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Workshop at the Bank, Day One

Oct 13

In Seminars & Workshops at 9:03am

I’m traveling real light, for me. One body, 4 lenses, card wallet, reader, computer, Motrin. Jay eyeballs my medium Moose bag yesterday, looks at me with a question in his eyes. “What’s all this shit, McNally?”

One camera, one lens, no flash…..


Had a lively conversation with this gentleman, who said all the pictures made him feel like a movie star. That’s the Big Apple for ya, everybody’s a star out there on the street.

Had lotsa bad frames and misfires.

Classic Jay: “Photographically, failure is a form of progress.”

He can’t believe the addiction to computers. He told us to go out and shoot. Don’t go near the computers, just pick up a camera and go shoot. He told us he had wired the machines so they would give us an electric shock if we touched them. No PhotoShop….no tweaking, no cropping.

Tweaking in the computer? For instance, the infrared colors of the trees?

Classic Jay: “I’d rather wait for fall.”

More tk….

Shawn Rundblade says:

on October 13, 2009 at 9:13 am

I love it. I mean Photoshop is a great tool, use it every day, but when it comes down to it, you need to capture a good image. When teaching photography, I stress to all my students that getting it right is camera is like number 3 or 4 on their list of top priorities. I figure, if you get it right in camera, you have more room to do cool stuff in photoshop later, or at least it saves you some time. I guess my few years of shooting 4×5 film has made me this way.

I like that idea, get out and shoot. Create spectacular images. Forget fixing it later.

Just my thoughts.


Mark Elliott says:

on October 13, 2009 at 9:18 am

What next? A Plate Camera, 50lb wooden tripod and a bag of flash powder?

Joe – I can see you in a black top hat and cape, saying smile please.

Mark :-)

Joe says:

on October 13, 2009 at 9:20 am

Ah, yes – the basics… Does us all good to ‘revert’ back once in a while, doesn’t it?

Bill Bogle, Jr. says:

on October 13, 2009 at 9:21 am


You must be jonesing for some flash. Even an SB-24 if you had to. What is Drew doing with all the rechargable Nicads? You could run a small country with those. Heck, you could run Rhode Island if you wanted to. I think that is the solution to the grid.

It is great that you consider the need to push yourself in a different direction, and take a workshop. I think everyone can benefit from a workshop just to share how to do things and have people look at what you are doing. Your workshop was just that for me, moving me out of landscapes and into that scary area of portraiture, and I found it was nice and comfortable.

Bill Bogle, Jr.

John says:

on October 13, 2009 at 9:31 am

What a character! Love the expressiveness of this guy and the depth of field you chose. Hope you’re having fun and learning a lot …also hope you’re not going through DT’s without your lights. :) Looking forward to the rest!

Dennis Hoover says:

on October 13, 2009 at 9:31 am

Joe, I think Jay is going to have you shooting film next!

” McNally, bust out the Velvia 50 and don’t even think about pushing it a 1/2 stop….. ”


Shaq says:

on October 13, 2009 at 9:35 am

No need for flash, Joe. With so many of your followers now roaming the streets armed with SB800/900’s (I heard the big studios may start dumping their Brono’s as scrap metal), just pop your internal flash and fire – you’ll get plenty of units triggered around you wherever you go :-)

Alex says:

on October 13, 2009 at 9:42 am

Hi Joe, tell us what camera and lens you selected for the mission :)
Alex from Argentina

Ed says:

on October 13, 2009 at 10:12 am

The first from the Bank, NYC post was as advertised. Looking forward to the rest. Jay sounds like a great combo of ringmaster/teacher.

Russell07 says:

on October 13, 2009 at 10:13 am

@Shawn – What are 1-3 on the list?

Lewis W says:

on October 13, 2009 at 10:17 am

Joe, don’t let jay mess with da grip, your stance, or your mind. You will come out like McMurphy in “Cuckoo’s Nest.”

Robert in Tokyo says:

on October 13, 2009 at 10:33 am


Please keep a collection of maiselism’s! It is refreshing to hear a teacher be blunt. So many of the blogs, video’s, workshops, everyone is trying so hard to be cute, funny, and nice they are actually doing a disservice by not saying what needs to be said.

Living in Tokyo I do not have the opportunity to attend, but next year my vacation plan is to attend Jay’s workshop and look forward to being critiqued.

Lorri E says:

on October 13, 2009 at 11:25 am


Thanks so much for sharing your experiences this week. I really would like to attend Jay’s workshop but it just isn’t in my budget right now so it is great to get a few insights from your week with Jay.

I’m also wondering if you have any tri-grips, reflectors, or quarters stashed under your jacket to enhance that natural light.

Frank says:

on October 13, 2009 at 11:30 am

Thank you Joe for doing this.

I think this workshop is an outstanding contribution to photography. Thank you for letting us know and opening our mind.

When this workshop will continue next year, I will be there….


Mike Neale says:

on October 13, 2009 at 11:45 am

I luv u joe,…but what’s your “Image Statement” here?

IMHO,…Comp is tight right with too much head room for the 3/4 assertive pose.

Exposure comp is tits-on,…well done!

Thanks for sharing,…..;-)

Paul says:

on October 13, 2009 at 12:16 pm

So Joe, does that mean jay shoots jpg’s right out of the camera? Avoiding the computer would preclude messing with raw files, no?

Jay Mann says:

on October 13, 2009 at 12:31 pm

No even one SB800, that’s tough duty. :)

Mark R says:

on October 13, 2009 at 12:33 pm

I had made a comment about how learning the Zone system back in the wet darkroom days has made HDR easier, at least to me. Another photog friend commented back about how that could be called “Craft”. Craft is, at least in my mind, what Jay is teaching. Great stuff to have a handle on the craft of photography. I’m putting my pennies together to one day take a workshop with Mr Maisel.

Frank Burch says:

on October 13, 2009 at 1:11 pm

Geez McNally, it’s great to see you on the receiving end!!

Chris Klug says:

on October 13, 2009 at 1:38 pm

Thanks for the post, can’t wait to hear more.

Tyler Vance says:

on October 13, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Hey Joe;

Love the shot.

I also love shooting just the way you are doing it, I was the guy who went around the world with just my Leica M6 and 35mm 1.4 lens.

Remember the Ireland workshop with Frank McCourt?

Hope you are having fun


Myron says:

on October 13, 2009 at 2:07 pm

So Photog Task Master Jay gave in from the “cold turkey” “no light-no comfort zone” creative concept to one camera, one lens and one flash–but isn’t that how we all started.

Zen Mind Beginners Mind.

Routine is the Salvation of a mediocre mind!

Old Habits or New Media?

Tony says:

on October 13, 2009 at 2:11 pm

Photography is a craft and an art. Which means that one must learn it and practice it to become proficient at it. We amateurs aspire to be like the professional’s and the professional’s aspire to be like the masters and the masters aspire to perfect their craft as they understand it. The beauty is that it is a progression of vision from one generation to the next. Notwithstanding the influences that occur along the way. Art and craft always push boundaries, push the rules, refine the vision, but in the end, good is good and great is great and we instinctively know the difference when pressed. So forward we go with another episode of “What’s my photo”? Good luck all participants.

Skunk says:

on October 13, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Hi Mr McNally,

Just curious how you prefer to dial in your Picture Control for straight out-of-camera results?

Adam says:

on October 13, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Shaq ~ Joe MCNALLY don’t know word pop up flash ! He is a god ! If he need more light he just turn sun 1/3 of a stop!

Tom Peterson says:

on October 13, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Seems like, no matter what the endeavor (football, tennis, writing a book, etc) the best in the field are always willing to listen to a “coach”. Thanks for leading (by following) again.

Glenn says:

on October 13, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Well, at least we know that the photo was taken with a Nikon D3 with a 28mm setting at ISO 400 and shot at 1/400 sec @f/2.2 and the exposure bias was at -1EV; I believe that is correct. Right Joe?

Ken says:

on October 13, 2009 at 8:10 pm

So Joe, I’m curious. When you take a candid photo on the street, do you whip out a model release?

Josh says:

on October 13, 2009 at 8:21 pm

I love Jay’s shoot from the hip words of wisdom. He has some great quotes.

Shawn Rundblade says:

on October 13, 2009 at 11:04 pm

@ Russel07 –

1- Know your gear and how it behaves
2- Shoot shoot shoot, take lots of bad frames, that how you figure out what you shouldn’t do.
3- Shoot what you love, but don’t be afraid to push yourself, thats the only way to learn and get better.
4- Find a mentor, someone who will beat your stuff up, but tell you how to improve.

Ok, so I guess that would make it #5, but still, top 10.

Everyone has their own, and everyone works different. And honestly, the list changes from time to time. Things evolve, techniques change, your interests change. It’s all fluid.

Just my two cents. I’m not a top notch pro yet, so take my advice with a grain of salt.

Michael S. says:

on October 13, 2009 at 11:47 pm

There are many historical days we all look upon, however, one completely overlooked one is the day you started blogging. Your witt with words is absolute brilliance! I’m gonna get to one of your workshops…..someday I hope :)

DUZ says:

on October 14, 2009 at 9:18 am

Hi Mr. McNally, well, we (the DUZ Image team) has been following you for the past year, on Kelbytrainig, through your books and videos all over the web. Your style, carisma, joy and humour is just contageous. Also inspiring the fact that a pro like you goes to workshops. This is another example of the fact that one never stops to learn, no matter how experienced or wise he might be. Thanks for you contribution to quality photography! If you ever have time stop at our website to see what your teachings brought us. cheers

Sunny says:

on October 14, 2009 at 11:31 am

Just wanted to say how much it helps me learn when great photographers allow exif data to be displayed rather than stripped. So, thank you to a great photographer for lessons learned.

Louise says:

on October 14, 2009 at 1:47 pm

this is great stuff…. Joe and Jay. wish I were there too!!!

SHAWN says:

on October 14, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Great quote!!! I have a long list of photographer quotes and will ad it to my list.

Robert Arbitter says:

on October 15, 2009 at 11:53 am

Hey Joe,

At least you were nice enough to let us “tweak” at your workshop.

jakob says:

on October 17, 2009 at 7:00 am

Tweakin is somehow a form of failure. Or not? I just recognize that amateurs (people like me) try to fix it with ps or whatever, other as the professional use it to enhance, to match his own vision. As more I get into photography as less I use photoshop.

McNally, it`s nice to “know” you!

Cheers from switzerland!

Uwe Noelke says:

on October 18, 2009 at 2:49 pm

great shot. You do not need a flash all the time. Good character. Right moment you have captured

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