Free Interactive Book about Art of Landscape Photography

PHOTOGRAPHERS. Photographer Robert R. Rodriguez Jr. has published a gorgeous 45-page e-book on the “Art and Craft of Landscape Photography.” Drawing on his real-world experiences as a landscape photographer, instructor, speaker, and blogger, he presents a holistic approach to capturing evocative images.

You can download “The Art and Craft of Landscape Photography” either as a traditional PDF or enjoy it as an interactive iBook on your iPad. He is making the book available free for a limited time.

I immediately downloaded both versions of the book so I could compare the reading experiences.  But I also knew that Robert would venture off the beaten path of traditional photography books. When I interviewed Robert a few years ago, I was inspired by his commitment to living the life of a creative professional on his own terms.  He is very good at his craft, and conveys it in everything he does—whether it’s his blog posts, seminars, or this book.  Unlike e-books that appear to be dashed off in a matter of days (or hours!), this book is noticeably different.

“My goal was to take the best of what I have shared on the Beyond the Lens blog over the past few years and present it in an easier-to-read format,” explains Robert.

And yes, the book does talk about photography gear and technique. But Robert also discusses some psychological limitations that prevent creative professionals from pursuing their passions.

He explains why becoming a professional photographer is not a pre-requisite for making successful images, but says he is often asked about the challenges of becoming a full-time photographer.

“My core belief is that only you can determine what you are capable of, and no one can or should tell you otherwise. IF you have the determination and stamina, then yes, you can become a professional in whatever field you choose, including photography,” writes Rodriguez. “Will it be difficult and challenging? I can tell you it is the hardest thing I have ever done. But so what? I am having a blast, and I am doing what I love.”

In his e-book, Rodriguez examines the motivation, passion, and vision involved in successful landscape photography. He describes how several images were made, shows what he learned from failed images, and talks about how he draws inspiration from the Hudson River School of painters. The book also includes recommended resources and gear he regards as “top investments” for nature photographers.

The interactive iBook version contains full-screen views of all the images (compatible with Retina display), interactive galleries, and two videos.

If you haven’t yet read a photography iBook on your iPad yet, Robert includes a short video that shows you how to enjoy the interactive features to the fullest.  To download the iBooks edition from Apple’s iBook Store, you will need an iPad (any version) and the free iBooks app.


E-Book: Inside the Art and Craft of Landscape Photography

Beyond the Lens Blog

About Robert Rodgriguez Jr.

Book Futurist to Discuss Digital Bookmaking Tools

WRITERS:  In a free one-hour webinar entitled “Digital Bookmaking Tools Roundup #3,” book futurist Peter Meyers will explore existing options for creating digital books and answer questions about what options are best and  easiest to use.  Part of O’Reilly Media’s Tools of Change for Publishers series of educational programs, the webcast is scheduled for Thursday, February 23.

Meyers has been reading, writing, and designing digital books for years. In the mid-1990s, he co-founded Digital Learning Interactive, a pioneering multimedia textbook publishing company which he sold to Thomson Learning in 2004. At O’Reilly Media, he worked in the Missing Manual group and led a number of projects aimed at figuring out how to transition from print to digital.

In addition to his expertise in publishing and online learning technologies, Meyers is well-attuned to the concerns of authors and lovers of printed books.  He studied American history and literature at Harvard and has an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

He publishes the blog “A New Kind of Book,” and is currently working on a book entitled “Breaking the Page: Transforming Books and the Reading Experience.”

Can Digital Books Be As Satisfying as Print Books?

In the book, “Breaking the Page” Myers raises the million-dollar question: “How do we make digital books as satisfying as their print predecessors?”

Meyers wants to help authors discover reader-friendly ways to use the digital canvas to convey their best ideas.  He explains, “As app book tinkering flourishes, and as ePub3 emerges as an equally rich alternative, the time felt right for a look at the difference between what can and what should be done in digital book-land.”

In December, Meyers released three preview chapters so he could get feedback from readers on the digital book examples he provided as well as additional ideas.

The full edition, planned for release later this year, will cover questions such as:

  • What’s the best way to integrate—and not just add—different media types?
  • Is it possible to make the viewing experience as seamless and immersive as reading is in print?
  • How do you pick the best balance between personalized design (reader-controllable font sizing, for example) and author-driven fixed layout? Are there any acceptable compromises?


Book Preview: Breaking the Page: Transforming Books and the Reading Experience

Blog: A New Kind of Book

Free TOC Webcast: Digital Bookmaking Tools Roundup #3: Feburary 23

Publishing Enhanced Novels May Require Teams of Writers, Artists, and Musicians

What will novels of the future be like? David Farland, a best-selling author of more than 50 novels, thinks he knows. He predicts authors will take advantage of advances in e-book technology and use music, art, and animation to enhance the novel’s storyline.

Then, publishing houses will become more like multimedia production houses, with book editors serving as “producers.”

To start preparing for a future in which the text of a novel comes together with images and sounds in a meaningful way, Farland co-founded East India Publishing. The company used enhanced e-book technology to produce Farland’s new young-adult novel “Nightingale.”

As he developed “Nightingale,” Farland purposefully crafted a storyline that would make use of enhanced e-book technology. Instead of adding sound and art as an afterthought to an existing manuscript, Farland created a work in which the music and art fit the story.

His story is about a young man who wants to become the world’s greatest guitarist and venerates the music of Joe Satriani. The 45-minute album of music that supports chapters in the enhanced e-book, was created by James Guyman, head of the American Composers’ Guild. Farland reports that “The music sounds like it could have been produced by Satriani, in the style of Pink Floyd, brining the music in line with the story.”

Making E-Reading More Engaging

Farland regards “Nightingale” as a first step toward creating a more engaging form of novel, the kind that kids who are reluctant readers might devour.

Although die-hard lovers of printed books swear they will never read an e-book, Farland says, “The enhanced novel, when done properly, can be something to experience” and may take e-reading to the next level.

Ultimately, the production of enhanced novels may require troupes of writers, artists, illustrators, animators, composers, and musicians commissioned to create a finished work that is far greater than a single writer could achieve working alone.

For “Nightingale,” East India Press hired several artists and inserted “cinemagraphs” in chapter.  (A cinemagraph is a minimalist form of animation in which only one element of a photo or illustration moves.) Other features of the enhanced e-book version of “Nightingale” include video interviews and photographs of the setting in which the story takes place.

The Evolution of Publishing Houses

The rise of enhanced e-books will mean that traditional publishing companies may eventually operate more like production houses, says Farland. They will be equipped not just to produce novels, but stories in many formats.

He regards this multimedia evolution as a way for major publishing companies to develop products that are recognizably superior to the millions of books being churned out by self-publishing companies that let everyone be a published author.

Creating e-books has become so cheap and easy that readers are being deluged with books that often aren’t very good, Farland points out. He believes readers will soon realize that the publishing-company gatekeepers (the editors and agents) served a useful purpose by  reading through the slush piles of manuscripts to find those authors whose works were ready for the marketplace.

As more and more people start using e-readers to read most of their books, publishing houses won’t have to spend as much money to print, distribute and warehouse books. Instead, he says, “We’ll spend it on creating great products.”

This means that “We’re going to need editors in the future who understand how to green-light a novel and who can recognize what will please an audience. But once a work is selected, the editor will take the role of the producer—assembling a creative team of composers, musicians, illustrators, animators, directors, sound-effects engineers, and so on.”

“We don’t want to replace reading,” contends Farland. “We don’t want to make movies. Reading often engages imagination in ways that movies fail to. We want to keep it that way. We want the reader to be a partner with us in brining a tale to life. At the same time, we hope to ‘enhance’ the story, help readers become more fully involved with it, yet keep budgets to a reasonable price. With film clips, animations, illustrations, background music, and sound effects, we can create something that fuses a lot of storytelling tools.”

For “Nightingale,” David Farland and East India Press didn’t stop with the enhanced novel. They also put the book out as a standard e-book and hard-cover print book. They also offer a full album of music and an audio book version complete with sound effects and background music from the album.

East India Press has created a web-simulation technology that mimics how the enhanced e-book appears on the iPad. So if you don’t yet have an iPad, you can see what an enhanced novel might look like by visiting:

To read more about Farland’s vision for the future of publishing, download the plain-vanilla PDF entitled “The Future of Publishing is Self-Publishing.”


About David Farland

Enhanced E-Book: Nightingale

East India Press

White Paper: The Future of Publishing is Self-Publishing by David Farland