March 31, 2009

Finished the McNally

As predicted I plowed through McNally's Hot Shoe Diaries like a farm hand at dinner. All important bits highlighted, every ounce of knowledge absorbed. It was a great read, but like I said yesterday, I'm a bit disappointed that I had already read most of the chapters before the book was even printed! The vast majority of chapters were blog fodder over the last five months and not just "oh the pictures and anecdotes are the same," it was VERBATIM. I know I know...I shouldn't be that hung up on it, I just was looking forward to new material that I hadn't already read. This would be true for anyone who's not a regular reader of his blog, but I am, and therein lies the problem.

I still highly recommend it for anyone in love with photography and lighting and looking for tips, info and clues as to how to become a better photographer. Although it's not like McNally says "THIS WILL MAKE YOU A PHOTOGRAPHY GOD" anywhere in his book, it's more like: "here's some things I've learned in the school of hard knocks photography that I think will make your life easier."

It's about building a knowledge base. If you're just starting out, you don't have 30+ years of photography shoot knowledge database to pull from when you go up to a situation and the weather is crap and the light is awful and you only have three minutes to get a well lit shot. I'm a big fan of learning things from those older and wiser than you, cuz if you listen you don't have to repeat their mistakes; you already know that a+b+donkey dodo = awful photo and unhappy client.

Now thankfully I get to make use of some of this photographic knowledge/inspiration. I did notice in all of McNally's stories that he uses tungsten white balance (which turns the world blue) a lot, and I've never really found the need for this. However, on Saturday night I'm scheduled to a do a shoot that I'm entitling "Locked in the Comic Bookstore" and I think it will be the perfect place to try out some tungsten white balance and some theatrical gels ala Joe McNally.

I'm looking forward to it!

More soon...


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  2. Looking forward to the results of your shoot Kat ... I received my copy of The Hot Shoe Diaries last Thursday or Friday. It is sitting on my desk right now marinating in the warm glow of my monitor. Perhaps I'll dig into it to tonight after I work through some more pics. I'm considering "Pimping my McNally" ... to make it more user friendly .. perhaps this weekend.... in the meantime I'll sharpen up my magic markers and dig out the multi-coloured post it notes :-)

    ps... deleted the previous comment because of all the typos ... damn where is that light switch !!

  3. I'm warning you, once you pick that thing up you won't be putting it down any time soon. I found that with Moment it Clicks too...I just plowed right through it. Enjoy! Ah no worries about the typos :)

  4. Hey I had the chance to go through some of your posts and all are quite interesting.

    Sad to hear that Joe has been recycling material from his blog. I'm awaiting for my copy here in Manchester, UK. I bet I will enjoy it nonetheless.

  5. Thanks Ivan! Glad to hear you enjoy reading this blog. I try and keep things as relevant to photography as possible and update it as frequently as I can - those are the two main things for a good blog (relevance and frequency).

    Yeah it's a bit sad that it is mostly old tidbits in a new format, but I guess if you're not a writer at heart then you don't like writing new stuff all the time. Also, makes sense to test drive it on a blog to see on a smaller scale what the response to your material will be. The ones following a blog are probably the die hard fans ;)

  6. Kat have you pimped your McNally yet? I found a place (I think -- see what they give me on Monday) a place to do the job. LEt me know if you'd like the cooridinates :-)


  7. GASP! Say it ain't so!! I'd love to get the coordinates ... I've thought about a few times, but just haven't had the time to put the effort into it! :D