Review: Mastering Canon Flash Systems – Canon Shooters now have Holy Text

Attention Canon shooters tired of hearing about how great Nikon Flashes are. Attention Canon shooters looking to understand the fundamentals of Canon Flashes and do all "that cool stuff." You now have a holy grail - protect it with your life. Rocky Nook, a great publishing house that dabbles in all things photography are the people responsible for Mastering Canon EOS Flash Photography - written by NK Guy. Frankly, up until this book was published trying to educate oneself about Canon flash systems was like trying to find Bigfoot in the desert. Even finding information on the internet was scarce and you usually wound up on a forum that instead of being helpful was just a whose the more obnoxious know it all that belittles those who seek knowledge. It's not that information isn't out there, it's just overshadowed by the notion that Nikon flash systems are better. Sure, they are in some regards, but by simply owning Nikon gear or Canon gear doesn't make you better than another photographer - it's what you do with these tools. The book starts out with a fantastic forward by David Hobby of Strobist fame. To sum it up, he basically says this: We spend out time trying to be great photographers, getting the best gear, getting the best lenses, so why shouldn't we spend the same energy learning about lighting? I won't spoil the forward because I ultimately want you to buy the book and discover it for yourself. My job is to simply inform you of the nuts and bolts. David's forward is pretty consistent with the views he shares on his blog. The book reads very quickly, even if it is four hundred nineteen pages cover to cover. I'm in the midst of my third read through and still finding enjoyment from the lessons this book shares. The book, like most of this genre, begins with an overview of camera techniques, lighting 101, what hobbyists should use to what pro-ams should use. Those quick bits take up the first two sections and the third section was a bit of a surprise to me. Right off the bat, practically, the book gives you section called Top Ten FAQ's. The FAQ questions are pretty basic, but for someone starting out with flash I completely understand having those questions so early on - why have folks asking something basic over the course of four hundred plus pages, get it out of the way now. As an overall history afficionado, I really appreciated the section related to the history of flash and flash technology. This section should be mandatory reading material for all aspiring photographers. I say that because if any of them complain about their gear not being good enough they could look back at the history and realize that it could be a lot worse - you could be dealing with magnesium ribbons. The entire book covers absolutely everything you'll want to know about using Canon flashes. Everything from single flash setup, multi-off camera flashes, stroboscopic lighting and other advanced flash techniques are covered. The book reads like a conversation between two photographers and I think in an era of instant information a book that flows like that is important. Many books I've read go on and on about theory and why you should never light a certain way, or never use 'x' camera setting to get 'y' result. If you asked me "Hey Nate, I'm trying this, do you think that works, how should I do it?" I wouldn't lecture you about why you should or shouldn't try a technique. I would tell you "Oh, set your flash power to this, camera to that, position light here, and boom goes the dynamite you're good to go." I wouldn't, most of the time, tell you why you shouldn't try something with your camera or lightning equipment because the honest answer is why wouldn't you? I think so many people, especially form my generation, are so afraid to fail that they won't try anything; or they'll try to be so cutting edge and 'new' they won't try any technique that is 'old'. You can't be afraid of failure. You learn from failure. Had you never touched a hot toaster you'd never know not to do it again, right? This book tells you the answers your looking for and explains the reasons why you get the results your getting. It's a perfect example on how photography books should be written. I feel that educating oneself is necessary. The only person you can rely on is yourself and you have to trust yourself to learn new things everyday. Whether or not you succeed or fail is not important - what's important is that you learned something through your success or failure. If you don't learn anything from this book then my hat's off to you. You're a budding genius who will change the world someday. However, the knowledge I took away from this book will be with me for a lifetime, and I expect the same results for anyone who reads it. I know in my case this book will always be mandatory reading before and after shoot. The book ideal for looking at your work, comparing the techniques you used to the information Guy wrote down and learning from the experience. I can't imagine a situation where this book wouldn't be useful for any photographer or lighting designer or art director. Wrapping this up, here are my final thoughts. If you shoot Canon and have struggled with flash in the past, buy this book. If think you know a lot about Canon flash systems, but want to know even more - buy this book. If you think you know everything, believe me you do not, so - but this book. This book should be on the nightstand next to every single Canon user on planet earth and any other planet we someday may or may not inhabit. Ultimately, as photographers, we want to be successful. For me success is being able to do what I love everyday of my life and having the knowledge to do it effectively. That being said, I leave you with this: Mastering Canon EOS Flash Photography by NK Guy, through Rocky Nook, will help you succeed. Bottom line. -Nb

One Reply to “Review: Mastering Canon Flash Systems – Canon Shooters now have Holy Text”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *