In the past few weeks, these new books about photography arrived on the shelves at Central Library, each with a different emphasis for a particular group of photographers. Link to the titles below to place holds for delivery to your closest branch of the Multnomah County Library system.
Michael Freeman's PhotoSchool Fundamentals
This guidebook has an unusual format: it is organized much like a book version of an online class. The author introduces a group of people with a range of skills in photography, who try out the experiments with exposure, lighting, composition, and editing that the author presents. The reader is invited to participate as well in each of the assignments and follow along with comments by the "class" and Michael Freeman, to learn how to capture image effects in a variety of conditions. Written in a conversational style, this book strikes a good balance between images and text, and is useful for anyone wanting to learn more about how to use a digital camera. Follow along in sequential fashion, or skip around among the topics, though the book has a basic direction from basic to more advanced.
Monochromatic HDR Photography : Shooting and Processing Black & White High Dynamic Range Photos.
"The best way to consider the shapes in your composition is to abstract them from the nature of the subject matter. You can use your camera's in-camera black and white capabilities to pre-visualize with lines and shapes. When the color is removed, do the shapes work just as a mass of tonalities or does there seem to be a defined structure? Think of yourself as an abstract expressionist painter rather than a photographer, and imagine the dark and light strokes that would make up your composition as you frame it in your camera. Thinking this way, you'll soon get the gist of composing creative digital monochromiatic images." - Harold Davis in Monochromatic HDR Photography.
The Handbook of Bird Photography
This book is for people whose interests in wildlife photography take them far beyond the two titles described above, in terms of preparation for photography, equipment, and knowledge of the ecology of bird species. It covers technical aspects of close-up photography in a wide range of light and weather conditions. Mostly a book of graphics, the photographs of birds include notes about camera models, settings, and other equipment used. This book is well worth reading for specialists; but at a more basic level both interesting and instructive for people who want to take better photographs in their immediate surroundings.
Surreal Photography: Creating the Impossible
The first premise of the book Surreal Photography is to have a concept of the surreal: "It might help to think of the process of creating a surreal image as a recipe: here is what you want to create, these are the things that you will need to achieve it, and these are the steps you will need to take in the process." The author applies this basic formula to the construction of surreal images, that may be the outcome of happy accidents, use of camera controls, or by editing with computer software. Chapters cover an array of techniques and equipment, ranging from cameraphones through DSLR cameras available as of the publication date of 2013. Use as a springboard for adding skills with image effects. Find more books on this approach to photography by searching using the phrase Alternative Photographic Processes in the Multnomah County Library catalog.
Color: A Photographer's Guide to Directing the Eye, Creating Visual Depth, and Conveying Emotion
Written by a photographer and teacher who is excited by the limitless possibilities of his subject, this book explains how to take advantage of a range of light conditions and time of day to take compelling photographs. The many images include exposure settings, lenses used, and written descriptions on a range of themes, such as sky, water, portraits and crowd scenes. A final chapter about black and white photography provides interesting comparisons between color originals and black/white versions of images for the strengths of each interpretation.
February is shaping up to be a month for intriguing puzzles and mysteries, in both fiction and non-fiction. We're also seeing a trend towards new WWI books, given the 100th anniversary. Also look for some sweet titles for children and teens.
Adults: The Answer to the Riddle is Me: A Memoir of Amnesia by David Stuart MacLean
MacLean came to awareness in the middle of a train station in India, having no idea who or where he was. This is the story of the mystery he hopes to solve - they mystery of himself.
Dark Invasion: 1915: Germany's Secret War Against America by Howard Blum
This meticulously researched account focuses on Manhattan just before the outbreak of WWI when New York City Police Detective Tom Tunney is perplexed about a number of incidents of sabotage. Publisher's weekly says the book combines "the best features of a police procedural and a spy novel with a firm base in verifiable events."
This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash
When 12-year-old Easter and her 6-year-old sister Ruby are orphaned, they're placed in foster care. But just as they settle into their new life, their errant father, Wade, an ex-minor league baseball player whom they haven't seen in years, suddenly reappears and steals them away in the middle of the night. Fans of Charles Frazier, Daniel Woodrell and baseball allusions in their fiction may enjoy this one.
Children and teens:
Maple by Lori Nichols combines a love a nature with welcoming a new baby. Maple loves the tree that was planted for her before she was born. One day her family plants a Willow.
What's Your Favorite Animal?, edited by Eric Carle, asks famous children's authors about their favorite animals. They respond with quirky, funny and sometimes imaginary creatures. Parents and kids will have a fun time exploring this one.
Also look for Nightingale's Nest by Nikki Loftin. A spin on Hans Christian Andersen's "Nightingale", it is a story with a little magical realism set in Texas, for middle grades.
Multnomah County Library now offers Blu-ray Discs for check-out. You can find a complete list by searching bluray as a keyword in My MCL. You can check out a combined total of 15 DVDs and Blu-ray Discs.
Blu-ray Discs are different from DVDs:
- You will need a Blu-ray player or a computer with a Blu-ray drive to watch a Blu-ray Disc. Some game consoles (e.g. Xbox One, PS3 and PS4) support Blu-ray discs as well. Blu-ray Discs will not play in a DVD player.
- Blu-rays are a high-definition (HD) format, but you must be using HDTV or a HD monitor to watch in HD. Blu-rays can be viewed on a conventional monitor, but quality will not be high-definition.
Are you looking for a specific title, but you can't find it? Ask the Librarian.
Do you own a small-business? One of the best ways to get tax information and help for your small business is by visiting the IRS Small Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit.
You can also call the IRS Business & Specialty Toll Free number at 1-800-829-4933, open Monday – Friday, 7:00 am – 7:00 pm.
The IRS began accepting 2013 business tax returns on Monday, January 13, 2014. This start date applies to both electronically-filed and paper-filed returns. The only exception is Form 1041 for Estates and Trusts, which cannot be filed until January 31. More information can be found in the IRS’ press release titled “Starting Jan. 13, 2014, Business Tax Filers Can File 2013 Returns.”
Once again, the library is here to help small businesses, so go ahead and contact us!
Old maps are more than just geographical information presented in an appealing visual format – antique maps tell us about changes in the landscape, for sure, but they also inform us about the human past. After all, maps are made by people, produced within specific cultural frameworks.
A new study of a 9,000-year old mural in the Turkish archaeological site Çatalhöyük argues that it is, in fact, the world's oldest map, and that it shows an eruption of the nearby volcano Hasan Dağı in progress. (The study offers evidence that Hasan Dağı did actually erupt around the time that the mural was created.) If news of this development has you thinking about old and antique maps, you're in luck! Multnomah County Library has a wide array of books about the history of maps, many with beautiful and thought-provoking reproductions and illustrations. Take a look at the reading list below for a few of my personal favorites.
Remember, also, that Multnomah County Library actually owns a lot of maps! Most of the library's oldest maps are kept at Central Library, either in the map collection in the Literature & History room (on the third floor), or in the John Wilson Special Collections. Most older maps, are of course, reference items that cannot be checked out of the library – but there's plenty of room to enjoy them at Central Library! Here are a few gems:
One of my favorite old maps in the library's collection is the 1896 Hand Atlas über alle Theile der Erde und über das Weltgebäude. That's a big, long German title, and indeed, the entire atlas is in German! But maps are visual things, and even if the place names are in an unfamiliar language, this world atlas is both useful and beautiful – particularly if you're interested in seeing a snapshot of national borders in the 1890s. The image here is from the very beginning of the atlas, in the section of maps of heavenly bodies. This one, I'm sure you can see, is of the moon.
Moving forward a bit in time, here's a snippet of one of the property ownership maps in the Metsker Atlas of Clatsop County – it's sheet 27 of the 1930 atlas, showing the town of Seaside. The library has a large collection of atlases published by the Metsker Co., covering all of Oregon's 36 counties (plus a few Metsker atlases of Washington counties that are near the Portland area). Most of the Metsker atlases were published from the 1920s to the 1970s. They contain lovely, detailed maps showing street names and subdivision names -- often this is interesting, particularly when you look at an older map and can see big changes like the neighborhoods that were present before a freeway was built, or farm and forest land where there is now an urban area. Larger parcels of land are marked with the owner's name too, which can be most illuminating.
One great place to look for charming little maps is in the pages of now-out-of-date travel guidebooks, and the library has plenty of examples! The cutie to the left shows the streetcar lines, trolley car lines ("trolley car" is an old term for an electric bus), and motor coaches (early 20th century-speak for a gasoline- or diesel-powered bus) in downtown Portland, circa 1944. The map is from Byington's New Nonpareil Guide to Portland.
But the library's collection is not limited to maps showing landforms, details for tourists, and property information. For a different sort of map entirely, take a peek at the lovely Mapbook of English Literature, an elegantly-drawn collection of maps illustrating important literary-geographical connections. The section of the London map at right, which features literary facts from 1800-1900, shows details from the world of fiction: "The Quips (Dickens's Old Curiosity Shop, 1840-41) lived here;" and biographical bits and pieces about English authors: "Keats was a student here (1815-16) Guy's Hospital."
Do you have a favorite map, or a favorite book about maps? Share them!
And of course, if you've got a question about maps, the library's collection about maps, or anything else, there's a friendly librarian who'd love to help you! Just get in touch using Ask the Libarian, or ask at the information desk the next time you're at the library.
If you have already broken those New Year's resolutions, you have another chance.
This Friday, January 31st, marks the beginning of the Chinese Lunar New Year. There are twelve animals and five elements in the Chinese zodiac and 2014 is the year of the Wooden Horse, sometimes called the Green Horse. For each of the animals, there are certain qualities, which are passed to the persons born under that sign. Those born in horse years are said to be cheerful, enthusiastic, and enjoy making new friends. To find out what your zodiac animal is, take a look at this chart:
Celebrations for the Chinese New Year include dragon and lion dances, fireworks, the giving of red envelopes, and sweet treats, culminating in a lantern festival. The Lunar New Year will be celebrated at Gregory Heights and Midland Libraries with various cultural performances. Holgate Library will be hosting Tales from the Year of the Horse. The library will also have a table at the Oregon Convention Center, Saturday February 1, for the Chinese New Year Cultural Fair. If you're there, stop by and say hello!
Sometimes kids get all the breaks. I ask you, when was the last time that you sat at the knees of someone who was willing to read a book to you, AND was able to read upside down so you could study the illustrations? It happens everyday in schools and libraries, though there's rarely an adult sitting cross-legged among the children. 'All well and good', you might say, 'but who writes picture books for adults?' Maira Kalman, that's who.
I've been a fan of Kalman's work ever since I came across Ooh-la-la (Max in Love). The book, admittedly written for kids, tells the story of the poet dog Max, who goes to Paris, gains enlightenment and falls in love. At one point he is awakened by "a k-k-k-k-knocking" and into his hotel room enters "a long mustache followed by a man". The words 'long mustache' form the thing itself curled under the Parisian waiter's nose.
Not content to stick to children's books, Kalman is a frequent contributor to the New Yorker, and has since illustrated The Elements of Style. Yes! How? You'll just have to take a look at it - it's hard to describe.
But my favorite of her recent offerings is The Principles of Uncertainty. The book is a mix of memoir, philosophical musing and photographic record - but the photographs are actually paintings. Paintings of people caught in different aspects: of the museum guard who sits in Proust's room; of elderly New Yorkers walking the streets; of her sister sitting at a kitchen table eating honey cake and telling stories. And all of it accompanied by prose that is matter-of-fact and poignant at the same time:
MY sister and I go to Israel during the short, furious, the world-is-doomed war. For a wedding. Because you CANNOT postpone weddings in DARK TIMES - especially in dark times. Who knows when the light will come on again. Are things normal? I don't know. Does life go on? YES.
Through her pictures and words, Kalman captures what is essential about life. So think about it. Do you know of an adult who misses storytime?
More of Maira Kalman's art here.
When you work on a research project about historical India, you may want to add a map. You can judge a good map by how well it tells information. Here is a checklist of what makes a good historical map:
- Does it have a title or legend?
- Is the scale OK so that you can see all the points of interest?
- Does it have the name of the map creator, source and date?
Here's a map of India from 1700-1792.
Historical India Maps
There are maps from the 1800s, including this map of India, 1882 from A Dictionary Practical, Theoretical, and Historical of Commerce and Commercial Navigation.
Here's a map of British India, 1860.
Present Day Maps
The CIA - Central Intelligence Agency -- has great regional and world maps. Check out this map of India.
Interested in learning more? Ask a librarian!