Recently, I was contacted by photographer, and author, Shaun Hines, who asked me to read and review his new book, Unraveling the Mysteries of the Little Black Box. I’m glad Shaun reached out to me, because this was a nice read. Though I already know the material, I can appreciate the layout, and his teaching ability.
I don’t have an iPad, so I read this on my iMac, using iBooks.
This isn’t just a book, its kind of like an interactive classroom. In fact, Shaun’s book was named an Editor’s Choice Award Winner and the 2014 runner up in the Most Innovative App category by The Phoblographer. The list of features below are a large reason why.
- Comfortable and simple User Interface
- Applicable for any camera with manual override including smartphones
- Unique and distinctive design
- Galleries that include over 160 example photos and illustrations
- Ability to highlight key words and add notes to create personalized study cards
- Ability to bookmark pages for quick reference
- Slideshows that emphasize the technical and creative points reviewed
- 16 exercises to turn theory into practice
- Section reviews of 8 quizzes with more than 40 questions
- Separate tutorials for tablet and desktop users
My favorites are the study cards and quizzes. They’re sure to help everyone in the learning process.
At first, I found the font a bit distracting. I was under the impression that books used relatively similar, basic fonts. As I read on, I got a feel for the book, and realized this was no ordinary book. In fact, the layout is in a graphic novel style. The more I read, the more the font made sense for the style, and, in the end, I think the font adds to the layout and readability of this book.
The book begins with a history lesson in photography, which I think is useful for anyone that wants to take photography seriously. Sean even goes as far as including the first photographs of nature and people.
Unravelling the Mysteries of the Little Black Box is a useful learning tool that contains in-depth instruction on a number of topics including:
- How A Camera Works
- Metering modes
- Shutter speed, Aperture, ISO
- Focal Lengths
- Practicing the Craft
This really is a well thought out book for beginner photographers. It’s only 98 pages, so its short enough that you can get through it in a weekend, at a reasonable pace. If you have someone in your life that has an interest in photography, but doesn’t know where to start, this would be perfect. The other people that I think will benefit from this are those that only shoot in auto mode, because they don’t have a firm grasp of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. The interactivity makes it feel like a classroom in a book, which is great for people that need more than just text.
Unravelling the Mysteries of the Little Black Box 1.0 is available on iTunes or iBooks Stores in the Arts & Entertainment/Photography category.
iPad with iBooks 3 or later and iOS 5.1 or later
Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later