Mastering Canon EOS Flash Photography By NK Guy
Mastering Canon EOS Flash Photography is a detailed 419 page book covering nearly every piece of equipment relating to flash photography in a broad range of settings. Like pretty much every other rockynook book we reviewed, the writing is exceptionally clear, albeit somewhat repetitive this time. For a reference book this is fine, but those who read it end-to-end will surely notice.
What is particular about this book is that it covers the Canon flash system in very fine details, explaining the differences in behavior and capability of every flash or flash related device. It also covers well related devices such as remote triggers, studio lights and light modifiers. After reading this book, few pieces of studio equipment will remain a mystery.
This emphasis on equipment and suitability depending on a given situation should let people easily choose the right set of equipment for their needs. There are also chapters that cover technique, mostly from the point of view of exposure and control over lighting. Not much as said about the art of lighting though. This certainly is the right book to learn about lighting equipment and how to control it using a Canon EOS DSLR.
When I read that available light photography can ultimately make you a better photographer, I instantly knew this book was different. This is a book about flash photography but it is not about applying it blindly everywhere. It describes the tools needed for flash photography, their advantages, their disadvantages and when to use them. It is much easier to trust the information contained therein knowing this.
The book is divided into 15 chapters grouped in 4 parts. It gives out information in layers, with each layer presenting a more sophisticated level of understanding. This means that one can start applying simple technique shortly after starting to read. Chapter 2 : Getting Started gives a broad overview of flash photography with concrete flash setups to get people started.
Following chapter two are ten frequently asked questions about using a flash. These covers most issues beginners have when using a flash, most notably why it often fails or produces poor results. This prepares the reader for what comes ahead in terms of how flash photography works as well as the tools needed to make it work.
The second part, which starts with chapter 5, covers both the history of flash and technical topics related to how they work together with modern DSLRs. Every topic is covered, including metering, exposure modes, sync, flash locking, flash compensation, fill, guide numbers, color and infrared too.
The third and most voluminous part of Mastering Canon EOS Flash Photography is devoted to equipment with very detailed descriptions of each. This essentially starts with dedicated flashes in general, moving on to Canon flashes, then to off-camera lights and finally to lighting accessories. Product shots accompany just about every description. An extensive chapter is devoted to remotely controlling flash, including a large number of third-party offerings, with their compatibility history. Well taken color photographs often accompany descriptions of different types of flash or light modifiers.
The end of the third part has a dedicated section on studio lighting equipment and related gear. The features of each type of such gear is compared in details and contrasted with portable solutions described earlier.
The fourth and final part, which is dedicated to technique is comparatively small with 2 chapters, dividing the topic in a basic and an advanced section. This part is the only thin one in the book, it does describe essentially light setups of varying complexity, it lacks substantial explanations on why one would choose how the lights are placed and the steps needed to decide on the appropriate settings. What it does show is the results based on different setups, so one has to think deconstruct the results to understand the why.
Clearly this book shows its mastery of Canon flashes and how they are controlled. It is certainly a very complete book on the topic and one that is well written, nicely illustrated and with a layered approach suitable for learning up to any level.
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