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Archive for the ‘Tours’ Category

Going East Again….

Nov 3

In Tours at 1:20pm


Asia here we come. In January, we head once again to the Far East, one of my favorite places to go, to shoot, to learn, and to meet once again some incredibly talented and gracious folks. In January, will visit Hong Kong, Jakarta, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. If last year’s stint in KL was any barometer, we should have a blast.

The whole thing is the brain child of Louis Pang, truly one of the premier wedding shooters in all of Asia and beyond. His reach and reputation are the soul of all our efforts. Also his sense of humor. He, along with his mates, concocted the promo you see below, and, well, I kind of went with the flow:-)

Anyone who knows me knows I ain’t no action star, but do enjoy a good laugh at myself. I may have to get a black belt now. At least I’ve got the yell down.

Louis has also put together a Kuala Lumpur photo conference that promises to become a staple of the photo scene over there. Called Creative Asia, it is five days of non-stop, hands-on teaching, seminars, Q&A, lectures and demos.

Great thing about the conference is that my wife Annie is teaching, so we’ll be together–Annie is a terrific teacher. I’ve seen her take folks who don’t know how to make a folder on their desktop to shooting, downloading and moving good pix inside of a week.  Also teaching are some terrifically talented shooters like Michael Greenberg, Manny Librodo, Dane Sanders, Jason Magbanue, and of course, Louis Pang.

Always had good luck shooting in Asia. Done some Geographic work there, and Sports Illustrated stuff, and some stuff for the Beijing Commission prior to the Olympic Games.


Downtown Beijing…


Downtown KL….

To keep up with the news on both of these events, be sure to go here:

Joe Mcnally Asia Tour

Creative Asia

Twitter: @joemcnallyasia

First Off….

Oct 18

In Thanks, Tours at 7:20am

Many, many thanks to all for the heartfelt notes, stories and condolences sent over the last few days. As was often mentioned, these little fur balls come into our lives and wrap themselves firmly around our hearts. It was wonderful and emotional to read so many stories about so many people’s pets, and their lives, and how much they loved them. Hard to say goodbye, even though we pretty much know that’s what we’ll have to do. I can only be thankful, and smile, knowing now that so many who stop by this blog have or had their own Nigel:-) They are all up there somewhere, and we’ll see them again. Blessings and thanks to all……



Shot this the other week onstage at a Kelby Lighting Tour stop in Tampa. Worked with the high flying Mick, and was able to demo this as an example of high speed sync. Shot this at 1/8000th @ f4, ISO 800. Just a couple of frames, ’cause on those tour days, we move fast, and don’t linger overmuch on any particular setup. Liked this one, though.

The lights are on sticks, either side of Mick. Essentially, it is all sidelight, no frontal illumination at all.  Could have easily overpowered this dim room in “normal” operation, and shot at, say, 1/250th @ f8 or so, but wanted to demo the sync capacity we have now, which reaches stratospheric shutter speeds.

On Nikons, hi speed is enabled in the camera menu–E1 is the custom category and number. For Canon, it is a click on the flash itself. Hi speed sync is a useful tool, but not one you might wish to trot out every day, mostly because the hi speed operation requires the flash to pulse throughout the entire exposure, robbing the flash of some of it’s power. I used 4 flashes on this, and I had some surplus f-stop, so it can easily be done with two, one per side. One thing to remember–I turn the flash heads vertically, to line up with the vertical nature of the subject. Small thing, and not completely necessary, but if feels logical to me. (But then again, logical to me, is well, uncertain territory.)


The above is the type of thing we do during our tour stops. Got some upcoming, check them out here.

Fast flash for a high flyer….more tk…..

Asian Tour 2011

Aug 9

In Tours at 7:31am

This past January, our good friend and great shooter, Louis Pang, invited us to come across the world to Malaysia and shed some small flash light on their country.  We had great talent, cool locations, and an incredibly enthusiastic group of shooters.


After rockin’ and rollin’ through last year, we’ve decided to make the trip again, but this time, on a much larger scale.  We’ll be spending the entire month of January 2011 teaching workshops and conducting seminars in four different Asian locales: Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.  All the info can be found by clicking here, at this wonderful site Mr. Pang and his team have put together. Super cool thing–my wife Annie will be teaching a piece of the tour as well, a beginner class, designed to get folks out of the gate with their DSLR. It’s a class designed to build skills, and confidence behind the lens. She knows digital systems backwards and forwards, and really covers all the bases for the person who is just getting used to this newly acquired digital picture machine.

The tour culminates in Kuala Lumpur, where we’ll be part of a huge event called Creative Asia.  Louis, Annie, Dane Sanders, Michael Greenberg, Manny Librodo, and I will be putting on a multi-day photo conference with a ton of cool events planned.. workshops, open discussions, shootouts, etc.


Social media maniacs, never fear, we’ll be blogging, tweeting, and status updating the whole time, along with the occasional smoke signal.


Check out the official Facebook and Twitter feeds for the tour, to keep up to date on all we’re planning.

More tk…

I Can’t Believe I Just Said That….

Apr 29

In Tours at 9:31pm


You gotta stay loose and have fun, right? So does your subject. We had a great day in Denver Wednesday, doing a Kelby Lighting Tour stop there. Had a great audience, and two terrific folks to work with on stage, in Solomon and Lindsey.

Except that Lindsey was a bit nervous. Can’t say as I blame her. She’s up there in front of 700 people with a photog she had met precisely 10 minutes prior to taking her picture. And, trust me, my first efforts didn’t exactly inspire confidence. But we got it going after a few frames, and that magnificent smile of her’s flipped on like a searchlight at a movie premier.  I think I had something to do with that, ’cause back at the lens I tend to keep up a non stop stream of consciousness babble that ranges from mildly amusing to outright idiotic to veering close to legally actionable.

We gotta do that, right? I mean, here we ask our subjects to go along with us on what could be a long walk off a short pier, an adventure, in other words, so we in turn have to be adventuresome as well. I think the key part of that word is “venture.” We have to venture, to risk. We have to make a bridge. We have to create a comfort zone in front of the lens, a place which for many, many folks is very much just the opposite. Face it, lots of people would rather have their teeth drilled without novocaine than have their picture taken, especially publicly, with every frame going up on giant screens.

Lindsey, of course, needn’t have worried. With a face and smile like that, she made my job super easy, aand she was really patient with my antics to boot.

Solomon was great, too. Easygoing and amiable, he was also physically confident, which made him a magnet for the lens. (I’d be confident, too, if I looked like that.)

But alas, I am not as physically gifted or confident as Solomon. Quite evidently.


I never ask my subjects to do that which wouldn’t. Also, I occasionally try to play a bit of “simon sez” with them, by showing them exactly, or, in this case, a very ballpark approximation of what I would like them to do for my camera. Sigh. Perhaps I should change the title of this blog to, “I Can’t Believe I Just Did That in Front of 700 People.”


Solomon’s definitely got more hang time than I do. Perhaps that is because he doesn’t have a buttocks that is the weight and density of an anvil. Wild guess on my part.

Here he is, in a quieter moment.


Tech notes on the pix:

Beauty shots of Lindsey…Two Quadra units, one high, one low, both on c-stands. Overhead the Quadra head is in a deep Octa, a really nice, rich light shaper. Just under her face, in front of her, the other Quadra is into a smaller Octa, and it is running about minus one stop from the overhead, or main light. Pretty straight up, classic beauty light combo. Behind her head is an SB900 running on SU-4 mode, about 1/4 power, with dome diffuser still on the flash.

The, uh, leaping pix. Me, one Ranger unit with a long throw reflector from the back of the room. Solomon, one SB900 unit from about 50′. Zoomed to 200mm. No diffuser. That’s it. One light, far away.

Last, Solomon on black. Two 3×6 Lastolite panels, each with 2 SB900 units firing into them. He is much closer to the camera right panel, hence it is the main or dominant light. Very smooth light, due to the size of the panels, and his proximity to them. Shot at f11.

FYI: Drew found a way to make the pix bigger on the blog, if you just click on them, they will enlarge. More tk….

Pretty Pictures….

May 14

In Tours at 3:38am

Rare that you find someone like Anna Hammel in front of your lens….

Shot this yesterday of Austria’s reigning Miss Austria in Vienna. Doing an SB900 tour of Vienna, Amsterdam and Cologne, en route to the Nikon fest called Creative Solutions in Cologne.

Whaled away on this with 3 SB 900’s outside the window, pretty much lighting up the room.

Had hard light everywhere, including Anna, but then just interrupted the flow of that light with a Lastolite Tri-Grip. Softened it up, but then also saw the white tablecloth. Nice! Numnuts like tablecloth! Just rested an SB900 on the tablecloth, bouncing down at TTL minus 2 EV. The other lights I sent a signal to go manual, Group B at 1/1 and Group A at M 1/2. That way I had full blast of light in the back of the room, where the crowd is, and eased up on the blast hitting Anna. Further softened with Tri-Grip, and then made a little beauty fill out of the tablecloth.

Did some other stuff just with hard light, gelled warm and shifted into incandescent white balance, and also did a preset with the camera, which worked out well.

This last is just hard, gelled light coming from the window, interrupted by a Lastolite 3×6 skylight panel. Pretty simple and worked out okay. Of course, if I had somebody like Anna in front of my lens and didn’t come up with something reasonable it would be time to go back to the hotel and hit the bar really hard…. those long plane flights home when you think you didn’t do well….hate those…more tk