I am sure you are all tired of hearing about my infatuation with Italy. However, it is true that since meeting Susan over twenty years ago I have become enamored with Italy. And in several trips there I have amassed a considerable collection of photographs of her family and their country.
Looking at my pictures a month ago it occurred to me that I should write a book. What I had in mind was not something to publish, no nothing so grand, but just a self published scrap book for us that talked about my thoughts on Italy. I was actually pushed to this project when I realized that a program I use to organize my pictures, Adobe’s Lightroom, had a book module built into it and with the click of a button you could send a book you designed off to a company that would produce a single hardbound copy of a book for you. How easy! Check them out at blurb.com. So a month ago I decided to try it.
Arezzo, Susan’s town, is on a hill in the floodplain of the Arno River. On the very top of the hill is the Cathedral of Saint Donato who was martyered in 362 during the Chritian persecutions of the Emperor Julian the Apostate. You can see on the top of the hill the bell tower of the cathedral.
The decision was the easy part! Then I had to decide what to write, what pictures to use, how to package it. And so for the last month I have been working on my magnum opus. Looking back, I am surprised by how few pictures can create a book and how much you have to write to frame them. But I have managed to come up with a draft work which I have sent off to be printed.
I know it has errors in it but this is a learning experience. I don’t know this company and I don’t know how my pictures will print on their presses. So I ordered a book but it will probably not be the one I actually end up with. I will make corrections and then have a final book printed.
When I uploaded my file and paid my fee Blurb immediately sent me a PDF file of my book. It was a pretty big file and I spent some time reducing it to make it a reasonable download on this website. Yes, that’s right: you can download my draft for yourself and read it. Remember, this is probably not the final form of this book.
As for actual printed copies, they are a little expensive and I think you will probably stick with the PDF.
Susan is standing behind the Chiesa di Santa Maria in Pieve which is a church in Arezzo begun in the 11th century and still being used to this day.
So what is my book about? Well, first, let me say that it is self explanatory. It is all explained in the first few pages. But the short answer is that it is about Susan’s home town of Arezzo.
This is a picture book full of large photographs of the town and surrounding countryside. The idea is to explain why I find this city so appealing. I feel at home there. It may not be the most beautiful city in Italy but it is the one that captured my heart.
If you find errors or have suggestions do drop me a line. It would help me greatly!
So here you go. This is a large file and will take a minute to download. Then you can read it in your browser or actuall save it to disk to look at off-line.
3 July 2021 Since May 28th when I wrote the above I have been busy. I received my book from Blurb and I am very pleased with it although I have made many errors. I have been rewriting parts of it and correcting errors and spelling in other parts. No matter how much you work on something, it is never right.
And I have been working on color. When I got my book back I found the colors in the images were too dark and too red. I went back to the original file and I had to admit those errors were obvious but the final book was worse than the file. But what was wrong? That got me into investigating color spaces and color adjustment in Photoshop. I found that I did not understand what I was doing when it came to color and It has been quite a learning experience. I had been doing it all wrong!
Look at the color in the image above on the left of Susan standing at the rail. The color in that image is terrible! That is not what it looked like when we were standing there. This image has a green cast that is really unpleasant. The images in my printed book suffered the same problem but they were too red.
So I have been through the images, made changes to most of them, and resubmitted the whole book for another printing. Again Blurb sent me a PDF of the book and I will receive the printed copy in a few days. I have updated the link to the book above on the right so that it now takes you to the new improved copy. Now I am looking forward to see if I have done any better this time.