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Sketching Light: An Illustrated Tour of the Possibilities of Flash (Voices That Matter) Paperback – 6 Dec 2011
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From the Back Cover
Following up on the great success of The Moment It Clicks and The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes, legendary magazine photographer Joe McNally takes us on another memorable ride with Sketching Light, another trip into the land of light--but this time running the gamut from small flash to big flash, and everywhere in between.
Of course, Joe includes coverage of Nikon Speedlights, but he also covers big flash, as well as "in-between" lights as the Elinchrom Quadra. The exploration of new technology, as well as the explanation of older technology. No matter what equipment Joe uses and discusses, the most important element of Joe's instruction is that it is straightforward, complete, and honest. No secrets are held back, and the principles he talks about apply generally to the shaping and quality of light, not just to an individual model or brand of flash.
He tells readers what works and what doesn't via his let's-see-what-happens approach, he shows how he sets up his shots with plentiful sketches and behind-the-scenes production shots, and he does it all with the intelligence, clarity, and wisdom that can only come from shooting in the field for 30 years for the likes of National Geographic, Time, Life, and Sports Illustrated--not to mention the wit and humor of a clearly warped (if gifted) mind.
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. Joe's previous books are the critically acclaimed and bestselling The Moment It Clicks and The Hot Shoe Diaires: Big Light from Small Flashes.
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Top customer reviews
So I was happy to buy this new book. Unfortunately it's more an auto-biography of McNally... You'll learn plenty about him, how he likes Nikon and now the ranger quadras and all his work to make better light-shapers. Full of nice advertising but missing mostly the point of a lighting book, that it needs to be about lighting. Very dissapointed !
If you just want to read about his life and gear please buy it, if you want to take better photos, spend the money on radio triggers, an umbrella or another lightshaper and try yourself, not worth buying.
There's more personal stuff in this book, like when he lost his staff photographer's job, and when Star City (the astronaught-training establishment in Russia) messed him about something rotten - and how he got his revenge! It goes into how he coped with various real-life situations as a photographer on a personal level.
The technology he uses is bang up to date. He's started using Pocket Wizard radio triggers - the new ones (Flex-TT5s and Mini-TT1s), and he describes the problems he's had with them and what he's done about it.
The technical details are all there in spades too, with useful facts & figures about his camera and flash settings, and how he handled which kind of light. But it's not dry technical stuff - he describes why you mustn't use a smoke machine near highly-polished vintage cars, for instance.
All in all, a terrific, useful and entertaining book.
After reading about a quarter way into the book, it was quite clear that this was not an instructional book about photography, but a notebook for Mr. McNally reminding himself how wonderful he is. I have actually learned nothing, other than the phrase "this puppy that or this puppy this". I thought I was reading a book about puppies and not photography. Shortly after the first quarter of the way through and a hundred self admiration slaps on back later, the book repeats itself with more of the same, just different location and more self ego boosting puppies :)
My advise do not waste your money on this puppy.
The book is well written, and it seems to be very technically correct. But it seems to avoid more advanced technical terms like guide numbers etc which actually could be useful in flash photography. The book is an inspiration to experiment, and it makes me a bit more conscious about lighting possibilities. It is absolutely worth the money.
The one down side, if any, is that Joe does have a propensity to go in heavy on the lighting front. In both his previous book, the Hot Shoe Diaries (also fantastic) and this, Joe does try to talk about using minimal lighting, but this quickly gets taken over with complex multiple light /mod/stand scenarios. While I have a mix of both studio and speed lights and modifiers, these books always leave me with a feeling of inadequacy and a need to go and splurge on my own private power grid and an ever more extensive modifier selection. The investment required in order to emulate many of these shots would be pretty high, which can be a bit of a deterrent to go and try similar setups.
The extensive range of lights and mods that Joe carries around (presumably a good size SUV stuffed with dishes, boxes and stands) not only necessitates a very large lighting budget, but also at least a second pair of hands to help with setup and light relocation. I am sure I am not alone in working solo for photography, but this does make you again feel rather ill equipped for these situations. When this is said and done however, it is an insight into a true working professional photographer, and is an inspirational book. It is easy to dip in and out, like a coffee table offering, but if you have the inclination (and budget) to emulate some of the imagery contained within, this really will bring your photography to the next level.
Although written in Nikonese, easily translates into Canonese.
Well worth the wait.
Thank you for sharing Joe
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Most recent customer reviews
Ignoring all the useless 'this is a camera' chapters and gets stuck into the practicalites of a shoot from the start.Read more
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