Archive for the ‘Books’ Category
First off, many, many thanks to all the folks who have written to me about The Hot Shoe Diaries, and encouraged me along the way through the blog or email to finish it. I’m very grateful. As I mentioned a little bit, it was a bear to write. Talking about small flash means talking about light, which means talking about the whole shebang. The whole shebang requires a bit of thinking, a process I’m profoundly uncomfortable with. But it is out in the stores now, and I simply wanted to say all best to everyone. The book has prompted some queries, so thought I’d do a bit of a Q&A on the bloggarini.
Q: The “Hot Shoe Diaries” is a bit of a strange name for a photo book. Wazzup with that?
A: Yeah, you’re right. Hot Shoe obviously references the flashes, and it is in fact, a bit of a diary, or written a bit like one. It is an ongoing, mildly rambling account of flubs, miscues, gaffes, successes, failures, dropped flashes, blown exposures, rants, raves, and the (until now) interior ruminations of a 30 year photog. I’ve made lots more bad pictures than I’ve made good ones (every shooter has) and there has to be some value there in the scar tissue of a photographic career. So I kinda wrote like I shoot it–all over the place.
Q: Given the title, have there been any problems with folks confusing this particular photo book with books about something else? Do the bookstores put it in the wrong section ever?
A: Yeah, I guess a little bit. Couple folks found it in the adult book section, and one saw it up there with the bodice rippers. Some of the things that link to it on Amazon are pretty great, though, like there’s a link of the book to these…..
I tried buying ‘em for Annie, but I got the eyebrow, ya know? She was like, “I’m not wearing those. I can’t walk in those.” My response? “That’s okay!”
A few people might think it’s a bit of a crime novel, with the K-Man in there a couple of times. I thought about writing it a bit like a noir novel…..
Q: Speaking of the K-Man, who is he?
Mark and I go back a ways. We worked together on a couple of annual reports. He was the client, I was the shooter. He has always been interested in photography, even back when I used to give him grief about the disposable cameras he was shooting. He got me back though and recently blogged a pic he made of me, which shoulda been disposed with the camera that made it. Over numerous Jamesons and a few Johnny Walker Blues, we realized we both were fans of noir movies and crime novels and such. His blog and his photography often go in the direction of mystery, mood and selective light. It’s a fun blog, and there are more adventures awaiting the K-Man on the streets of Gotham, to be sure. Below is Mark’s, uh, disposable effort….
Sheesh…look at that, and the question that springs to mind is, of course, who’s the ass?
Q; The book has done pretty well so far, but let’s face it, Scott Kelby is still the man, is he not?
A: No question. Scott is, like, the number one selling author of our time or any time, and the reason for that is, he’s a damn good writer and a teacher whose humanity and humor shine through even when he’s talking about the frikkin’ liquify tool, ya know? But, one of the reasons Hot Shoes is doing well is because of my own little guerrilla marketing campaign. I target Scott’s books, ya see, cause I know people are gonna go right there to those shelves to buy ‘em. And then, I look around, and well….see for yourself……
Q: What’s with small flash? Why is it a topic of interest?
A: David Hobby.
Q: Now hold on, here. You mean to say one guy started this whole thing? This planet wide fervor over all things strobist?
A: Yep. David, from what I know, started teaching flash informally a few years back to get some friends and fellow shooters on track with it. He began blogging, called it Strobist, and the rest is history. He has built a worldwide community of learning, sharing and participation around the phenomenon of small, portable flashes. Pretty incredible.
Q: Why did you stick a flash in the chicken?
A: Didn’t have floor stand for it, and I found a dead chicken worked pretty well. Hmmm…..does that qualify as a field tip?
Q: Who’s in the gorilla suit?
A: It’s really a gorilla. The Nikon Creative Lighting System is so simple, even a monkey can do it! (Geez, I’m goin’ straight to hell for that one.) No, it’s just me. After years of chimping, well, that’s what happens. More tk…
Finally…it is done. 320 pages, and the thing kicked my butt, up, down and sideways. I thought, naively, hey, write a book about small flash…cool!
Thing is, you start talking about light, you start talking about color, and exposure, and f-stops, and EV compensation, and white balance, and well, the whole technicolor enchilada. I was really gettin’ stymied. The book….the book……the book. Everyday I tried to write I would plop myself down in front of the computer and stare at the screen with about as much energy and appeal as a big turd that just dropped out of a tall cow’s ass.
I finally turned a corner, thanks to Annie and my long suffering editor, Ted Waitt, with them beseeching me to drop the numbers and the specifics and the half stops of clogged imagination and just write about using a flash. So I mentally put myself at the front door of my house, gear in hand, and just started writing about everything (well, not everything) that crosses my mind as I go out to shoot a small flash job. It really cleared the decks of the tramp steamer of my brain and became a section up front in the book called, “What I Use and Why and When I Use It.” It runs pretty long, surprisingly, seeing as I’ve got the attention span of gnat and a great deal of my memory bank is used up by storing useless movie quotes.
But this really did open up the barn doors and cleared some cobwebs. I went through everything, tips, tricks, exposure modes, types of flash, types of light shaping tools, strategies, EV, mixing light, you name it. It marries up with a couple other sections on holding cameras, and also holding flash, general notions about quality, color and direction of light, and pictures of the whole camera bag, every item that goes out the door. The whole chapter is called, “Nuts and Bolts” or “Don’t Worry. As long as you hit that wire with the connecting hook at precisely 88mph the instant the lighting strikes the tower…everything will be fine.”
Also did a back section that is all buttons and dials.
The book is Nikon-centric, obviously, cause that’s the system I use, and to the extent I talk over buttons and dials and where they are and what they do, they are Nikon buttons and dials. But the much larger part of the book is devoted to using light, in this case, light that comes from hot shoe flashes. I try to show progression and the tools that are used, and how to use small flash in an intuitive way.
There’s a bunch of stuff on light shaping tools, cheap and easy, others, more of a commitment….
There’s several sections of the first chapter, in which one small flash is used…only one….
Some advanced stuff too…
I talk a bunch about color, and how to use, quick and easy…
And everybody’s favorite thing….
And I show progression, from the pop up flash treatment, to a sophisticated quality of light, in minutes, using no more than two flashes…
And of course, Numnuts did some sketches…
So…it’s done. It’s a big reason the blog has been intermittent of late. But it is officially out the door, done deal, and it’s up to the printer now to follow the type out the window, as they used to say. The Hot Shoe Diaries, Big Light from Small Flashes, is out March 12. That’s the date it ships, so dunno when that translates to it actually getting on the shelf. You know, it leaves the warehouse in a shrink wrapped pallet and gets put behind Mrs. McGillicuddy’s Ikea order, and the truck shows up there and she’s at the Piggly Wiggly, so they can’t deliver, which means that pallet stays stuck on the truck for another day or so. Then it makes its way down the interstate on an overnight, and it gets delayed a bit by rain, so it sits in the truck in the parking lot of the Extaxy Gentlem, er, the truck stop, and finally it gets to the loading dock, and the crew there is on their lunch/reefer break, and finally it gets on that little cart that they use in the bookstores and out into the aisles and the dude putting the books on the shelf sees the title, “Hot Shoe Diaries,” and puts it in the romance section, or worse, in the adult titles section, you know the one with the opaque plexiglass covers and the big signs warning you that if you go in there you might actually see a breast.
There’s lotsa stuff that could happen along the way. But it is done. More tk….
And people are going nuts about it, emailing him, wanting to know about every bit and piece. He showed the kit during the video, pulling out all the stuff, but not a couple of the crucial items, such as the heating pad and the flask of Geritol.
He’s one tough sonofagun, though I tell ya. Check out the fight we had on the set…..
Actually, it was a pleasure to knock out this instructional video with Bob, who is one of my dear friends. When you are still carrying cameras and shooting great stuff at his age, there are several things that are true. You are a complete gentleman and a pro. You know your stuff and learned a long time ago that this business is all about what comes around going around, again and again. Bob, who considering his career as a Geographic shooter and peerless travel photographer and writer, could easily have let Mr. Ego out for a healthy, career long romp, has never done that. He checks the self important bullshit at the door, rolls up his sleeves, and gets to work. He is one of those rare commodities; a good shooter who is also a good teacher. He communicates well, and his avuncular “Sit back and Bob’s gonna explain it all for you” style puts people at ease and lets them learn in a zone where they are comfortable making mistakes and asking questions, which is the real key to any teaching environment.
Bob and I are the same age, by the way.
Take a look at a couple of his pix…He has, as he says, over time, covered the waterfront.
This tome is a must if you want to dive into the competitive world of travel photography, either as a pro, or as traveler who simply wants good pictures to show at the end of the experience. He talks composition, lighting and flash, photographing people, using color, you name it. He shows you work flow and what to do with all those gigabytes when you come home. And he talks turkey about how to survive out there, right from when you get on the airplane, to getting to the hotel and then up and down the river at dawn or dusk. In a word, its complete. The whole nine or even ten yards. Right from when you pack your bag till when you get home and unpack that same bag. (If you read this book, there might even be a good chance that when you unpack, you’ll still have the same stuff you packed:-)
One of the things Bob has learned over the years, is to travel light. So, here you go…..
The Bob Krist Lighting Kit, As Seen on TV!
Bracket: Morris MTH-202
Smallballhead: Giotto MH-1004 Mini Ballhead
Cold shoe on ballhead: Stroboframe General Purpose shoe
Compact lightstand: Bogen Manfrotto Retractable
Collapsible Umbrella: Westcott 43″ Collapsible Umbrella with Removable Cover
Rolling case: Stormcase iM2500
You can get most of this stuff from Jeff Snyder at Adorama (firstname.lastname@example.org) and if you ping him, he will be able to put the whole damn thing together for you.
Trust me, if Bob can pull and haul it, so can you:-)