Lightroom 1.0 shipped on Monday. Yeah! Now everyone can finally see first-hand the great features I’ve been writing about. Almost equally exciting to me: on Tuesday we finally settled on a cover image for my O’Reilly Lightroom Adventure book. If you knew what we have gone through…
Normally, I wouldn’t write about behind-the-scenes book details. It’s kind of like sausage– you never want to watch how they are made. But this time I thought it might be entertaining to share the process of picking a cover photo for a book, especially since everything turned out fine in the end.
Actually, this isn’t only a story about book making. It’s a lesson on the subjective nature of photography, as well. A photo, you see, can be properly exposed, in focus, nicely composed and yet one person may fall in love with it and another fall asleep looking at it.
Back in November, when we first started working on the cover, we all got excited about a shot taken by Melissa Gaul of Bill Atkinson. Melissa caught Bill standing on the edge of a lake in Iceland with a glowing landscape in front of him. Here it is for you to see.
Everyone loved the shot, until someone–I won’t say who–emailed: “The big problem I have with the cover photo, is that you don’t look like you’re looking off into that next great photo…. you look like you’re looking DOWN into the water, after just dropping your favorite lens into the drink.”
Ok, that did it for that photo. But then it turned out that Michael Reichmann had a similar shot of Bill, but this time his hands were stretched up in the air. Here is that photo.
Cool. Michael even wrote and told us what was going on the moment he shot the shot: “Here Bill seems to be orchestrating the clouds. But he is actually waiting with hands off while a two-second self timer releases the shutter without vibrations.”
We all got this image in our mind as the cover shot, until someone–and again I won’t say who–pointed out, “It really looks like he is being held up by a bunch of Iceland bandits.” From that moment on, that’s what all of us thought when we looked at the great shot.
That brings up the next photo, which is fantastic shot by Martin Sundberg of a Icelandic horse. Here it is.
Everyone loved this shot. It said Adventure all over it. I wasn’t happy that I had to call Bill and tell him he had been replaced by… a horse. But I really thought we had made our final decision and that it was a good one.
Not long after we were so “definite” about Martin’s horse, a dark horse came into the picture. (Excuse the puns) George Jardine sent us this incredible shot of a Iceland beauty, shot in the wilds of Iceland. The Eyes won over the Horse, hands down. Now I can call Bill and say he was actually replaced by a gorgeous woman. But what do I say to Martin? I’ll have to work on that.
Anyway, that’s it. The cover is set…finally. And I thought putting together the Iceland expedition was an adventure…
PS: As a footnote to the cover odyssey: O’Reilly has brought on board Jan Davis, an incredible designer with the patience of Job, to put everything together. You’ll see her work–and the photo–on the O’Reilly web site in a few days.