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Feb 26

In Equipment, Rants, Seminars & Workshops at 1:44pm


Moose PetersonI actually pulled the above cited fictitious piece of glass out of the very thin air of my noodle to get even with Moose Peterson. You know, he mentioned in his blog the other day that one of the reasons I was launching a blog was to get even with him. So here it is, I scooped him!

A first! And a last! And a, well, not real………

Here’s the deal: Ain’t nobody gonna scoop Moose. He knows first and most about every doodad, crawdad, pixel splitter, wing-jammer, loose-screw, toy, widget, beebop, biddybastard, whoozywhatsis, and thingamabobber before anybody else. I get my knickers in a twist at DLWS and say, “Hey, they’re comin’ out with this new wireless hyper drive that automatically sucks your images out of your camera straight to a re-touch operation in Bangalore, prints them on T-shirts and embeds them with software that automatically arranges for shipping, handling and depositing all sales revenue in your off shore account in Bimini!”

Moose’s reply: “Yeah, I’m aware. I’ve been on the beta team for that software for the last seven years.”

[More after the jump]

Dang! It’s rare to find the beating heart of an artist and the soul of an adventurer topped by a cranium with the logic of the math faculty at MIT and the computer crunching ability of the NSA. But there it is. Moose is a living, breathing, walking main frame. By comparison, upstairs I’m running a gray market version of Windows 95.

When Moose called me a couple years ago and asked me to teach on the Digital Landscape Workshop Series, I was like, huh? I don’t know a bear from a duck, a pine tree from a wildflower. I’ve been in and around NYC for my whole career. I feel comfortable seeing the air I breathe.

But, next thing I knew, I was out there in the forest, wearing a loin cloth, eating nuts and berries……

Little did I know I was joining a whole new family. Moose, his wife Sharon, shooters and teachers Laurie Excell, Kevin Dobler, Josh Bradley, and our own Brad Moore, not to mention “Wacom Joe” Sliger, he of the encyclopediac knowledge of Monty Python dialog, make up the faculty of DLWS. We shoot a lot of good pix, teach a whole range of skills from the digital darkroom to the field, and just in general get exhausted and have fun doing it. DLWS runs from Sunday afternoon through Wednesday night, and we cram in lessons it would take, oh, about 15 years of trial and error with a camera in your hands to figure out into those few days. At the end of the workshop, people’s heads are so full you see them wandering around in a daze, trying to find their vehicle in the parking lot. They parked the car in their life before DLWS, so it’s tough to find. DLWS is like a photo version of Stargate.

Hell, even I got a couple of good landscapes out of the deal.



Actually, I fell and the camera went off and I got these.

One of the above is from Moab, we go back there March 23-26. The other is from our recent workshop in Yellowstone, where we return to this coming January. All the info you need is on the DLWS website.

Mentioned in this post:
– Flotar 12mm to 723mm rectilinear f/1.4 with “DMI” assist (Decisive Moment Indicator)… Good luck finding that.

Harold says:

on February 26, 2008 at 2:12 pm

Great humor :-) We’re all trying to scoop the other guy. Many of us don’t realize our assignment till we’re old and running out of time or so it seems.

I fell in the parking lot the other day and all I got was a cracked rib; next time I’ll remember to have my camera in hand. :-)

Thanks for the light that makes it easier for the rest of us to see.

Ken says:

on February 26, 2008 at 3:27 pm

speaking of scoops, Ford motors bought Nikon today.

Love to spread false rumors


Skunkabilly says:

on February 26, 2008 at 3:48 pm

Hi Joe. is the 12mm to 723mm f/1.4 for DX or full-frame? Please tell me it has VR, I don’t want to spend that much money on something that isn’t full-frame and has no stabilization!!

Seriously though. Great book. Do you use flash for landscapes? I’m an SB800-aholic but most of my tendencies are of the outdoor adventurey REI-catalog type of stuff.

[off to the gym so I can have my D80 + 12-723mm f/1.4 in one hand, and dual SB800s, Dave Black style, in the other]

Gary says:

on February 26, 2008 at 4:21 pm


Great description of a DLWS. I was at the one in Maine in October and I’m still looking for my car. Have you seen it?

Your book is fantastic. I’m enjoying your writing as much as the pictures.

Love your blog, keep it up.


Jan Winther says:

on February 26, 2008 at 4:54 pm

Hey Joe,

Kelby’s blog is usually a funny read… but you are seriously knocking on the door to the “funniest blogger” lounge. Thanks for making my day(s)!! :)

…oh, and btw… thanks for writing a FANTASTIC book.


Adrian says:

on February 26, 2008 at 7:57 pm

It’s so refreshing hearing photographers praising and supporting each other.
About three years ago I pulled the pin on 25 year career as a press photographer and tried my luck as a freelance photojournalist.
Turns out, was a great idea. The only complaint being that I miss the banter and camaraderie, the sharing of great ideas (and the shooting down of the bad ones) the buzz of the newsroom and the photo-experimentation in the down times.
One of the great ‘in’ jokes was the, “oh, great photo, did you drop the camera or something?”
One day life really did imitate art. In the midst of the biggest deluge in known local history, I was just over the road from the newspaper office, shooting in knee deep water that was roaring in a torrent down the road, pictures of a bemused driver opening his car door to reveal a car full of water.
At that moment, the footpath gave way underneath me, and I plunged backwards, arse over apex, camera blazing away, into the depths of the adjacent flooded river.
I crawled out with my pride and my camera damaged but the last frames were priceless. All of which was seen by the watching gallery of (dry) journos from the safety of the newspaper office upstairs’ windows.
A revealing sequence showing the various combinations of sky, water, trees and flailing hands and feet all held together with streakiness that would have impressed Ernst Haas himself.
Got a lot of ribbing about those photos and how I probably ought to lose some weight to avoid it happening again.

Sure miss that.

Adrian Malloch

Silviu Siladi says:

on February 26, 2008 at 8:02 pm

Dear Joe McNally,

Thank you for opening this blog and letting us share some of your wisdom! It is really wonderful to get some insight from the best.

Silviu Siladi

Jim Donahue says:

on February 26, 2008 at 8:30 pm

Yes Ford did buy Nikon today and there first move is to install a 1000mm 1.2 VR under the hood so you can remote fire it , and see the results on a 18 in LCD embeded in your dash, drive on.

Albert says:

on February 26, 2008 at 9:59 pm

Hysterically funny,
Reminds me of when my father fell out of a boat with his 35 mm slr. Unfortunately there was no motor drive clicking away and the pictures were mostly ruined from the water. There were some interesting conglomerates of color weaving through the pictures that did turn out. The best part was Seattle Filmworks note on the returned negatives and photos- water damages film, keep rolls of film in dryer local.
By the way this sound like something that would happen to me even though I am only a buck sixty.

Bill Rogers says:

on February 27, 2008 at 1:10 am

You don’t have to go into the wilds to dunk a camera. Klutz that I am, I once was looking through the viewfinder of my D70 while doing a “sneaker zoom,” and I tripped and fell into a fountain at the WW2 Memorial in Washington DC. Not my proudest moment.

That’s when I found out that the Flotar lens is so named because it also serves as a personal flotation device. It saved my life.

(¶1 is true. ¶ is false.)

Roger Loeb says:

on February 27, 2008 at 9:16 am

Joe — great description of DLWS! I still remember trying to listen to you while simultaneously editing the day’s take at Moab and wondering why I didn’t light up one of the arches with a couple of hundred SB-800s. The visual/auditory overload, coupled with a paucity of sleep, resulted in not being able to find the car, or anything else, for days. I seem to recall that my brain almost returned to its normal misfunctioning about a week later. Guess I better sign up for the next Yellowstone :-)
— Rog

Rob Byron says:

on February 27, 2008 at 4:47 pm

Moose is just jealous because you don’t have to go scrounging around in the woods to make a buck. On the same note, I’m sure that Moose works very hard to get the images he shoots, so, don’t rub it in by letting him know that you can fall down and still pull out, not one, but, two fabulous landscapes in the process. He might get a wee bit depressed. Just tell him that you enjoyed the “trip” (wink, wink) and got these great shots to “boot” (wink, wink).

Sure, we all have those dreams of wanting to brave the elements of the great outdoors and make our feeble attempt to be the caliber of nature/landscape photographer that is Moose Peterson. As a matter of fact I was dreaming about it just the other day so I decided to do something about it. I went into the bedroom, put on a set of Khaki’s and my hiking boots before making the trek to the studio at the other end of my house.

Best regards,


Matt Grazier says:

on February 27, 2008 at 8:27 pm

Hi Joe! So nice that you now have a blog to share your passion. We have always been big fans and your blog is now on our igoogle radar:) Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging, just one more fun and very time consuming way to spend your time:)

DreafDewVex says:

on May 5, 2008 at 2:41 pm

My idea of roughing it is when room service is late.


Joe (a different one) says:

on August 7, 2008 at 2:13 pm

Sure, it sounds pretty fancy, but does the 12MM TO 723MM RECTILINEAR F1.4 WITH “DMI” ASSIST (DECISIVE MOMENT INDICATOR) come in black?


BJ Ramsay says:

on February 29, 2012 at 10:33 am

Joe, shot with you and Moose and vinny in AK, you showed me how to get my little SB600 off the camera, hasn’t been back on since! Thanks

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