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Preface > How to Use This Book

How to Use This Book

You can read this book from cover to cover if you like, but for the most part, each hack stands on its own. If there's a prerequisite you ought to know about, there'll be a cross-reference to guide you on the right path. So feel free to browse, flipping around to the sections that interest you the most.

I've written the book this way for a reason. Exploring photography is not a linear process. You don't wake up one morning and say, "Today I'm going to learn everything there is to know about aperture settings." I remember standing in a camera store and overhearing a customer talking to the salesperson. He said, "Yes, last week I mastered black-and-white photography, and now I'm ready to conquer color." Photography just doesn't happen that way.

Instead, what you might say when you wake up in the morning is, "I need to figure out how to shoot tonight's lunar eclipse." Chances are, you really don't care about the history of aperture settings or the relative brightness of the moon compared to the sun. What you want to know is how to get the shot. And if that requires clamping your digital camera to an old telescope and using gaffer's tape to hold it in place, so be it.

If this approach makes sense to you, so will the organization of this book. When you need to solve a problem, I'm hoping that you'll find the solution, or at least a clue, in the following pages. The Table of Contents is comprehensive, as is the Index. Use them to search out your answers. And if you're just in the mood to try something new, open the book to any page and say, "I'm going to do this project today."

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