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Archive for the ‘Tours’ Category

Some Fun Down Under!

May 10

In Tours at 5:13am

Just having a blast in Australia, meeting with and talking to bunches of folks in the Aussie photo industry. Good bunch, as they say. ( I was going to say “bunch of blokes,” but I’ve also met a lot of terrific female photogs down here, and I haven’t been here long enough to know the female version of “bloke.” If anyone can help me out with that, please chime in.) In the Gold Coast now, doing a seminar, a keynote and a workshop over the weekend, before heading to Tasmania for Tourism Australia. Any questions, thoughts or info on tour stops and where we’ll be next, just hit this link.

Had some great talent to work with in the Sydney versions of the seminar. Below is Greg, shot at min DOF with high speed sync and small flash.

He’s a great guy, though he plays a bad ass biker in an Aussie TV series. He paired up with Leslie, a wonderful model and ballerina during the seminar.

It’s fun, actually, and a bit of a challenge, shooting live onstage in front of a couple hundred people. Everything goes right to the screen, win, lose or draw, and you rarely shoot more than one or two frames of anything. I’m mostly preoccupied with working as hard as I can to present as many solutions, problems (I’m good at creating those) and work arounds as I can during the time we have together. Like, the above, for instance, was the only frame I shot of this scene. It’s done with a Tri-flash and a Lastolite 3×6 Skylite Panel. Thankfully, TTL worked!

We also did a workshop at Vaucluse House, a historic property in Sydney.

What I often do is make a photo with larger flash, and then mimic it with small flash, which gives us all a chance to see the advantages, pitfalls, strengths and weaknesses of one approach over another. (With the full acknowledgement that there is no one, “right,” approach.) It’s all a process of experimentation, and learning as we go. Which is the heart and soul of the fun of it. More tk…

Going to a Ball…..Down Under

Apr 24

In Tours, Upcoming Events at 8:04am

I don’t know. They usually don’t let me into these fancy affairs. But, as socially awkward as I am, I am happy to go, ’cause these folks do really great work.

They work trying to save preemies and sick babies, and they just have an amazing organization. They organize fund raisers, run marathons, you name it, all in the name of raising some dough for programs to help these kids. Here’s the link for the “about us” page on their website.

Now, as to my presence at their soiree on May 4th. I’m donating some prints for auction, and the invite says “evening wear.” Hmmm. For advice on this, I think I’m gonna call Hobby.

It’s the first event we’ve got going in the Australia tour, and it should kick us off really well. Sydney here we come. Here’s the link for the tour, and they’ve got all the info on remaining spots available, etc.

More tk…

Announcing The Australian/New Zealand Tour 2012!

Apr 4

In Tours, Travels at 5:13pm

Come May, we are taking a huge leap through the looking glass and going to the magical land of Oz and New Zealand. Many thanks to the great folks at Mentem and Nikon Australia who have been laboring tirelessly to pull this together. Only been down under once before, to shoot the 2000 Olympiad for Time magazine, and it was wonderful, but the whole country was seized by Olympic fever. Visiting now, to multiple cities, during “normal” times, will be vastly different but equally wonderful, I suspect. And, of course, this time, we’ll be teaching and demonstrating all manner of lighting techniques and approaches, doing workshops and seminars. Drew’s coming along from our studio, and we’ll be lugging lots of gear to work and demonstrate with. All told, looking to be an amazing month.

The Olympiad was terrific. Didn’t hear a bad word for the entire games, except from my editors. It was an Olympics of great grandeur and scale….

Of surprising and beautiful runners…

And equally surprising victors…

And elated medal winners.

So, now we go back to this amazing continent. I personally can’t wait. Oz has magic, right? It’s so often the reply you get when you ask someone, “Where in the world would you most like to go?” And New Zealand! Holy smoke, never been, always wanted to go. I’m hoping to meet Gandalf.

We’ll be doing stops in Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast and Auckland. In between, doing some shooting for the Tourism Australia and, very importantly, auctioning prints and attending a ball to raise money for the non-profit Miracle Babies Foundation.

Can’t wait for May. Hit this link for all tour info, location and dates! More tk…

If You Missed the Bus….

Dec 12

In Tours, Videos at 2:00pm

Here’s the video. The cool thing is that you can grab the actual discs here at this Adorama link, or go straight here, for a download version.

David and I had Washington DC and Philly put on video. It’s a two disc, soup to nuts treatment, same as the Flashbus day. David handles the morning. I go in the afternoon. Every lesson from each session is on the disc. Which in David’s case is a good thing, ’cause the way he teaches is clear headed, and defines logic. My session veers around like a roller coaster, much like being on assignment.

Scenes and lessons from the most acclaimed and talked about tour of 2011! On this two disc set, you get the both sessions–Hobby and McNally–in their entirety.

Disc One- David “The Strobist” Hobby

If you are going to drive, you should know how to drive stick. So the morning is spent lighting in manual mode.

We start small with a 4-light headshot, learning to control the scene by adding one light at a time. Then we take those same principles and export them into other settings — an outdoor portrait at midday, a table-top, a big dark room, a shower stall (with water) and finally, into the woods at dusk.

For all of these situations, simple or complex, we use the same approach. Control the ambient, then add one light at a time.

Disc Two- Joe “Numnuts” McNally
After learning to drive stick, in the afternoon we go automatic, and get out on the high wire of TTL. Using members of the audience, we craft spontaneous lighting solutions, talking our way through each setup, mixing TTL and manual (oh my!) approaches, going from one light on the hot shoe to four and five lights on sticks, fitted with lots of different light modifiers.

It’s location photography–with all its wonderful possibilities and chaos, right there on stage.

And with this being Hobby and McNally, the entire day is completely serious, steeped in utter formality with no fun or irreverence whatsoever. Kidding.

Actually, really, really kidding, ’cause the video takes you on the bus for an inside tour from which there is quite possibly no recovery:-)

But, truth be told, it’s the DVD set is both fun and informative, with scenes and interactions from 14,500 miles, 29 cities, mixed in with non-stop flash lessons, wit and wisdom. Watching it almost makes me want to hop on another bus and do it all over again! Almost…:-)

More tk….

Many Thanks to All as We Ramble and Roll…

Apr 3

In Tours at 10:29pm

Picked up again for the second half of the Flashbus Tour. Atlanta Saturday, Nashville Sunday, Raleigh Durham today. This has been one of those once in a lifetime adventures, nothing short of amazing. People across the country have been so gracious. The bus has alternately been loaded with gifts of cookies, donuts, beer, brownies, coffee, candy, beer,  flashlights, and, well, more beer. We have certainly been a motley crew, especially anybody who sees us in the morning, staggering around a loading dock, pre-shower, moving gear and boxes out of the hold of the bus. Very glam, life on the road. Often, we wake up behind some giant building in a parking lot, near a dumpster. I think we have gotten some gifts just because people feel bad for us.

No loading dock in Austin though, where we got a chance to move the bus inside the venue we were staging at. Cool! Gave us a chance to light the bus. Had about 20 VALs (you can see their feet under the bus) and about 50 or 60 art directors for this shot.

This trip has been one of discovery and reaffirmation for me.

For instance, I can confirm that breakfast sandwiches anywhere are really just a vehicle for ketchup.

Heard on the road: “You’re actually really nice. In all your pictures, you look mean.”

A life on the road as a photog makes you quite adaptable to all manner of conditions. For instance, living on a bus is not a big deal. In fact, it’s much, much nicer than many places I have temporarily hung my hat.

I can sleep anywhere, even at dinner. the younger guys on the bus chuckle about it, as the geezer just drifts away, but each of them has had some sort of malaise or illness so far, while the old guy chugs along.

Young Cali is in the throes of an internet romance. If I see him text one more time, I’m going to de-digitize him somehow.

Grippi is a road warrior, and may have found his calling as an emcee. He routinely describes Hobby as “The man who made us re-think the use of our tupperware!” Hysterical.

Sam Spratt is an incredible artist. He did the amazing illustration for the bus, and Andy Szejko at a Few Loose Screws worked up the overall artwork for the bus and the website. Jamie Mullican and the crew at Adnormous wrapped the bus and turned it into a giant, rolling cartoon.

Heard on the road: “Joe, are you limping, or are you just old?”

Hapa Sushi in Denver is the best sushi I have ever had in the continental US. Only thing better I have had is sushi at the fish market in Tokyo, and well….the only more immediate thing I could do would be to  catch it myself and go Gollum on it.

Heard on the road: “Is this bus like the one in Girls Gone Wild?”

Don’t have a group meal at a Mexican restaurant and then get on a bus. (I’m resigned to it though. This summer I go back to Santa Fe, and inevitably one of our class dinners is at a big Mexican type restaurant where all the food sloshes into the middle of the plate and looks like somebody already ate it once.)

The crew on the bus…..

First off, the big guy….Jeff Snyder of Adorama. As I always say, Adorama is the one who put the gas in the tank. Their support got us rolling. So, technically, he’s the client, and given that fact, we should be bringing him cappucino and scones on a platter every morning. But, Jeff ain’t like that. He pulls and hauls like the rest of the crew. He’s sleeps across from me, so when I pull back my curtain, he’s the first thing I see in the morning, which is very disconcerting. My morning salutations to Jeff have ranged from “Good morning, sunshine” to “Fuck off.”

David Hobby….he sleeps in the bunk below me, and I can always tell when he’s awake, ’cause his light glows upwards along the wall and I can hear him tapping out his blog, or moderating comments, or other tasks involved in running the worldwide strobist web. Given the amazing numbers of his readers, it’s very tempting to grab his computer while he’s not looking and tweet, you know, “TTL rules!” or “Manual Sucks!” or something pithy like that to his network.

Drew Gurian….overall producer. He keeps things running, which means paying attention to all the detail stuff, as well as the big stuff, and keeping Grippi and Cali organized, which is a bit like herding cats. He has to ask a lot of questions, some of which Phil, our driver, has deemed so dumb that he has nicknamed Drew “Shortbus.”

Karen Lenz….Lenzbaby directs traffic, organizes the VALs and is our interface with each venue. If it goes well, that’s a happy face, and if it is problematic, well, you don’t want to mess with Lenz before she’s showered, breakfasted and caffeinated. The fact that we have had very few of the typical last minute venue bobbles you could expect is a tribute to her fearsome organizational skills, and uh, persuasive demeanor. Lenz is also a goddess among women. Has to be, as she has put up with 6 flatulent men in a confined space for weeks.

Sleeping on the bus for me has been like sleeping on a train. Engine rumbles, low hum…lights out. a sleeping pill on wheels.

Heard on the road: From the waiting line to get in…..”Hey Joe, try not to suck today.”

Waking up every day at 5am in a loading dock is a good way to keep your feet on the ground. no blue only bowls of m&m’s, no vats of Dom sloshing around on this bus.

Everyplace we have staged has it’s own personality. At the Colorado Convention Center, we, as usual, put up stands with directional signs to our room, and each stand cost $10. We couldn’t use carts to load in, unless we wanted to take out a second mortgage. By contrast, the Seattle Convention Center did back flips for us. The manager there, Bruce, was so helpful we all started calling him Bruce Almighty.

More crew… Grippi….Is a whirling dervish of activity, except after setup in the morning when you can generally find him under a table, asleep on the floor, with his shoes off. It’s okay, he can go zero to sixty in about a half a second.

Cali… aka, Justin Bieber. He is the star of the soft core porno portion of my teaching stint. When he goes double guns for a picture, women in the audience just melt down. Lots of people in audiences have probably wanted to take him home. Unfortunately for him, most folks in our audience are older guys.

Phil, our driver…..Phil tells it like it is. He has driven a motorcycle at over 200mph. I suggested he could beat out any trooper on the highway at that speed, and he shook his head. “Radio’s always faster,” he said.

When told we had done a group shot while he was asleep, and thus not in it, he shrugged and said, “Well, then, it’s not a group.”

I can tell we are becoming family ’cause we are starting to eat off each other’s plates.

If you’re going to take a break from a long road trip, San Diego is a real good place to do it.

The volunteer corps, all the VALs, have been routinely amazing. So helpful. They have been gangbusters at every stop.

I think the younger guys are worried that I’m going to have some sort a nervous system train wreck, and they’ll have to start wheeling me onstage, where I’ll tap out out “Group B, Minus One” on an Ipad with my chin. Or I could be like George Lucas as a director and just have a bicycle horn taped to my chair. One beep is “faster,” and two beeps is “more intense.”

More tk…