responsiveslider_lol_02 The Language of Light DVD - More
MeetJoe_02 Meet Joe McNally - More
inthebag What’s in the Bag? - More


Dec 5

In Lighting, Links, News, Seminars & Workshops at 2:05am

So what if it rains all the time. (It actually doesn’t. We had a killer sunset last night.) Its a great town and the photo community is like strobist-style crazy. I mean enthusiasm. Creativity. Energy. And easy going to boot. Did a lecture the other night at the Planetarium (oddly appropriate, considering my style of public speaking) and had a great crowd of folks who came out to hunker down around photography on a night when they could have bought Metallica tickets.

We ended up with about 250 or so folks cramming in to see some pix and do a quick lighting demo. I think half of them were in the Vancouver Strobist Group. Its daunting you know, David? I mean, everybody, and I mean everybody, came up afterwards and asked, “Hey do you know David Hobby? Could you tell him to  come here?”

Like DH said in his blog yesterday, free beers-he’s there. Think about it guys.

We did big lights and small lights.

The big lights, as you can see, are courtesy of Elinchrom, which in Canada, means they are courtesy of Ron at Vistek in Toronto. They are the Elinchrom/Lastolite suppliers to the Great North country. They stepped up big time, and made the workshop happen. Bogen USA, my good buds, stepped up too, sending the William Holden of flash photography, none other than Mark Astman, all the way from New Jersey to Van, BC. As always, he was a huge hit with the participants, explaining all things Elinchrom and Skyport, and making his usual giant tacos out of oversized Lastolite twisty, bendy, light shaping tools. I have never seen anybody wrap up a light shaping tool twice their size into a bag smaller than a Subway half foot plastic sandwich bag with the dispatch and aplomb of Mark.

In the above photo, courtesy of Marc Koegel, the instigator of all this stuff by being the creator of the Vancouver Photo Workshops, the diffuser panel is being held by Pooya Nabei, local fashion shooter and one of the most gracious assistants I have ever worked with. He brings coffee with him, fer chrissakes, in the am. He will look at me and ask if everything’s alright, and when I ask him back he will say everything’s groovy, and he really means it. As he said tonight, he simply can’t believe how lucky we are to be photographers. Even after getting sandblasted, fried, deep sixed, nailed to the wall, kicked in the ass, run out of town, stomped in the head, run through the mill, hung up wet, and generally being read the riot act for the last 35 years, I couldn’t agree more.

SPEAKING OF GRACIOUS,  LOCAL AND TALENTED FOLKS…..CONGRATS TO SYX AND TARYN ON THEIR COMING BABY!  They will know if its a boy or girl on Christmas day. they came today and posed for a lighting demo for my class…..

Syx is a local shooter who does a mix of commercial and intensely personal work….which is how he met Taryn.

Also worked today with Zara Durrani, a local model who poses for the workshops. Late in the day, put a red and blue gelled light out in the street and a strip light overhead, and made a few frames as a class demo.

This was pretty much the first frame…shocked the shit outta me, I tell ya. Sometimes you just fall in the right direction. Finished the night tonight having a bite with Martin Prihoda who does this workshop called Big Lights Far Away, where he artistically nukes a daylight scene with generators and big lights, basically wrestling the sun to the ground and stepping on its throat. Cool…Thanks for dinner, Martin.

More tk…..

Mike says:

on December 5, 2008 at 3:21 am

ahh the memories…. I had nothing to do the end of this summer, so I ended up assisting Toronto-based photographer Ian Campbell in August. I was actually thinking about this yesterday, but I remember a number of times we would need something and he’d be like, “mike, get ron at vistek on the phone.”

great post, as always!

Dan Depew says:

on December 5, 2008 at 4:27 am


What’s up with the diffuser + Elli softbox combo? Just not soft enough?

Also, on Styx and Taryn’s portrait, where’s the warmth coming from? Gel or WB?




Josh Devins says:

on December 5, 2008 at 5:06 am

Great! I just moved from Vancouver to Berlin last weekend. Coming to Berlin anytime soon?!

Ken says:

on December 5, 2008 at 10:50 am


The last time I was in Vancouver I walked around in Stanley Park, had diner in the tea room, but was not into the camera “thing”, years ago.

What beautiful city.

Love to go back now and shoot it

Merry Christmas
Ken in KY

Thomas says:

on December 5, 2008 at 10:51 am

These are stunning images, I meant the last 2. Awesome magical lighting.

John Mielke says:

on December 5, 2008 at 11:10 am

Joe (and David too)

My liquor cabinet and beer fridge doors are always open to you… come out east to Canada’s capital, Ottawa, and you can “fill yer boots!”

I’m a middle aged chubby guy who only started shooting in December ’05 and have learned SO MUCH from the various teaching tools you put out there!

Thanks for all you do! Merry Christmas to ya!

Jason Manchester says:

on December 5, 2008 at 1:45 pm

WOW! Did I ever miss out… looks and sounds like a great gathering. Hope you make another trip this way again in the near future.

Cyler Parent says:

on December 5, 2008 at 6:46 pm

Calgary Calgary Calgary! You know you like Canadian beer better 😉

Doug Batchelor says:

on December 5, 2008 at 11:31 pm

Thanks for swinging (swimming?) by our rainy city! We really enjoyed your images and the lighting demo, and especially admired the calm manner you displayed as you worked your way through those misbehaving background flashes!

A couple of snaps for you from the night …

Mark says:

on December 5, 2008 at 11:52 pm


Not really an issue unless, of course, James and the boys are going to strike up Whiskey In A Jar and then drops into The Unforgiven. Then, I dunno, you might be left to your own strobes…

Great images. Wish I could “fall in the right direction” a bit more.

You didn’t happen to bump into my sister up there in Vancouver, did you?

Leif (Seden) says:

on December 6, 2008 at 6:12 am

Hi Joe
It is always inspiring reading your blogg.
I wish we see more of You in Sweden and Scandinavia. Preferably during summer 😉 – its rainy during winter
Regards Leif

Richard Cave says:

on December 6, 2008 at 8:13 pm

Just been to a David Hobby seminar in London, I really reccomend it.

When are you Joe coming over to the UK? Cos that would be the icing on the cake.

Arnar Páll Birgisson says:

on December 7, 2008 at 3:12 pm

The last image clearly shows the creative use of strobes and white balance that I like about your photography.

Lisa Bettany says:

on December 8, 2008 at 8:32 am

Really sorry to miss all this fabulous photography inspiration! The one time I go to Australia, you come to Vancouver! So insensitive of you not checking with me first! Next time, I be there, front row!! 😀

PS The moment it clicks is my fav photography book ever. I actually got all the Peach Pit photography books from the Aperture Photography Workshop with Scott Bourne and Steve Simon, and yours was wham! bam! inspirational!

Come back to Vancouver soon!

Brian Carey says:

on December 13, 2008 at 3:19 pm

Spent a week last month in Vancouver, Lovely city! I was busy during the day and most of the photography I did was at night. It anyone is interested in seeing my images have a look at my website or on RedBubble at

A good friend of mine gave me “The Moment it Clicks” for my 50th birthday earlier this month and I’m reading it for a second time! Just finished downloading the bonus chapter and I had to pick my jaw up of the floor when I seen the picture of the Canadian water polo player. Beautiful!

Thanks Joe!

Adam says:

on December 16, 2008 at 4:48 pm

Another great post Joe, it was nice this time to have been there and even spot myself in the crowd.

Boot Camp Vancouver says:

on August 8, 2009 at 1:30 am

Great shots here, love the city and the backdrops are fantastic.

Luciano Honore says:

on May 14, 2013 at 10:25 am

Thanks for the interesting read :)

Leave a Reply