Last update (Apr 21, 2009): Conrad’s Take.
This post is a compilation of annotated links to professional and user reviews, opinions and feedback on Joe Mc Nally‘s book, The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes (Voices That Matter).
The opening paragraph of this nice-and-short review says:
My biggest complaint up until now about books about the Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS) is that, while those books told you what all the buttons and switches did, they didn’t tell you much about how to use these spectacular lighting tools. Now Joe McNally has filled the gap.
Scott makes an excellent case for the book, saying:
This is the best book I’ve ever read on flash photography — period. And it’s not just because Joe knows flash or because he’s a great teacher. It’s because he’s all those things AND a great photographer.
Scott hints at just one example of a technique shared in the book:
Watching Joe photograph a subject by placing the flash OUTSIDE of the building and shooting it at the subject through the window was enough to blow my mind.
The book focuses on the use of portable flash guns such as the SB-900 Speedlight Flash and on the surface, it is aimed at Nikon shooters. However, Scott thinks the book would prove to be useful for Canon photographers too:
I used to shoot Canon so when I read the book, I tried an experiment. Every time Joe mentioned the Nikon Creative Lighting System or the Nikon SB-900, I just substituted the words “Canon 580 EX.” It worked much of the time. While there are segments of the book that are very Nikon specific, the majority of the book will be of great benefit to anyone who needs to learn the concepts that Joe uses.
Syl Arena says:
SPECIAL NOTE To Non-Nikon Shooters — ‘HSD’ Is Non-Denominational
It’s no secret that Joe is a Nikon guy. Nikon terminology is used throughout the book. If you shoot something other than Nikon, think of it like an American talking to a Brit [if “elevator” = “lift”, then “Auto FP” = “High-Speed Sync” and “Rear Curtain” = “2nd Curtain”]. Does this mean that ‘HSD’ is Nikon-specific? Absolutely not. As a lifelong Canon shooter, I’ve no hesitation in recommending this book to shooters of all denominations. The ideas and illustrations are universal.
Donald T. Lupo, a professional freelancer and full-time photographer for 25 years, says:
I have been a fan and follower of the Strobist techniques and have longed for a clear, detailed explanation of the concepts in one place. This book does that and then delivers far more.