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Knockin’ Around

Dec 1

In Friends, On Location at 9:03am


Drew and Grippi in our studio conspired recently to post a youtube video
of me getting wiped out by a fast moving long boarder.

Being the rather massive tribute to inertia that I am, I demonstrate the nimbleness and cat like reflexes of an overloaded garbage truck in attempting the dodge this wheel borne mini-bullet train. Above is the last frame before I bailed. Nobody got hurt, but I decided that wet tarmac and a hairpin turn were just too much excitement, and we sought a different venue.


The above was done ad hoc, seat of the pants shooting. (What else?) We went out with the guys from Landyachtz boards, who were amazing. I’m hanging out the back of the mini-van, with two Justin clamped SB’s on the support struts of the tailgate, and one flash on camera acting as a commander and a flash. The van is rolling about 45mph or so, and the guys on the boards occasionally outpaced us and just came right up to the bumper and pushed off. Also out there with us were a couple of Vancouver based buds, Syx Langemann and David Cooper, both terrific shooters. The Vancouver photo community is just great, with photogs like Syx and David, and places like the Vancouver Photo Workshops. There’s a very talented pool of people there, and a great spirit of sharing and teaching. It’s why we go back year after year.


Couple years ago, I made what is one of my favorite couples portraits ever, of Syx and his lovely wife Taryn.


The beautiful bump in Taryn’s belly has now become the precociously gorgeous Hannah, who, in this follow up portrait, is orbiting mom and dad like, well, an eighteen month old.


After Vancouver, I rotated through home and ended up in Amsterdam, at the Zoom Experience, held in Utrecht. Again, just a great bunch of folks, and I was very honored to be part of the presenting corps.


Muddled through in the usual unrehearsed, “let’s see where this goes,” kind of style. We were presenting in this theater in the round type of black box, so just like walking into a photo studio, I pulled out lights and hunted for a photograph. I was blessed to be working with Aad. He is a patient soul who works for Nikon Netherlands, and actually interfaces with photogs who bring in busted or dysfunctional gear, so he gets to see us at our collective best, not to mention most patient. Perhaps that’s why he looks a bit like a mix of Neil Young and Keith Richards. I took my file and ran it through Aperture and de-saturated it a touch. Aperture’s sleek enough, and understandable enough, that even a post processing numnuts like myself can understand it.


My thanks go out to all the folks at the Zoom theater, and especially the Nikon Netherlands gang, headed up by Berend van Iterson and Roeland Koene, who stitched it all together. The gentleman running the show screens and all the AV wizardry was Pierre Jacobs,  part Photoshop master and part Conan O’Brian. He kept everybody loose, and the shows running. He, too, was struck by Aad’s persona, enough to riff a bit on the current “I am Nikon” campaign.


It’s been a lively week or so. Hope everybody had a great Turkey Day. Can’t believe it’s December. As my mom used to say, “Oh, you know, 4th of July and the year’s over.” I didn’t really believe her, but you know, she mighta been onto something. More tk….

Rob Lamping says:

on December 1, 2010 at 9:42 am

Hi Joe,

Was there and head a great time, an inspiring event. I’m one of the guys who’s been at Aad’s desk for repairs. It was great to see him become this rockstar in front off the cam.
Couldn’t help but notice that you were walking around a bit crippled. Was that caused by being wiped out by the longboarder?

Thanks for the inspiration…

Chase says:

on December 1, 2010 at 10:00 am

Joe, you always inspire and make me want to bust out the speedlights. Thanks for that.

Arne says:

on December 1, 2010 at 10:52 am

Joe, i am impressed that the camera was top priority (little camera juggle) and the skater second priority, and checking the photo 3rd priority! Joe be nimble…..
Inspiring as always!

TonyJ says:

on December 1, 2010 at 10:55 am

I love the fact that as soon as you are on your feet you’re chimping to see if you got the shot!

Eric Duminil says:

on December 1, 2010 at 10:57 am

Being both a photog and a longboarder, I really enjoyed the first part of your post.

One elegant way to avoid collision is to do as in (at 0:55)
Just jump! 😀


Tim Skipper says:

on December 1, 2010 at 12:58 pm

As with all photographers you landed with your camera up.

The picture of them from the van is great, the follow up portrait is amazing.

Fredrik Naumann says:

on December 1, 2010 at 3:15 pm

You know what Robert Capa said….
Here is my own attempt:

Onno says:

on December 1, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Joe, it was a great event at the Zoom theater, but waaayyy too short. I hope there really is a chance you will be doing a multiple day lighting workshop in Holland or maybe something with Bert Stephany in Belgium? :-)

Jeroen Koot says:

on December 1, 2010 at 4:54 pm


I was there. I enjoyed every bit of your presentation. Building up the image, working the light as a craftsman, missing a shot, learning from what went wrong (e.g. Canonians operating an SB-900). Coming to some great shot of Aad on stage.

Thanks, for the inspiration, and thanks to the Nikon guys in supporting this.


viscara says:

on December 1, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Why use so many tiny underpowered hotshoe flashes to do the job joe? Would it be far better and easier to shot with a much more powerful faster recycling mono bloc or power pack head? Since your in the van and can easily power those heads within the van? Granted the day was overcast and ambient was down for good blur shutter speeds action effects but waiting to miss a moment like these that happen in a instant would be hard I would think. I mean a mono bloc or studio head when recycle much 5 times faster so you never missed a shot waiting for the recycle times of a pocket flash. Just want to know why you would go that way.

viscara says:

on December 1, 2010 at 5:16 pm

P.S. Fredrik Naumann great video. not sure if you made it or not I just watched it real fast on the way out the door to a shoot but it was really well done it looks like.

RichardC says:

on December 1, 2010 at 6:43 pm

I always look forward to your next blog post. And as always, the shots are just awesome and the things you dream up to shoot just blow me away. If only I possessed the creativity you hold in your little finger…

Peter de Jong says:

on December 2, 2010 at 3:19 am

I was also in Utrecht at the Zoomexperience, my shutterrelease did some work during your workshop:

Learning from the master….

Ton Smolders says:

on December 2, 2010 at 7:03 am

Hi Joe,

I was also there in Utrecht, and had a great time..
Man, how the crowd hangs at your lips!.. You are a great teacher.
I love your “hmmm, lets see where this gets..”, its so familiar. We all have lots of “hmm lets see where this gets..” moments.
I asked you about the little Justin clamps coldshoe, and how you fixed that..because my sb-900 wont fit in there. So I am curious and can’t wait to see how you fixed that.

Keep up the good work!

Greetz.. Ton says:

on December 2, 2010 at 7:56 am

I was there in Utrecht at the Zoom Experience. You brought some eye openers, I stopped using CLS + TTL quite fast (Pocket Wizards + Manual), but you showed me it can be of great value.

Too bad you werent selling your books, would love to have a signatured version.

Keep on doing what you do,

Grtz, Andy

Marc says:

on December 2, 2010 at 9:19 am

I really enjoyed watching you teach in Utrecht. Thanks for some insights.

Caught you on camera here;
(no flash, not allowed for the audience, and certainly not for the Canon crowd :-) )

Barbara_NY says:

on December 2, 2010 at 9:51 am

Joe, Long ago I subscribed to your blog for the amazing images. Today, I sit on the edge of my swivel awaiting the next installment… for the writing. I love the way you combine words and formulate sentences. Ever considered tapping out a novel. With your style and wit, it’d be a guaranteed best seller.

Thanks for sharing your rich, provocative, multi-dimensional creativity with us all.

Matthew Saville says:

on December 2, 2010 at 2:34 pm

That’s the problem with those wider angles; you never know true perspective until it’s too late! AWESOME shoot, though!


Jeroen Wijnands says:

on December 2, 2010 at 2:55 pm

I was there as well… most of us were amateurs though. Not the kind to afford half a dozen sb-900s or the NPS level attention people like you get.

Still, good show, nice to see a relatively simple 2 flash setup done so well and with such good results.

I’m more of an outdoor kinda photographer, landscapes, birds, deer, that kind of thing but your presentation really made me want to stay indoors for an afternoon and revisit the speedlight basics again. So, thanks!

Jordan MN says:

on December 2, 2010 at 9:28 pm

In the follow up photo with the child, is there a reason you chose to not use a hair light to separate the man’s head from the background?

Andrew says:

on December 2, 2010 at 11:15 pm

I’ve been a fan of yours for a long while, before your blog days. The first shot of the top hat man. I believe is the best image I’ve ever seen of yours, wow bravo!!

ik says:

on December 3, 2010 at 3:15 pm

wat een geweldige fotoos!!!

techniek is prachtig, maar model ook!!!

Nike says:

on December 4, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Hey, Joe!

Zoom was a nice experience! Loved your presentation at the Nikon Arena. Funny to see Vancouver and Utrecht in one item. I live near Utrecht and was on holiday in Vancouver this summer.

Hope to see you more often in the Netherlands!

Borut Peterlin says:

on December 5, 2010 at 4:03 pm

That two portraits are so great! I love the settle changes, that are there. Sort of like Arbus’s picture Identical Twins when you observe the small differences. Great story for diving in the two dimensional picture.

Sarah says:

on December 6, 2010 at 9:52 am

Just found you, and so glad I did. Looking forward to learning from you…and just reading…

Peter Le says:

on December 6, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Really nice shots Joe. Bravo!

jeashel says:

on December 7, 2010 at 5:37 am

it was great working with you !! hopefelly see you soon again
i’m even a bigger fan now

Iden Ford says:

on December 7, 2010 at 11:43 am

Lovely photos

Chris Aram says:

on December 9, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Love the picture of the guys boarding! … Inspiring pictures and commentary as always bro.

Tom says:

on December 13, 2010 at 2:31 pm

It was close;D .. Really good pictures ! Regards from Poland !

Russ says:

on December 14, 2010 at 12:11 am

Nice Post. Really cool shot of the guys longboarding.

Tim Siegert says:

on December 16, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Hi Joe,
I want to write and say I absolutely LOVE the Syx and wife Taryn on couch pics, pre and post pregnancy. I will strive to take pictures as good as this.

Coty says:

on September 14, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Love the family picture, love the tattoos.

Emmett Sigars says:

on June 3, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Absolutely indited subject matter, Really enjoyed examining .

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