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The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes: Creative Applications of Small Flashes (Voices That Matter) Paperback – 3 Mar 2009


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The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes: Creative Applications of Small Flashes (Voices That Matter) + The Moment it Clicks: Photography Secrets from One of the World's Top Shooters + Sketching Light: An Illustrated Tour of the Possibilities of Flash (Voices That Matter)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (3 Mar. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780321580146
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321580146
  • ASIN: 0321580141
  • Product Dimensions: 19.9 x 2.1 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Joe McNally is an internationally acclaimed American photographer and long-time photojournalist. McNally is known worldwide for his ability to produce technically and logistically complex assignments with expert use of color and light... and he's an incredibly funny man.

Product Description

From the Back Cover

When it comes to photography, it’s all about the light.

After spending more than thirty years behind the lens—working for National Geographic, Time, Life, andSports Illustrated—Joe McNally knows about light. He knows how to talk about it, shape it, color it, control it, and direct it. Most importantly, he knows how to create it...using small hot shoe flashes.

In The Hot Shoe Diaries, Joe brings you behind the scenes to candidly share his lighting solutions for a ton of great images. Using Nikon Speedlights, Joe lets you in on his uncensored thought process—often funny, sometimes serious, always fascinating—to demonstrate how he makes his pictures with these small flashes. Whether he’s photographing a gymnast on the Great Wall, an alligator in a swamp, or a fire truck careening through Times Square, Joe uses these flashes to create great light that makes his pictures sing.

About the Author

JOE McNALLY is an internationally acclaimed American photographer and longtime photojournalist. His most notable series is “Faces of Ground Zero—Portraits of the Heroes of September 11th,” a collection of giant Polaroid portraits. He also photographed “The Future of Flying,” the first all-digital story for National Geographic. His award-winning work has appeared in numerous magazines and, in 2008, Joe wrote the critically acclaimed and bestselling book The Moment It Clicks.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Spuds on 7 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading some of the previous reviews, I do wonder what some people expected when they bought this book...it's well known this guy exclusively uses Nikon kit, so it was always going to feature that company's products. I use Nikon at work (as a Crime Scene Examiner) and I've just gone over to Canon (EOS 5D MkII) and Metz for my private stuff, so I feel I can give an unbiased opinion.
I bought the book because I wanted to know more about the capabilities of Speedlight lighting, as recent years have seen a lot more accessories available through companies like Interfit (their Strobist range). In the old days you had bulky studio kit or weedy little underpowered on-camera units. That's all changed now.
The author's use of American "slang" can be a bit irritating, but it's just his writing style. He's an American so get used to it. His pictures aren't perfect either (whose are?) but he doesn't say they are. It's all a matter of taste, after all, and if his clients liked them then who are we to criticize?
Where this author excells is in his huge well of experience using this type of lighting. In many cases, it's a case of using the kit to get a picture or not getting the picture at all, and for this you can thank the guy's background in journalism.
I really liked the case histories for each picture, with sketches and detailed notes to show you how he achieved the results. Some are really simple. So simple in fact you're left feeling quite inadequate, as there's always a temptation to over-light things and lose the atmosphere in a scene.
The author seems to have the knack of knowing exactly how much light to use, and where to put it, to achieve natural-looking effects under challenging situations.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By D. Ware on 6 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is all about flash. Not the single tiny spark of light found on most cameras, but dedicated shoe mounted and remote flashes. The best aspect of this, is that McNally sticks to methods requiring just one single flash. Alot of photographers use more than one flash as well as expensive lighting equipment, but McNally shows how to acheive striking photos with minimal equipment. He does however let himself go in the last chapter and uses all the flashes he can find (and there are lots!).

Throughout the book, a couple of pages are used to cover an assignment that McNally has completed. The first page is the chosen image from the assignment, together with a catchy title. The methods, difficulties and lessons to be learnt from each assignment are then described along with other images which either didnt quite work, have an alternative viewpoint, or just show the layout and arrangement of the lighting situation.

The book is close to repeating itself on a number of occasions. I say 'close' as an entire book on how to shoot with flash is always going to repeat itself, but the author actually does a pretty decent job of making each chapter unique.

Technicalities such as gelling, zooming and compensating your flash are covered by describing how and why they were used to take a shot.

A point to note is that McNally is clearly a Nikon user, and there is absolutely no way of getting away from it. It should be understood however that the author cannot be proficient in every manufacturer's equipment, and when describing methods it would be naturally easiest to describe the actual equipment used.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Glyn Dewis on 31 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback
With so many books on photography out there that by their summary promise 'the earth' it can be difficult to know what to buy. Not so when it comes to this new book by Joe McNally. It is quite simply an incredible book on photography - focusing on the use of flash photography (speedlights). In the first chapters Joe takes you through the kit he uses and why and then page after page shows some incredible photographs and exactly how he created them using; every thought, every mistake, settings ... the lot!!!! it's all covered making this THE book to own.

Honestly, if you only had one book on flash photography, in fact photography in general, then this is the one to own; it really is that good. As a professional photographer, this book has taught me so much and given me so many ideas for shoots ... my only wish now is that there were more hours in the day :o)
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Format: Paperback
In this brilliant book, McNally goes into great detail about his creative inspiration, logistical challenges, available technology & accessories for particular shots. He shows annotated diagrams about how he set up the shot, and then also evaluates the successes, failures, how he would do things differently.

He is a hugely seasoned, highly successful pro who takes beautiful portraits - visually this book is a pleasure to leaf through. In addition, I enjoyed his honest, personal and conversational style and his anecdotes, it was an excellent read. He talks about his sitters, how he interacted with them, how he got the shots.

However, each to their own. I shoot Nikon, love off-camera flash, and do portraiture, usually on-location where the set up can be complicated. So this is my dream book. You shoot studio-light Canon product photography? There'll be another book for you somewhere else (if not, write one), don't come over here and start ripping on it.

Many thanks to McNally for sharing so much. I'm one of those people that look at the internet too much, and look at loads of "useful" tutorials online. Sure, I bookmark them, and "feel" like I'm learning, but it's so, so rare that I actually put something I read into practice - it all just becomes background noise. Not with this book. My photography changed for the better with every chapter, I've put dozens of things that he's talked about into daily practice, my friends have thought me remarkably creative with how I now approach lighting challenges, especially in group shots. Little do they know my secret weapon - a copy of this book.

And - it's not that I followed his set-ups to the letter, and herein lies what's genuinely awesome about this book.
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