Plug Into McNally's Brain with The Hot Shoe Diaries

Last year, Joe McNally lit a fire under the photo community's collective butt with The Moment it Clicks.

To him, it was basically a memoir. But to us, it was a glimpse of what it was like to be Joe. It was full of lighting info, too. But organizationally, it was more a conversation over beers than lighting compendium. Disguised as a photography book, it was really a coffee-table-ready blog, full of double-truck anecdotes and delivering more solid info than any photo text I had ever seen to date. Until now.

Ever wonder what it would be like if you got the whole, 50-cent tour of Joe's brain on just small-flash lighting? Hot Shoe Diaries is what it would be like...

Warning: Contents Under Pressure

Okay, so I am thinking an editor, say, some guy named Ted Waitt, maybe, says to Joe,"Why don't you just write down everything you know about small flash?"

Seems simple enough, right? How hard could that be?

Except for Joe went for a full 320 pages before his mind pooped out and turned to mush. Then he handed the finished book to Ted and spent the next two months in a Hopi sweat lodge, chugging Ensure/Red Bull cocktails until he had recovered enough to speak coherently.

Where Moment was anecdotal, HSD is soup-to-nuts, and all on small flashes. He begins by walking you through his entire gear bag, explaining his stuff (what and why) right down to the clamps and minor doodads. He names names, and is not bound with any corporate restrictions on what he can or can't say.

Gear-wise, he has everything but the kitchen sink. And that is not an exaggeration. In fact, I am pretty sure I saw an SB-800 going off from inside the body cavity of a raw chicken in one photo. And if you think I am kidding, you have not spent much time with Joe.

Did I say you get the full tour? Yeah, except sometimes the "full tour" seems like a solitary, late-night walk through that old amusement park on the edge of town at about 1:30 a.m. with the occasional strange noise happening in the background and did I just see that clown statue move a little bit?

Just the way you'd want it. I'll give it this: It ain't cliché.

This is My Rifle. There are Many Like it, But This One is Mine.

All of that wouldn't gear talk mean squat if he didn't teach you how to use it. Which is what he does for the next 270 or so more pages.

Granted, he's nuts. But he somehow escaped the straightjacket long enough to walk you through setup after setup, technique after technique for small flash lighting. It's a cookbook, really. Kinda like one of those 500-page Julia Child books jobs. You know the type -- where every recipe starts with two full sticks of butter.

I will warn the Canon shooters straight out: You're gonna be pissed.

The book is Nikon-specific, in that it embraces all of the capabilities of the Nikon flash system. And I mean all. I am thinking there will be engineers reading translated versions of the book in Japan, going, "He did what with an SB-800?"

You Canon guys be even more pissed because the book is good enough to where you will have to get it and read it anyway. Then one night you'll find yourself drunk-dialing Chuck Westfall at 3 a.m. yelling, "Why doesn't Canon have a book like this for me, Chuck? Canya tell me that, Chuck? Huh?"

Well, they don't have one of these because they don't have a McNally. And they won't have a McNally, either. Because if he ever even mentioned switching to Canon there would be a quiet visit in the night involving a loaded syringe or something like that. I'm told Nikon has people very close inside the McNally camp.

It goes without saying that if you are a Nikon shooter, this book is a no-brainer.

And while Joe may have everything Nikon has ever made at his disposal, he understands that you may not be so lucky. Which is why he spends over a hundred pages in Part One on single-flash solutions. Yep -- a hundred pages of one-light.

Which bumps this book up in the pecking order to something I would buy before I even bought my second flash. And if you already have two flashes -- no worries. He spends the next 125 pages tutoring you on multi-flash solutions, too.

A Textbook Solution

If you are a photo teacher in college -- yeah, I am talking to you, corduroy jacket with the arm patches guy -- do your class a favor and make this one required reading. It is informative, comprehensive and totally relevant to how people are shooting at the highest levels.

If you don't use this one as a textbook, check the locker of the kid that is shooting circles around everyone else in the class. This book probably will be inside. They even crunched the dimensions of the book down a little to make it camera-bag portable. It's about 8x9 inches, which means camera-bag portable. Great thinking on the publisher's part, IMO.

Lastly, I am both honored and psyched to have been referenced in the book. Very cool, really, because the book will be around long after I am on the wrong side of the grass. I won't mention where or how I got slipped in there. But I will say on a "completely unrelated" note there is an instance of a very buff body double being craftily Photoshopped underneath someone else's head. But mind you, this is "completely unrelated."

The Reader's Digest Version:

My advice: Get it.

Read it, and keep it in your camera bag as a combination reference and inspiration source.

The bad news they are just popping into Amazon's system and you can totally expect this one to sell out of the first printing just like Moment did. If you went pre-order, like I did, you'll be on the first run. And even if you do not make the first shipment, Amazon should be re-upping pretty quickly. Especially after the supply chain issues they had with his last book.

My copy has not arrived from Amazon yet, but I got to read an advance in PDF form on my computer on a cross-country flight earlier this month. Being a long-suffering user of battery-powered Macbooks, I dropped the monitor down to where it only gave me a mild headache and made it all the way through in one sitting.

Fortunately, the SWA flight crew was pouring heavily enough that night to offset the monitor brightness levels -- and enough so that I will get to read HSD again, for the first time...


Joe McNally: The Hot Shoe Diaries (List, $39.99. Amazon, $26.39, w/free shipping with Super Saver and Prime)
PDF Excerpt -- a BIG one -- from Hot Shoe Diaries
• Joe's upcoming Paso Robles, CA workshop (if there are any seats left)


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Anonymous Pete Lucas said...

Just checked my email, mine should arrive today. Been waiting for this wee beastie for sooooooooooo long now.
I will post later on what I think.

March 17, 2009 6:36 AM  
Blogger mphgt said...

Even though I'm a canon shooter at just £12.99 on it would have been rude not to get it.


March 17, 2009 6:41 AM  
Anonymous Serge Van Cauwenbergh said...

I already pre-ordered a few weeks ago. I recently started reading in The Moment It Clicks and this book is already extremely interesting. I wonder what it will give with The Hot Shoe Diaries... I think my head will explode :-)

March 17, 2009 6:59 AM  
Blogger Greg Lynch Jr said...

Mine arrived from Amazon on Monday. Very nice. A lot thicker than I expected.

March 17, 2009 7:32 AM  
Anonymous Ramón Vasconcelos said...

Seems really nicem informative and fun. It´s a shame that we wont´t have in Brazil for at least a long time. So, pay the international expensive shipping... Argh!

March 17, 2009 7:34 AM  
Blogger Wounded Healer said...

Thanks for the heads-up David!
Looks awesome and if the Amazon US runs out try just ordered mine.

March 17, 2009 7:36 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Due to a pilfering thief with a smooth walk, and light fingers - Chuck Westfall and I broke up recently. I just received my insurance replaced Nikon gear D3's, D700, and a bag full of fast glass - oh and I tried to get SB-800's instead of the 900 - but ended up with two SB-900's and one SB-800 and an SU-800. What can I say - I'm happy as a pig in Mud.

I'm not showing off - I didn't get a D3x or anything crazy (it's darn tempting tho isn't it!?!) - I'm counting myself lucky. Lucky I'd already pre-ordered Hot Shoe Diaries, which is now making its SLOW way down from Amazon heaven. This in combination with Scott Kelby & Matt Klokowksi's D_Town is all clearly made for me....

Dave, Joe, Chase, Moose, Zack, Mike - keep serving it - and sadly for my pocket book - I'll keep eating it up...

From white and red to black and gold - I think I like it here... Chuck - thanks for the good times - we had fun, but you don't have a Joe now do you?

March 17, 2009 7:56 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Looks like an essential read. I've ordered mine. Thanks for the tip!

March 17, 2009 8:15 AM  
Blogger David Brown said...

Thanks a lot for the PDF link: something to keep me busy while I wait for the hard copy to land up in my hot little hands.

By the way, when are you guys going to come out to Hong Kong and give us a class out here? We got a little strobist group running, check it out on Flickr.

March 17, 2009 8:17 AM  
Anonymous DaveBulow said...

Sounds great, David. Thanks for the review/taster. I pre-ordered it as soon as it was announced and available on amazon here in the uk. I don't buy photography books much any more but this one sounded too good to miss.

Just one question, though. Is it really that bad for canon users? I don't generaly mind books, diagrams, etc written with Nikon users in mind. After all, if that's what he's using it makes sense not to have to waste time and pages explaining everything twice. But surely most people buying The Hot Shoe Diaries will already have a pretty good idea of off camera flash and how to use it, in order to 'translate' whate they read or find similar solutions themselves? Or are we talking something much more than that? (Which wouldn't surprise me at all :))

Either way i'm really looking forward to receiving THSD.

Thanks for your review.

Regards, DaveBulow

March 17, 2009 8:18 AM  
Blogger David Brown said...

Thanks a lot for the PDF link, something to keep me busy until the hard copy arrives.

Seriously, a chicken as a lightstand?

And by the way, when are you ever going to get out to Hong Kong and do a strobist workshop? You won't be short of people for it.

March 17, 2009 8:21 AM  
Anonymous Niall said...

I pre-odered this last month and now you've got me hyped. Hopefully Amazon will ship it fast enough to Europe! Thanks for the, as usual, fun approach to things.

March 17, 2009 8:22 AM  
Blogger Serge said...

Having read a lot of Strobist and Joe's blog, I really want to get this book. Unfortunately, the fact that I live in Russia puts be a bit further from getting it — Amazon doesn't bring its stuff here.

Fortunately, there are some hacks to use. Thanks for the good advice on this one.

March 17, 2009 8:47 AM  
Blogger John said...

This is sooo cool, I can't wait to get my hands on it. Thanks for the head's up!

March 17, 2009 8:48 AM  
Anonymous ML said...

Just ordered from your photo link. Thanks for the heads up.

March 17, 2009 9:07 AM  
Blogger Paulo Rodrigues said...

I've been waiting for this for ages.

I did have a read through the pdf that was floating about and it was pure solid gold. I'm looking forward to reading the rest.

Amazon are shipping, so hopefully I'll have something to read on the train tommorow

March 17, 2009 9:38 AM  
Blogger scott neumyer said...

got mine last night after pre-ordering on What a great book!

March 17, 2009 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell Joe to send your commission, I ordered it without even looking after reading your review. Now can't wait for it to arrive.

March 17, 2009 10:06 AM  
Blogger kathydale said...

Just checked my Amazon order -- my copy should be here by Friday!! Can't wait to get THE BOOK. I am sure I will not be doing any housework this weekend.

Thanks for all your blog info!!

March 17, 2009 10:19 AM  
Blogger SenenCito said...

I am so glad I reserved this book the moment it was announced. Joe Mcnally is insane, true, but he's also a genius, cant wait to have it on my hands. Already got the advance shipping notification, wooot

March 17, 2009 10:23 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

Scott -- it's so funny to see everyone siding with "camps"... Light, is Light :-) -- I shoot Canon bodies, Sigma Lens' and Nikon Flashes

Good light is good light, in all apertures :-)

Joe's book (and all the stuff you do) is awesome - and can apply to both camps. Thanks for doing this blog - it's a great read all the time.

March 17, 2009 10:25 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Mine comes in on Thursday...I can't wait!

I want to recommend this to my Canon friends...can what Joe talks about be done with an ST-E2, or whatever their SU-800 equivalent is?

March 17, 2009 10:31 AM  
Blogger Sean "Madman" Sullivan said...

Not very happy with Amazon. I pre-ordered this on NOVEMBER 8 2008. Isn't shipping till MARCH 26th. :/ Seems people who preordered AFTER me are getting it first? I'm not happy camper...

March 17, 2009 10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Canon shooters: With the new TTL Pocket Wizards, can't we do everything the Nikon shooters can do? Albeit a bit more expensively, but still!

March 17, 2009 11:27 AM  
Blogger Dennis Pike said...

I love that David wasn't kidding about the flash in the chicken body cavity

March 17, 2009 1:12 PM  
Anonymous Alex Arnett said...

So, if I had to choose as a newbie between The Moment is Clicks and The Hot Shoe Diaries, which would you recommend first? I'm a Canon shooter, likely to be pissed, but I'm okay with that.

March 17, 2009 1:23 PM  
Blogger LG said...

Been waiting what seems like an eternity for this book! Delighted that it finally has gone on sale. Just ordered it from Amazon UK, if it's anything like The Moment It Clicks' it'll be superb.

Between reading the strobist blog, doing the 101 lessons and reading Joe's books, I've become much more competant at off camera lighting.

This all = a very happy personal tutor and an improvement in my college work.

Thanks guys!

L x

March 17, 2009 1:27 PM  
Anonymous Clay Anthony said...

Loved "The Moment It Clicks" and this sounds to good to pass up, so I just ordered mine.

March 17, 2009 1:47 PM  
Blogger Kim Long said...

Joe must really likes The Princess Bride. =)

I'll need to read this again soon.

March 17, 2009 1:48 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Haha, Nikon operatives in the McNally camp. My college photojournalism teacher went to Syracuse with Joe and has Annie as her Nikon Rep and didn't make the connection for a years...

March 17, 2009 1:51 PM  
Blogger Ellis said...

I've been kicking around whether or not to get this book. I plenty of photography and Photoshop books, to which I just pick up for a bit and put back down. But, dangit Hobby, on your convincing, I'll get it. Pass the Kool-Aid.

March 17, 2009 2:27 PM  
Anonymous Chris Bradley said...

UPS man just delivered my copy, going to lock myself in my basement with my gear!!

March 17, 2009 2:28 PM  
Anonymous Brandon said...

Just picked up a copy at B&N... Wasn't on the shelves yet, but to my delight they had some in the back. Looks to be an interesting read!

March 17, 2009 2:40 PM  
Blogger Wen Chang said...

Thanks for the, I am so looking forward to get my copy. I pre-ordered...should get it soon from Amazon.

March 17, 2009 3:36 PM  
Blogger jag said...

Mine has been on order for ages, and shipping today - yay!!

March 17, 2009 4:05 PM  
Blogger dr frank said...

I ordered mine in Sept or Oct 08 and received an email today it was shipped from Amazon.

March 17, 2009 4:08 PM  
Anonymous oley said...

I'm a Canon user as well, but really looking forward to receiving The Hot Shoe Diaries. Too bad I live in Poland and have to wait till mid April. Ohh sweet jealousy.

BTW thnx a lot for the PDF link!

March 17, 2009 4:26 PM  
Anonymous Charles Verghese said...

Hey David,

Could you bring your copy down when you visit Dubai?


March 17, 2009 4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aargh, Amazon is totally dissing us Europeans, I preordered mine December 7th and today they e-mailed me that I still have to wait full month before they are able to deliver it to me! I'd really like to know where I was standing on the virtual line on Dec 7th...

March 17, 2009 4:57 PM  
Blogger Curtis Copeland said...

Joe has always been a significant player in photography. This is a must read!

March 17, 2009 5:02 PM  
Blogger DDYoga said...

Thanks! Just placed my order!

March 17, 2009 6:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I shoot Canon, but I can't for the life of me understand why I should be pissed? Looks like an interesting book on small strobe lighting and I won't get pissed if it says SB instead of EX.

March 17, 2009 7:05 PM  
Blogger VirtualWolf said...

I'd love to hear from some Canon shooters about how handy this book is. It definitely sounds useful!

March 17, 2009 7:18 PM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

Is that yours truly with Robert in Ft. Meade, Maryland from somewhere back around June last year?

March 17, 2009 9:24 PM  
Blogger Dusey said...

I'm a canon shooter, it's definitely useful.

Read the canon 580ex II manual first.

For almost everything you just translate from nikonion to canonite. ETTL, high speed sync, remote triggering, etc etc. There is really very little different (even without the new PWs)

Optical slave and the electronic filter thingie is the only thing I know of that's terribly different. The rest is close enough to keep this book a must buy. Besides, it can all be replicated with old PW's and cheapo flashes, just with a little more walking.

March 17, 2009 9:55 PM  
Blogger Csanad said...

i was scanning thru the excerpt i found nothing strictly nikon specific other than referring to SBs instead of EXs, or iTTL instead of eTTL so i don't see why any Canon shooter (incl myself) should be upset. but anyone reading the full please correct me here if i am wrong. i am trying to pick up a copy at N&B before i fly back to Hungary tomorrow, where such great stuff is usually available with a 10 monthy leg. so keep my fingers crossed hoping they have a copy already

March 17, 2009 10:03 PM  
Blogger Hello. said...

Thanks David,
I just ordered mine. While ordering I just had to get the CLS lighting DVD.

March 17, 2009 10:36 PM  
Anonymous TwoEyesOpen said...

Correct me if I am wrong, but when Life Magazine closed up shop, wasn't Joe McNally the last photog standing. The Last Staff Photographer for the Icon of PJ. How would you like to carry that in your bag?

March 17, 2009 11:18 PM  
Blogger Nick Forret said...

Missed the pre-order and even the first round. But I just ordered it 10min ago and really can't wait to get it!

March 17, 2009 11:22 PM  
Anonymous Philipp said...

Well, sad to hear that us Canon shooters stand in the rain a bit with this one. But nevertheless, I just ordered mine and it should be here by next week. I think that either there will be workarounds for the brand-issue or it is minor enough to ignore it. At least I hope it is, otherwise I bought a just "generally" great book on lighting ;)
I am very much looking forward to that delivery, thanks for the tip David!

March 17, 2009 11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Found your cameo on p232 (in the pdf) - Joe's head on your boulders - ahem, sorry - shoulders. When are we getting the David Hobby nude calendar? Having to make do with the pdf until the book gets downunder.

Love your work - seems like you inspired him on this occasion!

March 18, 2009 1:32 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

Getting my today!

March 18, 2009 2:16 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

My wife is seriously thinking about banning me from your site. She is threatening that I will only be allowed access once the pocket wizzards, light stands, strobes, books and other paraphernalia have made enough money to pay for a new bathroom.

She hasn't cottoned on that Amazon also have a mobile website so one copy of Joe's book has been ordered that way :)

March 18, 2009 4:49 AM  
Blogger mtreinik said...

For some reason had some in stock yesterday. My copy is on the way. Today estimates 1-3 weeks delivery time. Sorry guys.

March 18, 2009 6:10 AM  
Blogger YorickPhotography said...

Joe is a God... love is work and his first book was so amazing!!!!
can't wait to have it and read it...

March 18, 2009 6:39 AM  
Blogger Jason Bell said...

It's not often that I'm hugely excited about books but I did let out a very loud "yeeeessss!" (with arm movements) when I got Amazon's dispatch email this morning.

I'm ever so happy I did pre-order as I had a feeling it would be gone quick.

March 18, 2009 7:26 AM  
Anonymous Quoc Huy said...

I'm flying back to New Caledonia tonight for a family urgency. So I will read my one in a week and a half.

March 18, 2009 10:12 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

After reading The Moment it Clicks, Joe's blog and watching the Nikon Lighting DVD, I was thrilled to learn the new book is out! I ordered it 10 mins ago and I hope it ships soon!

March 18, 2009 11:08 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

My book arrived on St. Patty's day (ordered in late October). I read 50 pages and then went for a few pints, where I won a refrigerated keg dispenser in a drawing. Was it the book or the luck of 25% Irish? Now do I sell the keg cooler to help fund the move from Canon to Nikon or sell photo gear to stock the cooler with the elixir of life.

March 18, 2009 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Long Vo said...

Canon user here =( For Londoners seems like Waterstones already have them in stock here in London, will go pick one up tonight

March 18, 2009 12:38 PM  
Blogger rock'n'roll photographer said...

Another Canon shooter here,who as just ordered the book.Got an email earlier today saying the book would arrive earlier than expected.."ETA april 27th -30th" then just recieved another one saying it will be with by the 31st March--cool!!(I love Amazon!)

March 18, 2009 1:50 PM  
Anonymous Tenis said...

Just ordered one on amazone thanks D!! :)

March 18, 2009 2:33 PM  
Blogger Cheeky Chicky said...


March 18, 2009 5:19 PM  
Anonymous Graham said...

My copy should be here any day. I get the feeling this will be as bad for my bank balance as watching the Strobist

March 18, 2009 5:39 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Alright, I'll bite.

I normally don't buy things from reviews like this, but I've been looking for some good tips and you sold me, hobby.

I hope it's worth my $25!

March 18, 2009 5:39 PM  
Blogger Ben Marchio said...

just got mine today in the mail! now i must hibernate.. not really but it's going to make for good reading when i drop the kids off at the pool

March 18, 2009 6:13 PM  
Blogger said...

Hello, this is a bit off topic for this post, but very very strobist relevant, so i thought I should share... while applying for my passport I just came across some nice lighting information, complete with diagram, courtesy of the US department of State. Looks like uncle Sam is looking to get into the off camera lighting informational website business, watch out Mr. Hobby.

March 18, 2009 7:35 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Wouldn't you know it, but Chuck doesn't seem to be receiving calls from Sydney.
Oh well - guess I'm gonna have to wait for some genius from Canon to realise that there's an opportunity here for a similar work.
Still - I've just added another item onto my wish list for Christmas. Or Easter.


Chris McKeen

March 18, 2009 9:31 PM  
Blogger Del said...

David, mine showed up today. First ten minutes with the book, I find at least two references to you. Anyone know what the total is? Love your blog, love the book, trying to get the week off to go to Paso Robles. Thanks for making me good enough my kids aren't embarrassed anymore (at least not by my photography

March 19, 2009 12:28 AM  
Blogger Glyn Dewis said...

OMG ... this book is outstanding!!!!! So much so since receiving my copy I've ordered another for 'best' cos it's sure to be a classic.

Joe covers everything ... and I mean everything ... from exactly what kit he uses, to how he sets the camera up, places the flashes, what settings the lot!!! Page after page of truly great photos, followed by a breakdown of how the photo is acheived with diagrams and Joe's thought process behind it all, including settings he first used, why they didn't work and what the 'workaround' was.

I could go on and on ... the book is THAT good!

Without doubt, this book is gonna turbo boost alot of photogs out there.

Glyn (UK)

March 19, 2009 5:41 AM  
Anonymous Jamie Willmott said...

Mine was dispatched yesterday from Really looking forward to it and have had it on pre-order. I'm a Canon shooter too.

March 19, 2009 7:22 AM  
Anonymous Brett Turner said...

I got my copy saturday from amazon. i guess i was first in line. i am a canon shooter. 5D mk II and have no plans of changing. to say that the canon shooters are going to be pissed is like saying that the manual flash useres are going to be pissed or that anyone without the 50 sb 900s joe magicaly keeps in his bag will be pissed. yes joe is very cls specific and yes canon ettl is a weeker system but it is still a good read. is it a manual or a stepby step instruction book ? no . however it is full of great info. the really bad thing is the introduction of new pocket wizards and raido popers will kind of date it.

March 19, 2009 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Hmmm, looks like I'll have to learn my way around a Nikon Flash so I can apply it to my EX580II

March 19, 2009 2:04 PM  
Blogger Csanad said...

i managed to pick up one at B&N and read throgh half of it en route from Cleveland to Budapest. this book is amazing.

canon shooters out there don't dispair. 99% of the things i read so far are applicable to us as well if you own at least one eTTL capable Speedlite. if you own an 580EX and couple of more Speedlites the rest will be applicable as well.
Joe is a genious and he has riveting style. it is a good read even if you know nothing about flashes

March 19, 2009 2:43 PM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

Come on, give. This book will be on my birthday list, but that's not till May. Do I have to wait that long to find out if that's you in full makeup on page 205 in the PDF?

March 19, 2009 8:48 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

Got my copy from amazon uk 2 days ago. Read it cover to cover in that time. Just as relevant for canon shooters as nikonians. Excellent book, underpriced in my opinion.

March 20, 2009 11:20 AM  
Blogger Jon said...

My copy shipped out today. Can't wait.

March 20, 2009 12:09 PM  
OpenID jerseystylephotography said...

I got mine from B&N on Tuesday! Sweeet!

March 20, 2009 1:21 PM  
Blogger SASDALLAS said...

If you are having problems ording this book via or others, try Barnes and Noble online (

I ordered it ($26 plus free shipping) and received it within 2 days of online order.

Looking forward to it as well.

Just a heads up.


March 20, 2009 1:44 PM  
Blogger LarsS said...

The book arrived today in my mailbox in Sweden. The book looks great so this will be a good weekend for reading after the long wait. I ordered it from the Swedish site: that had it in stock in the beginning of the week.

March 20, 2009 5:06 PM  
Anonymous Dave Kee said...

Read the blog and placed my ordered on the 17th, and received my copy today. Amazon is amazing.

March 20, 2009 8:22 PM  
Anonymous tony dahlgren said...

I had this book on watch for a long time, but still missed the first batch!
Should have known that it would fly fast...
Can't wait to get my copy.

March 21, 2009 7:14 AM  
Anonymous Nas said...

I pre-ordered this a few months ago when Joe first mentioned it on his blog. My copy arrived this morning and my first impression after paging through the entire book (no time to read through it atm) is that it's really nicely produced with lots of great images but it feels like it would have been better with more diagrams or behind the scenes shots of the lighting set-up.

From other comments it seems that all of the details are in the text but a picture is worth a thousand words and much faster to refer to instead of reading through pages of info. That's just my initial impression. No regrets on ordering it though.

March 21, 2009 3:33 PM  
Blogger Tina M. Harris said...

Yahoo -- my book is on the way! Can't wait to get it!

March 22, 2009 2:23 AM  
Anonymous Cameron Davidson said...

I've known and admired Joe since the eighties when we were both repped by Wheeler Pictures. I've long admired his amazing technical skills and this book blows me away with how he thinks about light.

Using small strobes and making them look like it was a major lighting crew behind the shot is the norm for Joe. I read the book cover to cover last night and am now thinking - damn - I wish I had not switched to Canon and can I make the Canon strobes work.

This is a working pro book: full of ideas to make you think about how you light, how to approach lighting and more than anything else in the book, Joe hones the message that you have to come back with the picture and make it unique and your own. There are no excuses. He shows you how to think about light and why it can work.

I've been shooting for thirty years and I learned a few new tricks and applications.

Exceptional book!

March 22, 2009 8:09 AM  
Anonymous Gary Thom said...

Got mine on Friday, almost finished the first pass, great read, great info!

March 22, 2009 11:09 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Since this post is all about Joe's book on Nikon CLS I thought I'd mention this tid-bit: I Just stumbled across a way to activate my CLS controlled SB's modeling light function from my camera for an on demand preview of where the light from my flash(s) will fall on my scene. How? via the Depth of Field Preview button. Thank you nikon engineers!

More info here:

March 24, 2009 2:43 AM  
Blogger Tina M. Harris said...

I received my copy of the book today -- YES! -- and I am already enjoying it, even though I have only read the Table of Contents so far. How could I not love a book whose author references Spinal Tap ("This One Goes to Eleven") and Monty Python ("And Now for Something Completely Different") in his chapter headings?

March 24, 2009 10:02 PM  
Anonymous Pepin said...

Good day!

I just want to ask if I should get this or "The Moment it Clicks."

Or better if I get both?


March 26, 2009 5:57 AM  
Blogger Daniel Shirey said...

I don't think Canon users are left out in the rain...

I'm a Canon user but use Nikon speedlights all the time. If you go off camera you can use any flash system you want (and I find that I like Nikon speedlights a bit more)... I am a college student and can't really afford expensive flashes, but my college newspaper has a pair of old, beat up, SB 80DXs and I love them. They are awesome little flashes and you know what? I use a canon 40D. I might even pick up a couple of SB 80DXs for myself in the near future if I can find one.

Ordered my copy of the book... can't wait to get it.

March 28, 2009 4:36 PM  
Blogger spiritualspatula said...

For anybody interested, for a bit more, Barnes & Noble is selling this with a two day wait for shipping as compared to the estimated 2-5 weeks alotted by Amazon.

April 08, 2009 8:31 AM  
Blogger Kevin B. said...

For those still wondering where to find the book, has a "in stock" date of April 10. And they ship to Canada. does not have it in stock and has a 1 to 2 month wait.

April 09, 2009 3:12 PM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

I am in a photojournalism program now, and have been frustrated with the lack of lighting we have learned.
I bought Hot Shoe Diaries last weekend, and read it cover to cover. I am already shooting better.

This is required reading.

April 10, 2009 1:42 PM  
Blogger Arne G said...

I personally found the writing style of this book so poorly constructed and rife with similie that the message was completely lost. I couldn't finish the book without screaming and found the descriptors of the various set-ups lacking in sufficient detail to be of any real use (save for the small number of hand drawn diagrams)


May 08, 2009 3:15 PM  
Blogger said...

First let me state that I recommend this book highly! I am also VERY pleased that McNally thanks David Hobby gives the website in the book: without Strobist I would be lost!

However, my one criticism is that the book only refers to Nikon gear. I wish the back cover had said something about everything being Nikon specific.

Since Nikon and Canon each have about 40% of the Digital SLR market share, it would have been nice if he had added "if you're using a Canon 580 EX II, the setting is called [BLANK]".

But this is a minor gripe, since it's not too difficult to translate. But it's kind of weird, since he must have realized that a lot of Canon shooters would read his book.

DISCLAIMER: I do not want to start a religious war my Nikon friends! For better or for worse, I have enough lenses that switching to Nikon at this point is not financially viable. And frankly I love my new "Canon 5D mark II" -- but the new Nikon models are amazing too! I think the High ISO performance of these newer cameras is truly game changing. I am friends with both Canon and Nikon shooters: you can take terrible or amazing photos with just about any camera :-)

-Michael Getzinger

July 02, 2009 2:50 PM  
Blogger Philipp Leusmann said...

I don't own any of the fancy SB-x00 but instead two SB-26
Will the book be a good read even if I cannot accesss iTTL?

August 24, 2009 4:07 PM  

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