retaining all the supplemental information in the appendix.

Using ON1 with Z50 images:

Using ON1 as a Raw converter for images taken with the Nikon Z50 seems like a natural fit. I make my own ON1 Textures and Brushes for use in ON1 and the process is not difficult but requires a journeyman’s knowledge of CorelDRAW and/or Photoshop. Making and installing your own Brushes and Textures for ON1Brushes: I make brushes using both CorelDRAW and Photoshop. Brushes cannot exceed 2500 pixels on the longest side. Brushes are .tif grayscale images saved in 8-bit format (Photoshop: Image > Mode).

I make my brushes using a pixel width of 1200 along the longest dimension, which results in a file about 1MB or smaller, which I believe is adequate for this function. Using CorelDRAW to create brushes is a tad trickier as you must create a primary layer, fill it with white, lock the layer, create a new layer and draw your design using gray or black shapes. After your masterpiece is finished, save the art as a .tif File > Export). In CorelDRAW’s Export dialog box, I check “Maintain aspect ratio” and “Anti-aliasing” but uncheck “Embed color profile” as it seems superfluous. Once again, I use 1200 pixels. CorelDRAW will squeeze it down to your image’s dimensions, which is just fine.


Textures are shapes or images that I use as a background highlight. These are .jpg images that I adjust (Photoshop: Image > Size) to 1800 x 1200 pixels for a standard 2:3 image ratio. These images are about 1MB or less also, but experimentation is yours to do. I save the .jpg images using least compression, but that’s not required. Install: Getting ON1 to import your brush or Texture is easy. Simply open Edit > Manage Extras, open the corresponding category and import your work from the directory you created to store your artwork on my computer that is C:\Artistic\Brushes, for example. As for using brushes and textures, well, the possibilities are infinite. A brief lesson concerning one of my favorite subjects….

Luminosity and luminance, a short story…

Luminance, From Latin: luminant. Luminosity and luminance are words that should be dear to photographers. Luminosity is visible light created by any means. Light from the sun, spotlights, or strobes are some examples. Luminance is a technically accurate measurement of light that reaches any surface being illuminated. In brief, luminance is luminous intensity. It would make little sense for photographers to climb up a streetlamp to measure a bulb’s luminance when its light may or may not illuminate any particular component of our scene. Additionally, “The intensity (illuminance or irradiance) of light…is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source; so, an object (of the same size) twice as far away, receives only one-quarter the energy.” Wikipedia. Ideally, we measure the light that actually reaches a subject of interest using a handheld light meter. Realistically, we often measure light reflected from a subject of interest using the “TTL” (through-the-lens) meter in our camera. Luminance is measured in candela per square meter (a one candela light source one foot distant provides one foot-candle of illumination). “Luminance is a photometric measure of the luminous intensity per unit area of light traveling in a given direction.” Wikipedia

A camera’s sensor also measures luminance from the luminosity of natural and introduced light sources in our scene. This “incident light” brings illuminance to the sensor. Fortunately for photographers, the sensor does not measure all luminance within a scene. It only measures the light that passes through a lens hood, lens, aperture, and shutter. The sensor’s illuminance is measured and recorded as electrical signals the engine (image processing engine) converts to tonal distributions of red, green, and blue (RGB). Much of the time, we point our cameras toward light reflected from a subject of interest. But not always. You may photograph a cityscape at night, or fireworks display and capture many points of illumination. If a firefly enters your scene, you will observe an example of bioluminescence. Luminescence is light produced without adding heat. One man-made example of luminescence is the common fluorescent light. In photography, we use the term luminosity loosely to refer to areas of brightness within a scene. In this context, luminosity is a perception of light’s intensity, a subjective but well-understood aspect of visual phenomena. In other words, brightness is a subjective perception of luminosity’s relative distribution. For example, given blue and green light having equal luminance, we perceive the green light as brighter than the blue light. The human eye’s perception of brightness is biased toward green (59%), then red (30%), and, lastly, blue (11%). As mentioned earlier, green light dominates our vision. Our lack of blue perception is because the cells that resolve blue light are toward the retina’s outer edge. The arrangement of colors also affects our perception of brightness.

The distribution of light in a photograph greatly influences our understanding or appreciation of the subject of interest. We perceived a rainbow to have considerable brightness when set against a dark cloud background, but once the cloud passes, the rainbow’s brightness diminishes. But did the rainbow’s luminance ever really change? Brightness and contrast are closely related. Contrast is simply the extent of the perceived variation in an image’s tones. A black and white checkerboard certainly has a lot of contrasts. Both high and low contrast may effectively reveal a particular subject of interest. We may create contrast with studio lighting, a strobe, or collapsible reflectors. Photographers frequently alter contrast in post-production to emphasize the subject of interest. Image brightness and contrast first grab our attention, physiologically then perceptually. We perceive brightness and variations in brightness (contrast) in a photograph to be intolerable, perfect, adequate, disappointing, or sadly lacking. When we use the word brightness, we make a judgment of luminosity. Yet, realistically, people hardly ever use the word luminosity. Brightness is a more human expression. “Aren’t those bright colors beautiful?” she asked, her eyes twinkling. “Well,” her dull date replied, “given the arrangement of hue and the abundant illumination, the perceived luminosity is quite compelling.” We should use “luminance” when referencing a measurement of light and “brightness” whenever a judgment regarding light intensity is required, however individualized that may be. Photoshop and many other post-production software programs can display a “luminosity” histogram for our review. This is very useful as it adjusts for human perceptions or the brightness of red, green, and blue. Light intensity and direction greatly influence a composition, but one thing is certain, there is no color without light.

“Can anyone think of a color that cannot be created from a combination of red, green, and blue?” I ask my class. They look at me curiously, considering the weathered face that offered the challenge. “Black,” one student responds with a sly grin. “Good thinking,” I replied, “but in the digital world, we count from zero. Zero red, zero green, and zero blue give us pure black.” Similarly, an overabundance of red, green, and blue produces bright white. In photography, we have more trouble with white space than black space. The human eye will tolerate far more black space in a photograph where tonal information (things to see) is lacking than white space where tonal information is lacking. Especially in electronic media, white space assaults the eye far more than black space. A large area of pure white or “blown out” highlights in a photographic image causes viewers to turn their eyes away in pain. White space, used as part of a well-crafted design in desktop publishing or graphic illustration, is productive. In this art form, we are spared comprehending an entire range of tones. A black and white design with, perhaps, a splash of primary color is not as hard on the eyes. Both illustrations and photographs may lose an audience if they are unnecessarily complex for the idea advanced. If the brain must shift into overdrive to understand the subject while being confronted with many colors and comprehend text while running to catch a subway, the information may get lost. In my opinion. Just saying.

Luminance in our scene always requires evaluation because imaging sensors’ response to light is linear, that is, as a straight line. A sensor gathers 75% of the tonal detail (information) in a scene from midtones 50% brightness), through highlights, to the white point. Photographers exploit this fact and improve exposure by gathering tonal information in this area, as much as possible, without overexposing the image or “clipping” whites. Some digital photographers push exposure toward the white point without losing detail in highlights or hopelessly overexposing the image. This is “exposing to the right” or “pushing highlights.” Pushing highlights will eliminate some digital noise in the shadows, as the entire tonal range of the image shifts toward quartertones and the white point where the sensor gathers the greatest amount of tonal information. Advocates of pushing highlights often remind us that the histogram displayed with the thumbnail on a camera’s LCD is not a histogram of the Raw file but of the JPEG thumbnail (preview). True; however, pushing highlights is risky. Highlights pushed too far become “blown out.” They may not be retrievable in Camera Raw.

But nothing stops you from taking many shots of the same subject using exposure pushed in any direction you wish and as much as you want. If you don’t like them, delete them. Now for some fun, find yet another 8.5 x 11 piece of paper and a pencil. Place the paper in landscape mode on your desk, table, or the top of your Ferrari. Centered one inch below the top of the paper, write, “Sensor Linear Response Diagram.” Use big, bold print, good. One inch below this, also centered, draw a 6 x 6 inch square. Below the square print, from left to right, “Black Point,” “Three-quarter tones,” then, in the center, “Midtones,” next “Quartertones,” and, at the far-right side, “White Point.” Under this description, at about dead center, write the word “Tonal Range.” Draw a line from the lower-left corner of the square to its upper right corner. At an angle, Label just above the line “Sensor’s Increasing Response to Light.” Congratulations, you have created a diagram showing an imaging sensor’s linear response.The sensor’s responsiveness increases steadily as it approaches the white point at the far right. This is what we might expect. Energy that powers the sensor comes only from light (absent cosmic rays). The sensor has a purely microelectronic response to light—more light, more precise signal, less light, less precise signal. Unlike cameras, humans perceive light non-linearly. Evolution has made human vision far more sensitive to detail in shadows. After all, this is where the things that want to eat you lurk. To modify the diagram to reveal human response to light, you must pull the response line up very generously above three-quarter tones in a smooth curve. Ah! Are you seeing better now? Aren’t you glad you are not a sensor? They live in a really dark world.Now. Draw a vertical line from the middle of the “Sensor’s Increasing Response to Light” line to “Midtones” at the bottom of the square. It should be straight. Fill the triangle below the “Sensor’s Increasing Response to Light” line on the left side with evenly spaced diagonal lines that distinguish it from the rest of the drawing. Beneath “Tonal Range” write, “The diagonal lines represent that area from black point to midtones where only 25% of sensor data is collected.” Fill the quadrilateral space below the “Sensor’s Increasing Response to Light” line on the right side with evenly spaced horizontal lines. For your last entry write, “The horizontal lines represent that area from midtones to white point where 75% of tonal information is collected.” Photographers must exercise diligence during image adjustment to keep tones in shadows from disappearing. There is not much there, to begin with. Data describing tones within shadows and three-quarter tones is not abundant right from the start! Good job by the way.

I hope you don’t think this exercise too time-consuming. If you draw a thing, you will understand and remember a thing.The linear response curve also illustrates why the use of higher ISO settings produce excessive noise (static) from black point to midtones. With a smaller amount of tonal information in darker areas, the signal to noise ratio is lower, worse. Digital noise accumulates in darker tonal areas with a poorer signal to noise ratio than in tonal areas that are better illuminated. This is why a photographer may choose to sharpen tones from midtones to white point more than tones from black point to midtones. This is also why photographers push highlights but develop for shadows. Is an image that has well-represented shadows more appealing than an image that emphasizes three-quartertones through highlights? Which appeals to our subconscious more keenly? Human vision is more sensitive to changing light in shadows than highlights. Depends on the subject, I am sure. An Illuminant is a source of illumination. But photographers need to be familiar with illuminant models standardized by the CIE Commission Internationale de L’Eclairage that is: International Commission on Illumination). The CIE’s standard illuminants provide a basis for consistency from one device or lighting situation to another. For example, the D50 (Daylight 50) standard illuminant, defined in 1974, describes a light model approximate to daylight at 5000K (Kelvin) used as a standard in the graphic arts and publication industry. The D65 (Daylight 65) standard illuminant, defined in 1964, describes a light model approximately 6500K, an average northern sky at noon. What is daylight really? Daylight illuminates between 5000K and 6500K absent any magenta or green tint from any source. Within this range, the human eye cannot discern the dominance of amber or blue wavelengths.

Remember, Kelvin is a measure of color temperature not brightness. Professional photographers should choose to calibrate their monitors to the D65 standard with a brightness of 100 candela / square meter and gamma (brightness interpretation) of 2.2 using professional calibration tools.
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Ed Ruth’s Digital Services

Ed Ruth’s Digital Services sole proprietor mission statement: My goal is to provide high-quality photography services, digital camera courses, and post-production courses (Adobe Lightroom CC & Photoshop CC) to groups and individuals. I promise to come prepared, be honest, candid, and not complete any course until you are fully comfortable with the subject matter. All images on this website and Kindle books by Ed Ruth, were created by Ed Ruth unless otherwise noted. Copyright 2020 Ed Ruth. Thank you for visiting this site. I am not responsible for images used online or within books published in violation of copyright law or published or sold without my direct and written approval. Only the most recent Kindle edition of all or any of my Kindle books is authorized to be sold or otherwise distributed. Older editions of my Kindle books are not authorized to be reproduced or sold or distributed.
Photography can be fun, profitable, creative, and technically superior at the same time. Email me Here.
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