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The Year Starts….

Jan 3

In In The Field, News, On Location at 7:25am

Thankfully, without too much travel, at least right away. Have a local job over the weekend, and next week, down in DC for the annual National Geographic Seminar. Photographers don’t have too much of an opportunity anymore to gather as a group, so it will be fun to see friends, long time shooters and colleagues. In between, on Tuesday, 1/7, I’ll be at Adorama in NYC. Starting off the year with an irreverent, impromptu, seat of the pants (is there any other way?) floor of the store small flash demo in the Adorama pro department. It’ll be a hoot. I’m giving away about a dozen books, pocket guides, a few t-shirts in response to important, impertinent, rash, insightful, goofy or otherwise interesting questions. Here’s the link.

Speaking of Adorama, while in Mexico, in December, I did a shot at a tailor’s shop for Ado TV. Here’s the link to that episode. As you might see in the video, it’s a simple pic, done with one Elinchrom Ranger from across the street, firing through a bed sheet hanging in a door way, and minimally tweaked with a bounced light inside the store.

I was in Guanajuato, working with my dear friend, Hector Segovia, with PhotoXperience Mexico, which is rapidly becoming the go to learning center for photography in all of Mexico. I kept passing this tailor shop, with the whir of ancient sewing machines and feel of long time family ownership, and I asked Hector if we could go in. And, it being Guanajuato, we were warmly received, and made arrangements to do a photo session in there.

The Adorama TV segments, by necessity, go very quickly. After finishing up, I decided to pull the camera angle a touch to the right, to pick up a weird/interesting store mannequin, off by the doorway to the back of the shop.

Now, I really liked the mannequin guy, with his studious glasses and ascot, but the big black hole of the doorway was bothersome. And, rightly or wrongly, I do believe in lighting through a shot, however minimally, to create interest and detail for the viewer’s eye all the way through the three zones of a photo–foreground, middle ground and background. So we stashed another Elinchrom back there, sporting a full CTO gel to simulate the bare incandescent bulb that was already existing in the room.

On a shot like this, radio triggers are required gear, pretty much. The two power packs don’t really see each other, and neither see the camera, so a radio is the way to go. We’ve been using both the PocketWizard Plus III units, and the PlusX units with a good deal of success for simple stuff like this. Not too much in the way of interference or range issues. We do use the Multi-max units, but they have much more capability than is needed for a shot like this, which, from the get go, is aimed at making it look like no lighting was applied at all.

Looking forward to going to the city on the 7th. My wife Annie runs the Adorama Pro Department, and of course Daniel and Efraim will be there, so it will be like family. Maybe we won’t do any flash demo, and we’ll just get together and sing some songs. Uh, no….I’ll stick with flash stuff.

All best for 2014! More tk….




Sherry Grubb says:

on January 3, 2014 at 8:13 am

Love your work and have watched your training videos. I have a small school photography business (I know, the bane of most professional photographers) and my goal is to give children and parents a high quality image in the school setting. Learning all the lighting tricks from you, sure helps!

Andy Lewis says:

on January 3, 2014 at 8:23 am

I really enjoyed reading this first article, looking forward to more.

Keith says:

on January 3, 2014 at 9:04 am

Happy new year, Joe, and best wishes to, you, Annie, Cali, and Lynn for a happy and healthy 2014. Great shot from Mexico. I’m always impressed with your ability to capture so much visual interest, yet still keep the picture’s subjects prominent for the eye.

John Fowler says:

on January 3, 2014 at 9:24 am

Many thanks for the very interesting blogs Joe, and very best wishes for a happy and successful New Year.

Cary Spangler says:

on January 3, 2014 at 10:11 am

Do you still use the Pocket Wizard Mini and Flex?

Hector Segovia says:

on January 3, 2014 at 11:22 am

Great post Joe, thanks a lot for your kind words !

You know how we appreciate your friendship, that´s awesome !

Big Hug from Guanajuato !

PhotoXperience Family

Richard Hales says:

on January 3, 2014 at 11:32 am

Happy New Year you Joe, many thanks for the last year of inspiration and ideas and looking forward to another year!

Joe Ethridge says:

on January 3, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Methinks you are the hoot Joe.

Happy New Year!

Dave says:

on January 3, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Great stuff, I finally got a chance to bring some of my gear on a vacation to the Maya, white sands and all. I was dying to get to shoot locals and how they live. Did not happen. I will go back. Friendly people indeed and extremely interesting shops like these all around us. My wife kept elbowing me to take family shots I kept wondering off to the artisans and trying to get some snaps. I see you do not have that problem. I love the lighting on here, it really gives a full experience feel to it, like we imagine it.

Joe McNally says:

on January 3, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Hi Cary…not too often, right now. We have just updated them and are going to try to work them back into our workflow this year, and do some more experimenting…, Joe

Leland Shook says:

on January 3, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Great start on your Blog. Congratulations. I look forward to new posts.

Meghan says:

on January 3, 2014 at 4:46 pm

News Years Resolution to take it up a notch or 10…. Put deposit down on your Nat Geo NY workshop in October….. I don’t even know what to do with myself I’m so excited!!!

David says:

on January 3, 2014 at 6:36 pm


Great work … But, I for one, would sit and listen to you sing, no problem. I’m sure I would pick up something new and useful … I always do.

Jim Donahue says:

on January 3, 2014 at 9:54 pm

Could a SB700 Speedlight moved close to the bedsheet and fired at full power, while adjusting the Ap/Shutter speed/ISO produce the same results?

Kryn Sporry says:

on January 4, 2014 at 4:18 am

Hi Joe,
All the best for the new year. Hope it will be a healthy and successful one! I like the results from your Mexican workshop. I hope I have an opportunity this year to attend one of your workshops. Living and working in Shanghai won’t make that easy, but I’m sure for some GE leadership training this year so I might be able to combine the two.
Look forward to your plan for 2014 workshops!
Keep up the good work!

Joe McNally says:

on January 5, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Hey Jim…very doubtful, and I say that just on gut feel. The SB700 is not a highly powered flash. Running it through a bed sheet, even from a short distance will diminish its power further. You could jack your ISO up a bit, and make the shot tighter, and get some pleasing results, I think. It’s just that the wide view I took of this store is partially dependent on the spread and reach of the light, and that certainly comes from the fact of the bigger power pack and head. All Best, Joe

Jay says:

on January 5, 2014 at 9:10 pm

Joe, I’m bummed out that I can’t make it to Adorama on Tue for this one – it’d be great to meet you in person and say thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience. Let alone getting pick up some small flash modifier tips from you :)

I read a couple articles on your blog earlier this past week and before I knew it I’d read through the entirety of The Moment It Clicks and I’m now well into The Hot Shoe Diaries! Both a wealth of great tips and experiences… these are destined to be re-read many times.

I’ll be keeping an eye on your blog and workshop schedule for 2014, hopefully I can make the next one!

Steinar Knai says:

on January 7, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Happy New Year Joe and all the best for success and peace! I follow you from Europe and love to watch your videos and other lectures. I would love to join some of the Adorama shows live. Anyways, keep going and bless us with your down to earth ways!
Kindest regards
Steinar Knai

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