Finally…it is done. 320 pages, and the thing kicked my butt, up, down and sideways. I thought, naively, hey, write a book about small flash…cool!
Thing is, you start talking about light, you start talking about color, and exposure, and f-stops, and EV compensation, and white balance, and well, the whole technicolor enchilada. I was really gettin’ stymied. The book….the book……the book. Everyday I tried to write I would plop myself down in front of the computer and stare at the screen with about as much energy and appeal as a big turd that just dropped out of a tall cow’s ass.
I finally turned a corner, thanks to Annie and my long suffering editor, Ted Waitt, with them beseeching me to drop the numbers and the specifics and the half stops of clogged imagination and just write about using a flash. So I mentally put myself at the front door of my house, gear in hand, and just started writing about everything (well, not everything) that crosses my mind as I go out to shoot a small flash job. It really cleared the decks of the tramp steamer of my brain and became a section up front in the book called, “What I Use and Why and When I Use It.” It runs pretty long, surprisingly, seeing as I’ve got the attention span of gnat and a great deal of my memory bank is used up by storing useless movie quotes.
But this really did open up the barn doors and cleared some cobwebs. I went through everything, tips, tricks, exposure modes, types of flash, types of light shaping tools, strategies, EV, mixing light, you name it. It marries up with a couple other sections on holding cameras, and also holding flash, general notions about quality, color and direction of light, and pictures of the whole camera bag, every item that goes out the door. The whole chapter is called, “Nuts and Bolts” or “Don’t Worry. As long as you hit that wire with the connecting hook at precisely 88mph the instant the lighting strikes the tower…everything will be fine.”
Also did a back section that is all buttons and dials.
The book is Nikon-centric, obviously, cause that’s the system I use, and to the extent I talk over buttons and dials and where they are and what they do, they are Nikon buttons and dials. But the much larger part of the book is devoted to using light, in this case, light that comes from hot shoe flashes. I try to show progression and the tools that are used, and how to use small flash in an intuitive way.
There’s a bunch of stuff on light shaping tools, cheap and easy, others, more of a commitment….
There’s several sections of the first chapter, in which one small flash is used…only one….
Some advanced stuff too…
I talk a bunch about color, and how to use, quick and easy…
And everybody’s favorite thing….
And I show progression, from the pop up flash treatment, to a sophisticated quality of light, in minutes, using no more than two flashes…
And of course, Numnuts did some sketches…
So…it’s done. It’s a big reason the blog has been intermittent of late. But it is officially out the door, done deal, and it’s up to the printer now to follow the type out the window, as they used to say. The Hot Shoe Diaries, Big Light from Small Flashes, is out March 12. That’s the date it ships, so dunno when that translates to it actually getting on the shelf. You know, it leaves the warehouse in a shrink wrapped pallet and gets put behind Mrs. McGillicuddy’s Ikea order, and the truck shows up there and she’s at the Piggly Wiggly, so they can’t deliver, which means that pallet stays stuck on the truck for another day or so. Then it makes its way down the interstate on an overnight, and it gets delayed a bit by rain, so it sits in the truck in the parking lot of the Extaxy Gentlem, er, the truck stop, and finally it gets to the loading dock, and the crew there is on their lunch/reefer break, and finally it gets on that little cart that they use in the bookstores and out into the aisles and the dude putting the books on the shelf sees the title, “Hot Shoe Diaries,” and puts it in the romance section, or worse, in the adult titles section, you know the one with the opaque plexiglass covers and the big signs warning you that if you go in there you might actually see a breast.
There’s lotsa stuff that could happen along the way. But it is done. More tk….
Pre ordered, you’re one of my favorite photographer and your work is more than awesome so im more than happy to pay for what Im pretty sure will be another fantastic piece of work from you.
David Cooper says
I’ve got mine on back order and looking forward to the READ. Goofy stick drawings included I hope.
a “must have-book” I think. I’ll hang on the lock/date.
Great job Joe!
Tim De Weerdt says
Nice! Looking forward to read it.
Pierre Vignau says
Today’s my birthday and this is a great present (the news of the Release I mean). I got your book pre-ordered as a Xmas present by my sister in law who called me earlier today to say that she was sorry that the book wasn’t even in my hands for my B-day (being a Xmas present).
Michael HultstrÃ¶m says
Wonderful. Just don’t search for “hot shoe diaries” on favourite online book shop if you are at work…
“Red shoe diaries: The forbidden zone” anyone?
No, how about “The hot womans handbook” ?
Well, judging by the company it keeps, I had better get two.
Thanks for your hard work Joe, I hope to learn alot.
Kenneth Verburg says
Preordered! Loved The Moment it Clicks so pretty sure this one will be worth it as well.
Dmitry Zaslavsky says
Pre ordered mine long time ago ;), Can’t wait
Elja Trum says
Looks geart, congratz on finishing it!
I’m certainly going to get it as soon as I can!
Looking forward to it.
Robert Theoret says
Congrats on doing the done. I am looking forward to all that juicy material. I am practicing my speed reading as I write this note. My only question is, will it be delivered in Canada, Alberta, Calgary, by the same truck and drivers that you use in the US, and if so, can I expect an August delivery? “Just kidding”
I will be placing my order at my local book store today!!!
Thanks also Mr. McNally for the good chuckles that I get from reading your blog, I always enjoy the reads, and always look forward to them.
Jeff Snyder says
Your face was priceless as you showed us the cover proof last week in Vegas…In your quiet little way, you were glowing…I’m excited for you! Can’t wait to read every page!!
Harry Pocius says
Yay! Congrats on putting this puppy to bed! Got mine on pre-order too so I guess that makes me fan-boy #3 (at least as far as these comments go)
I’ve had it on back order since the day you announced it. Love your writing style. Accessible and profanely funny real world anecdotes.
Always been a fan of your photos. Will definitely get this book.. Will check it out on the shelf.
How did you know? Just as I’m starting to get interested in the whole lighting / flash business you write a book about it?! Love the first clippings, i’ll amazon it once it gets there!
Oleksandr Photography says
Going to preorder my copy.
Ian Spector says
This post sent me straight over to Amazon. No one tweaks the nipples of lighting quite like you, Joe; and there is no finer and more generous teacher in the business. I am delighted it is finished and look forward to that brown paper package tied up with, er, glue.
peter filewood says
Had mine on back order since october 2008,looking foward to it popping through the letterbox.
Lou H says
I can’t wait! I’ve just pre-ordered mine here in the UK, so my wait may be a long one. Your previous book was the first time in my life I’ve I’ve learnt so much while laughing so hard.
Tyke Tyler says
Cheers for writing this mate! I can’t wait for my ore order to get here. All the best!
When will it be in the stores? I can’t wait to read it.
I’m coming over to Oldsmar (near Tampa) from Europe 2nd of March working there for two weeks.
Does anybody know a good shop for photo gear (Nikon) around Oldsmar/Tampa ?
Yippee — been waitin’ for this one, had mine pre-ordered for months. The first book was great, am sure this will be just as good or better. Thanks for sharing all your knowledge and humor, always enjoy that. –Tell Annie thanks for all her help also!!! Looking forward to the delivery of your book!!
Frank (cooksfriend) says
That’s good news Joe, posted it on a NAPP forum. Can’t wait till middle of March.
Finally! My inbox was clogged with “your order has been delayed” notices from Amazon!
If this book is half as good as ” moment it clicks” it’ll be well worth the wait. Of course, I’m travelling in March so won’t get my hands on it until April…..
Steve W says
Congrats on getting the book completed. Mine is now on order.
I have my copy on order too. Hopefully, you have a couple chapters that talk about shooting off a tripod. That’s because after reading your stuff, I’m usually laughing so much that it’s hard to hold the camera steady.
Mark K. says
Awesome! Can’t wait to see the finished result. Looks like you got a little “JerseyStyle” noir going on there. Not bad for a New Yawker.
Glad to see that “Gellin'” chapter…I was alittle worried that I’d be included in the “How To Light An Elf” chapter (then again…I very well may be given my vertically challenged predicament. The Sixers ain’t callin’ anytime soon.)
Congrats, buddy. Looking forward to it!
Frank McPartland says
Congratulations! I pre-ordered last August — I look forward to each of the 320 pages!
Going to preorder the thing (can I still call it a ‘thing’ or will that be offensive to you?) right after writing this message. I think you’re a great photographer and a great writer. I really enjoyed reading The Moment it Clicks and this won’t be any different.
Thanks for the comforting words on group shots, btw.
Congrats Joe – looking forward to Amazon dispatching my copy soon.
Thanks Joe! Just pre-ordered. Can’t wait.
Todd Brase says
Rock on. I pre-ordered it yesterday from Amazon.
Jason Allen says
CONGRATULATIONS, Mr. McNally!
I’ve missed your regular blog updates… I’m sure that the time off from writing your blog will have been worth it though! You know, you are a hero to “shoot and scoot” photographers like myself who aspire to photographic greatness and struggle with flash technique. Perhaps now I will be able to make heads-or-tails of my SB-800 and family of SB-600s… 🙂
“The Moment It Clicks” was inspirational to me… I look forward to reading your latest masterpiece… Preordered!
Absolutely awesome! I’ve had this book saved in my wish list on amazon.com since before Christmas!!! Really looking forward to it. Congrats on getting it finished!
God Bless Joe McNally! A talented hard working man with the skills and humor to help us schmucks with our photography. Showing us the tools and the thoughts that make this form of communication so much fun and a pain in the a**. Thanks Joe, we love you!
Robert Busch says
Congrats on the book, can’t wait to get my hands on it. It was a pleasure meeting and “working” with you at WPPI in Vegas!!
All the best.
Pre-ordered here as well…. thanks for your blogging and inspiration Joe, looking forward to the next time you’re up in Vancouver!
Michael Warf says
Congrats! A huge undertaking, but very appreciate by the rest of us.
I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
Billy Mitchell says
…and what f: stop was that?
How exciting!! I can’t wait to get my copy!
Noel Eiffe says
Had mine on backorder for some time time. Congratulations…and, well, we’re eagerly awaiting. Any idea when it actually ships??
Noel Eiffe says
(Just saw March 12. Awesome…)
Really enjoyed The Moment It Clicks and your talk at the Planetarium in Vancouver so I have pre-ordered this book as well……..
Looking forward to a good read……..
Are you coming back to VPW this year again?
Marc Lanciaux says
Preordered it in August from Amazon! Can’t wait to get my copy!
***running off to pre-order my copy now***
Eric B Photography says
Just pre ordered. I am soo stoked for this book. Joe is such a hero of mine. This book can’t come out soon enough.
Robin Ng says
awesome job! cant wait to have it in my hand!
Sensei mike says
been per ordered since Dec, I loved the Moment It Clicks.
when are you going to a gig in the Toronto area?
Ryan McBride says
awsome, can’t wait
I pre-ordered before xmas, and really looking forward to giving this a read.
Joaquim Brissaud says
If I trust what I read around the web, this book is gold, but my question is, being a canon shooter, is it a good call to buy this book anyway ? How much of the book will I have to skip ?
I want that book! Thanks so much Joe for being a very good teacher and an inspiration to all!
Glyn Dewis says
Ah man … now I find myself yet again wishing my life away; well wishing March 12th would hurry up atleast :o)
Book looks fantastic Joe; can’t wait to get hold of a copy … another iconic read me thinks ;o)
All the best to you and yours,
Fernie Castillo says
Congrats Mr. McNally!!!
…can’t wait to get it. Absolutely loved the Moment It Clicks, and can only guess that this book will be such a treat. It was a great pleasure to meet you at WPPI in Vegas, you are such a down-to-earth person.
That’s great news. I really like ‘The moment it clicks’ and look forward to your new book.
I hope this book does not make the workshop in Venice obsolete which I have booked. ^^
Ted Adnan says
Only about 10 days ago I managed to get a copy of The Moment It Clicks by the Joe dewd (in one of the LEAST EXPENSIVE bookstore chain in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) and now there’s another one coming out already?
*smack forehead with the back of his hand in frustration*
Just checked. I’ve had it on pre-order at Amazon since July 17th. The day I first heard you were writing it. Can’t wait. Going be a best seller. Congrats Joe.
Behind the photo says
Congratulations, Joe. I will look forward to the book. And I love your intro to Groups photo section 😀
Serge Van Cauwenbergh says
Congrats with the new book! I already pre-ordered mine!
Ron Mandsager says
Can’t wait to read it! Thanks, Joe, for sharing your thoughts w/ all of us!
Jeff Foley says
Congratulations, Joe! I can’t wait to crack the spine on this book!
Elena Angelova says
Your photos are amazing!!! They are an inspiration!
Bruce Jorgensen says
It is worth buying just for the creativity that has gone into the title – well done!
Rock on McNally, It looks like a good one, I’ll buy it after the hype has gone down a bit, but the last book kicked ass, I’m hoping for the same 😉
OMG..I must have preordered this months ago…Amazon kept asking me if I wanted to keep in in my pending orders bin. Thought it would never arrive…can’t wait…:)
I have had one pre-ordered for several months now. Can’t wait to get it. I better check my CC card balance and make sure there’s room!
Alright McNally, I pre-ordered another one of your damn books. Once again you have found a way to plunder my meager disposable income. Tell Kelby I won’t be able to pay him… because I payed you.
I hope they have pony rides at the Poor Farm.
John Dutt says
Sakes preserve us Mr. McNally! Is that you yourself sir? Well tis a fine day when when a book gets published by a fine Irish writer. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph just a wee bit late for St. Paddy’s day!!!
I am doing a jig in your honor! Note: Picture tall man pretending to dance in his office! Yiddle, de diddle, de diddle de de!
Congratulations, Joe! Hope you enjoy your new-found freedom. Love the preview pages. The opening few lines about popup flash are particularly good. Glad you’re practicing safe photography.
Awesome to hear, had this one pre-order for awhile now! Can’t wait to learn more lighting tips from you. Had to good fortune to see you at DLWS in Montana last year. Love your teaching style and ‘tell it like it is’ attitude. Great job!
Awesome! I can’t wait to read it!
Pat Morrissey says
Have it on pre-order … but I want it NOW!
Matt H says
Congratulations (that must be a welcome drink), thanks, and that’s me, off to Amazon now. Looking forward to more of the blog – it keeps me sane between 9am-5pm…
Don Howarth says
Done. Cool! Looks like a winner. I’ve had a pre-order in at Amazon for months.
Sam Fifer says
I just pre-ordered your book on Amazon today. I know I’ll be looking at the front door way too often until it arrives.
Thanks for all you do, Joe (a.k.a. numbnuts… I had to say that, just to help keep your head on straight.) 😉
Does anybody know what brand is a foldable lens hood on his 70-200mm ? I’m sure is not original Nikon, one time I did touch it at Adorama workshop(sorry Joe, can’t hold it) and it’s not rubber it’s metal, probably the back side is rubber to make foldable. Anybody know? Joe please?
Ron Martinsen says
Woohoo – can’t wait! I really enjoyed your first book and long for a good resource on small flashes, so this is going to be awesome!
Congrats Joe 🙂 I will be really looking forward to the day it hits the shelves!!!
Joe, numnutz the character in your set ups is just pure genious, hope we get someday the scoop of his biography :D!
John Leonard says
Ah, about time! I mean what’s not to love here. McNally + small flash + Nikon Gear =)
You know this will become the new CLS bible right?
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!
Congrats Joe! How can I obtain a signed copy?
Add me to that long list of people pre-ordering your book. March 12th suddenly seems so far away.
Ryan Brenizer says
I’m blocking out that whole day to devour this.
Mark S Elliott says
I have to tell you you are driving me crazy and costing me a small fortune.
There I was, a contented lanscape photographer until I came accross your work, your video tutorials and The Moment it Clicks….and I’m blown away. I now want to photograph people, I need to photograph people. Mountains and lakes suddendly don’t do it for me like they did. I’ve been McNallyised.
I’m buying strobes, stands and sandbags. I’m velcroing gels to my hotshoe flash and buying wireless gadgets. I’m collaring everyone I know to model for me (most say no) I’m posting ads on websites and shop notice boards asking for models. (Which feels odd and a bit seedy).
I think I’m addicted. Worse still, my efforts at taking pictures of people make me feel as if I’m starting my photography all over again. I’m way out of my comfort zone and some of my recent efforts have been truly embarrassing. Only days ago, I managed to light a beautiful girl and made her look very ugly.
I’m going to keep at it because I’m hooked and I love it…and you are to blame Joe. So – thank you!
I look forward to reading your book. Congratulations and best wishes from accross the ‘pond’.
Well its about time…. !!! How dare you keep us in suspense for such a long time. I’ve pre-ordered my copy, and so has a coworker- I look forward to reading it (ok, well at least looking at the pictures, even though they’re Nikon 🙂 )
I’ve greatly enjoyed your work and your Blog, keep up the excellent work.
Stephen J. Zeller says
I can’t wait to get my copy! I really enjoyed “The Moment It Clicks” and I have do doubt that “The Hot Shoe Diaries” will be just as spectacular. Thanks again for sharing with us!
Gary Thom says
Preordered – Looks great
MD Torres says
After I got The Moment it Clicks I have been waiting for news about when Hot Shoe Diaries was going to be ready. Just ordered mine at Amazon. Very good news it will be out of press very soon. Congratulations. You are a light genius!!!
By the way, it woul be woderful if your books where available in spanish. If you need photographers who also are translators, just contact me!!!
Desde el momento en que recibÃ The Moment it Clicks, he estado esperando noticias de cuÃ¡ndo estarÃa listo el libro Hot Shoe Diaries. Acabo de pedir mi copia en Amazon/ Muy buenas noticias que estarÃ¡ saliendo muy pronto. Felicitaciones. Eres un genio de la luz..
Por cierto, serÃa maravilloso para muchos fotÃ³grafos que estos libros se consiguieran en espaÃ±ol. Si necesitan traductores fotÃ³grafos, pueden contactarme!
Jani Sourander says
Pre-ordered mine! Oh yeah, and I’m blogging now in english. Just if anyone’s interested.
Bruno Monteiro says
Pre-ordered mine yesterday, will be delivered in end March, I believe.
Just bought it because of the gorilla pic, of course. Of course, kidding! 🙂
Though I’m a Canonist, I’m sure there’ll be something worthy for everyone.
And that cover image is pretty awesome!
Keep up the good work!
Bob DeChiara says
Can hardly wait!! Go get some rest will ya!
I’m always looking to do more with less. Viva la Hotshoe!
Tim Vailoces says
I am sure my copy will be dog eared just like my copy of the “The Moment it clicks”. Can’t wait!!!!
Roger Botting says
After that goofy time in Yellerstone, i had to order a copy to see what else you could get into.
Any shots of Laurie”s locks?
Just pre-ordered! The Moment It Clicks is great so can’t wait to get my hands on this one.
Jerry M. says
Congratulations on finishing your new book! I’ve been waiting for this one for a while now. Pre-ordered it today on Amazon. I’m a big fan of your work and of “The Moment it Clicks”–keep up the great work.
I’ve read Clicks about 5 times.. 🙂
See you in Santa Fe mid July
Tommy Lynch says
Awesome!!!!…..looking ofrward to a copy of it soon!….Thanks Joe!
Congrats Joe. I want to buy it now, haha… It was a great moment when you showed to us at WPPI the cover of the book.
Rafa (from Mexico)
darko pevec says
Amazon.co.uk had just e-mailed me that the new optimistic shipping date is 08.04.
can’t wait it!! 🙂
Robert Hooman says
Joe is probably the only human on earth who can wrangle these suckers so effortlessly. Of course i’d really like to read that he uses some sort of radio slave to fire them. I’ve really struggled with the IR slaves on the Speedlites. Looking forward to the book.
Jamie Willmott says
Loved the last book and have this one on pre-order (even though I shoot Canon).
Please….don`t forget an spanish version. Regards from Argentina
Will it be on sale during GPP Dubai ?
The book was supposed to be published March 3. It’s now March 16 and not available from any major bookseller. What’s going on?
Charles Verghese says
Was one of the students at one of your workshops at the Gulf Photo Plus 2008 event. Picked up your previous publication and loved it. I was wondering if you would be bringing down or arranging to have a few copies for sale when you attend this year’s event?
I look forward to meeting you again this year!
Just reading your book – thanks for sharing this great compendium of good lighting ideas.
Oh – BTW: I was an aperture mode guy, but now I’m a manual mode man. You know why? You need two fingers for changing the EV in aperture mode, but only one finger in the manual mode 😉
Ned Jackson says
Got the Hot Shoe Diaries on Thursday – almost done. Excellent book. Well done Joe. Thanks for passing on all this knowledge unselfishly to the next generation.
Glenn Olsen says
Got mine yesterday. Half way through and an awesome read. I have got to get out to a workshop on of these days and listen to your ranting and raving live. Trying out the flash through the window…
Received my book today – I’ve only read the first few pages, but I already know that it is helping me to understand Nikon’s CLS far better than before.
It’s such and enjoyable and informative read that I am promoting it to my friends on http://www.LPMG.org.uk and the London Flickr meetup group for them to go and place their orders on Amazon.
Well done once again.
D. Cole says
Can’t wait…oh, wait, Amazon is telling me it will ship sometime between April 19th and May 23rd. OK, I guess I have to wait. 🙂
Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
Your, Raiul Baztepo
Rick -Z- says
It looks like a good book, Joe, but I had to write immediately when I read this huge gaffe:
“In the spring of 1981, America returned to manned space flight.”
“The last manned American space flight had taken place 20 years previous…”
20 years? What happened to Apollo-Soyuz? Skylab? The moon landings? The entire US manned space program going back to Alan Shepard in May 1961? I think the proofreaders were asleep.
That aside, I’m a fan, and hope to enjoy your latest work. 🙂
Geoff Dodd says
Thanks Joe McNally – great flame dancing you do! I love your photographic blog here. GPD.
Ron Martinsen says
I finally got around to reading your book and adding a review on my photography blog (
http://ronmart.blogspot.com/2009/04/review-hot-shoe-diaries-by-joe-mcnally.html). It’s a great book, but definitely a bummer for Canon shooters.
Carole Jeffs says
I LOVE the Hot Shoe Diaries! It’s very entertaining along with being educational. First thing I did was “pimp it up” by getting it spiral bound & the cover laminated. I’m sure this baby’s gonna see alot of use! You have inspired me to get out and light things up!
Sheldon Reich says
I have devoured this book and I learn something new every day!
One of the topics pushed me to shoot this shot…
…and I think you’ll agree that the shot was totally inspired by Joe!
Viktor Krokavecz says
The book is arrived few weeks ago. A really helpfull and amazing writing.
Thanks for it! 🙂
Mike Le Gray says
An absolutely fantastic book. I was lucky enough to meet you and get it signed in Cologne, Germany at the Nikon Solutions Expo and couldn’t wait to read it. Not only was it an inspiration, but it’ll continue to be a resource that I’ll refer to over and over again.
Many thanks, Joe!
Gabriel SÃ¡nchez says
Cuando tendremos una versiÃ³n traducida al espaÃ±ol. Somos millones de hispanohablantes!!! Un saludo
I could agree in 100%.
He’s the best part if this.
Order soma in New Zealand
Nathan Gehman says
I have seen your work before and absolutely love it. I am primarily a wedding photographer and am really trying trying to understand lighting. I bought the book and have been blown away by all the tips and tricks. I am just starting out and your tips are incredible. I am having trouble translating the stuff over to Canon, probably because I am a newbie. The over/under exposure tip with the flash is priceless but on the Canon, the ettl2 seems to correct what I am trying to do. Any place you have tips for Canon users?
David Solo says
Hi Joe just wanted to say thanks for signing my book in New York recently. See ya at photoshop world in Orlando. I owe you a beer.
ugh, how disappointing that i have to take this book back – it’s completely about nikon flashes!!!! it came highly recommended, how could i be so silly to trust people without checking this major detail out? *facepalm*
Playtech - 5Bintang Kasino says
I loved this post! I read your blog fairly often and you are always coming out with some great
stuff. I will shares this on my facebook, instagram and some of my loyalty followers.
Great jobs! Keep work it with it.