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Nov 22

In Friends, On Location at 1:34pm

Currently operating inside the mysterious land surrounded by the yellow border. A strange and wild place where the terms “internet access” and “cellular service” are evidently new. This has to be the case, cause the mere mention of them produces wide eyed stares of confused wonder followed by gales of laughter and shrieks of delighted amusement.

I get to work all day in the cold and the wind and the dust, and then stay up most of the night in the even colder wind and dust. My crew is fantastic, and after preparations have been made, we gather around in the inky blackness to discuss roles and assignments. They are clad, much in the manner of the highway outlaws in The Road Warrior, in ski masks, goggles and heavily padded protective clothing. They climb into pickups, outfitted with generators and racks of bristling flashy things and disappear into the void. I stay at camera central, and at the appropriate time, open the photon torpedo tubes. Then, in an homage to the James T. Kirk school of overacting, I raise my eyes to the heavens, extend a clenched fist and in an impassioned, breathless voice, say simply into the radio, “Fire.” Flashes in the dark. Screams in the night. I’ll say no more.

Sometime between 3 and 4 am, I retire to my resplendent rental lean to and rest and dine on a hearty mix of canned soup and Advil. About 7am I head to a local hotspot to send my pictures to the all powerful Oz, otherwise known as my editor. The process is fascinating, which is good because it is so lengthy. Kilobyte by kilobyte, my pictures fly through the air with  dispatch and efficiency. One by one. The carrier pigeons of the internet. I wait, listening to a song that is evidently about a pickup truck, a dog, the earth moving, love lost and a stolen Bible. I did not know they put such stories to music!

Its okay, though, cause this hot spot is also a place called McDonalds. The food here is fantastic! Are there more of these elsewhere?

A pidgeon returns with dispatches! A message from Oz! “Pretty interesting.” Tremendously effusive endorsement of my meager efforts! Translation? You can’t go home yet.


Seek out Jersey style bloggin’.

Mark’s the one who got me goin’ with the noir thing. He’s a good shooter who is real disciplined about assigning himself, putting together a structure and a timeline which makes sure he stays behind the camera.

He’s been over in Europe of late, working away, hitting the road again, which means, Road Pig strikes again!

He’s been takin’ Flo the pig out on the road for years, and she’s getting’ a pretty good tour. Now, of course, her adventures have an attentive audience back at home with Liv, his toddler, waiting for news of both dad and Flo.

Mark and I did some road touring a few years back, knocking out an annual report. In a couple of years, back to back, we did several states as well as Sweden, Poland, England, and Italy. We were scouting in the old city section of Warsaw and Mark had to run back to hotel. (He’s the responsible one, the one who’s gotta keep things together, on schedule, and ya know, he’s got a screwloose shooter out there with him who has a tendency to go rogue at any moment and here we’re tryin’ to project a good image for the company. So it fell to him to be filing reports and talk to home base, as well as make sure I stick to my meds.)

So he goes back to the hotel, and I’m standing there in old town and who walks by (with an entourage of course) but Roman Polanski, scouting for The Pianist. Walked right by. Of course I had my mouth open and my lens cap on, which doesn’t bode well for me if I ever wanted to go the paparazzi route. Mark got back and refused to believe me. To this day, he refuses. Oh well…

Funny how life goes. Years ago, Magnum shooter Alex Webb and I got to be friends on an NPPA Flying Short Course and my daughter Caitlin and his son would get together and play. We’d hang out a bit at Alex’ apartment over in Brooklyn, and a couple of times, the wonderful Hungarian born photog, Sylvia Plachy, would drop by, with her elegant viewpoint and daring adventurism with a Widelux in her hands. Coupla times, her teenage son would drop by. He would play with the kids a bit, and say virtually nothing to the alleged grownups. He seemed to be always working on a old car, or projects like that. Years later, Sylvia’s son, the quiet teen, Adrian Brody, turns in an Academy Award performance in The Pianist.


Great light, nice shot, kinda Daniel Craig-esque, doncha think?…Looks like an ad for a Bond flick, fer chrissakes, though I would be the first to admit “Klowskowski” doesn’t roll off the tongue quite the same as, “Bond, James Bond.”

Matt may have a future in the movies as a Photoshop action espionage hero type. His first feature….”Pixels Only Die Twice.”


Check out Pyxsylated.

Another coherent, fully fleshed out, informative blog from the irrepressible Mr. Arena. Great explanation and field demo of Radio Poppers.

Here’s the problem, and the reason we got trouble, right here in River City.

He’s out there with MD Welch.

What happens when two loose but very talented cannons hit the road, mixing in flash, roller derby girls, and radio poppers? Good blog, good pictures, but Lordy, Katy bar the door, go to the mattresses, do whatever it is you do, but Syl and MD are in town…..Got to know the both of them in a lighting workshop in Santa Fe. We had a great class, great time, and the class has stuck together. Talk about a buncha characters. We had everybody in there from Syl and MD to Krista “Machine Gun” Lee.

Lots of frames. Lots of fun…more tk….

Robert Cluck says:

on November 22, 2008 at 2:35 pm

Ha Ha! I got the first spot on this blog!

Last night I went home and went to review more of Joes’ Kelby training, and then it happened! I seen SB-900 training! Oh my gosh! I cannot believe my eyes! Is this a deam come true or what??? I just got a couple SB-900s and after watching the video I ordered another!

For the last couple weeks I have been thinking, do I get 800’s and save a little, or spend a little and get the sm900’s.

They are awesome! Joe what ever you had involved with the design of these and your connections at Nikon, they are just plainly a freakin’ awesome piece of art work!

Richard Cave says:

on November 22, 2008 at 9:25 pm

McDonalds has saved my butt for ages, I ordered an OJ with a big laptop bag over my shoulder. They always give a knowing look like they know I am not there for the burgers. As soon as I hit the McD cloud I look around and watch the other laptop users there starting losing there tempers ehilst hiding behind my screen.

My image upload is soaking up the bandwith I try to hide what I am up to.

Images are sent in what seems like hours, looking at my watch urging three oclock to stay away.

Just bought a 900 too the light on it is awesome.

Interestingly if you play a heavy metal record backwards you are meant to hear a message from the devil…….Try the same on a CW record, well you get your car back, house back, dog back and your wife loves you again…

Thanks for the post Joe just proves we are all sane!


Doug says:

on November 22, 2008 at 11:03 pm

I seriously don’t think I understood more than 3-4 words in a row in that post but I liked it.

Mark K says:

on November 22, 2008 at 11:26 pm

Well….Flo is resting easy tonight, warm in the Great State of New Jersey, happy to be included in this post. The old girl still gets around, cranky as always, but happy to see the world.

She….and I…still don’t believe Polanski entered your frame, but whatever. We also didn’t believe a glass of scotch could cost $35 until we saw it with our own eyes.

We’ll always have Scoozi….

Great post! 😀

Wondering where is joe? says:

on November 23, 2008 at 1:15 am

Where is this land of isolation and when can we see some pictures? Advil stew’s are the preferred dinner of champion grips.

john fowler says:

on November 23, 2008 at 5:45 am

Great post Joe, and another great thank you for The Moment. A boring record shot to do around noon today. Used the mantra – How would Joe McNally do it? So, -2EV, 1/2cto, VALS camera left, sun camera right. POP!

Tom Marriage says:

on November 23, 2008 at 10:56 am


Watched the SB900 class at Kelby training yesterday. Another good one. Have a couple of 900’s and think they are great. Price hurts but it is very well made.

Have you tried the RadioPoppers yet. I have them on my SB800’s. A great product. Wish that type of technology could be incorporated either in the Speedlight or as a cleaner accessory. That’s the only thing I don’t like about them is the mounting.

Thanks again for all the helpful classes and the fun blog.


MarcW says:

on November 23, 2008 at 11:01 am

Believe it or not, it’s been done. Data transmission by carrier pigeon, that is. Here’s the original RFC:

Here’s a proof-of-concept test, including pictures of the apparatus.

Some days it’s very strange what makes one proud to be human.

Krista Lee says:

on November 23, 2008 at 7:28 pm

Ah! I am so flattered that I was mentioned on your blog… I’m going to have to print this out and frame it! Ha! Anyhow I did this photo JUST for you all…. I tried to figure out how to post it in the comments but apparently I can’t do html in the comment section (or maybe I just can’t figure out) so check out this link instead:

hehehehe ahahaha hohohohoho

Billy Mitchell says:

on November 23, 2008 at 9:57 pm


Fred says:

on November 25, 2008 at 10:10 am

“mysterious land surrounded by the yellow border”

um, are we supposed to actually know where Joe is?

Matthew Saville says:

on November 29, 2008 at 5:36 am

Either he’s talking about McDonalds, (yellow “golden” arches) …or he’s just testing the D3X…


Vickita says:

on November 29, 2008 at 2:08 pm

Speed kills, Joe. Just sayin’. *g*

Hollie Powell says:

on May 18, 2010 at 11:45 am

I would have to say that Daniel Craig is the best James Bond of all times.:’;

Breakfast Nook  says:

on October 20, 2010 at 4:51 am

Roman Polanski is a child molester and that is for sure*:;

Boyce Pennacchio says:

on October 14, 2011 at 2:25 am

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