If you are anything like me, you will have an insatiable appetite for books on photography. There is no doubt in my mind that you can learn a lot from them and I like to think that I already have. But some are better than others, some photographers are better writers/teachers than others and I guess some styles appeal to us more than others.

My recent experience was strange, though, as I read two books from the same author and was very disappointed in the first and absolutely blown away by the second

I am sticking my neck out here, as the author I am referring to is none other than Joe McNally, one of the best photographers in the World.

I started to read “The Moment it Clicks” with great anticipation, as it promised a “triangle of learning” where “Joe distils the concept down to one brief sentence”, then “on the facing page is one of Joe’s brilliant images” – So far so good. Then “you get the inside story of how the shot was taken, including which type of equipment he used (lens, f/stop. lighting, accessories, etc)”.

That’s where I beg to differ, because in almost all cases, you don’t hear a word about the lens, f/stop and accessories, usually just the lighting.

I am not saying that I didn’t learn anything and I was certainly well impressed with the pictures, but overall I was disappointed.

So when someone bought me a copy of The Hot Shoe Diaries, I wasn’t expecting too much.

How wrong could I be. It is the most fantastic, inspirational treatise on flash lighting techniques that you could ever wish for. It helps if you use the Nikon system but as someone who has owned an SB-900 for a while and never really used it, I was inspired, delighted, excited and now can’t wait to get out there and make my own light. As before the photographs are simply superb.

Thanks for that Joe, but what went wrong the first time? The triangle of learning concept is a good one but guys like me need our hand holding quite a bit more that we got in “The Moment”. I think “The Diaries” was written after “The Moment” so the next book might be even better. If so, I can’t wait.

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