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Stalking the Wild Leaf

Oct 8

In Seminars & Workshops, Stories at 11:02am

These new cameras are amazing, I tell ya. I fell down on a DLWS shoot and the camera went off and I got this. Cool. Outright cold, as a matter of fact. It was freezin’ out there, stumbling around in the pre-dawn. We were at Calvin Coolidge’s summer vacation estate, and were blessed with good light and frost everywhere. I shot this with the unbelievably sharp Nikkor 105 f2.8 micro and just let it rip on a buffer upgraded D3 writing to a Lexar 8 gigger UDMA card. That combo just smokes, which I was very happy about cause this landscape photography game is rough, man. It’s early morning, I’ve had no coffee, and I’ve just done a face plant on frosted grass, trying to concentrate, and focus, and compose, and remember to program minus EV into the camera, and think about the picture and all the while Mr. Winky’s turning into a popsicle. Sheesh. Time for consecutive high on the motor.

It’s been a rough week. I flew from San Fran to Kennedy last Thursday. Cheapie ticket, but I got up front because I fly Delta so much I usually end up in the running for one of the wide ass recliners. Guy next to me was a hard charger for sure. Sat down, and started reading the paper and immediately threw a section down on the armrest which spilled over into my seat by about 2 inches.

Aha! Armrest competition! Ze games are afoot! Nothing turns me into Hellboy faster.

I immediately put my elbow down on the paper. Now he has to ask me permission to read the rest of the news of the day. Screw with me, eh, pal?

Next I took a spare section of the Times and folded it and slapped it down on the arm rest, so at least 3 inches of it (with guys it always comes down to inches) spilled over on his side, plus making sure it was the folded bit, with a sharp edge, right there over his knee.

Heh heh heh! I positively revel in this immature playground bullshit. Too bad its not AeroMexico. I coulda been a real charmer and double ordered refried beans just blasted my way to JFK.

The paper thing hadda be uncomfortable, but he said nothing. I shoulda been more sympathetic, cause he was reading the Wall St. Journal, so he mighta been a number pusher and things are probably shaky at the office and maybe he just hadda sell one of his homes or some shore property cause he’s worried that little Johnny might not get the GI Joe with the Kung Fu Grip for Christmas. Me, I ain’t got a job, so relatively worry free on that level. I’m not gonna make myself redundant, as the English say. I’m a photographer, and trust me, that’s redundant enough:-)

Now, to get real annoying, I pull out my D3 and turn on the vertical horizon thingy and put on my Bose noise reduction babies and start making like I’m flying the airplane complete with sound effects. Swear to God. He’s looking at me now like I’m nuts and he wants to push the attendant call button, but he’s too cool to do it.

He takes the paper off the armrest and leaves me alone for the rest of the flight. More tk.

marcus says:

on October 8, 2008 at 11:11 am

LOL You’ve just become my favorite photographer.

John says:

on October 8, 2008 at 11:36 am

LOL ….what a great story! that’ll teach Mr. Wallstreet to mess with an errant photographer!

Lex says:

on October 8, 2008 at 11:44 am

You crack me up. I started reading your blog (again) after booking a Nat Geo trip with you early next year in NYC. Can’t wait….don’t you dare leave that sense of humor at home for that expedition.


Brent says:

on October 8, 2008 at 11:53 am

LOL…awesome post, thanks for the laughs.

Nicolas says:

on October 8, 2008 at 11:58 am


I guess I should take the plane more often to find an entertainer like you next to me. Funny method to keep your space, I was just thinking about you making weird star wars noises and using your camera as your spaceship’s control panel… :)
I will try this next time !


Joey Baker says:

on October 8, 2008 at 12:07 pm

Absolutely fantastic! Thanks so much – my day just got a whole lot better!

Jim says:

on October 8, 2008 at 12:08 pm

God…. Your just as much of an adolescent as I am..

Aaron Hardin says:

on October 8, 2008 at 12:20 pm

Man, you’ve lost your damn mind (but that was a fun scene to play in my head while i’m stuck in a dark, dank, windowless office). How are you making out without Big Brad?

Ken Ely says:

on October 8, 2008 at 12:21 pm

Hey ! Another in a great read, I think I’ve found my favorite photographer and writer of blogs. Keep ’em coming, please….

Brandon says:

on October 8, 2008 at 12:27 pm

Great photography and great humor. I’d love to take one of your classes some day.

Dave Griffin says:

on October 8, 2008 at 12:27 pm

hee hee, love the story, you always bring a smile to my face !

Jason says:

on October 8, 2008 at 12:53 pm

I think I might have missed something…all that because a newspaper was two inches over on your armrest?

I was waiting for the part when his elbow poked into your stomach and didn’t apologize…or that he was a Canon shooter!

Michael S. says:

on October 8, 2008 at 12:56 pm

you are a wacky, wacky, dude….and we love you for it!
Great portrait….geeez! :)

Brad says:

on October 8, 2008 at 1:05 pm

aaron, we don’t make out. thankfully, that’s not part of the job description. he’s gotta put up with me for the rest of the day before i’m out of his hair. you’ll read more about this on friday :)

Michael says:

on October 8, 2008 at 1:17 pm

Hands down, funniest blog post i’ve read by a photog – nay – any one so far! I’m still laughing. The photo was definately the Icing on the Cake

Thomas says:

on October 8, 2008 at 2:06 pm

Simply brilliant! Still laughing my a** off. Love the blog and not least The Moment It Clicks. Any plans for going to Europe to do workshops etc.? Saw you at the Nikon Speed of Light seminar in Denmark last year and would really love to attend something like that again.

Jeff Lynch says:

on October 8, 2008 at 2:09 pm

OK, Mark was right!

You are the craziest Irishman on the East Coast.


Jeffrey Chapman says:

on October 8, 2008 at 2:10 pm

Absolutely brilliant. I can’t wait to take my D700 onto my next flight!

Billy Mitchell says:

on October 8, 2008 at 2:21 pm

You really need more to do. Ever thought of teaching photography?

Mark K says:

on October 8, 2008 at 2:35 pm

…start making like I’m flying the airplane complete with sound effects


I can just see you:

(static crackle)
Tower, this is “Maverick” McNally requesting a fly-by..

Sorry, pilot that fly-by is denied.

Goose, I think we gotta buzz the tower..

Did you throw a strobe behind that leaf?

Loren says:

on October 8, 2008 at 3:34 pm

I’d like to get prescribed the same narcotics you enjoy. Drug and dose?

Bob DeChiara says:

on October 8, 2008 at 6:12 pm

Not funny at all. That was me you were sitting next to.

Ok so I am totally kidding. Great post…as always


Chris V says:

on October 8, 2008 at 6:36 pm

LOL! I did the virtual horizon flying thingy when I got really bored on a loooong bus trip that got detoured acroos bendy country lanes and the girl next to me laughed so hard she had to use the horrible back-of-the-bus-facilities, so I offered to buy her coffee to make it up and it turned into dinner and we’ve been together for 4 months now. Thank you Nikon! And thank you Joe, for making me realise it is not just me doing that!

Joe says:

on October 8, 2008 at 10:12 pm

You owe me a new monitor… I just got to the part about the artificial horizon and snarfed my coke all over my LCD. Nice. :)

Dave Taylor says:

on October 8, 2008 at 10:52 pm

Classic McNally…ism. Is that a word? Well it should be! Someone, call Websters! Every entry on your blog is a classic. Keep up the great work.

Kingsley says:

on October 8, 2008 at 11:25 pm

LOL – too funny… way too funny!

MattDJ says:

on October 8, 2008 at 11:30 pm

I sat down, beef jerky in hand to read another great post by one of my photo dude favs. Let’s just say…

…you owe me a screen cleaning!! 😉

Sam says:

on October 9, 2008 at 12:28 am

Man! you’re killing me as I was rolled on the floor, couldn’t stop laughing and my wife thought that I having heart attack!!! Darn! one day if you ever give up the camera, you could be a very good stand-up comedian. Hey Seinfeld, watch out dude!

Dan Ablan says:

on October 9, 2008 at 12:28 am

Joe, that’s the coolest friggin’ blog post I’ve read in a while.
I’m SOOO p.o’d I had to cancel my trip to the DLWS in Vermont this week. I booked it a year ago!! Friggin’ economy. Maybe next year.

Mark Griffith says:

on October 9, 2008 at 12:44 am

Love it! Laughed out loud and smiled too. :)

Tamara says:

on October 9, 2008 at 1:11 am

I wish I could have been there to see you fly that plane! I wish he would have called the flight attendant – would have loved to hear that complaint. :)

mungkey says:

on October 9, 2008 at 2:02 am

LOL! That makes me want a camera like urs. hehehe !!!

Richard Cave says:

on October 9, 2008 at 3:16 am

Ouch, now suing you for a new set of ribs, I am buying you a set of flying goggles and leather helmet,

Nikon could put a simple flying game into the camera could be onto something here…

You heard it here first!


Raymond says:

on October 9, 2008 at 3:37 am

Funniest photo blog that hardly mentions photography! It’s great. :)

Theis says:

on October 9, 2008 at 6:31 am

Thx for the advice next time I sit next to your on a plane I will be on the Armrest as flies on something nasty :)

Joke aside it a great story and the picture of you just tells it all. Just made a long day on work a bit easier, keep posting :)

See you when you get to Denmark sometime :)


montres says:

on October 9, 2008 at 7:35 am

Great article and really amazing photo, love it!

Billy says:

on October 9, 2008 at 9:14 am

Love it! Thanks for the post… Made my day!

Kevin Halliburton says:

on October 9, 2008 at 10:04 am


LOL – I think you have the cover shot for your next book, “The Moment I Snapped!” Gonna be freelancing myself pretty soon if I keep getting busted for laughing out loud while reading your blog at work!


Lee L says:

on October 9, 2008 at 10:05 am

Brad, pleasssse get Joe some help. You guys have obviously been on the road way too much lately. :)

I would have thought hanging out in serene locations like Calvin Coolidge’s summer retreat would mellow him out but I think it has the opposite effect. LOL

Ron C says:

on October 9, 2008 at 10:43 am

See, THIS is why you are one of my favorite photographers!

Matthew Saville says:

on October 9, 2008 at 11:48 am

*chhhgk* This is your captain speaking… *chhgkk*

“Does anybody know how to fly a plane?”


Yeah I just flew from Madrid to JFK and then LAX. No Bueno. I need like, 3x spare macbook batteries, I swear…

Got some very sexy off-camera flash portraits in Seville, Spain though!


Ryan McBride says:

on October 9, 2008 at 1:16 pm

thats awsome Chris V.. what a story… as for you Mr.McNally, well we expected an out of the norm story, and you certainly delivered… it’s getting cold up here aint it… hope your enjoying the true new england weather up there.. being from NH its always a treasure, though i’ve never been to VT. only you would grab a shot like that when you fell haha

Jayme says:

on October 9, 2008 at 3:09 pm

I use to think maybe you were alittle crazy, now I know you are. Thanks for the fun read and the leaf picture was worth freezing your *&^%& off.

w4yne says:

on October 9, 2008 at 3:38 pm

Oh my god Joe ! xD
Your blog is probably the funniest photography related on the whole net.
Always cracks me up how you use the tightest slang =)
The pic is a blast.
Keep it up.

Greetz from Germany

Christa T says:

on October 9, 2008 at 4:38 pm

LOL You mean I’m not the only one who does that! OMG!
Hey, don’t make fun of the number crunchers ! Oh and by the way, the best way to reclaim armrest space is to get something out of the overhead compartment and ask them to hold your drink. They have to life their elbow everytime! You say “thanks”, take the drink and steal the space! Works like a charm!

Sam says:

on October 9, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Joe, I can always count on getting at least a strong chuckle from reading your bog.


Dom says:

on October 9, 2008 at 6:30 pm

you sadistic man!
I like it! I like it! I like it!
Keep up the hard work !!!

Simon says:

on October 10, 2008 at 1:52 am

They have medication for your problem. Don’t take it!!!

The world is a better place with you on freestyle.

Great stuff Joe!! I love your spirit!

Francesco says:

on October 10, 2008 at 10:14 am

always a pleasure to read your posts!
(and the pictures are great, as usual!)

Etta Smith says:

on October 10, 2008 at 9:29 pm

I COMPLETELY appreciate and admire your creativity in the eternal battle of personal space in public environments. ‘Immature, playground bullshit” you say?!?! Hell no! It’s survival of the fittest….an arms race in the truest sense of the word!! ESPECIALLY on an airplane. I loved the play-by-paly and celebrated your victories vicariously as I WISH my (metaphorical) balls were big enough to take it where you did……loved it!!!

Billy Mitchell says:

on October 11, 2008 at 3:54 pm

Joe, Why haven’t you posted photos of your recent tour of NY? I love Patsy’s. Been there a few times. Tell Laurie that her photo of the group is better than Moose’s, but I bet he knows that.

Jim says:

on October 12, 2008 at 11:23 pm

You crack me up Joe . . . the expression on your face in that photo is priceless . . LOL

Dirk says:

on October 14, 2008 at 12:49 pm

I’m sure the engineers at Nikon are happy to know that professional photographers actually use the virtual horizon feature.

Makes me wish my D300 had one, too!

Mike Hodgson says:

on October 22, 2008 at 10:31 pm

Ah Joe, you crack me up. Good value. Remind me never to fly next to you. 😉

Ava Green says:

on May 6, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Would there be a sequel to the last G.I. JOE movie? iron man has a sequel already. .*

John Clark says:

on October 1, 2010 at 5:38 am

GI JOE cartoons and the GI JOE Movie are all great stuff -:,

Clyde says:

on September 15, 2011 at 3:31 am

I’m doing a little something of the same interest and having be aware on this .Many thanks.

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