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Archive for the ‘Videos’ Category

Nikon D4 Video….The Blues in His Shoes….

Jan 23

In In The Field, Videos at 8:44am

Little Freddie King is the real deal. He hopped the rails at the age of 14, and went from his family farm in Mississippi down to New Orleans, ’cause that town was swayin’ with sound, and he knew he had to be there. The ever magical Lynn Delmastro in our studio got in touch with him, and his manager, “Wacko” Wade Wright, and we were invited, briefly, into his life, and his music. It was enriching and wonderful to be around Little Freddie. I doubt a nicer man ever picked up a guitar.

We shot this short, sweet and simple,’cause that’s what we know how to do, just a little, right now. We’ve taken first steps into the world of moving, talking pictures. For fully developed, expansive video efforts shot with the D4, please check the sites of my colleagues, Bill Frakes and Corey Rich. (Those guys know what they’re doing.)

In our most recent video effort on 9/11, I was basically an interviewer, while the gang at my studio, Drew Gurian, Mike Grippi, Mike Cali, and Lynda Peckham, at different times for different subjects, ran the D7000 cameras. The questions I asked came naturally to me, as the subjects of the interviews I knew for ten years, and call many of them my friends. This was different. I took a dive into Little Freddie’s music and history, which I didn’t know anything about, and found myself drawn to his lyrics, and sounds. His songs formed the basis for my questions. At one point I said to him, “Little Freddie, you’ve written some of your songs about bad women. Are they real?” He shook his head. “Oh, yeah,” he replied. “I never should have gotten into that cab that night. It was the gin talkin’ to me that made me do it. I got in the taxi with her. She was a bad woman.” He shook his head again, mournfully. “My wife.”

It was also very different, making a video with a D4. The camera enhances and enlarges possibilities, simply put. For tech info and specs, hit this link.

For the interview, I asked the questions and ran a static D4 on sticks, which was no big deal in terms of camerawork. Drew Gurian and Mike Grippi both did the heavy lifting for the moving and sliding views. It was strange for me, I have to admit, having my eye glued to a monitor instead of an eyepiece while we, as a team, walked along here and there with Freddie. My whole career, I’ve told stories by stopping things. Now, in addition to seeing a frame, I found myself thinking about where that frame could move. But, here’s the thing I do know, being a photographer. When a shooter comes to you, impassioned about making a shot, you say yes. Drew and Mike would conjure a camera slide, or a pan, and describe it, and we’d shoot it. It makes sense to allow visually talented eyes to roam, and do what they will do.

Drew then did a rough cut, and organized the footage, and we worked with Russell Peckham of Peckham Productions, a long standing video operation on the East Coast.  Russell has taught us the meaning and importance of having a good, experienced video editor on our various projects. His post skills shape the look, and the logic of the story.

During the two days we shot this, besides working the video, I also had still responsibilities, and I was not going to pass up the opportunity to do portraits of a truly unique subject like Little Freddie. In the old kitchen of the plantation we worked at, I made one of my favorite portraits of late. Shot with a D4, ISO 100, 19mm lens, f5, 1/10th.

We also went across the river from New Orleans, right at the cusp of darkness, and shot this CLS portrait, using a Lastolite 8 in 1 umbrella. I love this thing. You can shoot scattered soft light when you use it as an umbrella, but then pull a velcro port off the backside of it, pump a light through that small area of diffusion, and it behaves like a soft box. Shot with a D4, ISO 400, 24mm lens, f4, 1/2.5.

Little Freddie, showman that he is, was a natural in front of the camera, of course. He made for a wonderful subject for stills. But, his is a story that has heart, soul, history, legs and music. Shooting the video let us see him, and let us listen, too.

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…

Nov 17

In Friends, Videos at 6:46am

Had a wonderful time yesterday at NAPP. Just great. The folks in Tampa are well and truly family. We started the day with The Grid, with Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowski throwing out questions to Trey Ratcliff and myself about popular “myths” or rules that get passed around in photo circles, like, “Never shoot somebody’s portrait with a wide lens,” and the like. There was some good discussion in the midst of general mayhem and laughs.

Then, last night, Scott led me through a fast paced Q&A in between clips of the most recent video I did with Kelby Training called, A Day with Joe McNally. Scott is so sure footed, both in the video and on the set, in terms of leading the conversation, and steering it in a positive, informative direction, that three hours passed quick as a blink. People sent in some wonderful questions, and the whole thing was pretty lively. The thing that always gets reinforced to me during these exchanges is how much passion there is out there for shooting pictures, which is, you know, pretty great.

My thanks go out to Scott, RC Concepcion (who shot the above pic), Brad Moore, Nancy Masse, and the whole Kelby Training operation. I’ve done videos with the Tampa gang since the start of their online training efforts, and watched it, in short order, become literally the best resource anywhere for photo and post-production education. As an instructor, you’re able to teach well, and have fun doing it.

The video of Scott and I in NYC is going live today, so check it out here.

The Language of Light DVD Page Is Up!

May 23

In Videos at 5:12am

Thank goodness. It’s been a long, but fun road. It has been out for a while, of course, circulating around on this bus thing:-) But Drew, the gang here at the studio, and our friends over at Few Loose Screws, really took some time to work on a great page that has trailers, pieces of lessons, and just about everything you could want to know about the new DVD…check it out HERE, or, if you’re reading this on the blog, just scroll right and click on the Language of Light image up top for more info.

From one light to a whole bunch, from an empty white wall in a studio to busy locations, we push the envelope of small flash, emphasizing the big three of light–color, quality, and direction. None of the pix are post-processed. The stills in the video are shown just as they dropped out of the camera. Win, lose or draw, it’s all on video. Along with some madcap bits, guest appearances, interviews, and a special tech section from former Nikon tech rep Anne Cahill, who is a lot more coherent and logical at explaining things than, say, me.

“Owning this DVD set is like having Joe right there with you as you learn. I highly recommend this for anyone interested photography!!”Chris Schaecher

“Whether you are a beginner or advanced, amateur or pro, he talks your language….Whatever system you use, you’ll be able to apply this knowledge and put it into practice with much success.”Brad Matthews

“What I really appreciate is the process by which Joe builds on the initial concept, and improves, tweaks, changes, and corrals the light to make the final image sing.  Lots of instructional DVDs present a lighting concept and a final image, but not the successive approximations that are required to get from point A to point Z, the final image.  And for me, that’s the ultimate inspiration contained in ‘The Language of Light’.” – Steve Wylie

Enjoy! And to the folks who have seen it and sent comments, praise and critique our way, many thanks…..more tk….

Shadows on the Concrete….

May 16

In In The Field, Travels, Videos at 1:01am

Hey gang….blog’s been, well, a little light lately. Truth be told, I had a hard book deadline to meet, so I shot 13 portraits (none of which I can show here quite yet) in 17 days, then jumped on a plane and headed out to California for a Digital Landscape Workshop Series stop. Whew!

In between finishing the portrait series and coming out here, I managed to spend a wonderful day with Scott Kelby and a video crew from NAPP. They started in my studio, and my garage, and shot everything about that day in the field from the conceptualization of it, to the lens selection, to the packing of the truck. In between we took a tour of the  studio workroom, and talked about pictures, from the ones we were about to shoot to the ones hanging on the wall. I’ve got some of my own stuff up on the walls, but we are blessed at the studio with lots of work from other shooters I have known for many years. And we talked about it all. And then we talked and filmed some more while driving through traffic into the city. And then some more, walking around, assessing the location. And then some more, while shooting. And wrapping. A whole day in other words, from packing the lights to using them, from shooting the job to going back home.

The above is the kind of stuff I shot, which is to say the kind of stuff I’ve shot in NYC for thirty years. A day in the life of a shooter. It won’t be out right away, as they’ve got a bunch of editing to do, but it should be a fun class to take a look and have a listen to. One Quadra flash, with a honeycomb grid. That’s it. One light, high angle, done deal.

Many thanks to Scott and the gang for hanging in the Big Apple for a day. Nothing like shooting in the city……more tk….