Making sense of my photography hobby in retirement

Imagining Takapuna e-Book Project

This project started with a problem.  What do you do with your growing collection of photographs that have a common theme to them?  When you create the images you don’t necessarily have a specific project on mind.  The shot presents itself, you frame it and press the button.  Maybe you then post the resulting interpreted image on Flickr or a photo blog.

The idea of a photo e-book began to grow when some friends gave us a photo book of a popular local holiday spot .   Maybe I could produce one for our local area, I thought.  At about the same time one of my sons suggested that I look at Scribus, a piece of open source desktop publishing software.  He had used it to produce an in-house newsletter at his workplace.  Further investigation found that it could produce output in a PDF format.  This had some appeal as the final document could be output a PDF and sent to a book printer such as Blurb, provided it complied with their requirements, or it could be published as a viewable or downloadable PDF on the web. A project had been born.

Imagining Takapuna proved to be quite a learning experience, which can be broken down into the following stages:

  1. Learn how to use Scribus – This required finding and then following a on-line tutorial on page layout and import of text and images;
  2. Map out a book idea – Determine a storyline, themes, master layout, etc;
  3. Explore image portfolio to find image candidates for inclusion in the book;
  4. Build the pages with images and text;
  5. Edit, not once, but at least three times.  You can get too close to the project and overlook even obvious errors;
  6. Review – Have someone not related to the project to review the “finished” article and offer constructive feedback.  This will raise questions about why text or images have been included, and why others have not.  Maybe the text mentions something that is not represented by an image.
  7. Time out – Set the project aside for a few days to divorce yourself from it and clear your mind.  Then come back and take a fresh look.  It is amazing what you see (or not) after a break.
  8. Finalize – It is easy to tweak forever.  Reach a point of finalization and call it quits.
  9. Publish – Put your head above the parapet and await response.

This e-book “sort of ” follows the above process.  While it attempts to follow themes, it is by no means a comprehensive representation of Takapuna and what it has to offer.  It is more an experiment in production and a learning experience for the future.  It has helped to arm me for more intentional projects in the future that can be planned and deliberately executed.  If you view it in that light then maybe you will forgive me for any shortcomings in this first production.

Images in the e-book include sunrise and sunset, surfing, stand up paddling, Sunday and Christmas markets, Takapuna Criterium, cliffs and reef.

Imagining Takapuna can be viewed by clicking here on the cover image above. It is best viewed by downloading the file and opening it in Adobe Acrobat and following these viewing tips.

PDF Viewing tip
Make sure you’re viewing this in 2-page spreads if you want this to look its best.
In Acrobat go to: View > Page Display > Two Up.
Select “Show Cover Page During Two Up” to make sure the pages aren’t out of sync.
Select “Show gaps between pages” for the final touch.

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