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Hannah at the shore…

Mar 10

In Lighting, Seminars & Workshops at 5:02am

We have a wonderful companion along on this DLWS, Hawaii style. Hannah, 13 years old, is here with her photo enthusiast dad, Richard.

Seeing her here brought memories back of my daughters as dad dragged them along on various photo misadventures. My oldest, Caitlin, went to at least 7 Eddie Adams Workshops. Claire came along with me to China during a photo jaunt for the Beijing Olympic Committee. Their reactions ranged everywhere from eye rolling bored to ecstatic. (“Dad rented a convertible!”)

Being female, they were invariably conditional and measured in their responses and willingness to participate in the miracle of photography as they got older. “Hey, Dad’s got this shoot going at XYZ interesting place! Wanna come along?”

Response: “Maybe.”

Hannah followed suit. “Hey, you wanna help me with this picture?” Her comeback….”Okay. I’m not doing anything else right now.” Okaaayyyy. Now there’s a wild endorsement!

She was a lovely subject, indeed. She arrayed herself on the rocks in the athletic, pliable way that is the province of the youthful (she is an all star basketball player) and let the wind take her hair various places. The light is one SB900 unit, camera left, shot TTL through a Tri-grip diffuser. Tried an umbrella, but that was truly misguided as the sea breeze made short work of it. Drew and I had a mildly hysterical moment as that particular light shaping instrument was turned into a jigsaw puzzle of shredded fabric and twisted metal in about, oh, 10 or 12 seconds.

Shot a few frames, aperture priority, minus 1.3EV on the camera, nothing dialed into the flash. Sweet and easygoing, just like my subject….more tk…..

Melli says:

on March 10, 2009 at 6:12 am

Even though I am in Europe, I know I want to learn more about lighting with sppedlights. I already enjoyed your free lessons on Scott Kelby, like the way you teach (and I am a teacher too). So I am sure I am at least coming back to that. Keep up the good and inspiring work.

Matteo says:

on March 10, 2009 at 6:14 am

I like the temperature of the light.

Eli says:

on March 10, 2009 at 6:38 am

Cool shot… great story.. thanks for sharing

Chris Rollason says:

on March 10, 2009 at 7:01 am

“Seeing her here brought memories back of my daughters as dad drug them along on various photo misadventures.”

Are you sure you “drug them along”? In the UK that practice is outlawed……

Laurent. says:

on March 10, 2009 at 7:08 am

Hi Joe, not directly related to this post, but i would like to thank you for all the advices and tips you share on the net.
I recently watched your Kelby courses and it’s amazing how you can teach things giving this sensation of “it’s that simple”. And it’s so funny to watch. I learned a lot ! (sorry for my english, better in french).

Big Fan here

What about a workshop in Paris !? :d

xlphotog says:

on March 10, 2009 at 7:27 am

Nice shot. I have 2 sons. Try getting boys to go along with your photo shooting needs.
Ok, so you shot off camera (naturally) and it was ttl? Using an SU-800 or an sc-28 cord? High winds in Hawaii with an umbrella? LOL. I found the new Lumiquest Softbox III to be a good alternative and you don’t need an assistant to hold it.

Kelvin Ng says:

on March 10, 2009 at 7:37 am

Hi, your fan from Hong Kong, China

I am also a dad so I really appreciate this article and I know a thing or two about over zealous daddy photographer and reluctant daughter/son models Anyway, with my limited English, I hope you are trying to say “drag them along” rather than “drug them along”, otherwise I’ll have to inform the FBI.

Anyway, I have pre-ordered you book on Amazon and am really looking forward to it.

Joe H says:

on March 10, 2009 at 8:08 am

Joe — gorgeous shot. As the dad of a 14-year-old girl, I’ve been so lucky to have an in-house model for the past few years. “Dad, wanna do a photo shoot??”

Now my son is a completely different matter. At 17, he’s just now starting to relax his No Photos rule.

Question: looking at the water in this shot, I wonder: do you ever shoot with a polarizing filter?

Mark K. says:

on March 10, 2009 at 9:51 am

Easy like Sunday Morning this shot…and gorgeous!

I’m prepping my little girl to my first assistant soon. Though, at 23 months, she still has a hard time holding the reflector and eats the grapes as I’m trying to do a still life….

Anil says:

on March 10, 2009 at 10:51 am

Great stuff, as always, this blog is a treat!
Except that the warm light on her face opposite the side of the setting sun sort of causes a disconnect?……

dh says:

on March 10, 2009 at 12:06 pm

that’s: dad DRAGGED them along, not drug.
not that i can write anywhere close to your breezy, conversational, humorous, informative tone. just saying.

sweet pic, btw


AdamJ says:

on March 10, 2009 at 12:48 pm

Great shot, I love it!

Did you use a gel/color modifier on this shot other than the diffuser?

Lewis W says:

on March 10, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Great photo, Joe. But I do have one question. This image was minus 1.3 ev and you displayed a shot from Santa Feo, with a minus 2 ev. Could you elaborate on this?

Fausto says:

on March 10, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Wonderful light, I like the fact that you can see Kauai’s red dirt on her jeans. Having been to the island just last year, I can attest that the island is like a living postcard, stunning anywhere you look. Between yours, Moose’s, Laurie’s, and Kevin’s blogs, I’m reliving my Kaua’i vacation. I can’t wait to see what you folks do with Waimea Canyon.

Ham says:

on March 10, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Cool, how did you light up her feet without lighting up the shore?

Austin Larson says:

on March 10, 2009 at 4:30 pm

Nice Shot, I’ll be attending your seminar at the University of Hawaii this friday. I’ll gladly take Hannah’s spot if she isn’t able to come.

Brad Gingerich says:

on March 10, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Hi Joe, I’m a big fan of yours and frequent your blog all the time. Nice shot…keep up the awesome work!

John Leonard says:

on March 10, 2009 at 6:10 pm

You know when I came back from Dobbs I had to buy 2 of those TriGrips. They really are my new favorite light modifier, portable, versatile, and the quality of light is top notch.

johandp says:

on March 10, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Love it

Esam Kabli says:

on March 11, 2009 at 12:23 am

Very very wonderful Joe, i like it very much, the lighting, the subject, the background all just fantastic.

Darren says:

on March 11, 2009 at 12:36 am

Ha ha – I am a Phoenix commercial photographer in Arizona and have a 9 year old boy. He periodically gets dragged along on shoots and sometimes plays the part of lighting assistant while others playing the part of bored child hating his father.

I do hope, though, these experiences will be seen (likely later in life) as a gift to him that he will carry as a bank of memories of meaningful time spent with his dear ‘ol Dad.

Craig Ferguson says:

on March 11, 2009 at 12:44 am

Love that warm light.

Chad says:

on March 11, 2009 at 2:00 am

You’re always an inspiration! Have fun in my home town (Kauai) if you want some good food try Hamura’s saimin man I miss that place!

Michael Hansen says:

on March 11, 2009 at 2:05 am

Hi Joe.
I love pictures like this one. I shows how much you can do with very little gear and a bit of imagination.
I love the simplicity of these kind of shots.

Michael Hansen says:

on March 11, 2009 at 2:16 am

….Just forgot. Did you use any gel on the SB-900?

Miles Wolstenholme says:

on March 11, 2009 at 6:56 am

Excellent composition, I love the lighting.

Tom McKean says:

on March 11, 2009 at 9:07 am


It’s wonderful how with just a simple strobe setup and a Lastolite diffusion panel can make such a dramatic shot of the young girl. Light is such a fantastic element that when it’s incorporated into a photograph, can become an intregal tool in one’s vision.

Light is what photography is all about.


Pablo Sanz says:

on March 12, 2009 at 10:43 am

Hi Joe,
I feel this is one your shots I dislike most…. :( in terms that the firts thing my mind thought is that it totally seems as if the girls is copy-pasted in the frame as any rock around her is lightened and apear dark…

anyway, canĀ“t wait to receive your new book!!! months of waiting…

greetings from Spain, thanks for sharing your knowledge with everybody
best hopes 4 U

Ronnie says:

on March 12, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Thanks, Joe. Always visit you and DH.

Two people who have been providing inspiration. I loved this one’s light and environment.


Richard says:

on March 13, 2009 at 2:40 pm

As the proud father of the young lady in the photo, Thanks Joe! I can answer one of the questions since I asked it myself at the DLWS. The rocks, being black, didn’t reflect much light, hence her feet are lit, but not the rocks. The technical aspects were simple, the composition was brilliant and Joe is a great teacher.

Scriber's Web says:

on March 15, 2009 at 10:00 am

That’s an incredible shot. Love your blog. What fabulous photos. So inspiring!

Thanks for the wonderful treat!

Kent says:

on March 15, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Joe // loved your little spiel at UH which was sponsored by Lighthouse. Brilliant iconic images. it’s really inspired me to learn more and shoot more. As a student at UH who wants to get into the pj world as it’s shrinking…you;ve really shown me the level i need to be at in order to compete.

aloha // kent

Jeff says:

on March 24, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Although a huge fan of your work Joe, I can’t say I really like this photo. The way she is lit up looks way too artificial/unrealistic and “copy&pasted”

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