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Again, Thanks

Dec 2

In Seminars & Workshops at 9:52am



In Vancouver, teaching at the Vancouver Workshops, run by Marc Koegel and his wife Xenija. News flash. Its December in Vancouver. Its raining.

I love it here. Even the rain and the mist. The workshop is always populated with gracious and easygoing people, and the whole place is, well, relaxed. Now compared to Manhattan, which is a city that has the toothpick chewing, maalox guzzling, fast twitch fiber mentality of an air traffic controller, just about anyplace might seem relaxed, but Van is you know, really, really, easygoing, eh?

Always like working here. The dance community is wonderful, and I was able to work again with Alison Denham, a truly wonderful modern dancer who freelances here. She just choreographed and danced her own creation in a sold out show this past weekend called Exchanges, and she is gracious enough to pose for us at the workshop.

Shot these Sunday after meeting with the Vancouver Strobist group and playing with some SB 900 units out in the street. Quickly created a couple looks with hard and soft light, and the shadows of the doors and lettering. Great group. I got pinged on email by Andrew Strain, a local strobist, and was able to stop by for a couple of hours before heading over to the workshop. Its hard to overestimate the reach of David Hobby and the international community he has created via his teachings and blog. Pretty amazing.

The studio was given over to the group by Pacifica Photography, which does alot of shooting and community, grassroots organizing and benefit work in the Vancouver community, as well as internationally. Good folks.

Sorry if I confused some folks last post or so by referring to the land inside the yellow border. Whenever I am on assignment for the National Geographic, I just always refer to it as that mysterious looking glass place beyond the yellow border. And we were definitely out there. No cell service, no internet. I think where we were didn’t even have a frikkin zip code. Never can say much about what is being worked on. Have to wait for publication, usually some six months out.

I can say it was a bit nutty. Out in the desert. Vehicles getting stuck in sugar like sand. No RV could get in there, so we just made do throughout the day by working our ass off and then staying awake to light large immovable objects from the backs of pickup trucks in the dead of night. Many thanks to my good friend Rob Stephen, who has worked with me many times and runs Photo Monkey out of San Diego. He’s a great producer, shooter and grip, and it was his sense of preparedness that saved our butts throughout 4 freezing nights in the desert.

It was still nasty though. Crew of six guys in the desert. No facilities. One crockpot. No women. It was amazing to see how fast we regressed to caveman status. Dinnertime was right outta Blazing Saddles, I tell ya….

More tk….

Luca Ragogna says:

on December 2, 2008 at 10:01 am

Glad to hear your daughter is ok.

I hope you end up in Toronto with one of your workshops soon.

Daveb_za says:

on December 2, 2008 at 10:21 am

Awesome shots, as usual. Your ability to pull these amazing, fully formed glam shots out the bag on arbitrary Sunday in Vancouver is totally inspirational.

Using your flash to pull the lettering out into a shadow is a very neat trick, too. Gotta remember that one…

kathyt says:

on December 2, 2008 at 11:30 am

Very glad your daughter is mending her bumps and bruises. Ya think kids are scary when they a little, just wait until they get older!!! Glad to know you are in this part of the world — you can always count on rain in the Pacific Northwest! Hope you enjoy your stay and the rain. kathyt

Paul Charette says:

on December 2, 2008 at 12:29 pm

Hey Joe,

Welcome to Canada :) Glad to hear you enjoy it here. If you’re ever up in the Niagara Falls area, Niagara Wine Country, etc. drop me a line.

Also glad to hear that your daughter is doing good, that’s great.

Have a good one

Sean Fenzl says:

on December 2, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Glad to hear your daughter is on the mend… It must be especially stressful hearing news like that when you’re on the road.

It was a pleasure to have you drop in to our workshop at Pacifica – and I certainly appreciate your kind words about Vancouver and it’s people.

I was already pining for an opportunity to come to your workshop here, but it just wasn’t in the cards for me this year. At least I can be quite hopeful that you’ll consider another visit, because I truly enjoyed YOUR easygoing style as much as you enjoyed it from us.

It was nice to see your approach to a scene, and that a little experimentation and Bob-Ross-Style “Happy Accidents” (the lettering shadows) can start to form a concept, and a real ‘photograph’ at the end of the day.

The model, Cindy Fay, was pretty stoked to be on the other side of the lens that day! I’ll ensure she gets a link to your post here.

Many thanks!

Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, BC

(ps. flickr tag: vanstrobist-nov30 if you’d like to see what we got up to that day!)

Steve Cherrier says:

on December 2, 2008 at 12:57 pm

Glad you’re enjoying our usual Nov/Dec drizzly weather up in the Great Wet North! Thank you so much for stopping by our little humble Strobist get together on Sunday. It was the highlight of our day there, and everyone was talking about it all day.

As you said during the session there, it’s truly amazing how the photography community is so giving when it comes to sharing information and techniques, and you are a shining example of that principle.

Thanks again!

Tom Aellis says:

on December 2, 2008 at 1:19 pm

I’m glad Joe. Thank goodness and welcome to the “Nudge Club” I’ve been enrolled several times.
Yellow Boarder, THANK YOU. It was driving me nutz. I used a lot of my “Down” time to learn about filters and lighting, I’m ready to execute.
Jared and I wish you a safe journey and hoping you calm down and chill with Annie for a bit. I’m really glad about Caitlin Joe.

Andrew Strain says:

on December 2, 2008 at 1:29 pm

Thanks again for stopping by, Joe, enjoy the rest of your stay in Vancouver! (Word on the street is, you’ll get a little bit of sunshine before you leave…)

Ken says:

on December 2, 2008 at 1:44 pm

Hey Joe,

You want some Catholic & Jewish guilt.

Why did you not buy her a hummer???

So glad she ok, My God bless you and your family.

My guilt comes from my wife. And its all true.

Ken in KY

Carol J Watkins says:

on December 2, 2008 at 2:15 pm

I am so glad to hear your daughter is doing ok. No matter how old our kids get they still our our babies. Love you blog .

Ryan McBride says:

on December 2, 2008 at 2:46 pm

everyone im sure is really glad your daugter is geting better… no need to thank us, its the kind thing to do for us fans to show our appreciation to your dedication and the family you and your wife raised with crazy schedules… on another note…

i hope caveman status is as far as you went, you mentioned no women… and im just hoping that was it…. lol J/K! love the photograph of the dancer with the deep red/orange colors, great shot.

Kathryn Lymburner says:

on December 2, 2008 at 3:18 pm

I second the motion on a Toronto based workshop. Likewise glad to hear your daughter made it through her accident with minimal injuries.

Michelle Knight says:

on December 2, 2008 at 3:30 pm

Did you realise that the first picture on this blog might actually land you in trouble (if you’re in the UK) with the police? Yep, we’ve got a wonderful new law that states that if a picture is pornographic (in the courts opinion, that is) and “is likely to result” in a threat to the life of the person in the picture (suffocation is specifically mentioned and, again, it is in the courts opinion) then you’re liable to five years in a UK slammer?

… and that is any person who has a copy of this picture, not necessarily the photographer … so now that the picture is in my cache, I’m in trouble! **shakes in my shoes – not!**

Sometimes, I’m seriously embarassed to be British.

Mark K. says:

on December 2, 2008 at 4:27 pm

Wow, great images. And very good to hear Caitlin is OK! We’ll still be thinking about her….20 months old for my little one today!

Keith Loh says:

on December 2, 2008 at 4:36 pm

Joe, it was wonderful for you to just show up and help us locals. You are really generous with your time and I’ll enjoy seeing you speak again tonight.

Vaughn Winchell says:

on December 2, 2008 at 6:20 pm

I can usually figure out the lighting, but the one with the red veil has me stumped. I can guess how to light the back with red gels, but how’d you do the front and still keep the dancer’s face naturally? Don’t tell me you used a red veil!

Great job–as usual.

Tom says:

on December 2, 2008 at 7:04 pm

Glad Caitlin is okay.

BTW Joe, you have an open invititation to visit the (North Carolina) Triangle Strobist group if you ever get down here. We have a great group of people!

Bob DeChiara says:

on December 2, 2008 at 8:40 pm

Just read about your daughter. Good news to hear she is doing well.


Mark Griffith says:

on December 2, 2008 at 11:50 pm

Dagged nab it, I’d love to take a seminar from you, how can I get on some sort of list of something when your out on the west coast near the PNW where I live?

Carolyn says:

on December 3, 2008 at 3:59 am

Glad to read your daughter is healing well and that she inherited not only your hard head, but also your tenacity.

I just returned from your lecture here in Vancouver and wanted to say thanks. You were interesting, kind and hilarious tonight! I’m just starting out as a photographer and really appreciated your honesty and willingness to show us not only your great photos, but the duds as well. It reminds me to be patient with photography and my own ability to improve. We can’t get it right every time, not even you it seems!

I especially enjoyed watching your flashes not fire on cue. Again, to know that you too have equipment malfunctions helps me to feel more secure in my own shortcomings as I grow as a photographer. So, thanks for not being perfect and enjoy the rest of your stay in Vancouver. The rain stops occassionally. Hopefully you’ll get to witness it first hand.

Victor says:

on December 3, 2008 at 9:58 am

Hey, Joe

Thank you very much for dropping by and generously spending time with the Vancouver Strobist. You have inspired and energized the whole group to look at light in a different way.

The talk at the Plantarium was fun, humourous and informative.

Thank you for sharing your insights.

Victor says:

on December 3, 2008 at 10:01 am

Hey Joe

Thank you very much for dropping by and generously spending time with the Vancouver Strobists. You have inspired and energized the whole group to look at light in a different way.

The talk at the Planetarium was fun.

Thank you for sharing your insights.

Jonathan Ng says:

on December 3, 2008 at 8:24 pm


Thanks so much for your talk and demo at the Planetarium tuesday night. It was fun, insightful and I learned a lot.

Scott says:

on December 3, 2008 at 9:26 pm

So I’m at a tradeshow in Vegas and drop in to one of the local camera stores. I ask if they have any old SB26’s or even the discontinued SB800. The guy says “naw, ever since that guy Hobby started that ‘Strobist’ thing, you can’t get old flashes anywhere…..”

I got the same answer in Amsterdam. Vancouver. London.

I’d have to admit, that’s a pretty far reaching effect…

Nathan Derksen says:

on December 4, 2008 at 2:06 am

I was at your evening session on Tuesday, and I wanted to thank you for a great session. I learned a lot, and I really appreciate the enthusiasm, passion, and humour you obviously put into your work. I came home and immediately started playing around with the ol’ SB800. Time perhaps to add another flash or two! I don’t suppose you have any extras to sell? 😉

Eduar says:

on December 4, 2008 at 10:41 am

I am really glad your daughter is doing OK! but we expected that from daughter of traveler extraordinaire, man of adventure and perils Joe Mcnally ;)!!

I miss all the fun you guys in the north have :(… central america isn’t as fun nor do you get to do meetups like yours, it isn’t fair >:( lol

John says:

on December 4, 2008 at 4:16 pm

I’m glad you praised David Hobby in this post. He is our hero, taking the time to patiently explain, encourage, teach, experiment. When my wife asked me why I was going out at 5 a.m. to put flashes in trees, I just said, “Strobist”. One word, that’s all it takes.

Cindy Fay says:

on December 4, 2008 at 11:39 pm

Thank you so much for the insight and the shooting… I hope you enjoyed vancouver, and we all enjoyed you. thank you so much, glad to hear your daughter is getting better. and thank you for stopping by and teaching a small audience. And i was deffinately happy to be on the other side of that camera. and humbled to be used on this blog.

Thank you so much..

Cindy Fay

Gary Rhodes says:

on December 5, 2008 at 12:12 am

Joe, I just came across your site (again) thanx to ‘
Strobist’. I sat through 2 of your presentations @ PDN PhotoPlex in Oct and I was blown away by your energy, enthusiasm and talent working with portable lights. Thanx for the ‘buzz’…Gary Rhodes

Chris Klaming says:

on December 5, 2008 at 1:11 am


Just wanted to throw out a heartfelt “thanks”, for your inspiring, informative, and highly entertaining talk and demonstration on Tuesday evening.

I have to say, I was mildly pleased to note that you’re a Nikon/Aperture user. I recently picked up Aperture, but had been starting to feel a little self conscious….dirty even, given the fact that it feels like I live in a world dominated by Canon/Lightroom folks.
I say this with a playful smirk of course, but thanks for providing me with some ammo to shoot back with.
By the way, if have you any recommendations, as far as tutorials, books, DVDs, websites, for getting the absolute most out of Aperture’s capabilities, I’d love to hear about it.

In appreciation,

Chris Klaming

wayne mah says:

on December 5, 2008 at 2:48 pm

A taxi just dropped a guy off that looks a lot that famous photographer Joe McNally.

What??!? It IS Joe McNally!

Wow… Joe, thank you so much for coming over to our Strobist meet in Vancouver. It was so awesome to meet you and hear your thoughts about how you set up the shots for your tutorial. It was so very inspiring!

So thanks again for taking time out and coming to help out the little guys.


work and travel says:

on December 25, 2008 at 4:19 am

Is there any information about this subject in other languages?

Obsectwes says:

on December 14, 2009 at 10:46 pm

Hi – Wow, what a great forum

Just registered and wanted to say hello.

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