Book Binding and Before/After Photos

Those two subjects aren’t related. Heh. I’m learning how to bind books from my boss, who has a small bindery in his basement. Before he invests in more equipment, he wants to know if there is interest out there for print on demand, which is the only way a small bindery can handle mass- and trade-sized paperbacks. We’re already doing hardcover, and that is also done in small numbers.

I’m thinking of those of you who self-publish, like me. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to offer a print copy of your books at a reasonable price? We’re working on the cost breakdown, but we’re relatively certain we can beat what the publishers are offering their  paperbacks for, i.e., Dreamspinner sells them for $15 a copy.

We can do better, and it will be a professional-looking book. How much better, we’re still working out. So if you might be interested, or know people who are, email me: fenraven at  We’re not quite ready to accept orders yet, but if the interest is there, then yes, we can do print on demand and we’ll issue price lists for the various formats. 

Today, I have a before/after for you. I was in Wisconsin yesterday for a birthday celebration that lasted all afternoon and evening. I got there early enough to get out on the back roads with the camera… except I realized halfway there I’d forgotten it at home.

My uncle just got a new Canon pocket camera. He loaned it to me. It offers 14 megapixel shots but only 15x optical zoom. My camera’s zoom is 40. I accepted though, because I would have kicked myself if I’d missed a photo op! Before leaving, I turned off digital zoom. NEVER EVER have that sucker on. It does horrible things to pictures.

The day was wonderful. A little on the cool side, but the skies were dramatic and the sun was mostly out. I got some wonderful pictures of that contrasting light. Here’s my favorite, straight out of the camera:


Composition is nice (won’t even require cropping or straightening), color is pretty good. But yes, I can make that so much better! Look at those dark clouds behind the windmill! I want to bring out those clouds and contrast it with the light on the windmill, which was turning, by the way. The farmer uses it to create electricity; notice the wires going to it. I could have removed those wires, but I left them in because a working windmill is relatively rare, even in Wisconsin. You see lots of broken ones there. ;/

I adjusted curves first; this immediately improved contrast. Then I ran it through the spicify filter in Topaz Adjust. I left the result at 100% (for other photos, I usually dial it down 20% or more). This filter created two new problems, both of which were easily dealt with: added noise in the sky and slightly desaturated colors. For the first problem, I took it back into Topaz, using the noise filter to clean up that sky. I used Photoshop’s color filter to bring back some of the richness I’d lost.

And here’s the result:


The differences are subtle but have impact! And look at that lovely contrast between the windmill and the dark sky behind it. The slight break in the clouds behind the blades was fortuitous, drawing attention to them.

And to think, I almost missed this shot! Thanks to Uncle Dan for his loan!


About Fenraven

Fenraven happily lives in south Florida, where it is really hot most of the year. Find him on Twitter, Google +, and Facebook by searching on 'fenraven'.
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2 Responses to Book Binding and Before/After Photos

  1. Nobody says:

    u are my source for desktop backgrounds 😀
    thank you. very lovely.

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