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on 16 February 2012
I had "the moment it clicks" before and really enjoyed it, giving plenty of ideas on how to think around the lighting.
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.
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on 24 January 2012
I read Joe McNally's other excellent books - The Moment It Clicks, and Hotshoe Diaries, so I was surprised how much I enjoyed this latest one. I thought maybe it would be a bit like watching a bad movie sequel. But it's as enjoyable as the others.

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.
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on 22 October 2013
Oh boy, where do I start.

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.
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on 29 February 2012
I am an amateur using a Nikon D300, a couple of CLS speedlights and other flashes and a small softbox etc. Having completed the first 98 pages of this 400-page brick, I have found little new information. But it gives well illustrated examples of different lighting techniques. The message so far is that I should go out and buy more flashes, more flash stands, more softboxes, umbrellas, reflectors and other light shaping items. The best thing is that most examples use small, commonly available speedflashes in stead of bulky, expensive studio gear. But will I actually go out and buy 12 more speedlights, each at the cost of $500, plus all the stands and light shaping gear necessary for them? We can always dream, can't we? And some of it may become reality.
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.
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on 21 May 2012
I am an avid McNally fan and was waiting for months following the delayed release date on this. It was certainly worth the wait. Not only are his photo setups very interesting, his writing style is informative and funny, certainly appealing to my sense of humour. Makes a change from so many of the BOOOOORING technical photo tomes out there. Joe is undoubtedly a fantastic photographer, but he is also a very effective and humble teacher. Lighting setups are varied and thorough and this book is a mine of useful photographic ideas.

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.
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on 16 May 2012
Joe McNally. What a God. This book neatly carries on where the "Hot Shoe Diaries" left off. Great to dip into and nicely illustrated (I'm talking about the napkin diagram layouts here).

Although written in Nikonese, easily translates into Canonese.

Well worth the wait.

Thank you for sharing Joe
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on 30 October 2013
Having attended three of Joe McNally's workshops, I can confirm he is an excellent storyteller and visualist regardless of chosen media: telling stories through photography, telling stories in the form of a lecture/workshop or writing stories in the form of a book. I especially liked his positive attitude, "been there done that I feel you" kind of approach. There is something very cartoonish in his imagination how he sketches the scene, and the photography is nothing short of outstanding. Read, absorb and learn.
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on 30 January 2015
If anyone has seen one of Joe McNally's instructional video's, this book is just like one of those, written out long-hand. Here Joe gets into the depth of his knowledge and inspires to use speedlight flashguns in situations that would normally have imagined had sufficient light available, with some quite incredible results.
You also consider this is Joe McNally, who is simply the master craftsman of the Speedlight.
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on 12 August 2015
Only got the sample of this book and to be honest I really like it and it is five stars but giving one star because £28 for a digital copy is plain greedy that a hardback price £15 maximum is a realistic price so sadly won't be buying will loan one from local library.

Update price dropped to £16 for the digital copy so five stars a great read from the master of small flash
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on 26 September 2016
Wow, i love this book full of information and insight to how to manage you images. The book a wit and humour all the way thought and Joe lets you into his world and acknowledges that things can and do go wrong. I have read this book twice and still love picking it up and getting back some confidence when things don't go to plan when out shooting.
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