SoFoBoMo Resources List

This year, I participated in SOFOBOMO 2011 and successfully made (photographed, edited, processed and created ) a pdf ebook within 31 days. The book is called \”After Sunset” and is available as a free download here:After Sunset PDF Ebook.

When I signed up for the project, a few months before the challenge period started, I started looking into the hows and whys of pdf publishing and I found a bunch of resources online. I tried to read up / listen up on how to sequence and edit a photo book, what are the considerations for making a pdf ebook for various monitors and devices and what software to use.

For my desktop publishing software, I found a bunch : Adobe InDesign, Quark Xpress, Scribus…etc. I decided to use Scribus – for the reason that it is a open source software and is available for free.

Here is a list of resources I used:
1. PDF Publishing Workshop – A Visual Workshop from Lenswork – $99
This is a DVD I had purchased about a year ago. It has many hours worth of video tutorials about almost all aspects you can think of – on the topic of making a pdf publication. It takes a novice step by step – from what to consider when making a pdf publication to how to use Adobe InDesign to do that to and how to polish it up for a professional look. Though most of the tutorial is on InDesign, I found many of the concepts useful when using Scribus. I kept going back again and again to some of the basic concepts – like what document size to use, image resolution etc.

2. Mat Thorne video tutorial on Blurb: How to Sequence and Design Your Next Book Like Pro: An Insider\’s Guide – Free (56:09) from

\”Pro photographer and book designer Mat Thorne presents an introduction to book design principals. This webinar covers an overview of typography, essentials of cover design, and laying out front & back matter. Mat also shares examples and offers inspiration from published photography books.\”
I highly recommend spending the time to se this excellent video tutorial.

3. Mat Thorne\’s Video tutorial Part 2 : Free (1:07) from

The Part II of mat\’s tutorial is another hour, but it is another hour I found totally worth the investment.

4. Scribus tutorials from the Wiki Site – Free
This is the only resource I did not use when making my pdf – I cam ecaross these tutorials when writing this post. It seemed too goo a resource not to list.

5. Video tutorials on the basics of using Scribus on showmedo. – Free
I viewed the first few tutorials here and they helped me quite a bit in becoming familiar with Scribus.

6. The Non-Designer\’s Design Book by Robin Williams – $19.99 on, Free from your public library
This is a very easy to read fun book on book designing, as the name suggests. The concepts I read here help not only in designing ebooks, but also pamphlets, powerpoint presentations and other visual media. I highly suggest borrowing this book from your library and reading it.

That ends the compilation. If you have any other resources you recommend, do drop me a note.

Other SoFoBoMo posts:
Post 1:
Post 2:
Post 3:

Free Ebook: After Sunset – SoFoBoMo 2011

I did it! I published (rather uploaded) my SoFoBoMo 2011 book earlier on August 5 – a few days earlier than my deadline. You can get it from here (for free): Sofobomo 2011 book -478 – After Sunset. I have a total of 38 photos in this book. There are a few photos I am extremely happy with – which I think are keepers for my long-term portfolio.

Over the course of the month, the idea for the project changed from taking photos at twilight – to taking photos just after sunset> I just couldn\’t get up and be at the beach much before dawn. Also, since i hadn\’t scouted most of the beaches before, stumbling around in the dark before dawn did not seem such a great option.

As I had planned, I did find some poetry to go along with the pictures – which I was very keen on. The thought behind the poetry was – give the viewer a break from the visual with some relevant text. Maybe with more time, I could have found more / better poetry. A takeaway from this for me – is to read more poetry for future projects.

As I wanted to, I used Scribus for publishing the pdf. The learning curve was alright – not too steep. This is a piece of software which I will be using a lot more in the days to come. Coming in my next post – a compendium of resources which helped me publish my book. I hope to compile a list of resources on Scribus, ebook publishing, editing, and also the settings I used for the ebook and possibly the scribus template. And I promise – this post won\’t take forever in the posting.

I hope all of you who read this post will download the book, and it will be awesome if you can drop me a comment here on how you found the book, what you liked and what you didn\’t. Here is the link again:Sofobomo book- 478- After Sunset (And it is a free download!).

Other SoFoBoMo posts:
Post 1:
Post 2:

Update on 10/14/2011: Alas SoFoBoMo is closing. Looks like 2011 was the last year. Now you can download books directly from here (rather than through the SoFoBoMo website).

Ebook: After Sunset - SoFoBoMo 2011
Ebook: After Sunset – SoFoBoMo 2011, by Suprada on Flickr.

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Photographing – SoFoBoMo 2011

As I am writing this, I am now in my second week of SoFoBoMo 2011. For the first week, my game plan called for the collection of images. And collect images I did.

My first day of SoFoBoMo I went to Scott\’s Creek State beach – north of Santa Cruz. It is on Highway 1 between mileposts 31.8 and 31.9. This beach is very popular with surfers, and has free parking on either side of the highway. GPS Co-Ordinates: 37.0418°N 122.227°W

I pulled in about 7.30PM – sunset was supposed be at 8.30PM. It is very disconcerting, and exhilarating d to pull in and park when everyone else is leaving the beach. It\’s almost like the sunset is just for you.

So, I pull in and park on the side of the road. For the first time I take a look at what the signs say: Parking allowed from 8.00AM to sunset only. So what is a photographer who wants to photograph after sunset do? I decided to park a little away where there was no board. And try to shoot while keeping an eye out on my car. Luckily this beach allows a view of the parked car from all over.

Since sunset was 8.30PM, I had a bit of time to wander around. I was pretty uninspired until I went to the far north of the beach where Scott\’s creek was joining the ocean. I took a deep breath, got out of my hiking shoes and crossed the creek – cold cold water. ON the other side of this creek, there were some rocky shelves, undisturbed sand and a whole lot of inspiration. Suffice to say, my first day of shooting was very successful indeed.

After that, during the week, I got out of work and drove to San Gregorio Beach – just south of Half Moon Bay. This excursion was the least productive – I arrived there at 8.15 – just before sunset. And I didn\’t make any photos I liked from this excursion. Next stop, again on a weekday night was the awesome Pescadero State Beach. This beach was so awesome, that I had to go back and shoot there again the next Sunday (officially Week 2 of SoFoBoMo).

So how did I do overall on Week 1? Pretty good. I got 23 decent images from one week of shooting – three visits to the beaches. The good ones were picked and processed as well. Including this Sunday\’s excursion, I now have 35 photos selected for the book. They have all been processed and kind of sequenced.

Some aspects of teh project changed during this week. I had originally wanted to shoot using the digital Holga and Peleng lens – instead I am using my trusty trio of the 50mm f1.8, the 17-40mm L and the 10-22mm EF-S lenses. One other change – I had initially thought of shooting those beaches where a creek flows into the ocean at sunset or sunrise. Now I just shoot in beaches around sunset. This is what other SoFoBoMo-ers mentioned – be open to the nature of the project changing. I also seem to be shooting mostly at sunset. So the \”sunrise” might disappear from the options soon.

The challenges I faced this week\”
1. Shooting along at twilight and being spooked by my overactive imagination (crazy guy with a machete chasing me…)
2. Parking outside these beaches when no other cars are parked and being a little worried about my car being broken into (so good so far)
3. Watching out for park officials who want to chase me out of the beaches (so far none!)

What next? Though I have 35 photos, I know that some of them can be better. So I plan to go out and shoot one more time – this time to maybe Four Mile Beach or Davenport beach or Waddell beach… Also it is time to dig into desktop publishing software and the challenges of PDF creation. More about that in my next post.

I will leave you with a photo I am most pleased with from my excursion to Scott\’s Creek beach. It might even be the cover image of the book! What do I like about it? Everything. The reflections, the light and shadow, the palette, the awesome opportunity to actually spot the fancy light work while I was shooting… everything!

Scott\’s Creek, by Suprada on Flickr.

Scott\’s Creek Beach, North of Davenport, Highway 1

Technical Details:
Camera: Canon EOS 50D
Exposure: 1/8s at f/13
Focal Length: 11mm
Lens: Canon 50mm
ISO: 100
WB: Auto
Date: July 07, 2011

Other SoFoBoMo posts:

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SoFoBoMo 2011

These days I am very excited about participating in SoFoBoMo 2011 – \”The worst photo competition in the world\”. For those of you who don\’t know about SoFoBoMo – it stands for Solo Photo Book Month. What are the rules?

Make a photography ebook/PDF with a minimum of 35 photos . From the shooting to layout to finishing and posting -it needs to be completed within 31 days. Participants can begin any time between July 1 and aug #1 – but once they start they have 31 days.

Sounds nuts? Sounds challenging? Sounds easy? You should try it. It\’s not too late to give it a go. You can go here to register until July 30 2011.

So why am I taking part in this? After being in a photo-coma for the first half of this year, this is an awesome way to regain my photo-conscious. I need the discipline of dedicated photography, the challenge of trying to photograph with a theme / idea in mind and ending up with a related body of photos – a project! I like the challenge of creating a book – of grappling with layout, format – of learning about editing and designing and typography. Most of all, it is very nicely self contained – there is a beginning and an end. If I don\’t make a book in 31 days – the time-period is over – and my tendency to carry on forever can\’t play here.

My SoFoBoMo month started last Saturday – July 7 – when I started taking some photos. I signed up for SoFoBoMo 2011 back in May. Since then, I have been doing some research / prep work. I have been reading the resources section of the SoFoBoMo website, tips from other participants. I have also been looking into which desktop publishing software to use, studying book design, basic typography, layout , editing etc – what fun! All the while eagerly waiting for July to begin.

Meanwhile, I found a blog post by Niels Henrikson where he suggests the following schedule:
Week 1 – Image Collection
Week 2 – Processing
Week 3 Editing and Arranging
Week 4 – Publishing ebook and Done.

Which is what I planned to do exactly – but now, there is a modification:

Week 1 – Shooting, first round of selection
Week 2 – Editing photos, printing draft copies of photos which make the cut, getting bthe ook template ready, if time allows, some more shooting
Week 3 -Selecting the pre-final cut, draft copy of book with images, reshooting if necessary
Week 4 – Last week for polishing the book.

Before I started on my SoFoBoMo month, I decided on what I would shoot this time around as a part of my preparation (allowed by the rules). I decided on the working title of my book \”Confluences\”, the tag line being \”when day meets night, when water meets land\”. My idea was to shoot the spectacular beaches of Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties at twilight – either around sunset or sunrise. I wanted to use the digital Holga lens from and a Peleng 8mm fisheye lens for this. And use Scribus – a free desktop publishing software (alternative to Adobe InDesign) to create the book. And accompany photos with text and maybe some poetry. The photograph below inspired me to choose my theme for this project. More on what\’s happening since July 7 on my next post.

Blue Hour
Blue Hour, by Suprada on Flickr.

Blue Hour, 4 Mile Beach, Wilder Ranch, Santa Cruz County.

Technical Details:
Camera: Canon EOS 50D
Exposure: 2.5s at f/4.5Focal Length: 11mm
Lens: Canon EF-S 10-22mm
ISO: 400
WB: Daylight
Date: March 04, 2011

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Gogol – ebook

I am very happy to release my first ever e-book: Gogol. This is an ebook of photographs of my buddy. You can download it by right-clicking the below thumbnail and selecting \”Save File as” or \”Save link as\”. You can also do so in the freebies section of my website.

Gogol pdf ebook

Be warned, it is a large file (about 8MB). It is in pdf format and you will need to install the free Adobe reader to view it. You can download the Adobe Reader from here –

I was supposed to make this ebook as a part of SOFOBOMO 2009. However I could not keep up the rules: 30 day deadline (this book took 40 days) and 35 photos (It has 27 photos). Alas, I\’m a sofobomo failure. However, I intend to participate next year, meet the deadline and come up with better work.

I will talk more about this book, the experience, what I learnt and some tutorials in the next few blog posts next week.

Meanwhile, please share this book with friends and family as you see fit. It would be absolutely awesome if you would leave some comments, critiques, suggestions for improvement on this book.

Sofobomo trials and tribulations

June 8 is almost here…and what do I have? I\’m hoping I can somehow manage to finish my 35 photos. Before I started, I had this vision of how at least every other day, I would go around photographing my subject…Reality: I work in small creative spurts – meaning I have photos from all of 4 sessions! I think I am close to my target of 25 photos- have about 22 so far…

Now, it is time to start looking at other participants and figure out this whole book design thing.