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In this course, author and photographer Ben Long explores the tools and techniques behind modern-day travel journaling. Ben takes us on a road trip across the Southwest to detail a variety of methods for documenting the salient moments of a trip. Ben discusses and demonstrates software and hardware tools for capturing the notes, images, and location data from your trip, and assembling them into a journal that you can share with others or keep as a personal memento of your travels. He also shares tips on publishing your journal as a PDF or a printed book. Along the way, he provides insightful advice on establishing a balance between documenting your travels and experiencing them.
- Planning your route
- Packing for a journaling trip
- Mixing up the shots
- Finding your voice
- Importing GPS data
- Geotagging in Lightroom
- Editing and laying out the journal
Skill Level Intermediate
Now that you got your stuff edited, you're ready to start on the layout and output process in getting your actual final book made. If you're working on a journal that has text in it, you do have some layout chores to do. One of the reasons I choose Day One, as a journaling application is that it does the layout for me. I just hit a button and it spits out a PDF, that's completely laid out and it's beautiful. They do a great job. It gets my images in there, the text, it puts my location data, any weather that it's pulled up and it gives me a very nice layout. The PDF is ready to go. As long as my images have been adjusted properly.
And this is possibly the most tricky part of the entire bookmaking process. You're going to have to really skew your images to a level of brightness that probably is going to look wrong to you. But that's because, in my experience, the dot gain on the presses that these book printing services, Lulu, HP MagCloud, Blurb, they all go really dark. Because of the dot gain, your images are going to go much darker than you're expecting. Here are some examples from my Mongol Rally book. Got the shot of a camel. Obviously, the screen doesn't mean much because every computer screen is different. But, take a look at my histogram.
I have a little bit of black here, but I don't have really strong bla, blacks. I pushed a lot of the shadow detail up here into this 80 to 90% area. Here's another example, you're going to see that consistently on all of these. There are actually dark shadows in here, but I've really weakened the blacks. I have very little black information here. The reason being, because the dot gain on the press. And dot gain is simply the phenomenon where ink on the press bleeds into the paper, spreads out and ends up creating colors that are darker than you're expecting. Because of the dot gain, all of these tones in here, are going to shift to the darker parts of the tonal range and my image is going to get darker. So I need to compensate for it.
I need to lighten up my image. It's difficult to do, because you'll be sitting there looking at your image going oh, it looks great and you've just gotta, take a bunch of that beautiful contrast out of it. But I promise you it will come back. So again, you can see very weak blacks here, I pushed a whole lot of the tonal the shadow tonal detail up into the midtones. Same thing again here, this should be a very contrasted black and white image but I've got mostly midtones. I still want contrast. I still need to have good strong black tones and strong white tones. It's just what I consider black tones are actually much lighter than what I would do if I was printing on my own printer.
Same thing when you're working in black and white. So the workflow is for me, I came home with my journal, I took all of the entries, reedited them into Photoshop for print and then put them back into the journal. Generated my PDF and sent that on its way. And that's how I was able to get a book with decent images in it. Before you commit to having a very, very large book printed, you might want to do, break off just a small piece of it. And do some tests at each, each of the book printing services that you're considering. That'll give you chance to see who has better print quality but it'll also give you a chance to check your idea of edits against their press.
Take out ten pages that have a range of brightness levels in them, images shot in low light images, shot in brighter light, a range of black and white and color. Send those off, get a sample and then you'll have a much easier time getting your images adjusted properly for your final print.