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Archive for the ‘Links’ Category

Beijing Update

Oct 12

In Links, Travels at 10:24am

Been back from Beijing for a bit now, and cranking away, finishing a new book, Sketching Light. I’ll be done writing in a couple of days, which is good, or I’m gonna go blooey. My long suffering editor at Peachpit, Ted Waitt, probably thinks I already have, and I’m holed up like the Unabomber in a shack someplace, with an old Royal typewriter and a kerosene lamp, laboriously typing out a change of heart manifesto titled, “Flash is Bad.”

Had the pleasure of shooting with a bunch of good photogs over there, Trey Ratcliff amongst them. He’s a terrific shooter, with an amazing touch for HDR. He also uses his Ipad as a bit of a flying carpet, zooming around, doing videos, interviews, and BTS stuff with it as he shoots. By contrast, Mongo here just use it to see movie on plane.

Very graciously, he shot a couple of chats we had and posted them up over on G+. We talked a bit about the picture above–this elegant Chinese musician at the Peony Pavilion opera. It’s an ISO 2000 shot on a D3S, out of camera, with no noise reduction. Not a photo to rattle anybody’s timbers, but I simply enjoyed the serenity and the expertise this young lady demonstrated during the performance. I found myself tuning into the music, honestly, more so than the actual staging of the show. Trey has since posted up a part 2 of the Ipad chat here. Speaking of Google Plus, we’re going to get more active on it shortly. Right now, just about every keystroke is about the book. Sigh….

Beijing was fascinating, as it has always been. Eventually going to post some stuff that dates back to my original visit there in 1987, but for now, thought I ‘d throw some stuff up from the recent trip.

At the Water Cube…..

Science Museum. Amazing the tools we have now. ISO 1600, D3S, 16mm fish, AF. I’m not looking through the camera. I’ve got it extended at arm’s length, over a glass splash board down into the bubble bath these kids are playing with. Try that with a non AF film camera….

More tk….

A Sense of Place

Sep 5

In Friends, history, Links at 8:41am

Hi from Joe….please consider today’s blog an invitation to visit Scott Kelby’s blog…..

I did a story once on Korean green grocers in NYC. Running a produce shop in New York is a tough, 24 hour a day job. To make sure the story got off to a good start, I of course needed a picture of a green grocer that, ideally, showed the enterprise, and the all night, 24/7 nature of it, and, very importantly, show the reader we were talking about New York green grocers, not, you know, ones in San Francisco, or Seattle.

After a lot of scouting, and some pretty fast talking, I got these folks to allow me to shoot their shop. Reason being, of course, the Trade Centers give it a sense of place. They of course thought I was just going to take a picture, not load up their fruit bins with flash. Which is what I did. There’s a bunch of strobes in the store, all green gelled, with a magenta on the lens of the camera. Standard operating procedure for Kodachrome.

Like many NY shooters, I go way back with the Trade Centers, now gone. I write a bit of that story today in Scott Kelby’s blog. Scott, as always, was amazingly gracious in offering me a slot for a special blog post during this very significant week.

My thanks go out to him, and all the wonderful folks at NAPP. If you have a couple minutes, head over to Photoshop Insider, Scott’s blog. More tk….

Notes…..

Jun 27

In Friends, Links, Upcoming Events at 8:58am

From the weekend…Maggie was indeed a beautiful bride. Pinned to her dress were her granmother and grandfather’s rings….

New week…tomorrow, Tampa! Gridding it! Details here. Another season of the Grid is kicking off!

More tk….

That’s LIFE….

Jun 7

In Links, News, Thanks at 6:00am

LIFE.com announced the winners of its’ 2011 Photo Blog Awards, and this little rambling collection of thoughts ended up winning one. Very honored, especially when you look at their roll call of winners….Lens, from the New York Times, Bag News Notes, Time magazine’s Lightbox, and NPR’s Picture Show.

The blog is fun to keep up with, albeit at times a bit daunting. I find myself writing on planes, or airport lounges, or in cars on the way to location. Thank goodness for hot spots! Thank goodness, too, for this amazing adventure. Thirty five years with a camera in my hands, and still going. New Geographic assignment coming up in July, and today, for instance, into NY for an ongoing portrait series on the 10th Anniversary of 911. Stuff just keeps happening, and the blog, for me personally, has become a good way to check my pulse.

Life’s comments on Numnuts….

“The thoughts, notions, and ideas here come from thirty years in the field as a shooter,” reads the text in the upper-right hand corner of this blog, underneath a smiling stick figure and the casual, handwritten words “Meet Joe.” It’s that juxtaposition of the serious and the playful that make Joe McNally’s Blog such a treat. With bona fides from Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, and LIFE (for which he was a staff photographer), McNally tells stories and gives advice from behind the lens, pulling from his travels and his vibrant, extensive portfolio to riff on newsmakers (like the Navy SEALs, whom he once followed in training), share deeply personal memories of favorite shoots, and totally geek out on lighting technique and gear (explaining, as only he can, the best clamps, lenses, strobes, etc.). With eloquence, humor, and passion, McNally makes every post a love letter to his craft.”

That is pretty much the way I feel. Still in love with doing this. Still crazy after all these years. Very, very thankful to any and all who stop by for a bit of rambling. Many thanks, and as always, more tk….


I Second That!

Sep 5

In Friends, Links, Thoughts at 7:58am

A couple of indispensable blogs were posted this week. First, John Loengard’s guest blog on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider.

picture-3This I would suggest as a must read for photographers and picture editors alike. Tremendous economic pressures over time have fractured and adversely affected the historic and important relationship good picture editors have with the photographers they employ. This post, and John’s well reasoned and direct advocacy for the role of the photog in the world of publications, is very well taken.

The other is up on Strobist.

picture-4

Greg Heisler burst onto the magazine scene around 1980 or so, and single handedly changed magazine photography. I am not overstating the case. His singular sense of light and color impacted so thoroughly that just about every picture editor out there was lining their magazine up for pictures that looked like Greg’s. He had lots of imitators (myself included) who devoured his stuff, looking at catch lights to see where he put what kind of flashes, and wondering what gel pack had produced the vibrant color palette that attended his pix. I could stand at magazine rack and look at a display of a couple hundred mags, and pick out a Heisler cover.

I have worked with Rudy, and can thoroughly corroborate what Greg breezily refers to as the “moment of truth,” on this shoot. This cover was done of Rudy at his personal zenith, and when a public figure is at such a point, their handlers are like a very effective offensive line in football, blocking all charges. The behind the scenes negotiating just to get Rudy to top of the Rock must have been intense. Then, of course, once he gets there, is gonna go up on the edge of the roof? Rudy’s actually pretty cool about that stuff once you get him to the location. Pretty down to earth, or edge of the building type of guy.

The planning of the light is very cool to listen in on. So is the lesson that could be easily glossed over. Research. A week of going to the location at the exact time of day to determine the look and feel of the light. This was an intense collaboration between an extremely talented photog, a picture editor who did and said all the right things to get the subject on board, and a magazine willing to go the extra mile to get something done right. This was the correct mix of craft, obsession, funding and preparation.

This photo is memorable, and memorable isn’t easy. You generally don’t get memorable from a $50 stock pickup.  Rudy was an icon at that moment in time, and thus demanded an appropriately iconic photographer. That combination is the reason we are still looking at this picture.

More tk….