responsiveslider_lol_02 The Language of Light DVD - More
MeetJoe_02 Meet Joe McNally - More
inthebag What’s in the Bag? - More

Catching Up With Colleagues

Jun 18

In Friends at 5:27am


My bud Moose Peterson has a book coming out soon, called Captured. (Not to be confused with David Ziser’s new book, Captured by the Light, in which David stalks the wild bridezilla.) No, this one is an account of the Mooster’s stalking of wild and beautiful things for the last 30 years or so, and it’s going to be a corker. I tell ya, I wish I had velcroed myself to Moose’s tripod more often during the last 25 or so DLWS events I’ve taught with him. I’m out there, you know, trying to get into the zen of it, stumbling around repeating the mantra in my head, “Rock, tree, mmmmm…..rock, tree, mmmmm.” But after a couple hours of trying to find sunrise light, I have to admit that little voice in my head starts going, “Rock, tree, pancake……rock, tree, coffee….”

I can’t help it. I’m such a boob out there I once walked up to Moose and said, “Hey, whatcha shootin’?” He just looked at me and said, “You’re standing on it.” He was shooting all these little flower type things that I looked down and couldn’t really see any more ’cause they were under my shoes. It can piss you off, you know. I come back with squat and he comes back with some zinger of a photo that, right in front of the class he then launches into some piece of software that he’s on the beta team for that’s called “I Can’t Talk About This Software Right Now Because I’ll Have to Kill You But You Will Want It, Version 1.2.1.” And in minutes, he’s got this print that could hang in the Smithsonian. As I’ve said before, the guy’s a walking, talking main frame with a soul of an artist and a camera in his hands.

The book’s on pre-order on Amazon……


Syl Arena’s been toting a bag of Canon flashes all over the country, offering lucid explanation and teaching about the mysteries of the Canon flash code. He’s got a book coming that he’s been researching and writing like crazy, and all I can say is that Syl has dived so deep into the arcane symbology of these flashes that he probably feels like he is starring in his own personal version of Angels and Demons, with the Canon engineers cast as the Illuminati. Syl’s hair actually has similarities to Tom Hanks’ do in that movie.

What am I saying? Nobody on the planet has hair like Syl.

Actually, what Syl is doing might be closer to The Book of Eli. So, if you pick up a red haired hitchhiker on some sun blasted highway in the desert, with a shoulder bag spilling out wires and batteries, and he gets into the car, and says simply, “Ratio,” you’ ll know you’ve met Syl.

But the book is coming, and his classes are ongoing. He really does a great job at explaining in day to day language the heretofore unexplainable. After this book comes out, Canon engineers will be begging to simply touch the hem of his cloak.


Bert Stephani, who I’ve never met but feel a cosmic connection to via the similar chords of twisted humor we seem to share, has a lighting video out that is very cool. I’ve checked in on him largely through David Hobby’s blog, which periodically features a lighting vignette by Bert. I admit I got hooked after Bert had a segment where he ended up with “Iggy Pop Light,” which to me wins the original award for describing light. Definitely head over to his website.


Michael Clark, is, well, intrepid is the way I would describe him. He goes places with a camera in his hand that I would need to rent a helicopter just to get close to. Now, some folks, once seeing his stuff, might construe “intrepid” to be “really frikkin’ crazy,” but that’s up to them. To me, the fact that he gets out there and gets his cameras in decidedly different places from definitely different angles is way cool. And then he does this terrific book, and talks about it, from the exposures to the kinds of rope you need. (I need to ask him if there is a rope designed for me.) We met a few years back at my class in Santa Fe, and he’s just doing wonderful stuff. Check out his newly launched blog.


And that irrepressible bloke, Drew Gardner, continues to write his passionate blog, and spread his madcap glee about being a shooter all over the place. He recently taught a workshop in South Africa called The Township Project, in which he brought photographic skills and knowledge into a place that certainly isn’t on the map of the photo world. These kids responded like crazy. As he says, small things make a difference. Equipment was left behind to continue to experiment with, and future workshops are planned. Fingers crossed, as he says, the kids may get a crack at a show in London.


Good stuff, by good people…..more tk….

wira says:

on June 18, 2010 at 7:11 am

Wow, you really have good Colleagues joe!

Tim Skipper says:

on June 18, 2010 at 7:22 am

You know it’s like you know everybody, which is a good thing. Thanks for the update, especially about Syl Arena’s book on Canon flash. I have to be honest I look at that darn speed light and go, “Hmmm, now where did I put my Alien Bees?” I get so lost with it and every thing I’ve found on it so far has had more technical babble than I and handle or understand. So I will most certainly be looking for his book and watching out for him on the road ways.

Bill Bogle Jr. says:

on June 18, 2010 at 8:21 am


Are you sure it is not COFFEE, coffee, food, where’s pretty picture, COFFEE?

I took a workshop in the fall in the White Mountains several years back. We stopped along the road to see a stand of paper white birches near a stream, so we got out to shoot them. Well, a two lane road became the LIE at rush hour. Everyone spilled out asking whether we saw a moose (no pun intended) or some other wildlife. We explained we were trying to take pictures of the leaves and the bark of the tree. The general response was WTF, why would you want to take a picture of that?

Landscape photographers can be a strange bunch. Got to pick up Captured. It sounds great.

All the best with your workshops this summer. Still a highlight of many workshops I have taken.

Bill Bogle, Jr.

Graham says:

on June 18, 2010 at 11:06 am

I love Bert’s work and teaching, he seams like a nice guy. I was very sad to see that his marriage had broken-up, the post on his blog about it almost had me in tears. Good to see that his friends are sticking by him.

I love your work to Joe, should have mentioned that earlier.

Billy Mitchell says:

on June 18, 2010 at 12:09 pm

If a photograph is great it’s worth something and someone will buy it or I will display it. If a memory is great, I can live with it forever. And I may have a photograph of it too, but the memory goes with me everywhere.

Joe, your words are as great as your photographs and it’s clear you have the memories.

Tim L says:

on June 18, 2010 at 4:40 pm

“I can’t help it. I’m such a boob out there I once walked up to Moose and said, “Hey, whatcha shootin’?” He just looked at me and said, “You’re standing on it.””

LOL…Love this blog!

Jim says:

on June 18, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Joe, you hang with the best of them.Period.

Ben Madden says:

on June 19, 2010 at 9:07 pm

This post gets my “best blog post by a famous photographer who once shot underwater while holding his oxygen tank under his left arm and shooting one-handed” award.

Seriously, great stuff. Know you’re terribly busy so doubly appreciate the time spent to share this with us.

CindyS says:

on June 21, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Moose’s book is awesome! (As was yours.) After working with both of you on your books, I definitely have to get myself to a DLWS or PSW pre-con and watch you two in action together. You’re both crazy! (Although Michael Clark may be just a little bit crazier.) So glad to have had the chance to work with you.

Kevin Williams (@kevwilfoto) says:

on June 21, 2010 at 2:52 pm

“… stalks the wild bridezilla” LOL

Joe, you have wonderful friends and amazing talent. I don’t envy you being the target of so much envy and jealousy, but I do appreciate your generosity, humility, and genius!

Richard Davis says:

on June 21, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Great callouts Joe! As a Canon shooter I’m bummed to have missed Syl’s recent class in Houston – I wanted to go but my wife decided I needed to be in New Orleans that day. That said, I just signed up this morning for your Houston workshops on September 18 and 19 – can’t wait for those!

Glyn Dewis says:

on June 21, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Joe, I’m totally with you on recommending Bert Stephani to your readers. I’ve followed Bert since first of all seeing him on the Strobist website and then from the series of YouTube videos that he puts out on a regular basis.

I’ve recently interviewed Bert for a spot on my blog and was taken aback by his generosity with both his time and the information he shared.

Thans for the post,
All the best,

Rick Joy says:

on June 24, 2010 at 5:08 am

Thanks for posting the link to Syl Arena’s site, being a Canon shooter I found it to be informative. Can’t wait to get the Speedlighting book. Do you have another book in the works to follow up ‘Diaries?

chris says:

on June 25, 2010 at 4:55 am

Thanks for the tips Joe, just pt an prder in for Syl Arena’s book…

Ken Toney says:

on June 27, 2010 at 8:47 am

Joe, are you sure that was flowers you were standing in? :)
Great post, I have added all the links to my “everyday read” list. The book is on it’s way too. I will see you in LV for the Safari and I will bring my Bengay cream to put on my ribs from laughing so hard (I know I will need it). See ya soon!!!

Joe McNally says:

on June 28, 2010 at 10:14 am

Ken, you’re the best. Always great to hear from you…hang in and I’ll see you in Vegas…Joe

Bryan Nelson says:

on June 28, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Thanks for the great links.

Just got my latest NG magazine and in the back there’s a image of some crazy guy hanging out of helicopter taking photos. Once again some interesting images from Joe inside the yellow border.

Nice work on the Blog but I don’t know how anyone can keep-up with the number of entries in Moose’s blog.

Joe McNally says:

on June 28, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Maybe David Ziser…he blogs about as much as Moose does….Joe

Daniel Ewert says:

on July 5, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Thanks for the heads up on the Moose Peterson book–that looks like a good one.

Bezdzimuma Lauliba says:

on June 5, 2011 at 5:16 pm

I wonder what my dad would say if he read that, he’s quite a interested in this subject.

Leave a Reply