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Amare on Fire….

Feb 4

In In The Field at 6:57am

Photographed Amare Stoudamire a couple times when he was a hotshot with Phoenix. We got along fine, and he actually gave me some time to work, an unusual event when in the company of a big time athlete. Made some decent pix, which Sports Illustrated did not use, as I recall. Shot him as well for Sports Illustrated for Kids, which did run as a cover, if memory serves.

The big guy, the Elinchrom 74″ Octa, is like cheating at cards. Basically, you put this light up and everything looks nice. I have often been on location where this light replaced a good idea, which I was bereft of at the time. Big, soft, luminous, this puppy covers the waterfront in fine style. Perfect light for tough spot, when you got no time and your noodle is crackling with all the intensity of a three way bulb on dim.

Or, if you are in the company of somebody 6’10” and tipping the scales at 240. Big guy, big light. It makes things quick and easy, which is where you want to be when you have the star for minutes. It also makes adjusting the light tres simple. No grids, tape, snoots, and multiple small flashes which will not fire on cue, etc. With the octa it’s basically up, down, left, right. Not too tough to do.

Highlight flash off the floor in the background is well, you know, the Phoenix Suns, man, the sun, right? Geez, I get some lame ideas at times.

Amare’s got an amazingly soft touch, which in part derives from his eye hand coordination and the sheer size of his mitts.

So I shot that. SI didn’t go for it, as I said.

During the shoot, I did one of most stupid things ever. We were at the half court stripe, and he looked at me and gestured with his head towards the faraway hoop. “Got a hundred bucks?” he asked. I blinked. Stared at it and blinked. Said no. Damn. I probably had a hundred bucks in my pocket. Coulda gone shot for shot with Amare Stoudamire from half court. I mighta even won. Lord looks after a fool, right? Mighta got lucky on my first shot. Oh, well. Just kept shooting pictures.

The way Amare’s been tearing it up for the Knicks lately, it would be a sure way to lose a quick Benjamin. Basketball at the Garden is fun again. Gonna go to a game in Feb. with the K-Man. Damn, it’s good to be home….more tk.

Mark Block says:

on February 4, 2011 at 7:08 am

Post should be retitled “mcnally on fire”… The top photo is f’n mind-boggling awesome… Well, all of them are, actually.

Jau Crihfield says:

on February 4, 2011 at 7:38 am

Looks like that first photo also used a kicker light of some kind from behind the subject, camera left, in addition to the octa main?

Rich Cave says:

on February 4, 2011 at 9:22 am

Trying to convince my client that sports portraiture is done on a seperate day to the game. This post proves it, Cheers Joe,

Like the lighting very sympathetic to the colour of the ball and sportswear,

Richard Hales says:

on February 4, 2011 at 9:35 am

The great Joe McNally cheat? Never!

Bill Bogle Jr. says:

on February 4, 2011 at 9:37 am

Hey Joe, the Knicks are fun again, and NY basketball with the Johnies is good too. As you know, it can take you through a long cold winter, like the Syracuse Orangemen. Great shots, love the detail and closeups. Power and grace.

Bill Bogle, Jr.

Viveca says:

on February 4, 2011 at 9:40 am

Have to agree with Mark there! Love all these shots, the composition of all is so spot-on it hurts!

Forrest says:

on February 4, 2011 at 10:08 am

Great photos, and remember — he can afford the $100 more than you could!

One question — which Elinchrom were you using inside the 74″ octa?


Forrest says:

on February 4, 2011 at 10:11 am

(perhaps a better question, since lights come and go — how many watt seconds do you you think you needed to provide the illumination for these photos?)

Thanks again!

Cynthia Farr-Weinfeld says:

on February 4, 2011 at 10:20 am

Absolutely fabulous shots, Joe! This is just one of the many areas where you shine as a photographer and almost, dare I say it? A psychologist who intuits what each human being he photographs is like on a personal level and captures the essence of that person effortlessly! Cindy

Ken Wilder says:

on February 4, 2011 at 10:25 am

Stunning “soft touch” image, Joe. k

Girish says:

on February 4, 2011 at 10:45 am

Fantastic photographs. I really like the light setup here. The first and the last 2 photographs would be my favorite.

Around how many photographs do you take while on shoots like these.

Steve Wylie says:

on February 4, 2011 at 1:19 pm

That second-to-last shot (the layin) is fabulous! You’ve often said that lighting is a game of inches; this one looks like millimeters. Can you tell us a bit more about how you set that one up?

Craig says:

on February 4, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Joe, how did you set-up that next to last shot of the ball going into the basket. No way is that an action shot! Very well done.

Frederik says:

on February 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm

love the third shot joe !

Jim says:

on February 4, 2011 at 4:29 pm

If SI doesn’t use the photos, you still get paid, right? 😛

JerseyStyle Photography says:

on February 4, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Love the detail shots of the hands and of the fingers/ball/rim.

First pretzel, beer, is on me…

~ Mark

Jack says:

on February 4, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Wow. Dynamite stuff. How’d you get the orange outline on his legs and arm? And make it perfectly match the uniform stripe? On the roll-in, was somebody holding the ball out of frame? Looks like poetry.

Tim Skipper says:

on February 4, 2011 at 10:09 pm

I heard Zack Aries say similar things about the Octa, I’ve never shot with one, but I sure want to. Images look great

Paul Hodgson says:

on February 5, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Pah! 240, lightweight! However, he is physically fit unlike me!

Beautiful images and wonderful descriptions, thanks Joe.

Tom says:

on February 7, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Octa makes it great.. I love it:)

Joe Dantone says:

on February 7, 2011 at 11:08 pm

WOW, amazing work as usual Joe!!!

Jason says:

on February 8, 2011 at 1:41 am

As always, a good story, but would love to get the nitty gritty on details like the gels (which had to be there, right?) How’d you dial the flash in? Any test shots or did you just “know” how you wanted to light it? From the angle (hate to reverse engineer this stuff as my guesses are usually horribly wrong), I’d guess behind you and to camera left?

It looks like a CTO 1/4 and the flash on say 1/2? Shutter at 1/250th for sync and aperture at f11 for dof?

Am I way off, even near the target? It may be sundry to you, but to some of us, we’re still learning the lighting and these pieces help fill our puzzle! :-)

Bruno Fumega says:

on February 8, 2011 at 4:59 am

best photographer…is really good.

wish one day be like you

무진군 says:

on February 8, 2011 at 10:41 am

안녕하세요? 당신의 책을 감명깊게 읽은 독자 입니다.
항상 멋진 사진과 멋진 빛으로 감동을 주시는 군요..
joe’s asian tour 2011에서 아쉽게도 한국은 ë¹ ì ¸ 있네요..
언제고 한번 오실꺼라 믿으며 학수 고대 하겠습니다.

mindy says:

on February 8, 2011 at 7:19 pm

thanks for the post! he is a very striking subject! i always enjoying reading your blog for your tips and anectodtes! maybe next time you shoot him, you can take the basketball shot.

Discount Digital Photographics Pty Limited says:

on February 9, 2011 at 7:33 pm

good and professional photographer with extremely high quality camera all of these makes him rock.

Carmina | Design a Postcard says:

on February 9, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Nice sports shots! I enjoy action shots because it shows the skill of both photographer and subject. i think with the right equipment, subject, and photographer, a great photo can be taken.

Aaron Lavinsky says:

on February 10, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Great Post! It combines both my passion for flash photography with my love for Suns basketball. Too bad Amare had to leave us for the Knicks.

Recently I’ve found myself shooting athletic portraits and I’m wondering a few things.

In a perfect world, how much time would you spend lighting a high profile player like Amare? and how much time are you usually given? Is his manager there running the show? What are your thoughts on using stand-ins?

what light stands are you using? Do you cover up the feet so they don’t scratch the floor or is it not that big of a big deal?

When shooting in a stadium, do you bring your own power packs or do you bring stingers to tap into house power?

and finally, how can you get me tickets for the next Suns-Knicks game? I’ll settle for an autographed game ball.


Bastian says:

on February 10, 2011 at 4:05 pm

the 2. shot is my favorite 😉

Saneesh says:

on February 11, 2011 at 9:53 am

The lighting is great on these pictures !! as usual!

Mathieu Wauters says:

on February 12, 2011 at 10:58 am

As usual, great shots Joe. Absolutely love the fourth shot, it’s brilliant in its simplicity!

chris says:

on February 15, 2011 at 8:20 am

loving the leaping pic… others nt bad too 😉

Youlanda Earps says:

on July 18, 2012 at 4:54 am

Impressive weblog! But have you contemplated crawling with mike geary about it

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