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Heading to Canada, with a Couple of Lights….

Jun 25

In Tours at 5:12am

Heading to Canada for a Kelby Tour!

Almost two years ago, I did a Kelby Media tour stop in Tampa, Fla. It was a fun day, knocking about, working with flash, and trying to do on the fly problem solving with light. The crowd was great, and Scott Kelby, the man himself, stopped by. After we went to dinner, and I was decompressing from the day by giving mouth to mouth resuscitation to a bottle of Merlot when Scott leaned forward, put his elbows on the table and got kinda serious. (Truth be told, we actually embraced, but that’s for another blog. Joe make joke.)

He looked and me and asked, “Joe, what was the most number of lights you used in any particular setup?” I thought for a minute. “Uh, six,” I replied. He nodded.

“Joe, how many people in that audience have six lights?”

“Uh, well, uh, I guess, you know, there might be a few. Some of those folks looked kinda crazy.”

“Joe, how many people in the audience have five lights?”

“Uh, well, maybe, you know, I would  think……uh…”

“Joe, how many people in the audience have four lights?”

“Well, gosh, you know there were some out in the audience who had this wide eyed stare, eyes really bloodshot, you know, twitching a bit. I mean, they coulda either been wards of the state on furlough for the day, or you know, avid speed light users.”

“Joe, how many had three lights?”

“Uh, mumble, mumble…..”

“Two lights, Joe?”

At this point I was in a fetal position, on the floor of the restaurant, feverishly clutching the one speed light I had with me in my bag, hissing, “My precioussssss……”

That didn’t happen, either. But right there, at that table, a couple years ago, the One Light Two Light Tour was born. (Actually, in the literature, I give myself a rabbit hole to run down. I actually say at some point, well, I might use three, maybe once or twice.

The point of the day is keeping it super basic, super simple and super fast. When I did the video that became the template for the five hours of instruction being offered on each tour day, Cali, who was working with me looked over and said, ‘You know dude, you’re in the second hour and you have not used a modifier yet.” I was like, “Oh, yeah, light mods, I forgot about those.” I do use light shapers of all types, some found objects, tiny soft boxes, bigger ones, umbrellas, beauty dishes and the like. With an offering of an apology to all those in the crowd for whom I show and tell that which they already know, I start real, real simple. And pretty much keep it simple right through the day, right up till the last hour, when I create a couple examples of big flash, and then replace them with small flash to see the differences, and the drawbacks, on both sides of the fence. I use a lot of TTL. And a lot of manual. (Please don’t tell Hobby!) And I start with one light. (Please don’t tell Zack!)

Kinda a bit like the shot above. TTL, with a hand held shoot thru umbrella, done in less than five minutes. (Everybody has to help me out and wear a green dress they can throw around a bit.)

It’ll be fun…’s the link for the dates again.  More tk…

Kyle Jerichow says:

on June 25, 2012 at 5:44 am

Sounds like a good time and a hell of a lot of travel for just a few days….and you will miss the fireworks this year being on the North Side of the Border…there’s always next year.

On a side note…I fall into the category of the crazy ones in the audience…truth be told…I like being on that side of the aisle..I’ve got good company and no shortage of good stories.

As always, safe travels, Joe.

All the best,

Stig Emil Sandland says:

on June 25, 2012 at 6:15 am

My “one light” is elinchrom quadra and an umbrella. I think it could work for almost anything!

You shoud come to Norway some time! Have a nice trip 😉

Andor says:

on June 25, 2012 at 6:24 am

Wish to be in Canada now :-) – sounds like tons of fun!

Matt says:

on June 25, 2012 at 7:09 am

See you in Ottawa! Had a great time in Buffalo last year at the Flash Bus Tour. Safe travels.

Keith says:

on June 25, 2012 at 7:19 am

Looking forward to learning from ya next week in Ottawa!


Paul Rice says:

on June 25, 2012 at 7:20 am

Um Joe? We need you to change your dates as we’re doing a wedding on July 7th and really want to catch your seminar in Toronto. You understand, right? BTW – I have 4 speedlights and 5 (smallish) monoblock lights. I blame YOU!! (Thanks)

Andy Boreham says:

on June 25, 2012 at 7:21 am

Will you be bringing this tour to the UK at all?

Bret says:

on June 25, 2012 at 7:32 am

It’s okay Joe…keep the faith in speedlights. I’m also one of the crazy ones 5 Nikon flashes in all. 2 900’s and 3 800’s so I’m not quite as updated as your bag, but they still all work in iTTL! :)

With that said, I know you will still put on a heck of a show and turn out great pics with 2 lights.

Trevor Johnston says:

on June 25, 2012 at 7:51 am

And now the true story…

Canada Border Service Agent: Are you bringing anything into the country, Mr. McNally?

Mr. McNally: I’ve got three D4s, a few lenses, six strobes and a box of autographed headshots of Dave Cross, sir.

Canada Border Service Agent: I’m sorry Mr. McNally, but we have a strict two strobe limit here in Canada.

(REALLY wish I could be at your Ottawa stop Joe! Could you leave a Dave Cross headshot for me at the front desk?)

Pascal Sauvé says:

on June 25, 2012 at 8:25 am

WOOT ! Done – See ya in Toronto ! :)

George says:

on June 25, 2012 at 8:27 am

Why , why would it be on the week that I am leaving for Cuba. Please tell me you will schedule further dates for Montreal

Libby says:

on June 25, 2012 at 8:35 am

I have six lights Joe (well even a few more than that) I’m one of the crazy ones 😉 You have a good time in the Great White North, eh?

Paul Howard says:

on June 25, 2012 at 9:04 am

Looking forward to seeing you in Calgary Joe.
My green dress is at the cleaners. Maybe I’ll wear a green ball cap…

Eric Adeleye Photography says:

on June 25, 2012 at 9:06 am

Will this seminar be available for DVD purchase?

TimSnowPhoto says:

on June 25, 2012 at 9:20 am

I bought tickets to the Montreal show the second they went on sale, I am super excited to pick up a few tips and tricks from the master himself! See you soon Joe!

Nikki says:

on June 25, 2012 at 9:40 am

Looking forward to seeing you next week in Calgary. I’ll see if I can find a green dress … :-)

Ken Hunt says:

on June 25, 2012 at 10:06 am

I got to sit in on the dry run for this seminar. Thank you Kelby Training and Joe! I enjoyed every minute of it, even the blackout!

Mike Roberts says:

on June 25, 2012 at 10:20 am

Hi Joe,

I couldn’t help but notice that you’re flying over central canada without a stop. Please allow me to tell you a few things about Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Winnipeg has a thriving arts community that includes many photographers and photography enthusiasts. Winnipeg is also home to many privately owned and operated photography studios, including mine (you can see a picture of the space at

It plays host to one of Canada’s largest private college level schools of photography – Prairievew School of Photography, and many photography stores, including one privately owned store that has been around for decades and will soon be moving to a much larger location to better serve the community, which shows that our photography community is on the rise!

Winnipeg’s population of about 685,000 is not that far behind that of Ottawa at just over 1,000,000 but I would argue that we’re known far better for our arts community. I don’t want to sound pissy but the prairie provinces, as we call ourselves, tend to get overlooked when it comes to many things that happen in Canada. But when it comes to the arts, that’s a mistake. We’re every bit as relevant as any other major city in Canada and mores in many cases when it comes to the arts.

Another thing in our favor is that we are in the geographical center of Canada, equal distance from both the east and west coasts. I came out to the flashbus tour when you came to Minneapolis and I wasn’t a bit surprised that there were many people from central Canada in the audience. Choosing a more central location for any of your seminars would attract people from surrounding provinces both east and west.

I realize that in this case, Kelby Training probably chose all the stops but I hope I’ve made at least a small impression that may find it’s way into your mind the next time you’re planning to do any touring in Canada. You’d be welcome to use my studio. We also have a great convention centre, a world-class NHL hockey arena and some of the best food you’ll ever experience. It’s a great place!

Mike Roberts says:

on June 25, 2012 at 10:21 am

Made a mistake with the link to the studio picture. Here it is again.

Lesley says:

on June 25, 2012 at 10:32 am

I won a ticket to your workshop on Scott’s website a week ago – and I’m SO pleased and excited! Thanks for coming back to Vancouver!

Glenn says:

on June 25, 2012 at 10:41 am

Love Canada. Now will you please bring this tour to Dallas, Texas – I’ll be the first of many to sign up

Justin Van Leeuwen says:

on June 25, 2012 at 11:08 am

See you in Ottawa.

DaniGirl says:

on June 25, 2012 at 11:49 am

I’m signed up for this workshop in Ottawa – me an my one strobe are very excited!

Kenny McLean says:

on June 25, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Hi Joe,
I’ll second the proposal that you visit the UK.
In fact, If you make it up to Scotland I’ll take you to Skye.
I’d love to see you light the Old Man of Storr 😀

Pierre says:

on June 25, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Saw you in Boston last year with Hobby. I will see you again, in Montreal thia time. Better sharpen your French! À la prochaine!

Chris says:

on June 25, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Boo urns for a weekday, I wish I hadn’t already used up all my vacation days… Maybe next year.

Joe Masucci says:

on June 25, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I’ve really got to get my passport! This would be a GREAT seminar for New York, hint, hint.

Ed Boynton says:

on June 25, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Please come back to Toronto again. I have been waiting for this for a couple years and can’t make the date. Have followed your work and blog. Good Stuff.
I have 6 speed lights and everyone is precious.

Joe Howe says:

on June 25, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Looking forward to seeing you again in Calgary on July 4th. You’re two days early, the Stampede starts on Friday, July 6th. Now thats a party!

Digitalsmgital says:

on June 25, 2012 at 5:33 pm

I could go to the Vancouver seminar or wait for you to release the US dates! Sounds like a do-not-miss opportunity. I will be there for the last hour when you get up to six!

Simon says:

on June 25, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Two speedlights rather than one Justin clamped and gaffer taped onto a quad bike was possible overkill but they did do well in scaring local wildlife out of my way, as well as the odd Drew.

Hope you have a great time in Canada.

Kellie Stapleton says:

on June 25, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Hey, looked up the dates…….. but not even in the US of A; when do you come to San Francisco!!!?

Jay Mann says:

on June 25, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Ahhhh, the Great White North, Home Sweet Home. Heading there myself for some family time the week after you. Have fun, eh?.

Three lights, but I usually only carry two when out “Photo Hunting” as they say here in Indo.


Ivan Boden says:

on June 25, 2012 at 9:38 pm

I think you and Zack Arias should do a One Light shoot out!

Paolo says:

on June 26, 2012 at 1:31 am

Hi Joe,

do you have planned to came also in Italy with your One Light,Two light Tour?

James says:

on June 26, 2012 at 7:29 am

whoo hoo… I am so excited your coming into Montreal.. been here before? You NEED to hit shwartz smoke meat. Everyone who visits Montreal MUST!

jacques legault says:

on June 26, 2012 at 8:27 am

It’s so great to have you in Montreal for a day. Here, in Montreal, we feel left out of a lot of things as far as great photographers coming to see and teach us. Nikon as nearly abandonned us (no more Nikon schools, a elementary website and more)and major companies like Adobe rarely if never come to see us. All that to say that you are more than welcomed and I will be happy to help you in anyway I can if you need.

Mario Liedtke says:

on June 26, 2012 at 10:29 am

I would love to join that. Even if I really could use six lights (inside). :-) Have two Bowens with Travelpak for everywhere use, two chinalights and two speedlights.. thats six alltogether!!
Gosh! If I just would have the money for a flight to canada to join this! Congratulations, lucky guys who can learn from Joe!

Adam says:

on June 26, 2012 at 11:04 am

Of course, you post the two dates I could attend (TOR and OTT) when I’m broke. Thanks Joe :p

Heather says:

on June 26, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Have my ticket for TO…can’t wait.

Chris says:

on June 27, 2012 at 6:19 am

Forget canada – When are you coming back to Australia???

Scott Slattery says:

on June 27, 2012 at 6:54 am

See you in Toronto! Can’t wait!

Warren B. says:

on June 28, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Ever since your visit Down Under, I carry three speedlites…and I’m wondering if I need a fourth!

Cheers mate.

Nicole Raine Terhune says:

on June 29, 2012 at 1:21 am

I will see you in Vancouver! I can’t wait!

Pete Mather says:

on June 29, 2012 at 7:39 pm

What a bumper. I am going to miss the Joe Mcnally Canadian Tour. I really want to go. Bad timing, better in the fall.

Kjartan says:

on June 30, 2012 at 2:50 am

One light, two light
Red light, blue light…

Paul M says:

on July 1, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Are you going to bring this tour to the US? Colorado specifically. :)

Daudix says:

on July 6, 2012 at 3:41 am

Thanks Joe for the knowledge you shared. That was time well spent!

I was so thrilled when you posed for me to take this shot of you


Pascal Sauvé says:

on July 8, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Hey Joe – I attended your tour in Toronto Sat July 7th and I absolutely loved it.

Learned tons about flashes, lighting, shapers and modifiers – things I’ve heard about but was always afraid to ask.

You’ve always inspired me to become a more creative and driven shooter since, when faced with difficult assignments from my small clientele, I often ask myself : “What would Joe do in this situation ?” and it’s always paid off with happy results.

Thanks for your valuable time, efforts and your autograph in my “go to” book “Hot Shoe Diaries”

Good shooting,
Pascal Sauvé

Rob Cooper says:

on July 11, 2012 at 11:54 am

Toronto was a great show. I’m over 50, so it’s taking a little time for everything to sink in. I really appreciated having the booklet to follow along. That’s a lot better than trying to take notes and pay attention at the same time. My wife will tell you I’m not physically able to do that. Hope to see you next time around…next time I’ll bring friends!

Hugh R. Wilson says:

on July 11, 2012 at 6:43 pm

I attended your tour in Chicago (flew in) in April, 2011, with David Hobby. I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a lot.
This past Saturday I attended your solo presentation in Toronto. It was generally excellent. I asked you how you choose to light from the left versus right in portraiture. Thanks for a very informative answer.
I do have one more question that I didn’t ask in Toronto. Do you ever use your on-camera pop-up as a modest fill light? By modest, I mean -1EV to -3EV. My point is that at moderately close ranges this seems to work very well for me in combination with an off-camera key flash. I understand that if you have unlimited flashes, this would not be optimal. But for someone like me with two off-camera flashes, using the pop-up for modest fill seems very good.
Thanks for your books and your input.

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