Joe McNally is an internationally acclaimed photographer whose 30-year career has included assignments in over 50 countries. His images have graced the covers of Time, Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, and during the 1990s he was Life Magazine's sole staff photographer.
So just what is The Hot Shoe Diaries? It is a book about what Joe McNally has learned about lighting and the lighting of a wide range of situations during his photographic career, and it includes a wide variety of images he has created during that time. He begins with the basic gear and then works with one light, then two or three and then quickly accelerated to Mach1 which, to paraphrase Led Zepplin, is about a "Whole Lotta Light." The Hot Shoe Diaries is 320 pages and divided into four parts.
Part I, "Nuts 'n' Bolts," introduces us to what kind of equipment the author uses, how he shoots, how he meters, and all about the different settings that he frequently uses. He explains about the flashes, and the technology of today's flashes. He also goes into detail about the other gear that accompanies him on a shoot.
Keep in mind that McNally is a Nikon shooter so when he talks camera and especially the flash technology he comes from a Nikon angle. This should not dissuade users of other models as the book is about concepts and techniques and not technology.
He then goes in to his philosophy of light, shooting, and explains how one should go about learning to hone their abilities. Finally, he goes over how best to grip the camera and take your steadiest shot.
Part II, "One Light!" is, as the title implies, about using one small flash to light your scene. In these articles, there are quite a variety of lighting situations from an open room where the flash is used as fill light, to a night scene where he uses it to capture the eye and the silhouette of an alligator.