Monday, December 19, 2011

PREVIEW: Sketching Light by Joe McNally

Sketching Light: An Illustrated Tour of the Possibilities of Flash
Sketching Light: An Illustrated Tour of the Possibilities of Flash
Excerpted from Sketching Light by Joe McNally
Copyright © 2012. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and New Riders

Normally I don’t talk about a book on my blog until I’ve finished reading it, but for this book I’m going to make an exception. The reason is simple – I enjoyed The Moment It Clicks and Hot Shoe Diaries enough to know what to expect from this book. When I started to skim this book I quickly discovered it took the best elements of Joe’s first two books and included a bit more detail (i.e., lots of lighting layout diagrams). This is a great start as depth was something that was lacking from his earlier editions, but the great photos and stories made up for it. In this edition you get all of that (including some of the same past photos discussed in more depth) and more.

At 417 pages, Sketching Light: An Illustrated Tour of the Possibilities of Flash is way more of everything than you’ve seen in Joe’s past books. I can assure you that if you liked The Moment It Clicks or Hot Shoe Diaries, you will LOVE Sketching Light! If you’ve never read one of Joe’s books, then let me say that you are in for a real treat so this should be high on your list of recreational reading books.

A Peek Inside

Thanks to my friends at Peachpit Press, I’m able to share with you an exclusive look at some of the content from this book not found anywhere else (not even on Joe’s blog!). I don’t typically ask publishers for content or do this sort of thing, but for this book I made an exception because I think it’s really important to show you why I love this book. I think you’ll also see why it’s still worth you getting even if you own Joe’s other books.

Fantastic Images

Fantastic images are nothing new for  Joe McNally book – I mean the guy is a freakin photography legend, but Joe cranks the dial to 11 in this book. While the content of some of the images may be subjective (see below), the color, exposure and technical skill required to pull of the images can be appreciated by all photographers.

Joe begins his chapters with a large image and an intro where you are taken on a voyage to learn what all went into Joe making each chapters shot. Here’s one example, and you can find more on Amazon and Joe’s Blog.

Click for a larger viewExcerpted from Sketching Light by Joe McNally
Copyright © 2012. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and New Riders

More Details

I like Joe’s books, but in the past I felt they were more coffee table books than instructional books. The reason was simple – you saw a photo of a great shot learned a bit what went into making the shot, but there wasn’t enough detail for us mere mortals to go out and pull it off. While this edition still lacks the brilliant easy of use of Kelby’s Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It, it does give you more in-depth details where an intermediate and advanced photographer can stand a fighting chance of getting the shot. Here’s a great example that gives you a tiny taste of the new level of detail:

Click for a larger viewExcerpted from Sketching Light by Joe McNally
Copyright © 2012. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and New Riders

What is even more important is that this edition isn’t like the Ikea car instructions as they were in the past. Instead Joe shows you how he builds the light to get the shot. Here’s a snippet of one of the many examples where Joe goes deep:

Click for a larger viewExcerpted from Sketching Light by Joe McNally
Copyright © 2012. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and New Riders

Conclusion

I’m reading this book now and loving the hell out of it. It’s going to be my holiday vacation companion (even more so after I get my Kindle Fire on Christmas <g>), and I think you might enjoy doing the same. This version has more depth and details as well as a couple chapters to set your bearings before he dives in to the good stuff. Based on a 2 hour skim of the entire book, I see nothing that will keep this one off my highly recommended list, so I’m going to jump the gun and say this is a “great to have” book.

NOTE: Nikon shooters will enjoy knowing that Joe even covers the new SB-910 in the last chapter!

Click here to order yours today in print or electronic format.

Disclaimer

Peachpit press a copy of this book to me in advance of its retail release for my review. They also provided me with exclusive images from the book at my request. If you make a purchase from this article I may get a tiny commission.

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