responsiveslider_lol_02 The Language of Light DVD - More
MeetJoe_02 Meet Joe McNally - More
inthebag What’s in the Bag? - More

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Goodbye ’08

Dec 31

In Uncategorized at 10:42am

The horse’s name was Bill, as I recall, and this little girl’s mom had been called up to serve in the Gulf War and she was staying at a neighbor’s for the duration. Shot if for LIFE back in ’91 and its one of those rare frames that kinda stick around. Figure we could all use a hug right about now, with 09 getting pretty damn big in the viewfinder.
On the last day of some year, I got gas at a filling station on Manhattan’s West Side, just off Riverside on 96th. The station’s gone now, of course, as most are in the Big Apple. An elderly African American gentleman was tending the pumps. We stood, staring out at the cold, saying nothing (hey, we’re guys), listening to the gas moving and the meter ticking. The dollars and cents wheels moved much more slowly back then.

He finally looked over at me. “How you doin’?” he asked. I allowed as I was doing okay. I said something along the lines of “Made it through another year.”

He snorted and looked at his watch. It was about 4 in the afternoon. “Few hours left. Don’t get cocky.”

Been a little light on the blog lately, but for a good reason. My final final deadline for The Hot Shoe Diaries is this weekend, and ink hits paper in late January and the book ships in late Feb. Done. Out the door.

Lots of thanks to offer for making it through this year, to lots of folks, certainly those who stop by this blog now and then. I’ll post again with some notes, thanks and thoughts in a couple of days. Happy New Year to all, and let’s keep pushing pixels in 09…..more tk.

And Now the News…

Nov 11

In Uncategorized at 5:16pm




In Montana, at DLWS, even I can shoot something pretty. Mongo like sky!


Between David Hobby and Syl’s new article on hi speed sync, the mystery is gone. Quick examples here on the fly……

200th at F8…

800th at 2.8

Hi speed sync has never been easier. Read this piece by Syl…top to bottom explanation….dive into David’s archive. Fast light at fast speeds….More tk….

A Fond Farewell from Brad

Oct 12

In Uncategorized at 11:59pm

I began working with Joe a little over two years ago. As you can imagine, the knowledge I’ve gained in that time has been both invaluable and almost made my head explode. But to truly understand just how much I’ve learned from Joe, you have to know what my starting point was.

Assisting Joe was my first job right out of college. I took some photo classes in school (at Union University), and interned at the local daily paper (The Jackson Sun) during my senior year. I was competent enough to use a digital SLR (started out with B&W film in a Nikon FM2, then migrated to D70/D100 territory a year or so later), could throw a flash on the camera and dial it up and down, and knew how to use levels, color balance, and hue/saturation in Photoshop. That was about the extent of my “expertise.”

When I first showed up at Joe’s house/studio, his then-assistant Scott Holstein showed me the garage of gear. He started pulling out case after case of lights and stands and softboxes and you-name-it. I didn’t even know what a freakin’ c-stand was, so I was slightly overwhelmed. Scott assured me that, over time, I would get to know the gear inside and out and find “my way” of packing everything. I kind of scoffed at that statement, but was kind of re-assured by it at the same time.

Over the next couple of months, I was at the studio a lot while Joe was gone teaching at various workshops. I began learning the vast archive of images from Joe’s 30+ year career, both film and digital, and attempting to hone my Photoshop skills and just figure out how things in general worked around the studio.

A month or two into the job, I finally went on my first shoot with Joe. Talk about literally being thrown into the deep end…

(Photo by Kyle Niemi)

We went down to Jersey and shot the U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmers off the coast of Atlantic City. That’s me hanging off the side of the boat with an SB-800 on the end of a boom arm trying to shed a little light on the scene without falling overboard (wasn’t too worried about it, though, thanks to our subjects). Before this, I had never used an SB-800 beyond basic on-camera fill flash. Imagine trying to communicate with your boss, who is bouncing around in the water, while a helicopter hovers just above your head, spraying water everywhere, and not knowing what the heck you’re doing… That was me on this shoot. Luckily, we had Coast Guard photographer Tom Sperduto on our boat as well, and he helped with everything and made the shoot a success. At the end of the day, Tom told me that next time we saw each other, I would know the flashes inside and out. He was right. Next time we saw each other, we had a laugh about the job, how clueless I was at the time, and how far I had come in just a few short months.

Before working with Joe, I had flown a total of two times, roundtrip. Now, on Delta alone I have almost 90,000 miles under my belt, including unforgettable trips to Mexico, Istanbul, Berlin, Rome, Vancouver, Spain, and some of the most beautiful places in the United States. I’ve worked on shoots for National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Golf Digest, Nikon, and FedEx. Heck, I’ve even played paparazzi and shot Bruce Willis, Justin Long, and Maggie Q at the Berlin premiere of Die Hard 4!

(It’s a bit out of focus, yes… But it’s Bruce Willis! Yippeeki-yay!!)

I met some of the top basketball players in the country, as well as some of the most well-known and respected photographers of our time (such as John Dominis, Jay Maisel, and many others). I’ve been on sets with snakes, toads, birds, toy rat-dogs, and even an elephant named Suzie (and that was just one one shoot, which also included a helicopter ride around Manhattan)!

Suffice it to say, I’ve had a great and eventful two years. But, I’ve decided that it’s now time for me to allow someone else the opportunity to work with and learn from Joe.

Drew Gurian will now be filling my shoes as Joe’s assistant. If you’ve visited the blog, you may have seen him in this header image.

That’s his band, Far From Westfall, and he’s the one in the middle. He plays the drums, which should be fun for Joe when Drew’s downstairs practicing at 2 a.m.! Anyway, Drew’s a good guy, and I have every confidence that he’ll do a great job working with Joe. At least he already knows what a c-stand is:-)

As you may’ve noticed in Joe’s post the other day, Drew was with us this week in Vermont at DLWS. Sadly, this was also my last DLWS event as a staffer.

It’s been a great two years with this crazy bunch of people, and I’ll miss them a whole bunch. I can’t recommend signing up for one of these workshops enough!

But, I have a feeling that this will not be the last you hear of me. Actually, you may start seeing a lot more of me. I’m heading down to Florida to work with Scott Kelby and the rest of the gang at NAPP! To be perfectly honest, I’m not 100% certain what Scott has planned for me, but I do know that he’s going to keep me busy.

Thanks to Joe and Lynn for everything they’ve taught me and allowed me to be a part of during my time with them. You guys will be missed…

So, that’s it from me. It’s been an amazing two years, and I’ll always look back on this time with fond memories. Now it’s time for me to load my car and head home to Tennessee for a little while before heading to sunny Tampa!


More Joe Than You Can Handle!!

Aug 21

In Uncategorized at 3:16pm

Hello again guys and gals… Brad here.

Just wanted to let all of you know that the Upcoming Events section on the sidebar has been updated through the end of the year. So if your McNally cravings just can’t seem to be satisfied, check and see if he’s going to be in your area, or anywhere you’d like to visit!

He’ll be in Las Vegas, Massachusetts, and Santa Fe in September; New York City (twice), Vermont, and Maine in October; Montana in November; and California in December. For events scheduled into next year, check out the Workshops calendar on Venice anyone? How about Hawaii or the Outer Banks with the whole DLWS crew?

Don’t wait too long… They sell out quickly!

Blog Lite

Aug 8

In Uncategorized at 10:46am

Many thanks to all who replied to the last post. It means a lot, and I know Tom was overwhelmed by the reaction and that has re-upped his determination.

That’s one of the many things I have always treasured about being a shooter. You can get up in the morning with an idea in your head, take a camera, and go make it real. Pretty direct. Pretty cool.

Blog’s gonna be a bit intermittent for a while. Out of the country now, with sporadic access to the internet. After I come home, got a couple days, and then journey into the mysterious land surrounded by the yellow border. It’ll be pretty wacky.

Again, thanks to all. Blogging has reaffirmed my thinking, which is something I talk about in my classes. All of us, in this community, we are all photographers, sharing a common passion, and thus all in the same boat together, in a roiling sea. Lots of pressures on us. Time, budget, access, budget, speed of technology, restrictions, rights, budget, rates, cost of gear…did I mention budget? Man, it can be rough, navigating these waters, to continue the analogy. But, if we all continue to bail in collegial fashion, and help each other out, we’ll stay afloat. More tk…..