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Diaries, Questions, and Thanks…

Mar 30

In Books at 4:38pm

First off, many, many thanks to all the folks who have written to me about The Hot Shoe Diaries, and encouraged me along the way through the blog or email to finish it. I’m very grateful. As I mentioned a little bit, it was a bear to write. Talking about small flash means talking about light, which means talking about the whole shebang. The whole shebang requires a bit of thinking, a process I’m profoundly uncomfortable with. But it is out in the stores now, and I simply wanted to say all best to everyone. The book has prompted some queries, so thought I’d do a bit of a Q&A on the bloggarini.

Q: The “Hot Shoe Diaries” is a bit of a strange name for a photo book. Wazzup with that?

A: Yeah, you’re right. Hot Shoe obviously references the flashes, and it is in fact, a bit of a diary, or written a bit like one. It is an ongoing, mildly rambling account of flubs, miscues, gaffes, successes, failures, dropped flashes, blown exposures, rants, raves, and the (until now) interior ruminations of a 30 year photog. I’ve made lots more bad pictures than I’ve made good ones (every shooter has) and there has to be some value there in the scar tissue of a photographic career. So I kinda wrote like I shoot it–all over the place.

Q: Given the title, have there been any problems with folks confusing this particular photo book with books about something else? Do the bookstores put it in the wrong section ever?

A: Yeah, I guess a little bit. Couple folks found it in the adult book section, and one saw it up there with the bodice rippers. Some of the things that link to it on Amazon are pretty great, though, like there’s a link of the book to these…..

And these…..

I tried buying ’em for Annie, but I got the eyebrow, ya know? She was like, “I’m not wearing those. I can’t walk in those.” My response? “That’s okay!”

A few people might think it’s a bit of a crime novel, with the K-Man in there a couple of times. I thought about writing it a bit like a noir novel…..

Q: Speaking of the K-Man, who is he?

Mark and I go back a ways. We worked together on a couple of annual reports. He was the client, I was the shooter. He has always been interested in photography, even back when I used to give him grief about the disposable cameras he was shooting. He got me back though and recently blogged a pic he made of me, which shoulda been disposed with the camera that made it. Over numerous Jamesons and a few Johnny Walker Blues, we realized we both were fans of noir movies and crime novels and such. His blog and his photography often go in the direction of mystery, mood and selective light. It’s a fun blog, and there are more adventures awaiting the K-Man on the streets of Gotham, to be sure. Below is Mark’s, uh, disposable effort….

Sheesh…look at that, and the question that springs to mind is, of course, who’s the ass?

Q; The book has done pretty well so far, but let’s face it, Scott Kelby is still the man, is he not?

A: No question. Scott is, like, the number one selling author of our time or any time, and the reason for that is, he’s a damn good writer and a teacher whose humanity and humor shine through even when he’s talking about the frikkin’ liquify tool, ya know? But, one of the reasons Hot Shoes is doing well is because of my own little guerrilla marketing campaign. I target Scott’s books, ya see, cause I know people are gonna go right there to those shelves to buy ’em. And then, I look around, and well….see for yourself……

Q: What’s with small flash? Why is it a topic of interest?

A: David Hobby.

Q: Now hold on, here. You mean to say one guy started this whole thing? This planet wide fervor over all things strobist?

A: Yep. David, from what I know, started teaching flash informally a few years back to get some friends and fellow shooters on track with it. He began blogging, called it Strobist, and the rest is history. He has built a worldwide community of learning, sharing and participation around the phenomenon of small, portable flashes. Pretty incredible.

Q: Why did you stick a flash in the chicken?

A: Didn’t have floor stand for it, and I found a dead chicken worked pretty well. Hmmm…..does that qualify as a field tip?

Q: Who’s in the gorilla suit?

A: It’s really a gorilla. The Nikon Creative Lighting System is so simple, even a monkey can do it! (Geez, I’m goin’ straight to hell for that one.) No, it’s just me. After years of chimping, well, that’s what happens. More tk…

Tom (fotofolio) says:

on March 30, 2009 at 5:11 pm

I threw my Holy Bible out the window to replace it with “Hot Shoe Diaries” …

I dig the book, the style, the stories, the everything …

Another thing, Joe … please visit Belgium – “Hot Chocolates” are waiting for you over here! And some good beer also :)


Michael Dunmire says:

on March 30, 2009 at 5:15 pm

I’m voting “The Swap” for an Oscar this year. Great stuff. :)

Mo says:

on March 30, 2009 at 5:25 pm

LOL.. very nice and funny post Joe.. I was trying to do you a favour by performing the same stunt at my local borders but I guess your book was soldout anyway. But I managed to put some of Scotts books in the adult mags section 😉 I guess down and dirty tricks was a good candidate


Jason Pitcher says:

on March 30, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Joe……I have to know….how did you trigger the “chicken light”? It couldn’t have been with CLS as the sensor is covered….so how did you do it? An SC-17 ain’t long enough……PW?

C’mon Joe, spill……

Matt Hunt says:

on March 30, 2009 at 5:42 pm

I think we should say ‘thanks for writing it’ a few times more. It amazes me how generous the photographic community generally is, especially at a time when it it is under such pressure.

And thanks for the chicken picture. Just I thought my brain was going to start creaking, I turned over the page and Ta da! Instant relief and humour.

And then I thought: Now how was that lit?

John Leonard says:

on March 30, 2009 at 5:48 pm

When I die I hope my VAL doesn’t get revenge by sticking a strobe……..ah never mind.

Ranger 9 says:

on March 30, 2009 at 6:09 pm

“Q: What’s with small flash? Why is it a topic of interest?

A: David Hobby.

Q: Now hold on, here. You mean to say one guy started this whole thing?”

Uh, how about giving some credit to Minolta, for inventing wireless TTL flash, and for Olympus, for introducing it commercially? Before that happened, using multiple small flashes was a huge flaming pain in the butt (which didn’t stop some of us from having to do it, but certainly stopped it from being popular!) Crediting a blogger for the whole schmeer is like saluting the waiter who delivered your meal, while ignoring the chef who cooked it…

Matt says:

on March 30, 2009 at 6:10 pm

I can’t wait to get the book! I’ve been saving my pennies since I bought The Moment it Clicks.

Nice video btw. Very sneaky.

Kyle Batson says:

on March 30, 2009 at 6:10 pm

Thanks a lot for the book, Joe. I enjoyed it quite thoroughly. Now, of course, you’ve convinced me to go with TTL for my external flashes, if only they weren’t so expensive!

Ben says:

on March 30, 2009 at 6:19 pm

Just got my copy of the Hot Shoe Diaries today, and am enjoying it immensely. In fact, everyone who’s passing by my little office is picking it up and quickly finding an image to fall in love with within a handful of pages.

Thanks for sharing, Joe, as always.

Andrew Trembley says:

on March 30, 2009 at 7:02 pm

What? Not copping to the Red Shoe Diaries reference?

Love the book anyway.

Arnold Klein says:

on March 30, 2009 at 11:34 pm

Between the book and the videos I have been educated, entertained, informed and inspired. Thanks so much for all your work and making it accessible.

Carlos Bruno says:

on March 30, 2009 at 11:41 pm

Hahahaha … SO the same monkey on the book is that one at the end of Trading Places movie (Dan Acroid and Eddie Murphy) that had the beautiful honey moon to Africa?
Chef McNally … the book is fantastic … like the first one.
When we can expect the third????

Paul says:

on March 30, 2009 at 11:44 pm

Ok, now you and Hobby have made us all small-flash experts so what’s in store for the next book? I’m thinking something with no technical info whatsoever – just “war stories” from the road. I’d buy it, that’s for sure.

Ron Uriel says:

on March 30, 2009 at 11:46 pm

Good luck !

The K Man says:

on March 31, 2009 at 12:49 am

Ok, ok…so it took me awhile to come over to this whole photography thing. Traveling with you odd shooters for so long, something was bound to break. I’d hate it or love it…turns out…I love it.

Yes, I traded in the disposable camera (um, not sure I traded that it. I just dropped it off at CVS and never saw it again), turned to film, then digital, and now just trying to learn and shoot and learn and shoot and shoot and learn. I’m slow, but I get there.

Always fun working with you, either behind or in front of your camera. We’ve had some adventures….thanks for the JW Blue. Loving the book – thanks for letting be part of it with you. The magic of photography….

Tatiana Boyle says:

on March 31, 2009 at 1:07 am

Joe, thank you for sharing your insights about your fellow photographers, multiple families, and sharing the Light and the diaries. I just bought the book this a.m. at the local Barnes&Noble and re-named it into “McNallypedia of Light II”. Very inspirational, moving, fun, and thought-provoking. Big thanks!

Ernie Rice says:

on March 31, 2009 at 1:11 am

I just wanted to say… I love the new book. I stopped using what I called my bag lights (Viv 285’s and SB-24’s) several years ago for larger flashes. You and David Hobby have got me using hot shoe flashes creatively again. Thanks. :)

Leif Eliasson says:

on March 31, 2009 at 1:15 am

Hi Joe – I´v got it and I’m reading at full speed. My wife complains about reduced attention. I told her I be back soon.
A real good book. Can see you have a picture from our course in Venice, it was a good one.
Regards – Leif

Glyn Dewis says:

on March 31, 2009 at 2:59 am

Hi Joe,

Just wanted to pass on my thanks for writing what is nothing short of an incredible book. Believe me, the time and effort that you have clearly put into this has made it a ‘must have’ book for any photographer of any level out there. Your “tell it as it is” style and by, revealing every little thought and process has made this a Photography Bible.

A truly incredible read, thankyou.

All the best to you and yours,

Simon Auchterlonie says:

on March 31, 2009 at 3:39 am

Joe, you are warm, kind hearted and very funny man! It is a pleasure to come to your blog every day to see what you’ve been upto, you never fail to put a smile on my face!

And now I can read all about hot shoe flashes every day, much to my better halfs dismay, in your wonderful new book. You are simply a star and I hope one day to meet you and shake your hand! :-)

Laurent says:

on March 31, 2009 at 4:45 am

A great book ! I just received mine and dive into it. As usal, joe made a great balance between humor and how-to, tips, advices – you name it ;).
I must say that Strobist + Joe’ books + Joe’s courses on KelbyTraining changed the way i’m seeing small flashes and their use.

Please, keep not being serious to teach us serious things. (The video above is typical).

Juha Ylitalo says:

on March 31, 2009 at 5:03 am

One more question from audience…

On page 81 you have lovely photograph under ‘Making sunrise’. You had camera on one hand, flash on another, which raises the question who was holding the reflector?
Subject, tripod or was it leaning against fence, foot or something else.
It is not a big issue, but I’ve just been wondering what kind of reflector would be best for myself and you are one of the few sources that I’ve heard, read, etc. that are using these trigrips instead os 5-in-1 or something similar.

Behind the photo says:

on March 31, 2009 at 5:27 am

Buhehe, guerrilla campaign is priceless, as well as the chimping reference :) Thank you for the additional info on the book, I already have it on my wishlist for a while, and will buy it soon.

Theis says:

on March 31, 2009 at 6:26 am


Looking forward to getting the new book home but there is a little delivery time to Denmark :)

Nice humor Q/A, the video just hits the spot. This kind of thing is what make your blog just a bit above everyone els :)

Come back to Denmark soon and this time try not to blow everything up 😀

Alan MacRae says:

on March 31, 2009 at 7:37 am

Another hit, Joe. I’ve been waiting for my copies since I ordered them, pre-publication and got them a couple of weeks ago. Thanks for your many contributions to photography.

Roger Botting says:

on March 31, 2009 at 8:42 am

Don’t worry about Joe, he is even more insane in person.
His books and videos are a great way to learn photography of people.

Wayne says:

on March 31, 2009 at 9:10 am

I bought mine from Amazon. Now I’m getting emails from them about buying high-heel shoes!

I’m not kidding.

Great book, by the way. The only problem is, now I need to go out and buy a few more SB-900’s, an SU-800, tri grips, soft boxes, ….

Lewis W says:

on March 31, 2009 at 9:26 am

Joe dedicates his book to “Annie, the only light I need.” Then, the next page he shows all his lighting gear. Now I am really confused.
All seriousness aside, congratulations on the adulations. A thirty year “overnight” sensation.

Chris says:

on March 31, 2009 at 9:56 am

hey Joe, that pic of you on pg. 223 flexing is really you isn’t it? It’s not a photoshop job is it? 😉

Gary Chisolm says:

on March 31, 2009 at 10:47 am

Ironic that David Hobby today on his blog talks not about speedlights, but White Lightning monobloc studio lights.

Steve says:

on March 31, 2009 at 12:23 pm

“Hot Shoe Diaries” is great and David Hobby is great however, your buddy Bob Krist deserves props for educating people on small off camera flashes. “Secrets of Lighting on Location” goes way back to a time of chorded TTL, radio remotes, optical slaves, and a spare camera with a polaroid back. It has been on my bookshelf since before there was I’ve gifted it too other photographer friends; as I’ve been doing with your books. Keep up the great work Joe.

JayB says:

on March 31, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Joe – Awesome book. You could have named in The Flasher and put in adult section as well. Or use it for your next title. Thanks for all your generous sharing.

Matt says:

on March 31, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Pre-ordered the book, got it, love it. The delivery package caught the attention of my “financial advisor”, but it was an easy sell once I showed her the great photos inside. Despite your humility, you have a great finesse with the written word as well!

Bob DeChiara says:

on March 31, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Half way thru the Hot Shoe Diaries. Truly a great read. Thanks for signing my copy.

Don’t sell yourself short on the writing thing Joe. You are one of the best. Ask anyone who reads this blog. Love the video.


Norm Cooper says:

on March 31, 2009 at 1:44 pm

My favorite quote comes from page 80:

“How many times have we gotten up for a bad sunrise?

“And, because we love shooting pictures so much, how many more bad sunrises will we continue to get up for?

“Shivering in the dark, wondering if we got all the gear, climbing up some hillside or big-footing our way through a forest or field we don’t have a permit for, or climbing over a fence and wondering if the folks who own the property also perhaps own a large dog [or gun]. We are out there making a bet on light and clouds and camera position, a bet so flimsy that it makes taking a flyer on the high-roller slot machines in Vegas look like sensible financial planning.

“And then, of course, nothing happens but clouds…”


Looking forward to the week in Paso Robles!!

Lindsey says:

on March 31, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Thanks a lot, Joe… I just spit my morning coffee all over my computer screen while watching the Swap! Awesome entry, as per usual!

Chris Biele says:

on March 31, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Hey Joe! I’ve finally gotten around to reading Moment. I’m running through it with my 3 month old and she loves it! She already said she wants to be a photog just like her dear ol dad wants to be one… HA.

Anyway, my copy of Hot Shoe Diaries arrived from Amazon UK (I’m in Marbella, Spain) and I’m totally stoked. I’ll be reading Moment at night with the little one and leave the racier book at my work to read during my two hour lunch break.

I love the cover btw, on both books. You’re a damn inspiration.

Nick says:

on March 31, 2009 at 2:28 pm

I’m blown away from the amount of information in this book. Not sure how I’m going to be able to digest it all without a stomachache :-)). Thanks for sharing all you’ve learned with us. Love your quirky writing style, makes for an interesting and entertaining read!

Sharpy says:

on March 31, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Got the book last friday, read it one sitting, inspirational stuff… Just need the new Pocketwizards to arrive from B and H and TTL here I come…

Bill says:

on March 31, 2009 at 2:35 pm

Can’t thank you enough for popping out another book in so short a time. I just ordered “Hot Shoe Diaries” from Amazon, so it should be arriving Not Soon Enough.

Catalin Onel says:

on March 31, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Had it pre-ordered last December on amazon. Months of waiting, days and nights of checking on order status, delayed delivery estimates and now…at last my eyes have seen the light, or should I say the speedlight. Moment it clicks was an excellent appetizer, but this is the main course served a la carte .I’m simply blown away of how well written and also funny this book is. I truly must say that you Mr. McNally along with David Hobby and also Zack Arias are the three people that have really changed my thinking. Your two books along with the Kelby training videos, the Hands-on guide to creative lighting, and strobist have really made history on this newfoundland of off-camera flash. I wish to thank you, and who knows, maybe one day you’ll teach a workshop in Romania too. PS : Looking forward to your new video on Kelby , any updates on that one ?

Sam says:

on March 31, 2009 at 7:53 pm

Hey, Joe.

I can’t hardly wait for the PBS’s TV-series “Joe Can Cook”, especially if you can nuke a chicken with 100+ SB900 units :)
Thanks for a laugh with the M.I. “The swap”. Perhaps, you didn’t know that Scott came right behind you with the “Double Swap” movie on his own…HAH!HAH!HA!!!!

Quoc Huy says:

on March 31, 2009 at 8:56 pm

Just received my copy yesterday. What a pleasure to read it!
I love your writing style and of course your photo style too.
Loved the Moment it Clicks, love this even more.

Craig Ferguson says:

on March 31, 2009 at 11:23 pm

I’m still waiting for my copy to arrive. Although I do think “The Swap” video would have been better if you were wearing the high heels shown above. :)

Taylor says:

on April 1, 2009 at 1:06 am


I’m a Canon shooter but learned so much from RSD– as well as from Moment, your blog, and your excellent videos. Thanks for the ongoing education– you are a wealth of knowledge with great delivery– accessible, generous, and funny.

Kok says:

on April 1, 2009 at 8:19 am

Finally, I got your book from amazon today (wait for 10 day to arrive to Thailand).
This is my new bible.

Troy says:

on April 1, 2009 at 10:12 am

Quote of the week from David Hobby regarding using more than just small flashes…

“If I think an ignited fart will improve a photo, then please pass the beans and matches.” 4/1/09

Dirk says:

on April 1, 2009 at 10:55 am

Hey Joe, went to Barnes and Noble yesterday after I saw your post (Ive been waiting for that book to come out).

Its nothing short of fantastic. I love the way you write, and for us photographers with hyperactivity and need the information to be flowing its fantastic.

I will definately be going back too buy that book and read it many times over.

Great job Joe,

Rod says:

on April 1, 2009 at 11:58 am

Joe –
The book is just what I needed. Excellent. I shook your hand at a Kelby workshop in Hawaii a few years back, and asked your advice in shooting my kids with flashes or strobes. Your answer was “there’s a lot of things you can do with those little flashes” and here we are today. I love those little flashes.
I thank you for giving me laughter and the enjoyment of photography. There’s no doubt that you have the experience and skill in photography, but the one major thing you are too humble and really is the key to your photos, is your artistry. Pure talent and creativity.

Talke Photography says:

on April 1, 2009 at 2:13 pm

Joe…awesome book! Fantastic info. I’d love to get into portriats in the future and you are teaching me tons! I enjoy the Nikon DVD you did as well! …and D-Town guest spots! Your work is inspiring!!!! Thanks!

Travel Photo Blog:

Rosanne says:

on April 1, 2009 at 2:45 pm

This book is amazing. When I read the Moment It Clicks last year and you would provide the equipment for the shot at hand, whenever there were lighting instructions my eyes would glaze over. Months down the road, I was in a situation where I needed to know how to light something and I went to the Momment It Clicks to try and figure it out. I cried up to the heavens, “Alas, but if only the McNally of Joe would ‘LIGHT’ the way on how to shoot with flashes like this.”

I guess my prayers were heard. The best part of the book…now I am saving up for one of your workshops…okay better for you…but still.

Thanks! I did a little pimping for you over on my little photo blog.

Kristof Pattyn says:

on April 1, 2009 at 5:33 pm

Hi Joe,

got my copy this week and love the feel of it again after reading the previous book.
Worth every penny even for a Canon shooter! As the first poster suggested come to Belgium sometime, A workshop would be filled in no time.

Greets Kristof.

Israel Z. says:

on April 1, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Mr. McNally, wonderful book, love the natural way its written, easy to understand and full of info!!! Hope one day you could come down to Baja for some wine!!!


Fred Troilo says:

on April 1, 2009 at 8:28 pm

Joe – love the book! I consider it my new pocket-guide, just need bigger pockets.
Great work, thank you.

Kurt STENBERG says:

on April 1, 2009 at 8:46 pm

Nice book… just got it from Amazon yesterday and have started to read or at least look at the great pictures. Joe, you take amazing photos and inspire me to take such great photo’s like you, David Hobby, and Chase Jarvis. Sharing photo information and off camera flash IE stobist is the new modern movement of photography. I am glad I can be a part of this movement and hope to eventually become a big player in it.

Hope to meet you one day. Can’t wait for your third book… or DVD?


Mike Ignatov says:

on April 1, 2009 at 10:38 pm

And all this time I thought this was a reference to “Red Shoe Diaries” series of softcor…ahem…films. That would at least explain the book being “misplaced” into the adult section.

Coventry Bob says:

on April 2, 2009 at 3:12 am

Hot stuff on many hot hot days. Not only did I get the first UK copy of Hot Shoe Diaries in the UK but I took (exported) the book to Egypt whilst on a cruise down the Nile. Found it very useful to get the SB 800 off the camera in Nefertiti’s Tomb and bounce the flash. I tried the same technique in Rameses II tomb in the Valley of The Kings and was chased by a guard shouting Arabic obscenities and waving an Uzi at me. Perhaps you could add an addendum explaining how to get out of tight scrapes when following your hot shoe suggestions.
Have you ever thought about stopping off in the UK during one of your trips to Europe or Dubai to do a Hot Hot Shoe session for us hard up Brits?
Great book, humourus from start to finish but a great Nikon CLS guide book. Keep up the excellent work.

Jamie Willmott says:

on April 2, 2009 at 4:32 am

I’ve nearly finished the new book, have really enjoyed reading it. Once I’ve finished I will probably read through it again (like I did with The Moment It Clicks) to make sure the info sticks in my head! A big thanks to you and David Hobby for showing us what is possible with small flashes.

By the way, any chance of you coming over to the UK? (or Liverpool specifically?)


Edwin Arceo says:

on April 2, 2009 at 5:25 am

Dear Joe,

My copy just came in from the mail. Im looking forward to learning a lot from it. I have one request though. Im in the Philippines and it would tickle me pink if you would, in your usual fashion, to send me a sort of an autograph that I can place in my copy. Can you please write it on a napkin and scan and email it to me please? I would really, really, REALLY appreciate it.


Martin says:

on April 2, 2009 at 3:08 pm

I’ve now read two of your books, cover to cover, in less than a few weeks and loved ’em both. Anyone who quotes Hot Fuzz as a favo(u)rite movie more than once has my vote. Brilliant information packed into an easy to read format. So good my head is still spinning and my credit card whining. Thanks Joe!

Cheers, Martin

andy says:

on April 2, 2009 at 6:23 pm

I’ve never laughed and learned so much at the same time in my life! you should win a Grammy for this :)

And DH is right, you’re nuts and a genius!

Ozine says:

on April 2, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Joe, although I’m a Canon shooter, I’m gonna buy your book real soon. The short version of your book is amazing, and so is “The moment it clicks”. Sometimes I wish I had chosen Nikon. The flash system is so much more advanced … but don’t tell my collague. When is Canon gonna put some serious effort in their strobe techonology?

Tom Hohl says:

on April 3, 2009 at 9:40 am

You book is FREEKIN AWESOME. Finally, it contains the questions we all ask ourselves on a daily basis!!!!! “Why would I ever use this “Rear Sync” thingy?” “How did he get that Killer blue sky?” “What the hell does that mean?”

Your an awesome teacher and I can’t wait to attend one of your workshops when you make your rounds this year. Your also a very witty writer.

Keep em coming, I’ll buy ’em


Clay Anthony says:

on April 3, 2009 at 10:30 am

I’m about halfway through it now, and yes it is a great educational (and inspirational) read – even for a Canon shooter! Joe, if you’re ever coming through Wyoming and need somebody to buy you a beer, give me a shout.

Elizabeth Gower says:

on April 3, 2009 at 11:02 am

Hahahahah, love your blog!!!!!

JBelle says:

on April 3, 2009 at 11:19 am

Congratulations on mounting a new and serious challenge in your career: being an author! Big ups on making change and, forgive me, lighting the path for new hobbyists, like me. But I have to tell you, I’d much rather buy this book autographed by you as we stand a few paces off a sundrenched square in Arles. I guess I’ll trudge over to Amazon and get my copies. But I’ll bring ’em next time so you can sign ’em….

Best of wishes!

Mark S Elliott says:

on April 4, 2009 at 9:54 am

Great book, great photographer, great communicator….Just….er, great!

Thanks Joe.

Best wishes from over the ‘Pond’.

Iden Ford says:

on April 4, 2009 at 10:20 am

You’ll be pleased to know that Hot Shoe DIaries is atop the Canadian bestseller list today

But in the print edition of the paper they listed it atop the Mystery bestsellers.
Must be they were looking at the photos eh?

Robert Theoret says:

on April 4, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Congratulations on the book’s success! ! ! and also for answering that age old question.

“Why did the chicken cross the road”? “So he could hold the flash for Joe’s new book.”


Michael S. says:

on April 4, 2009 at 10:24 pm

A brilliant artist and a brilliant author you are. Thanks for giving back SO much Joe!

Jim says:

on April 5, 2009 at 12:17 am

Flash in Real Life: Just read that Chapter in Your ‘New Book’ and I just have to Tell you that it was an absolutely AWESOME Story. Thanks you for sharing that with Us.

By the Way.. Were those your shoes in that Chapter..If So..or whose ever they were , they need to be in the Smithsonian or MOMA.

Awesome Story..Awesome Photos…Totally AWESOME Photographer..Thanks.

Randy says:

on April 5, 2009 at 12:27 am

Your book sits in the thinking room, or inspiration throne. Great book, it got me thinking about the little strobe. I made a bracket kinda like the Lastolite 3, but it works for any speedring for any size softbox. I would like your input when you get a chance.

Nicola says:

on April 6, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Learning how to use the speedlights is something that can be done by a major number of people, porbably including a dork like me. What is not accessible to each and every person is the idea of how to use them. What to do with them. Where to put them. The book is full of amazing ideas that open up the poor man’s mind. Now the problem is to grab any of those and not copy it, yet still doing somehting decent. I very much enjoyed the book and the way its written, sometimes it reminds me a bit of Bill Bryson’s writing, great fun.



Matt Gordon says:

on April 8, 2009 at 9:32 am

Joe —

I thought this post would be the best place to say congratulations on the story in the 4/08 issue of USA Today!


Chris Vincent says:

on April 8, 2009 at 6:25 pm

Dear Joe,

A friend of mine bought me your book as a gift a several weeks ago. The short story is, I was a full time pro shooter, crippled in a horrible RTA, unable to hold a camera, lost my studio, lost my business, my wife and kids. (don’t need sympathy, just setting the scene) I gave up on life and creativity and settled down in and unrewarding, unchallenging data entry post (I would NEVER take benefits..).
Your book re-ignited the flame. 6 weeks ago I had trouble holding your book. Now I can handle a D2x. Got some old SB-26’s off eBay, got some gels. Tried shooting. Loving it!
Figured shooting form a wheelchair would give me a rather one-sided point of view. So I decided I needed to to walk. Figured crutches would cramp my style, let alone do your funky hold/grip move (yeah, I’m a left-eye man!). So decided to ditch them. Doc said I couldn’t, but I proved him wrong. Motivation is an incredibly powerful tool. Sure, I’m not gonna be running a marathon anytime soon, but hell yes, I’m mobile and shooting.
You put the fire back in my heart and nothing is gonna stop me now from getting back in the game. I may be old – older than you, my friend, but I have some tricks up my sleeve from way back when… Watch out small fry!

Joe, you reminded me of everything that I loved about life. I was gutted to find you have an earlier book – which I have now and have read!. Wish I had read it a year ago, I’d be flying by now. You probably hope your book to inspires people and motivate them and make them creative and lighting McGuyvers..
Hell, you did way more than that, you gave an old chap his life back, the will to be, to do, to excell and to defy odds.
I posted this with a spoof e-mail addy, ’cause… well, I’m still a bit of a mess and not proud of the state I’m in.., but Joe, someday I’m gonna look you up and give you the biggest hug you’ve had in your life. And I’ll be standing tall, walking and have 23 SB-900’s remoted, gelled, grouped and prepped and modified to capture the moment. When that is over, I’d love to sit down and buy you an honest beer and tell you that you are a life saver. Maybe not physically, but mentally. Thanks for the CPR (Creative Photography Revival). I owe you more than can ever repay.

Severely In your debt,


Jeff Freeman says:

on April 8, 2009 at 7:45 pm

I LOVE the book!! My only problem–I can’t put it down! SH**, it’s been impossible for me to get any work done for the last 2 weeks since I got it! I’m glad it arrived while I was out of the country, on vacation–otherwise I would have been dumped by my girlfriend while I was in mexico.



PS if you are on the fence for buying this book — get off the damn fence and go get it!!

jakob says:

on April 10, 2009 at 9:15 am


Bill says:

on April 11, 2009 at 2:18 am

Even though it may not mean much, I just want to thank you for writing this book, as well as “The Moment It Clicks”. Thank you for showing that even in a world as selfish as ours can be, someone at the very pinnacle of their career will share the wealth of knowledge and experience with the rest of us.
Now, get to work on that next book because I should be done with this one in the next hour or so. Go on!
All the best to you.

Dan Rode says:

on April 13, 2009 at 9:48 pm

I’ve read The Moment it Clicks and now The Hot Shoe Diaries and both have been inspiring and illuminating (pun intended). I’m interested in the technical details of photography only as an means to make great pictures. How do I make the best image possible with whatever is available to me? You seem to approach every photograph with that thinking and an abundance of passion and imagination.

You express your train of thought as you compose and work through challenges so well that it’s like I’m there with you trying to figure it out. Spending some quality time with a great photographer is a more valuable than any nuts & bolt book I’ve ever read.

I hope you write another book soon. Thank you.

John M Roberts says:

on April 21, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Hello Joe,

On pg. 75 you compare using the Norman 200B to current wireless as roughly being the equivalent of striking two rocks together to make sparks. I recently had my 200 and 400B stolen and was considering other replacement options. Yes, like you I acquired these during film days.

Do you find the need for higher powered portable strobes as well? Considering that I’m already covered with speed lights, what would you recommend these days for such a replacement and why?

I learned of you in the early 80’s while doing some contract work with SI and have admired your work ever since. Many thanks for sharing your experiences and knowledge. Great book.

John M Roberts says:

on April 21, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Added note. I’m new to your site and just noticed on the equipment page that you use the Elinchrom which has a great reputation which is reflected in the price. I see its fast flash duration capabilities. Any other comments you care to share about this over the less expensive Norman 400B and others would be appreciated.

Chris Morrison says:

on April 23, 2009 at 6:12 pm

I have a question about one of the examples in your new book. It’s entitled “Up on the Roof” and it’s the one where you shoot “your friend, Rita” with the cityscape behind her. The gist of the example is showing how you can correct for the green tint of the city lights but treating them like a fluorescent source and then “green”-ing the strobe to match.

I’m with you there but then in order to then compensate for the overall green tone, you put a magenta filter (a 30 right?) in front of the lens. I’m with you still, but do you get the same effect if you set your camera to the fluorescent WB setting? Is this just a habit from the days of shooting daylight balanced film or is there some other reason? Would the sunset still gets their pink hues enhanced if on a fluorescent (or maybe a Kelvin WB if the fluorescent WB setting didn’t quite get it) WB setting?

Brent says:

on April 24, 2009 at 7:59 am

Awesome post. LOL

James Dawson says:

on April 28, 2009 at 8:46 pm

Pimped my McNally’s

I bought both of your books but I didn’t like the way the books lay and they didn’t suit the way I wanted to read and use them. So I took them to a print/copy place and had them cut away the spines and hole punch them so that they could be spiral bound. I also had clear plastic covers put on them…. now they are damned near perfect……

Alexander Miller says:

on June 10, 2010 at 10:47 pm

i love all Eddie Murphy movies. i like also the movie DAVE where he co stars with Elizabeth Banks.;`’

Jordan Edwards says:

on October 11, 2010 at 2:37 am

it is nice to know that eddie murphy is still popular until today, he is my favorite movie actor~-“

Andrew Dunbar says:

on November 18, 2010 at 1:35 am

Nice post mate.

transformers the game says:

on July 10, 2011 at 9:18 pm

quite intriguing post

David says:

on October 6, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Oh, a wonderful article! No idea how you managed to write this’d take me long hours. Well worth it though, I’d suspect. Have you considered selling banners on your blog?

łańcuszki says:

on May 2, 2012 at 6:37 am

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