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We launched a challenge that invites Safari Books Online subscribers to write a book or video review and in exchange for their review, we’ll enter their name into a drawing to win an eReader of their choice. We also invited non-subscribers to sign up for a free trial of Safari Books Online so they could get in on this challenge. The more reviews they write and share, the greater their chances of winning.

The following book was reviewed by Peter Tran:

Here’s an overview of the book:

Joe McNally, one of the world’s top pro digital photographers, whose celebrated work has graced the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, and National Geographic (to name a few), breaks new ground by doing something no photography book has ever done—blending the rich, stunning images and elegant layout of a coffee-table book with the invaluable training, no-nonsense insights, and photography secrets usually found only in those rare, best-of-breed educational books.

When Joe’s not on assignment for the biggest-name magazines and Fortune 500 clients, he’s in the classroom teaching location lighting, environmental portraiture, and how to “get the shot” at workshops around the world. These on-location workshops are usually reserved for a handful of photographers each year, but now you can learn the same techniques that Joe shares in his seminars and lectures in a book that brings Joe’s sessions to life.

What makes the book so unique is the “triangle of learning” where (1) Joe distills the concept down to one brief sentence. It usually starts with something like, “An editor at National Geographic once told me…” and then he shares one of those hard-earned tricks of the trade that you only get from spending a lifetime behind the lens. Then, (2) on the facing page is one of Joe’s brilliant images that perfectly illustrates the technique (you’ll recognize many of his photos from magazine covers). And (3) you get the inside story of how that shot was taken, including which equipment he used (lens, f/stop, lighting, accessories, etc.), along with the challenges that type of project brings, and how to set up a shot like that of your own.

This book also gives you something more. It inspires. It challenges. It informs. But perhaps most importantly, it will help you understand photography and the art of making great photos at a level you never thought possible. This book is packed with those “Ah ha!” moments—those clever insights that make it all come together for you. It brings you that wonderful moment when it suddenly all makes sense—that “moment it clicks.”’

Here is the review by Peter Tran:
“I just finished reading this book on Safari Books Online and will be purchasing a hard copy. Joe “Numnuts” McNally is an amazing photographer specializing in flash photography. You can read more about Joe from his website – The first four chapters are examples of Joe’s work. In each example, he provides a background story which is used to emphasize an important point or lesson. The pictures are just amazing, and the stories are often amusing or poignant, but they’re all thought-provoking. He also provides notes on how he established the shot. I often found myself going back and forth from the story to picture to study how he did it. I had over 18 bookmarks to remind myself of some of the lessons. For example: “Take this to the bank when shooting candlelight: ISO 400, 1/15 second, f/2.8-and a-half. Give or take a smidge (technical term). Flash settings: dial –2 EV (exposure value), and put half-cut of CTO (an amber/warm gel) over the flash head. That’s it. Looks like candlelight.” My other two favorite sections are “Joe’s Lighting Tips” and “Joe’s Camera Bag”. I was drooling over all his equipment gears. The last chapter – “The Barroom: The Bar is Open” – are war stories from his photography assignments. I was at times laughing in tears or teary eyed from these stories. This is one of those perfect books you want laying around your house so friends and family can pick up to read and get lost into it and not even realize it.”

If you are interested in participating in our second WRITE A BOOK OR VIDEO REVIEW challenge, please see below for more details. Deadline for submissions is May 6th.


Tags: book review challenge, Digital Photography, Joe McNally, New Riders, peter tran, Photography, Safari Books Online,

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