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Shoots and Ladders….

Jul 14

In On Location at 6:44am

This guy once said, get your camera in a different place. I tell ya, sometimes when you have a camera in your hands you just feel you want some sort of hovercraft. Something that will let you magically float your camera into a different, unique position. That’s what I wanted down in St. Lucia. Instead, I got a 14′ ladder on an inclined tin roof, with a couple of guys for sandbags. Looks comfy, don’t it? By the end of this shoot, I was definitely numnuts:-)


It enabled me to get this, which is no screamin’ headline of a picture, but gives Karolin Troubetzkoy, the organizational and marketing force of nature who keeps Anse Chastanet/Jade Mountain running, a bit of a different look. Anytime you can offer someone something with a bit of difference, you might be ahead of the game, just a little.


What can you say? The place is pure romance. You don’t just look at the pretty flowers and trees. You are in them. You don’t just listen to the birds. They have breakfast with you. And you don’t just breathe the air in that mechanical, gotta keep gulping to keep living way you do when you are walking the streets of NY. You drink it in. You savor it. It is not just another lungful. It is an infusion of well being.

Good thing to, cause I came back to reality with a thud. Lightning in Atlanta closed the airport for a bit on Sunday, and I didn’t roll into my driveway until 3:30am. Kept moving somehow, blogged, showered, and staggered to the truck for the 6am drive to Philly where I’m shooting some annual report type stuff. Today was a corker. My whole body feels like it’s got some miles on it, just like these old Saint Lucian toes I made a pic of in Soufriere.


More tk…..

Jollence says:

on July 14, 2009 at 7:00 am

On top op a ladder, that pretty scary. You have no problem with that I think since you’ve been on top of one of the tallest building in the world.

fozan malaysia.. says:

on July 14, 2009 at 7:06 am

wow….i like this entry….

Zafer says:

on July 14, 2009 at 7:43 am

I wish I can afford a lesson with you. Any plans on coming to Malaysia? If you, get on the list of attendees, please!

john fowler says:

on July 14, 2009 at 7:58 am

Joe, I’ll bet THAT landscape talked to you?

Trey Ratcliff says:

on July 14, 2009 at 8:47 am


Great toe shot… fantastic idea there.

Hey, do you know what happened to Tom (of Tom & Jared – DWDMGUY ?) I know that you were in correspondence with him as well… and then the emails have kinda stopped and I was worried. (sorry I didn’t have your email here) – anyway let me know pls at tratcliff at gmail thx mate. – TR

jussi says:

on July 14, 2009 at 9:03 am

The end sounded like it came from Hartigans(?) (character played by bruce willis in sin ity)..Crap, I cant remember the lines, but thats just the I heard it..

Deb says:

on July 14, 2009 at 9:10 am

Okay – I SO want to get up on a ladded on the top of my hubby’s parents house in northern NM when we visit next month – thx –

Michael S. says:

on July 14, 2009 at 9:15 am

Looks like I missed an awesome workshop! Maybe some other time. (Hey, that landscape shot would look great in HDR…..LOLOLOL, just kiddin’!)

murat says:

on July 14, 2009 at 9:26 am

great job as always, mcnally…love the top-of-the-ladder-i-am-lightning-king bit 😉 think could survive without the lovely toes, though! :)

Chris Biele says:

on July 14, 2009 at 10:32 am

Great images. I really like the last one. If you squint it almost looks like he’s got nine toes!

Lou says:

on July 14, 2009 at 10:50 am

Damn Joe… num-nutz is right. So, was the couple on the balcony planted for the resort shot or was it serendipity? Thanks for sharing!


pjd_ampney says:

on July 14, 2009 at 10:50 am

Ahh thats where I’m going wrong, I ain’t got no fancy sandbags like you have.

Great perspective on both shots.

Lovin the blog

Mark A Higgins says:

on July 14, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Joe, you are one crazy SOB! I thought I was the only nut to brake out a ladder where I could fall 100 feet. Nice to know I’m not the only crazy Irishman out there.

Sathish Mantha says:

on July 14, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Awesome pictures and a very good management lesson too. “Anytime you can offer someone something with a bit of difference, you might be ahead of the game, just a little. :-) Thanks Joe!

Alex Campagna says:

on July 14, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Mr. McNally, you should have a look into the “Photography for Real Estate” blog.
They do these kind of pictures all the time but instead of putting their life on the line using a wobbly ladder, they use some kind of big poles onto wich they attach their cameras. Some of them go up to like 25 feet. I even saw an attachment bracket that snaps onto the end of a swimming pool cleaning pole.

I understand it’s not the same as looking through the viewfinder, but I guess having a cable long enough and use Camera control Pro on a laptop, you could get a good result without killing yourself ! :)
But since you are my all time reference in photography, I’m sure you already know all that!

Anyway. Keep up the great work. You’re an invaluable source of inspiration.

Cindy Farr-Weinfeld says:

on July 14, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Great entry Joe! Just when I think I do really crazy things as a photographer, you’re ALWAYS there to remind me that I’m really as tame as the day is long–getting up on a ladder on top of a peaked roof! I bow down in admiration to your genius, oh great one! Cindy

Pol says:

on July 14, 2009 at 4:13 pm

The toe picture is really good, though it gives me a bit of the creeps…. just a little!

Jacob says:

on July 14, 2009 at 8:20 pm

I absolutely love the image of the feet. It makes me want to be there. The color, DOF and light couldn’t have been better executed.

Bixby says:

on July 14, 2009 at 10:20 pm

The feet shot is just flat-out beautiful….

Heinz Schmidt says:

on July 15, 2009 at 5:16 am

Wow that is brilliant! Are you looking for an assistant by any chance? Man, you really have inspired me I want commercial jobs like that. Studio portraits are soooo boring.

Think I’ll start taking on some different jobs. Just finished your book and want to get ‘Moment it clicks’ next.

All the best Joe.

cameron griffin says:

on July 15, 2009 at 6:34 pm

you’ll go threw anything to get that picture =). Awesome shots!!!!!

Dwayne D.C. Tucker II says:

on July 16, 2009 at 9:57 am

I was like what the HELL is he doing on the top of that ladder! (Quite obvious but still..crazy man crazy man.) “Monkey see monkey do” Now you are making me going to try a 42′ ladder.

I love how you position the toes btw..created new ideas with lines for me…Still go back and look at it it’s really amazing Mr. McNally.

Dwayne D.C. Tucker II

T. C. Knight says:

on July 17, 2009 at 3:22 pm

So, are the tree tops and brush as soft as they are pretty, when you fall off the ladder in to them? Or, did it hurt?

Mihailushka says:

on July 18, 2009 at 10:35 am


Eric says:

on July 18, 2009 at 10:49 pm

Holy Cow! A rickety ol’ ladder like that would have made me mess myself. That one is tall.

marc silber says:

on July 24, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Joe– dig your use of ladder–that’s why Ansel Adams had the custom roof rack on top of his Caddie — so he could get UP and get a whole different view of the world, that 6 feet plus tripod gave the world a different look…

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