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Goodbye ’08

Dec 31

In Uncategorized at 10:42am

The horse’s name was Bill, as I recall, and this little girl’s mom had been called up to serve in the Gulf War and she was staying at a neighbor’s for the duration. Shot if for LIFE back in ’91 and its one of those rare frames that kinda stick around. Figure we could all use a hug right about now, with 09 getting pretty damn big in the viewfinder.
On the last day of some year, I got gas at a filling station on Manhattan’s West Side, just off Riverside on 96th. The station’s gone now, of course, as most are in the Big Apple. An elderly African American gentleman was tending the pumps. We stood, staring out at the cold, saying nothing (hey, we’re guys), listening to the gas moving and the meter ticking. The dollars and cents wheels moved much more slowly back then.

He finally looked over at me. “How you doin’?” he asked. I allowed as I was doing okay. I said something along the lines of “Made it through another year.”

He snorted and looked at his watch. It was about 4 in the afternoon. “Few hours left. Don’t get cocky.”

Been a little light on the blog lately, but for a good reason. My final final deadline for The Hot Shoe Diaries is this weekend, and ink hits paper in late January and the book ships in late Feb. Done. Out the door.

Lots of thanks to offer for making it through this year, to lots of folks, certainly those who stop by this blog now and then. I’ll post again with some notes, thanks and thoughts in a couple of days. Happy New Year to all, and let’s keep pushing pixels in 09…..more tk.

Ron Mandsager says:

on December 31, 2008 at 10:48 am

Happy New Year, Joe, and looking forward to Hot Shoe Diaries!

xlphotog says:

on December 31, 2008 at 10:51 am

Please tell me what “….more tk” is. (Ok, I will tell you I have a pretty good idea on the ‘more’ part, it’s the ‘tk’ I need help with.

Richard Cave says:

on December 31, 2008 at 11:21 am

Looking forward to a New Year, and new challenges, thanks for being humourous, ranting, deranged, dedicated throughout the year. I like reading your blog as it is better than a cup of Java in the morning.

Wishing you and family a Happy New Year, may it be prosperous, healthy and pushing pixels. And no screaming babies, airline arm hugger free flying.


PS Hopefully this year we will bump into each other.

john waire says:

on December 31, 2008 at 11:26 am

happy new year joe!

Ryan McBride says:

on December 31, 2008 at 11:46 am

Happy New Year Mr. McNally

John says:

on December 31, 2008 at 11:48 am

Thanks for keeping the Weblog Joe, it’s been a source of inspiration and learning for me since I’ve been following..

Thirteen hours to go, as a whole I don’t see anything spectacular on the horizon for ’09 yet but personally, hoping for another year of growth by leaps and bounds.

Luca Ragogna says:

on December 31, 2008 at 11:55 am

Oh boy! Can’t wait for my copy to show up!

Thanks for the inspiration over the past year, looking forward to more in the coming years.

Luca Ragogna

Larry says:

on December 31, 2008 at 11:55 am

Best wishes for 2009. I’m anxiously awaiting my copy of Hot Shoe Diaries – I’ve had it on order with Barnes & Noble since November. I love your wit and humor. The lighting instruction will just be an added bonus.

Albert Kiefer says:

on December 31, 2008 at 11:58 am

Hi Joe,

I have just finished looking at the amazing NIKON creative lighting dvd. Since I live in the Netherlands I had to have it shiped UPS via Adorama.

What a fantatsic source of both knowledge and inspiration this one! I had pre-ordered the book some months ago and I am sure this one will also be a force to drive me out and try unexplored areas of photography (which for me as a pretty much newby is almoast any area!).

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and your vision and enthusiams and kindness with all of us.

All the best wishes for the new year!!

Albert Kiefer

john fowler says:

on December 31, 2008 at 11:59 am

Most sincere best wishes to you and yours Joe. Thanks for the blog. As Leslie says – look forward!

MAG says:

on December 31, 2008 at 12:10 pm

that image is touching! have a healthy and happy 2009. Can’t wait to see the book.

Doug says:

on December 31, 2008 at 12:21 pm

Looking forward to the book – if it’s anywhere near as good as “The Moment it Clicks” we’re in for a treat. Oh, and “TK” is an old newspaper term for “To Come”

Joey Baker says:

on December 31, 2008 at 12:34 pm

Best of luck with the deadline, and thanks for posting Joe!

Dave Hutchinson says:

on December 31, 2008 at 12:50 pm

Happy New Year Joe!

Love your blog! A toast to good light in 2009! -Dave-

Paul Brooks says:

on December 31, 2008 at 1:02 pm

Happy New Year Joe!!

I had the great fortune to meet you and get to shoot a few days with you at the DLWS in Moab this year. I really enjoyed that time. I look forward to your wit on your blog and especially the images. I have pre-ordered your new book and can’t wait to see it.

Peter says:

on December 31, 2008 at 1:09 pm

Brilliant picture. Thanks and all the best in 2009!

Michael Ignatov says:

on December 31, 2008 at 1:15 pm

Happy New Year!

Kent MIller says:

on December 31, 2008 at 1:17 pm

Have a great New Year Joe.
I will see you on the other side!

Israel says:

on December 31, 2008 at 1:35 pm

Happy New Years to all!!! Heres Hoping that the best of the past be the worst of the future!!!


Bill says:

on December 31, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Happy New Year Joe! Looking forward to the new book, more bloginess, and whatever else you have in store for us!

Bill Bogle, Jr. says:

on December 31, 2008 at 1:43 pm


Thanks for a wonderful year of your insights, inspirations, and images. I saw you at Adorama in September, and will be joining you in January. I look forward to each of your posts, and the humanity that you bring to image making. Please keep it up, more tk, and all of what you do.

2008 was an interesting year, to put it midly. We all lost a lot of $$, but maybe we learned that $$ is not everything. The time I spent with my daughter and friends in New Orleans over Thanksgiving fixing up houses damaged by Katrina was worth more than any 401K. Check out my Flickr set of NOLA at

My best to you and your family in 2009.

Bill Bogle, Jr.

Shirley Robb says:

on December 31, 2008 at 2:03 pm

Happy New Year Joe.

Thanks for the blog. Always entertaining and inspiring.

Mike Meyer says:

on December 31, 2008 at 2:03 pm

Happy New Year, Joe. You are a delight — from your “photo safari” at PS World to your videos, your latest book (The Moment it Clicks”) and your wonderful blog, best described by the words of the old movie trailers: “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry … ” I look forward to more of the same in 2009, and wish you good health and happiness.

gary says:

on December 31, 2008 at 2:17 pm

Fantastic shot, Joe. Best wishes for the new year (assuming we all live that long!).

@craig: tk is publishing shorthand for “to come”.

Tony says:

on December 31, 2008 at 2:20 pm

Best wishes to you and yours this coming year. Thanks for being real in a plastic coated world. Your wit, wisdom, and wonderful take on life are greatly appreciated by those of us who love our photography. Keep on shootin and sharin.

Frank McPartland says:

on December 31, 2008 at 2:30 pm

Joe: I am eagerly awaiting your new book! Also, I am enjoying your Kelby training videos!

Happy 2009!

Michael says:

on December 31, 2008 at 2:39 pm

Well there are a few hours to go and at least a drive home to survive (hey its Philly). I can say that if I learn half as much this coming year as I did last year it will be a good year, and thats just as the life turns. I know i am going to learn from you and other shooters through the year, that’s almost a gimme.

Hot Shoe Diaries is ordered so don’t spend all the money in one place unless its on the mortgage, or B&H or…

Happy New Year Joe! See you in Dobbs Ferry in a few weeks…

Mike says:

on December 31, 2008 at 3:17 pm


It always amazes me that in a city of 8 million people that I have yet to run into you, I say that because even though there are that many people your always running into people you know. I used to live on the upper west side (technically still do, just moved up 40 blocks near 125th) so I know the gas station your talking about, so many places have gone this past year. 2009 should be an interesting year, well get to see what people are really made of; should be fun to photograph. Either way, I’m sure well all be fine; it al works out as it was meant to be in the end. I wish you, your family, and all your friends a happy new year.


Lewis W says:

on December 31, 2008 at 3:28 pm

I feel like a goofy, slobbering dog waiting for his master to come home. The vacuum tubes in my computer are still cold when I click on McNally faithfully every morning watching for a new post. Thanks for posting just enough to keep me from chewing up the curtains and digging a hole in the linoleum floor.
Happy New Year, Wooof!

Rich B says:

on December 31, 2008 at 3:32 pm

Happy New Year, Joe.

Looking forward to your new book and have the CLS DVD on order.

You’re right about gas stations being harder to find in Manhattan these days. I’m up in Inwood where we still have a few. It’s even harder to find one with a live person manning the pumps.

Met you at Photo Plus Expo a few years back, not that I imagine you could remember everyone you speak with for 30 seconds.


Michael Warf says:

on December 31, 2008 at 4:20 pm

All the best in 2009 Joe, your efforts are appreciated!

Chris Davis Cina says:

on December 31, 2008 at 4:40 pm

I too am a puppy awaiting your every inspiring word. Got my DVD package from Amazon last weekend, opened it and – NO DVD! How can this be? Folks at Amazon promised to ship a new one out immediately – I am running to the mailbox constantly! Already ordered Hot Shoe Diaries and am hoping to get into the special lighting seminar at Dobbs. I need my regular ration of Joe McNally – it’s another addiction and I just can’t get enough!
Thanks for popping into my life via blog, books and videos and thanks especially for being a constant source of inspiration!

Tom Marriage says:

on December 31, 2008 at 6:11 pm


Thanks for a great year of blogging, a wonderful book, enjoyable and instructive DVD and classes at Kelby training. One resolution for 2009 is to try to be able to attend one of your live classes or just maybe at DLWS.

Happy New Year to you & your family & all our fellow photographers.


CW says:

on December 31, 2008 at 7:31 pm

HNY2U2, Joe. Thanks again for all you do.

CW in Austin

Paul Read says:

on December 31, 2008 at 7:33 pm


Have a Great New Year! You’ve taught me so much this past year. I Love watching all of your training videos and I can’t wait to meet you in January at your seminar. I’ve been waiting so long to for a seminar to finally come around. Looking forward to your new book as well.


reg says:

on December 31, 2008 at 8:40 pm

Joe have a great new year.
This year Im going to try to cultivate the type of reputation you have
and I want to be a better photographer too!
best wishes to you and yours

Jim Kosinski says:

on January 1, 2009 at 12:55 am

Only a few minutes to go. I think we will all make it. Thanks for all your inspiration this past year. Looking forward to more in 09.

Love the image.


David H says:

on January 1, 2009 at 5:10 am

And I’m waiting on the new book too. Happy New Year, Joe.

jason harry says:

on January 1, 2009 at 7:21 am


Best wishes to you and your family

This year will be a better year for you I am sure, you seem to be growing and growing and catching a greater audiance through your books and training.

Keep at this game dude



Dennis Kielhorn says:

on January 1, 2009 at 9:09 am

Dear Joe!

Best wishes to you and your family, and thank you for your blog. Back in 2008 I’ve learned many things by reading this blog, your book, by looking your videos on DVD and on

Keep it up! :-)

Greetings from Germany

Elizabeth says:

on January 1, 2009 at 10:23 am

Hi, Joe,
I enjoyed reading this entry, and read it aloud to my husband. Thanks for keeping this blog for all of us.
Happy New Year.

Götz says:

on January 1, 2009 at 10:23 am

Happy new year Joe !

All the best for you and your family in this new year. Thank you for your blog which I always enjoy to read.

Cheers from germany,


steve seligman md says:

on January 1, 2009 at 10:34 am

Happy New Year Joe. You are an inspiration to those of us that strive to learn about flash photography. Like many things in life it is the quality of the information in the blogs and not the sheer number. Have a great year and I look forward to receiving my book already ordered from Amazon.

Ellis Moore says:

on January 1, 2009 at 4:47 pm

Best wishes to you and your family. Visit Southern California more in 2009. Love your work, writings and feedback.


Jeri says:

on January 1, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Happy New Year, Joe,

Like others I’m anxiously awaiting Hot Shoe Diaries – on order from Amazon. And, in a year with lot’s NOT to be thankful for, I’m thankful that I found your blog and can look forward to more of your wit and wisdom and knowledge in 2009.

Best wishes for you and your family. (Hope your daughter is back to 100%).

Jeri Mearns
Mill Valley, CA

Manfred Laendle says:

on January 1, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Thanks for all the good work you do and for all the help you give us!


Victor Pareja says:

on January 1, 2009 at 5:35 pm

Feliz Año Joe :-) Keep posting, I love so much to find new entries on your blog; I find them inspirational and get me smiling thanks to your fantastic sense of humor.

All the best for 2009 to those following this blog and let’s make even better photographs this year! Greetings from Spain,

R says:

on January 1, 2009 at 6:42 pm

Happy New Year Joe. You’re the best! :)

Harry Pocius says:

on January 1, 2009 at 7:57 pm

Happy New Year. I always look forward to reading your post, and looking forward to the hot shoe diaries, I pre-ordered a few weeks ago.

One thing tho, I think that station is still there, if you’re talking about the one next to the Henry Hudson Pkwy.

Nick Wilcox-Brown says:

on January 2, 2009 at 6:04 am


Wishing you a Happy 2009. I hope it brings you all much happiness and success!


Brian Carey says:

on January 2, 2009 at 7:57 am

That is a lovely photograph Joe. One of the true strengths of photography I believe is that is can show us (remind us) that the simplest images can be very endearing and remind us what is really important. Too often they are the things we take for granted. A good reminder as we enter the new year.

Brian Carey

Brian Struble says:

on January 2, 2009 at 11:21 am


Great post, great blog entry as always. All the best for a better 2009 – look forward to catching you at an Adorama Workshop again soon.


Mark K. says:

on January 2, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Happy New Year, Joe! Thanks for the great blog, the great information and the great inspiration. All the best in ’09 to you and Annie.

Robert Cluck says:

on January 3, 2009 at 4:11 pm

Happy new year Joe and Crew!
Hey Joe you better save those old crusty SB-800’s….. They are going to be worth their weight in gold before long! They are selling for $20 more than the SB-900’s right now on Amazon……

Those 800’s must be awesome units to be worth more than the 900’s – Gosh! I could only afford 3 of the 900’s…… :)

Bill Rogers says:

on January 9, 2009 at 5:48 am

Great story! “Few hours left. Don’t get cocky.” ROTFLMFAO.

Andrea Strudwick Bender says:

on January 12, 2009 at 4:06 pm

Hey Joe, I thought I’d lost you but I realize that was more me than you since I don’t think that is possible to become lost in this day and age! (insert witty comeback by Joe here) I found you through a photographer friend’s face book page. Boy, do you get around.(insert another witty comment by Joe here.)

A whole boatload of pigs are flying around here these days. Two kids, a husband, a house with an icerink out back and another foot of snow coming down. Life is truely grand in Minnesota. (I’m just lobbing them to you, Joe.)

Hope all is well. Seems so from my 5 minutes of voyeurism. You have always been an inspiration to me, too, you know that, especially your Mickey Mouse immitations.

Your pal from Illustrations, andrea

lance C says:

on January 13, 2009 at 1:11 am

you really do hold to the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” You inspire me to teach writing through photography!!!! Being an educator makes me inspired to know that people like you put words to the shots they take. Keep it up!!!

This is a great shot and a better story!!!!

ShaolinTiger says:

on January 14, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Happy new year Joe!

Tracy de Jongh Eglin says:

on July 8, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Please help. I studied for a while with Andrea Strudwick Bender, 1983-1984. We’ve lost touch. I have seen that she has contacted you. Can you put us back in touch with one another, please?

Kind regards


Breanna says:

on August 15, 2012 at 1:28 am

I just had a question for you so hopefully you are still on this blog so you can answer me. :) I really love this photo so I drew a few different versions (the same image but different variants of black and white and color) and I changed the horse’s coloring a bit. I think they turned out so great and I would love to put them in my online digital art portfolio. Would you be alright with me doing that? Please let me know. Thanks! :)


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