Jan 17

Canon Speedlite System Digital Field Guide, by Brian McLernon ???

I needed to explore how to better use my flash with my Canon camera, and so I purchased this guide. McLernon adeptly covers the functions and settings for the flash and shows how to program the flash system for the utilization multiple simultaneous flashes illuminating the scene, including discussions of what equipment and supplies would be helpful to best utilize a flash system in a creative manner. McLernon discusses well the various lighting scenarios for various portrait and still life scenes. He is much briefer on technical topics, such as the use of flash sytems with macro lenses in technical photography. Looking over McLernon’s photos in this book and on his website, there is much to commend for this usage of innovative flash setups. There were several problems that I noted with the book. 1. McLernon should have given better illustrations of floor setup of the flashes. From a schematic view, where was he placing the flashes, how was he pointing them, how were the flashes configured to obtain the effect that was being illustrated? He describes various portrait lighting modes, such as the Paramount and Rembrandt, but does not tell the reader exactly where flashes are placed to obtain those effects. Thus, the descriptions were near useless. 2. McLernon spends much time discussing basic photography rules and compositional techniques. But, I didn’t purchase the book to learn basic photography rules. As an example, he discusses sports photography, and includes photos that did not use a flash. Perhaps he could have utilized flash/non-flash comparisons of various scenes to demonstrate how flash photography adds a different dimension to the photo, but that is never done. Thus, the book deviates from the objective of simply teaching flash photography. It is still a useful book for understanding the Canon flash system, but bloated with off-topic discussions and lacking in useful information to guide the amateur flash user in the art of flash photography.

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