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And Now, A Word from (actually) About our Sponsors

Feb 17

In Tours at 7:52am

Apologies for the long post. Worth it, though, ’cause there’s a lot of stuff in the Flashbus schwag bag. Seems David and I made a few calls:-)))))  That’s the good news, and plenty of it, so read on. The bad news is that for certain cities, the window has closed. Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, DC, New York, Boston, Buffalo, and Chicago are sold out. In fact the tour itself is already nearing 80% sold out.

So, what would you say if somebody came up to you and said, hey, wanna help out a couple cartoon characters who are getting on a bus in Seattle, driving around the country and ending in St. Louis 5 weeks later? “And they’re doing this why?” And the answer is, well, they’re going to teach about small flash, manual mode, TTL, hi speed sync, PocketWizard radio TTL control, light stands, light shapers, light modifiers, light blockers, digital cameras, and pixels in the sky, They’re going to tell stories, offer up 60 years of accumulated wisdom laced with nonsense, fall off stages, explode flashes, and pull people out of the audience and light ’em up. They’re gonna do a free form, no boundaries (well, maybe a few) Q&A everyday, and throw expensive photo stuff into the audience in response to a particularly enlightened query, or one that is just plain funny.

Write that down on a loan application and walk into Citibank with it, and see what they say.

We walked into Adorama Camera in NYC and spoke the above to Harry Drummer, who seems to keep everything running at the shop, and he looked across the table and said, “Okay.” DH’s head and mine did a synchronized tilt, like a pair of trained felines. “Really?” Harry said yes, again. He, methinks, is a wise man, with a mischievous streak, and he enjoys an adventure. I don’t really know what his title is. On his business card, it probably says, he who knows all and juggles all, who is capable of making more cell phone calls in an 5 story elevator ride than anyone else, and keeper of the keys to the lightning fast decision. Hmmmm…that would be kind of long to put on a business card

Maybe it just says “magician.” When he walks through the store, all the cameras tend to hover slightly off the shelves. I’ve seen it. At any rate, he and the team at Adorama worked some magic, and conjured a bus ride for David and I. Without the efforts of Adorama, Harry, Jeff Snyder, Monica Cipnic and others, the wheels on the bus definitely don’t go round and round. They are good folks, which is why they’re up on my blog, and partners in the effort to keep the Faces of Ground Zero Giant Polaroid collection together.

There are more folks who are helping us out. What DH and I have found, remarkably, after all this time in this nutty biz, there’s still some people out there in the world of making photo stuff who can still stand us. More than that, actually. They’ll listen.

A word about David, if I may. He remarkably knows the intricacies of the web, and how to use the web to intelligently, coherently teach and amass knowledge, get news out, and display his prodigious skills as a shooter and educator. It is nothing short of astonishing.  For a great deal of the planning stages of this tour, I have sat at tables with the crew, blinking in bovine amazement as he leads the discussion of SEO’s, Google analytics, and DVD editing and organization. At tour meetings, everyone is summing up complex thoughts, notions and details, finishing their coffee and getting up from the table and I look down at my note pad and there’s a few words, painfully scrawled….”JOE AND DAVE GET ON BIG BUS…..”

Back to our sponsors, one of which is Manfrotto. Marco Tortato, the originator of the Manfrotto School of Excellence, shouted out from Italy, “Va bene!” Over here in the states,  Kriss Brungrabber and Mark Astman both said, “Are you nuts?” and then said okay. They are chipping in with all manner of camera and video support systems, stands, clamps, grips…and about a hundred Tri-grips and Justin Clamps that the Strobist and I will wing into the audience at various stops. Lastolite is in as well, of course, and the stage will be littered with diffusers, reflectors, Ezybox soft boxes, and a new line, influenced by ideas and suggestions from someone implausibly named Numnuts. More on that tk….

Adorama and Manfrotto are definitely putting gas in the tank, and making sure we get David to a Chipolte at least every other night. Which brings us to the question of…


What David and I did was just start talking to people we know who make stuff we use. And they all said yes. The result is a schwag bag which will be given out to all attendees that, potentially, if you use it all, has STUFF IN IT THAT COULD BE WORTH MORE THAN THE PRICE OF AN ADMISSIONS TICKET.


Thinktank…Has a branded Flashbus Pixel Pocket Rocket in there. Adorama is the biggest distributor of Thinktank stuff on the planet, so they’re a natural fit.

Peachpit has a coupon thrown in that gives a discount on a selection of their books.

Lumiquest chipped in with an Ultra Strap. (Which really works, BTW. Most secure way of attaching a light shaper to a small flash I’ve come across.)

Spyder’s got a Flashbus notebook, and a promo code for discounting Spyder monitor calibrator purchases.

Rosco chipped in a Strobist Collection Gel Kit. It’s got a collection of gels in there that you really, actually use, hand picked by the Strobist himself.

Pocket Wizard designed and printed a poster. Which when David and I sign it will be worth less than what it would be unsigned.

Frio…very cool. They’re giving away their cold shoe accessory, which rocks. In the bag there is a promo code. Use it, and they will send you one, free.

NIK software is in for a 15% off coupon for any new NIK software or upgrade.

Tether Tools, which makes fantastic computer platforms and connectors for working tethered, has a promo code in the bag for free Jerk Stopper Cable Retention Device with a $100 purchase. I have pulled out my cords from the laptop so many times that I think the “jerk stopper” was named for me.

That’s a bunch of cool stuff, and we will be doling out bags at every stop. Given the vagaries of shipping, and the fact that the bus is a moving target, this announcement is not a done deal guarantee that every item will make it into every bag in every city. But we’re sure gonna try.

And then, there’s the stuff from the stage. During the day, and in the Q&A, David and I will be distributing cool stuff like Lexar pro cards and readers, Manfrotto Justin Clamps and Lastolite Tri-Grips, Lumiquest LTP’s and Softbox III’s, a Spyder3Elite Monitor Calibrator at each stop, and one Tether Tools USB tethering cable at each stop. NIK is winging in with one Color Efex Pro 3.0 complete edition, or a Viveza 2, or a HDR Efex Pro software giveaway in each city. (A word about the Lumiquest LTP–it rocks. I’be been using it a lot, and it pumps out a cool, punchy but soft quality of light.

Did I mention this is all Drew Gurian’s fault, by the way? He has this (literally) hazy history of his days as a rock ‘n roller. He won’t discuss it much, because of all the well publicized travail with the various groups he drummed for. Seems he was always filling in for some poor previous drummer who exploded on stage, or drowned in their own vomit. You know, the typical rock and roll tale of woe. It was Drew who said last year, “Like, why don’t we get this, you know, tour bus…..”

More tk….

John Swarce says:

on February 17, 2011 at 8:53 am

Some cool schwag being given to us attendees, Joe! A lot of times I have not used the stuff I get in the “goodie bag” given out at shows, but there are some really cool things here! I have the Ultra Strap already, and it rocks. Who wants gunk on your flash from velcro strips?

I will have to make sure I bring a sharpie to the Boston show, so you can sign my copy of Hot Shoe Diaries!

Thanks for the update!


Adam says:

on February 17, 2011 at 9:50 am

Next year: Canada?

Dustin Levine says:

on February 17, 2011 at 10:43 am

”I look down at my note pad and there’s a few words, painfully scrawled….”JOE AND DAVE GET ON BIG BUS” ………………Hahahaha, See you in NY Numnuts

Joe Howe says:

on February 17, 2011 at 11:18 am

Hey Joe
Any chance the bus will swing up to Calgary?
I got more out of your two day seminar last fall than all the courses I’ve taken over the past 25 years.
With David thrown in, sign me up!

Thom Gourley says:

on February 17, 2011 at 11:35 am

Whew, almost forgot! I’ve now registered and look forward to seeing you again. Save me a big bag of swag!!! :)


Joel Nickerson says:

on February 17, 2011 at 11:54 am

Wow – sounds great! Free stuff is always cool.
In Grand Rapids, MI remember Joel Nickerson…I may be easy, but I’m not cheap – or was it the other way around?

All the best you guys – Can’t wait.

Al Dart says:

on February 17, 2011 at 12:14 pm

When are you going to swing south with this? We are kind of feeling left out.

Carlos Ocegueda says:

on February 17, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Looking forward to see you guys in San Diego soon. Should be FUN!!!

Matt Welsh says:

on February 17, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Sounds great! I’m signed up for San Jose and I can’t wait!

Shane Stiles says:

on February 17, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I can’t wait to see this seminar. Jumped on the morning that ticket sales went live. It is going to be a blast. The swag bag sounds awesome and I hope I can catch on of the trigrips at the show asI have been looking forward to trying one. I use the LTP also and find it rocks for some good light at a moments notice.

Keith I says:

on February 17, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Very cool! I was already excited about going without the bribes, but they sure don’t hurt!

Lorri E says:

on February 17, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Sounds like a great schwag bag. Can’t wait until the Minneapolis stop.

Oh, and there is a Chipotle not too far from the hotel in Minneapolis.

Betsy Barron says:

on February 17, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Awesome freebies! Looking forward to Philly, I’m all registered!

Amryl Malek says:

on February 17, 2011 at 5:17 pm

*Sob* me think New Zealand is a bit of a distance away…. *sob*

Bob DeChiara says:

on February 17, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Soooo Soo Cool!

Tim Woodard says:

on February 17, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Can’t wait see you in SLC!

Ed Kilner says:

on February 17, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Nice bonus. Looking forward to Buffalo event. I’ll be down from Toronto area. Glad you were able to get this close.

Ivan says:

on February 17, 2011 at 7:22 pm

I’m excited to attend the NY seminar! Swag bag sounds great! I took a vacation day for this opportunity to learn and looking forward to seeing you all, April 7.

Simon Randall says:

on February 17, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Important point; “Trying to keep the faces of ground zero” collection together. What’s the story there ?

Nicholas says:

on February 17, 2011 at 7:55 pm

I’m with you Amryl, it would be nice to see you ‘down under’ for a tour of Australia & New Zealand some time Joe…

Onno says:

on February 17, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Joe, I don’t care about the bag, just bring this bus all around the world and especially to Holland or Belgium. The lowlands like to be taught by the best also! Just get here, please, please, please! You have a connection with Bert Stephany, DH does also. Grab your chance to meet him and teach us along the way!

Onno says:

on February 17, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Did I say please?

Pat Delany says:

on February 17, 2011 at 8:42 pm

Hmmm, I saw the Suburban you guys drove down to Dobbs each session last summer. Not much smaller than a tour bus (must have been fun for Grippe to drive on the Saw Mill). I’ll bet the idea was born during one of those trips to Dobbs from your studio. Looking forward to seeing you in Boston this time. Is it April yet?!!

Mark Houston says:

on February 17, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Sorry you guys are not coming to Detroit…I guess I’ll have to bring some Detroit to you…
See ya in Grand Rapids..

Jim says:

on February 17, 2011 at 10:09 pm

But your not coming to Memphis, TN and that makes me very sad.Please don’t say go to Nashville..Memphis is on the MAP.

Jim says:

on February 17, 2011 at 10:18 pm

I’ve bought your books all three of them and got a 4th one on order from Amazon, But your not coming to Memphis? I check your blog each day and read it twice but your STILL not coming to Memphis? Then I have studied all your classes on Kelby Training many times over and Still your not coming to Memphis, But I’ve learned to use da grip and few other things but I won’t go to Nashville, but still be your ole fat Fan and I still live in……Memphis.

Andy Schwartz says:

on February 17, 2011 at 10:43 pm

David will be excited to know that DENVER is the birthplace of “CHIPOTLE” – We’re all excited to see you guys when you come to the Mile-High city next month! Just remember that 1 drink at our altitude is worth FOUR at sea level…

Jim Shoemaker says:

on February 18, 2011 at 1:47 am

I’ll be seeing you guys in Los Angeles. It’s only the 5th stop of the tour, so you and Dave should both still be coherent (relatively speaking, of course). I’m determined to learn something, even if it’s just by accident!

Texan Mama says:

on February 18, 2011 at 1:56 am

Y’all sound really fun. I can’t wait to meet you. I’m really nervous, though. I am pretty new to photography but I know enough that a workshop by y’all is worth ANY amount. I’m so excited that you’re coming to Dallas. I don’t know what half of the stuff you mentioned is, but I am pretty sure I’ll learn quickly – photography baptism by fire, right? Can’t wait!

Edwin says:

on February 18, 2011 at 3:25 am

CAn yo do something like a “Flash Plane” where you can come over on a jet a do your workshops at airports all around the world, including the Philippines, which you have visited once. 😎

Terri Jacobson says:

on February 18, 2011 at 8:09 am

You guys totally rock, I can’t wait for the Portland stop.

Barbara Thorbjornsson says:

on February 18, 2011 at 9:47 am

I am waiting, albeit not very patiently, for a link that will allow me to buy the DVD. PLEASE let it be soon.

Richard Davis says:

on February 18, 2011 at 9:51 am

Really looking forward to spending the day with you both when you visit Houston. I hope the venue won’t be quite as unique as the auditorium at the Houston Zoo when you shared more knowledge than I could absorb last September!

Tim Snow says:

on February 18, 2011 at 12:29 pm

We have a car load of 4 Montreal shooters headed to Boston, look for the Canadiens cap 😉
The Schwag Bag makes it even more worthwhile, hopefully we can get our hands on some of the giveaway items and not have ’em confiscated by border patrol coming home!

Debra Rantilla says:

on February 18, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Saw this over at Strobist as well — this is so awesome! Thank you!!!

Lee Turner says:

on February 18, 2011 at 5:31 pm

I can’t Joe, I signed up for Seattle just as soon the registration was open. I think it was one minute past midnight.

Providence Wedding Photographer says:

on February 18, 2011 at 8:48 pm

I can’t wait to try out the Frio Cold Shoe. Looking forward to seeing you in Boston.

Roger says:

on February 19, 2011 at 12:19 am

I can’t wait, Joe. Seattle March 11; I’ll be there because, for the life of me, I can’t figure out how to take a flash picture that doesn’t look like I forgot to take the lens cap off.

Ken Toney says:

on February 19, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Joe, if you come down I-85 where I-26 intersect in SC I’ll feed the group! Tell me your not actually traveling in a bus! 😎

Michael De Lazzer says:

on February 21, 2011 at 3:13 am

Really great to finally see what goes on inside the head of Joe. This should be interesting.

Taking the day off work for this– no pressure or anything– but it better be the best day of my life.

Henry Lee says:

on February 22, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Many cool stuff in that bag!

Someone canceled in Seattle, and I slid in from the wait list last minute! See you in Seattle.

Scott says:

on February 23, 2011 at 9:35 am

Joe, I’m sorry to say that Adorama may bend over backwards for you, but certainly not for me. Oh, I know things can go wrong in any business, that’s why I rate a company on how they handle things when it hits the fan and I’m sorry to say that Adorama failed to make things right on my last order not once, not twice, but three times following the initial problem. Making four major errors on an order is way too much. Since I hit their website following a link from your “what’s in the bag”, I thought you would want to know.

Helen Oster says:

on February 23, 2011 at 10:37 am


I was extremely concerned to read of your recent experiences with Adorama.

As an Independent Consultant for Adorama, my role is to investigate and resolve any complaints about products or services.

Firstly please can I offer a deep and sincere apology on behalf of Adorama and assure you that customer satisfaction is my number one priority.
Could you please come back to me with some additional details, such as your order number, and copies of any emails that may have been problematic and I will give this my immediate attention.

Once again my apologies, and I do look forward to hearing back from you: [email protected]

Helen Oster ☺
Adorama Camera Customer Service Ambassador

Soeren Nielsen says:

on February 24, 2011 at 3:52 am

Hi Numnuts :)(Just got your “Hot shoe Diaries” really great book, very inspiring and its nice to see what can be don with a single strobe)
I must be going blind since I fail to see Copenhagen on the list 😉
Hope youll both have a great tour and please keep updating us unfortunate from abroad
Best regards
Søren Nielsen

Ritvik Dhavale says:

on February 27, 2011 at 4:28 am

Man I wish I could go…:(
I am on the waiting list and cant really do much because I am near the end

Anyways Good Luck :)

John Magruder says:

on March 3, 2011 at 10:22 am

I keep hoping that there will be an opening for Chicago, but it sure looks unlikely. I am sure I would have learned ridiculous amounts of stuff. Maybe another time!

Amanda says:

on March 28, 2011 at 9:56 pm

I’m so excited that you guys will be in Minneapolis! I just hope I’ll be able to pull together a spare $99 before it sells out!!!!

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