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Archive for January, 2011

Introducing: The Language Of Light

Jan 30

In Videos at 8:59am

At the studio, we’ve been, well, busy. A big reason why revolves around this announcement, dovetailing with the announcement last week of the Strobist/Numnuts rolling speed light extravaganza, otherwise known as The Flashbus. (You’ll want to ping DH’s blog, BTW. Big news over there as well.)

We jumped into this project last summer, and have shot and edited pretty intensively since then. A lot of flash stuff in this 2 DVD set. From studio to location and back again, we show f-stops, shutter speeds, setups, break downs (mostly mine), things that didn’t work, things that did, and just about everything in between. There’s also, ahem, guest appearances, and interviews. And an ongoing ramble through my brain (be careful what you wish for) about why light is good or bad, and the thought process one has to engage in when summoned to shoot either a face or a place. How to light it? How to speak with the light? How to describe a scene or a person best to someone who is not right there with you as a witness. Storytelling light, in other words. Descriptive, fluent, ornate, simple, TTL, manual, rich, gelled, clean, warm–you name it–we use it, show it, and, most importantly, describe the thinking behind it.

Tomorrow, Monday, 9am EST, the Flashbus ticket sales go live. If you are digging that idea, and want to join us at a stop along the way, head that way ’cause the DVD is available discounted along with the tickets. Adorama is the exclusive distributor for the DVD, so to jump on the bus, hit the Flashbus site, and follow the path for bundled ticket/DVD. Below is a taste of the recorded mania…..

If you’re not able to join us on the tour, stay tuned for an Adorama URL to get just the DVD. More tk….

Big Announcements

Jan 27

In News at 8:44am

From reading David Hobby’s blog, it seems he has another big announcement coming up. So do I. Okay, okay, I hear ya. Enough already. To dispel rumors and a wide variety of guesses, I will tell you this.

David and I are not getting married and moving to Asia.

We are not starting a reality television show.

We are not switching from Nikon to Sony.

We are not, as @chops893 depicted on twitter, twins.

We are not coming out in speedos and war paint to do the ultimate WWE style Manual/TTL smackdown, as perhaps is suggested by the boxing poster dreamed up by our bud and west coast music shooter Alan Hess. But then again, we might.

And Chase Jarvis mentioned on his blog that we not only teach well, based on the combined 60 years we have logged in this business, we have the personalities of the two balcony muppets, Statler and Waldorf. Check it out and see what you think. It will be a fun day.

Much more tk on all this. Tune in Monday. In the meantime, I will tell you that David and I put the call out to basically everybody in the biz who could help us pull this off, and the result is: A) a terrific list of sponsors; and B) a goodie bag filled with stuff that is worth more than the price of the ticket. Very cool.

More tk….

29 Cities, 13,000 Miles….

Jan 25

In Lighting, News, Rambling at 8:27am

Never had this much fun with pushpins, I tell ya. 29 cities, spread all over the U.S. Numnuts with his TTL high wire act jumping on a bus with Captain Manual, aka Strobist, aka St. David of Baltimore. We’re gonna converge on Seattle on March 11, pack a bunch of speed lights into the hold of a bus, and just roll from there. Go to this website for the straight skinny on the whole shebang.

David does manual. I do TTL. It was always gonna come to this, right? Packed on board the bus with us are Drew Gurian, Grippi, Cali, and of course, Jeff Snyder of Adorama, which is the major sponsor of the tour. Geez, I wonder if the bus runs on methane? Our saving grace will be road manager Karen Lenz. She will, I think, keep the bus from being a zoo on wheels.

Kidding aside, there’s gonna be a great day of teaching at each stop. David does the morning shift, showing manual flash, and creating buzz by adding and subtracting lights. He’s going to concentrate a bit on the “why” of light, which is something a lot of shooters don’t actually think about all that much in the midst of just doing light. I take over in the afternoon, go TTL, walk the plank, see if it works, push the system and fire lights from way far away. Both David and I have been on the beta team for the new Pocket Wizard Flex-Mini’s, and this tour is a big time rollout for them. The units rock, and the envelope of all small flash, TTL and otherwise, just got a whole bunch bigger with these puppies coming into their own.

So go to the site, I’ve been a bit of a cartoon my whole life. Now it’s official. More tk….

Pushpin photography by Mike Cali.

Stop by Tomorrow…..

Jan 24

In News, Uncategorized at 9:06am

Got some news I’ll be posting…..

With Thanks…

Jan 21

In In The Field at 6:05am

To all the folks who stop by the blog, and sent condolences and good wishes about my mom. That blog kind of wrote itself. Had a sense you know, that she was there, telling me what to do, or in this case what to write. Glad I have those pictures from that day, to be sure. It doesn’t really matter if you’re shooting for National Geographic or your Facebook page, the pictures you make of those close to you, the people you love, are the most important pictures you’ll ever make. And they can be the hardest. Your family can be a tough subject, and a tough editor. They’ll complain, perhaps, and your kids will roll their eyes. “Dad’s gettin’ weird with the camera again!” Or there won’t be enough time, so doing pictures at the next outing seems best. It’s up to us, the family documentarians, to be theĀ  insistent curmudgeon, the bump in the road, the one who gets everybody to go stand together in open shade. It’s what we do. (It also appears from reading all the comments that a whole bunch of us out there have or had strong willed moms:-)

So being a photog can be a bit painful, or awkward. It can also be a bit odd. The below pix I guess fall into the category of “weird stuff that happens to a shooter.” I just documented the Hindu festival of Thaipusam for the second year in a row. Last year, when I came to Malaysia, I didn’t know anything about it. And now, once again, I found myself in the midst of twirling, entranced devotees.

Thaipusam is basically a haymaker to most of your senses–sight, sound, and smell. Smoke, sweat, blood, incense, heat and music all attend the procession up to the Batu Caves to honor Murugan.

Light source for these is the new Lastolite Speed-Lite which produces a real nice quality of light for its’ size. Popped it onto a paint pole, and started playing with mixing flash and shutter speeds to get more or less motion in the pix.

But, you know, after all the craziness, for me, the best picture of the day was a simple shot. This incredibly patient little baby, getting his noggin shaved for his trip to the cave. Just a sweet face in easy light.

More tk…..