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Hot Shoeing It in Paso

Mar 16

In Seminars & Workshops at 2:12pm

Paso Robles….the heart of mellow California. Great sun, great locations, great wine, and now, home of the Paso Robles Photo Workshops. This has come to pass because it is also the home of that electric, eclectic redhead, Syl Arena, author of the Pixsylated blogspot. This spring, he will host David Hobby and myself for back to back small flash workshops.

My week is April 20-24, and David comes in for the 27th through May 1.

First, a word about DH’s workshop. He doesn’t teach too many week long gigs. In fact, this, I think, is his first 5 day-er. This in and of itself is very cool. I can tell you a couple things. To stand next to David is to learn from him. We taught together last year at DINFOS at  Ft. Meade, working with young military photojournalists, and had a blast. In addition to the good time had by all, I walked away knowing stuff I didn’t know before. His teaching style is clear, lucid, and to the point. I call it good photography rooted in common sense, problem solving and real communication. Couple that with his formidable shooting skills, his slightly (okay, more than slightly)  bent sense of humor and an overall grasp of where this whole picture taking enterprise resides in the current (and yet to be discovered universe), and his students are in for a bracing week.

Now, if Mr. Hobby is a straight shot to the heart of the matter, yours’ truly is a bit more of a pinball machine. I get there eventually, but only after rattling around, bouncing off a few flippers, making a racket and spinning some wheels. Ever see those overviews, where they look down on a room full of toys and plot the attention span and various crisscrossing paths of children from the age of about two to about seven or eight? The two year old’s path from the blocks to the Wiggle Worm to the GI Joe with the Kung Fu grip and back again is, well, let’s be kind and call it a meander.

But what better place to meander with cameras and flashes than Paso Robles? it’s a great place, and it’ll be a great couple of weeks. For my week, we start in the class and stay with the basics of flash and CLS in the first day or so. What I do to start the week off is spend time going over and showing examples of how light acts with a series of basic light shaping tools. A soft box behaves differently from an umbrella from a light panel from a ring light from a beauty dish. There is a look associated with each light source, and using them in turn, then looking at them is, frankly, illuminating. Just like a woodworker chooses different tools and blades to make different curves and cuts, so it should be with us. Different face, different look, different light, different source.

It’ll also be the first time I teach a workshop that takes its name from the new book, Hot Shoe Diaries, just out this week……

We will then head out for 3 days on location, rambling around Paso town, models in tow. There are some great locations out there, indoor, outdoor, you name it. We will blend flash with ambient, just tweaking what already exists, and we will take natural light and show it the exit, dominating a scene with flash. We will work into the dusk when the sun is just about gone, and make it come back. We will work light and fast with one light, and then break out a bunch. Then go into class the next day and critique what we did. Another upside of having Syl host us is his expertise with Canon flashes and Radio Poppers. He will show us the way with some of the new radio/TTL technology that is out there. (Pocket Wizard is now in the game big time. Check out David’s current post.)

Itll be a great couple of weeks….more tk…..

Tman1966 says:

on March 16, 2009 at 2:43 pm

HOT SHOE DIARIES: Vaporware? Um… Joe, could you let your fan base on update on what’s going on with the book’s availability?

Daniel Cormier says:

on March 16, 2009 at 2:59 pm

For those that come later, here’s a direct link to DH’s current PocketWizard-related post:

Charles says:

on March 16, 2009 at 3:50 pm

“Hot Shoe Diaries” vaporware? Amazon just emailed my shipping notification!

Chris says:

on March 16, 2009 at 4:04 pm

@dDaniel, I just got an Amazon shipping notice today.

Paso Robles Workshops says:

on March 16, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Click here for info on Joe’s workshop in Paso Robles.

Bill Rogers says:

on March 16, 2009 at 6:27 pm

Joe – I ordered Hot Shoe Diaries from Barnes and Noble back in January. Today I received an e-mail from B&N that they are cancelling the order because they are unable to fulfill it. Just thought you’d like to know.


Ian Talbot says:

on March 17, 2009 at 5:09 am

Joe – love following your nefarious activities on this blog. Ever thought of Twittering? Would be the perfect platform for your inimitable blend of humor and anecdotes.


Mark K. says:

on March 17, 2009 at 10:40 am

Vineyards and Photography – perfect together!

Happy St. Pat’s Day – I’ll be reading my favorite Irish author again (link above)

Lindsey says:

on March 17, 2009 at 1:38 pm

I’m terribly bummed I can’t make it to this workshop. Joe+Wine+Photos=Priceless!

Randall Fox says:

on March 17, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Just received my Hot Shoe Diaries wOOt!!!
Now off to buy lottery tickets in hopes of winning enough for the workshop.

Craig Ferguson says:

on March 17, 2009 at 9:10 pm

Sounds like a great opportunity except for one small problem. Paso Robles is not Taiwan. And I’m in Taiwan. You need an Asian tour Joe. :)

I’ll be looking out for the book when it’s available locally – Amazon shipping is a killer to this part of the world.

Howard Hess says:

on March 18, 2009 at 1:09 am

At 12:51pm Amazon sent me an e-mail telling me my copy shipped. At about 4:30 pm my doorbell rang … as near as I can guess from the e-mails and the shipping label, Amazon’s fulfillment center in Indiana hired a courier to deliver a bunch of packages to the Chicago area.

Gotta get back to the book now…

Sissel says:

on March 18, 2009 at 4:22 pm

If there is a way I could make it to this workshop, I would do it in an INSTANT!
I was at WPPI and noticed you at Emeril’s while I was having lunch in the bar.
I thought I would send you a drink, but didn’t want you to think I was hitting on you, so I paused. Can’t wait to get this book….on order right now. Thanks for the heads up on the workshop.

Coventry Bob says:

on March 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm

Absolutely great day – your book has arrived in England courtesy of our friends at Amazon – I have the first copy here in sunny Britain – sorry Joe but I won’t be reading the blog over the next few days too busy trying your new techniques – oh no I’ll have to go out and buy a SB900 …. keep up the fantastic work – all us Brits love your humour..

Stephen says:

on March 26, 2009 at 9:02 am

My book arrived yesterday, thank you post man, took a quick flick through it last night after getting home form shooting the Wizards game here in DC. Excellent images, great explanations, looks like it is going to be a great resource!

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