Bus_Rider_Mexico_NS306AGirl_in_Doorway_NS307AIronman_Underwater_newAMcNally_283_G_v3 copyA copyRwanda-Pano_NS026.tif
responsiveslider_lol_02 The Language of Light DVD - More
MeetJoe_02 Meet Joe McNally - More
inthebag What’s in the Bag? - More

Mystery Photo….Revealed?

Sep 3

In Best Guesses at 2:14pm


Had some traffic over time about the lighting grid for this photo, which we have used as a blog header. This was shot for Kelby Training, and re-confirms my fondness for seedy motel rooms. It is all small flash, but it is not all flash. It’s a mix of sources.

So I’m throwing it out there. Whoever wants to have a shot at this, and figure out the lighting plan, have at it. Person who nails it gets an autographed copy of Hot Shoe Diaries, and a Lastolite Tri-Grip diffuser.  Hell, I’ll even sign “Numnuts” on the diffuser, if you want. Remember though, everything I sign has a tendency to plummet in value, so choose wisely.

This ain’t a contest, and there’s nothing formal about it.  I’ve even talked in general terms about this pic in workshops, so it’s not like this is gonna be the search for the holy frikkin’ grail. It’s just that enough folks have pinged about this image so we thought it would be fun. We don’t get out much in our studio. More tk…..

216 Responses to “Mystery Photo….Revealed?”

Justin Harris says:

on September 3, 2009 at 6:49 pm

I’m definitely not a lighting expert, but my guess is 3 flashes and one incandescent.

the incandescent in the lamp on the floor (i’m torn on this, as a flash would be an easier light to control probably… but I’m guessing incandescent bulb (this may have just cost me… :) )

then a diffused red-gelled flash in the back behind the man; indirectly enough to light up the back, but catching some direct to give the brightness near his feet. A blue-gelled one behind the camera along the wall to the right. A tightly-zoomed, amber-gelled at the knee on the bed from camera left from above.

I further guess that there are several jokes, a crew of grips having fun, and Joe eating it all up… Based on the workshop I went to. :)

Did I win? Did I win???



Bruce says:

on September 3, 2009 at 7:09 pm


3 SB-900′s outside: 2 gelled with red to look like the glow from that Neon Vacancy sign that I just know is there, (but burnt out on this low budget set). One firing left to light up the outside behind the window grids, one firing right to light up the far right side and edge light the sinister chap in the door. Another SB-900 down low and directly behind Mr. Sinister, Gelled to look like a street light. Someone has been taking far too many smoking breaks out side or it’s “Misty” playing in the background.

1 SB-900 behind the bed, probably with a little clip on diffuser on it, giving that little blue glow on the wall that you can see under that oh so tragic knee and washing the wall and ceiling with a little blue tint.

1 SB-900 or SB-800 in the lamp shade on the floor, full CTO. With a little diffuser and low power.

1 SB-900 out of frame to the right and to the right of the of the table and TV, aimed pretty much parallel to the wall. Blue Gelled.

1 SB-900 out of frame and above, aiming down at the poor girls knee and feet… Gelled full CTO or even more, and snooted or gridded, maybe with barn doors to make a narrower swath of light wide enough to light her sumptuously elegant “I hope you’re not dead leg” and also reveal the overturned bottle of Flintstone vitamins on the floor. She shouldn’t take more than 2 a day of those!

The TV is tuned to channel 47 UHF (They have the best static ;-)

Shutter is left open long enough to pick up the TV snow 1/30 sec or so. White balance probably Daylight

Camera position is about 18″ above the floor with a wide angle lens. Probably on a tri-pod

One last thing… And this really cuts to the core of the true mystery in this photo. More important than the absolute correctness of any lighting drama played out above, I find that this photo was masterfully arranged to appear, at least to the un-trained eye, that you “just happened” to be at the right place at the right time to capture this crime scene in progress!

But what is all to obvious to me, a seasoned trombone player, is that you used your SU-800 Commander to command and orchestrate all these little “clues” and then deceptively fired them all with the aid a swiped Nikon ML-L3 IR Remote trigger. This allowed you to conceal the fact that the perp in the doorway is not some highly paid model or future Matt Daemon, but none other than the notorious “NumNuts McNalley” who is actually holding the smoking gun in his right (which is where all that ambiance fog comes from outside) and pulling the “trigger” that took the photo of his own crime in his cleverly “un-lit” left hand!

Hah! Mystery Solved. Case Closed. I’ll take my Lastolite Tri-Grip now please, baby!

RBD says:

on September 3, 2009 at 7:12 pm

I have no friggin’ idea. And if you send the autographed tri-grip, I’ll make sure no one else does either.

What? I got one of those Tommy Lee Jones / MIB flash thingies. What were you people thinking, hmm?

Ken says:

on September 3, 2009 at 7:17 pm

Well Joe,

That room looks a lot like my bedroom in KY.

I just don’t know how you got a picture of my room. I am going to check on “peeper” laws in KY.


I know the OxyContin is real, a real staple in eastern KY. 12″ vinyl floors (nice touch), lamp on floor from student from passing out. I think table lamp is regular bulb, but the the reflection is off angle, so my guess is a photoshop thing.

Girl in bed. Your last student who could not endure another class. Light on leg is SB-900 (one) from high up, 2nd SB900 on floor shooting over OxyCotin, dumbed down 2 stops. Real TV.

Guy with gun, your assistant tired of all the sports shooters who complained on Kelby’s blog, looking for sporting game to silence.

Another SSB800,dumbed down (blue filter)in room located in somewhere behind bed shooting up by dead students leg.

Hallway – one those what you call Swedish things (strobe 48 inch) (elichkom) or something fired at back hall toward room, One soft box with that colored thing (orange thing) same location at strobe.

Pills on metal dinette, classic 1950′s motif, got to be Valium to level the playing field. I am thinking the D3 with the, f8 or f9 ISO of 800, the new 14mm Nikor lens, that has that oval type head glass.

Ok, from Kentucky that’s about it.

If I win, we don’t have UPS or FEDX and the USPS runs about 6 months on delivery. Our state is trying to improve, but somebody has to be last

Ken in KY

Doug E. says:

on September 3, 2009 at 7:24 pm

What? That’s not normally occurring ambient light?

I really have no idea whatsoever!

(Sorry Joe, need another day at Dobbs)

Hmmm, the lamp, the tv, and 1 gelled strobe in the hall (her knee was naturally shiny).


Take Care!


Regis says:

on September 3, 2009 at 7:25 pm

My guess is:
– a SB-900 on the right of the camera (blue gel) (bouncing on the wall, and creating the
shadow of the wire on the wall)
– a SB-900 (also blue gel) at the foot at the bed (to create the blue halo behind her leg).
– The TV being on
– An incandescent light on the floor (I’m actually debating if a flash inside would fit)
– A SB-900 (red gel) on the left of the camera (highlighting her leg) (I would even use a Lastlite EZBox for that).
– For the outside, you might have a street light (flood light type) to create the red halo
– Add the last SB-900 (red gel) being the shooter (leg level)
– Lastly another SB-900 (red gel) on the left of the shooter to highlight his face (and cast a nice crisp shadow on the door)

Larry sandt says:

on September 3, 2009 at 7:46 pm

I only wish I were talented enough to give an intelligent comment. I’ve been a fan of your work for a long time. I would cherish an autographed copy of your book.

Singh says:

on September 3, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Red Gelled Light outside the room, camera left, feathering the door and just lighting the gunman and the table through the window.

Red gelled light indoors high camera right on the lady.

Tungsten bulb in the table lamp.

CTB gelled light camera right on the wall with the frosted pane.

Looks like there’s a blue light behind the bed too on to the wall…to create a magenta glow? or maybe thats spilled light from the aforementioned CTB.

Did I win =o

Singh says:

on September 3, 2009 at 8:07 pm

that’s a tv not a frosted pane!

/slaps head

Singh says:

on September 3, 2009 at 8:08 pm

So the CTB is from behind the bed on to the wall and not form high camera right…cr*p

Shawn Garcia says:

on September 3, 2009 at 8:12 pm

Reverse lighting is never my thang, I’ll take a stab at it.

Flash Red Gel outside, lighting back wall.
Flash gelled behind gun man to create leg highlight
Flash gelled and gridded to light gunman’s face
Flash gelled between the wall and bed
Flash gelled in lamp
Flash gelled above camera to light legs
Flash gelled camera right to light right wall

Ok, if I’m wrong I’m blaming you, I read the Hot Shoe Diaries.. Kidding, it was the best read I’ve had in a LONG time.

Andrew L says:

on September 3, 2009 at 8:51 pm

Never done one of these before.
I guess I can give it a try.

I would’ve red gelled the headlights from a car outside.
Flash gelled blue along the right wall.
Flash gelled blue behind the bed.
Flash gridded and amber gelled above camera on model’s leg.
Flash gelled amber aimed at floor behind the shooter.
Incandescent lamp on floor.

Well, that’s my guess. Crossing my fingers.

Nic Raven says:

on September 3, 2009 at 9:11 pm

one sb900 snooted for the knee, one in the lamp two sb900, red gelled outside to side light the gunman and create the illusion of dusk or dawn, one behind the gunman to create the silhouette, one blue gelled to highlight the back wall and the side wall. wb set to tungsten

Theodore Paradise says:

on September 3, 2009 at 9:30 pm

You’ve got the white and black ants fighting on the TV. Nicely done – nothing says foul play like interrupted television viewing… this is why people panic so when the Cable company has an issue: it’s ominous. I digress.

You’ve got a little light coming out of that lamp, but I think that it’s too directional to be a bulb. Nothing’s flowing out the bottom, so I think that you’ve got a gelled flash in that shade.

Going to the back of the frame, you’ve got some reddish gelled flash pointing at the back wall. It’s bouncing off that wall and giving some side light to the man in the door, but also a partial silhouette.

You’ve got another flash directed at the floor in front of the man in the door creating that highlight at his feet.

On the back wall of the main room, you’ve got a blue-gelled flash giving the wall a general contrasting hue, but also creating a cool and contrasting hot spot near the floor. There’s a red gelled snooted/restricted flash giving a narrow high light across the front of the man.

Up front, you’ve got a red gelled flash that looks like it’s positioned high and narrowly focused / restricted highlight the knee as a focal point with very little spill-over to the surrounding area.

There’s a red-gelled flash in the back of the front room firing forward to highlight the table legs.

Finally, there’s blue gelled flash off to the right of the frame lighting the front of the table / pill bottles and the wall.

Chris Plante says:

on September 3, 2009 at 9:43 pm

Lots of gelled SB-800′s, it’s just what Joe does. WB is set to Tungsten.

-One in the hallway.
-One behind bed bounced off wall.
-Fallen lamp is gelled snooted?… or just plain incandescant?
-Overhead lighting highlighting lady’s leg is snooted or honey combed.
-TV is a light source too… sorta.

How’s that?

Chris Plante says:

on September 3, 2009 at 9:45 pm

Oops. Forgot the pills on the table are lighted too. I would guess light was double bounced to get there, possibly from the flash behind the bend bounced to wall then reflected back to the table?

Al Kirby says:

on September 3, 2009 at 9:45 pm

I am thinkin that you set the white balance askew to get the red exterior and red reflections on the chrome table legs etc. So a couple SB 800s plain Janes outside, an SB 800 plain Jane just above the camera zoomed to about 35mm and a SB 800 blue gel camera right onto the wall behind the TV and another SB 800 with blue gel located just left of the door (behind the bed) pointing toward the wall behind the TV. White balance further adjusted in Lightroom.

Michael Patrick O'Leary says:

on September 3, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Daylight balanced. 2 small flashes outside, both gelled red, one hits man with gun, one splashes the foggy background, one edges the man and spills in on the table. One small flash camera right gelled blue to rake the wall behind the t.v. One small flash gelled blue behind the bed to put the bluesplash on the back wall. Tungsten unit (650 fresnel, or there abouts) camera right to light our lady’s leg. practical lamp on the floor does what we see.

Dirk Naves says:

on September 3, 2009 at 10:39 pm

2 speedlights outside; both gelled red, 1 left of man, snooted or focused on his head (and diffused through fog thus lighting up window; the other directly behind him and low, creating reflection on ground.
1 speedlight in lamp on floor, gelled CTO, low power.
1 speedlight high right, gelled red, focused on leg and floor with pills
1 speedlight high right, gelled blue, aimed at wall.

Nathan Smith says:

on September 3, 2009 at 10:47 pm

-Camera Right – 1 light washing wall and TV – Gelled lite red or lite purple.

-Camera Center/left – 1 Light snooted and gelled CTO (double CTO?) – High angle

-1 light behind bed gelled blue

-1 light feathered behind gumshoe gelled red. Looks to be smoke (fog machine?) out side causing the glowey red happening outside the window. Also seems to be some sort of flag creating the shadow over the gumshoe and letting the light only creep across his upper chest.

Camera WB is set to Tungsten.

Joe Reeves says:

on September 3, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Alright, I got this.

Starting at the back and working my way forward:
1) Red gelled flash in the hallway placed between the window and doorway
2) CTO gelled flash behind the guy in the doorway. The shadow from his leg’s a dead giveaway.
3) blue gelled flash behind the bed, near the wall. It’s nice how the blue and red mix into a purple.
4) CTO gelled flash in the lampshade. power set pretty low, it’s just for the lamp effect.
5) The TV is on, adding a bit of ambient.
6) blue gelled flash, camera right, aimed at the wall behind the TV. It’s gotta be close to the wall judging by how the light rakes across it. The pill bottles were the giveaway here.
7) CTO gelled flash also camera right, but pointed straight at the young lady’s knee. It’s a really tight throw, so probably snooted or gridded.
8) red gelled flash camera left, pointed at her foot.

Love this photo btw, the noir stuff gets me every time.

Mark says:

on September 3, 2009 at 11:07 pm

my try

1 or 2 sbs gelled red outside room, pointed at the wall midway the door and the window
1 sb CTO outside with the man acting as gobo
1 sb with CTO on the lamp (if this was a light bulb, the leg of the table should be lighted as well)
1 sb CTO key, camera right pointed at the knee of the lady, zoomed all way in
1 sb gelled blue camera right high, to light up the wall behind the TV, ensuring no light to spill to the guy with the gun (think the door helped)
1 sb gelled blue on the floor behind the bed dialed way down, zoomed in pointing on the wall between the door and the window

KKL says:

on September 3, 2009 at 11:31 pm

Here’s my guess….

1) Flash with FULL Orange gel (CTO or the nikon color pack) in octabox camera left, aiming at her leg (and feather down to the floor and on the pill), my guess is 1/2 power.

2) flash with difusser, 1/32 power, CTO gelled, hide inside the lamp (reason why it is not a real light bulb, because only top half of the lamp shade is lit, regular lightbulb will light up the whole shade.

3) Flash with red gel behind the wall (between the door and the window, difuser, far behind and pointing at the man, to give rim light, light up the back, and project a rather hard shadow on the door in the other room. my guess is 1/2 power again.

4) Flash with CTO gel, behind the man with gun, aiming from top down at him from about mid height of the guy, hence the reflected light on the floor and the long shadow. my guess is 1/8 power

5)Flash with Blue gel (CTB?) behind the bed, give the outline of the dark end of the bed. probably 1/32 power

6) another Flash with Blue gel, camera right, up high, (higher than the TV), with softbox, 1/8 power i guess, aiming at the pill and the back of TV.

7) there might be another flash hiding out of the frame beside the window with a grid or snoot aiming at the TV table, to give the rim light on the table leg/corner and the pill bottle, my guess is 1/8 as well.

8) on camera flash (from CLS?) gave a little highlight on her knee and the silk?

9) old ANALOG TV, cable unplug.

my guess the shutter speed should be 1/15s or slower(30frame per second for NTSC frame rate, but since it is an interlaced image for old CRT TV, it need double the time to capture the even and odd field, so at least we need 1/15.)

white balance is probably on floursent since the TV static has a pink tint…

Since we all know Joe is a CLS user, then flash 1 and 3 should be in group A, flash 2 and 5 in group B, and flash 4 , 5 and 7 in group C, so that the power can be control by CLS.

Not sure if this make any sense…

KKL says:

on September 3, 2009 at 11:32 pm

#7 above is gelled Orange, and turns out 8 ) will turn into happy face

KKL says:

on September 3, 2009 at 11:40 pm

oh duh! correction… there are flashed behind the wall! so CLS won’t do the trick. those one must be trigger optically or else all need to be on pocket wizard or some RF triggers

Mark says:

on September 3, 2009 at 11:51 pm

You lit this? It’s not all ambient????

Great image.

John Milleker says:

on September 4, 2009 at 12:00 am

This is one SB900.. Sure, you and I couldn’t pull this off with one strobe, but that’s how awesome Joe really is.

He’s like the Chuck Norris of light.

Timothy Herzog says:

on September 4, 2009 at 12:12 am


I havent looked at the other guesses – so this may be redundant, but:

1 strobe in the hall – shoulder height – gel’d red – either bounced off the hallway wall, or a big white bounce surface (bed sheet – lastolite panel, etc)
1 strobe behind the man in the hall, aimed down, gel’d tungsten – grid’d or zoomed
1 strobe, behind the bed, gelled blue – aimed at the back wall
1 strobe, high camera right, gel’d blue, aimed across the right wall
1 strobe in the lamp on the ground, gel’d tungsten – zoomed.

-this is where it gets tricky-

1 strobe up camera left, aimed down, look at the hard shadow from her hand – must be almost straight above that – this give the red glow to her legs, her hands – lights the pills on the floor


1 strobe up camera right, snooted tight, gel’d orange – on her knee.

Can’t wait to hear yer side of it. Thanks Joe..

Justin Freed says:

on September 4, 2009 at 12:56 am

Well…I know Joe’s been promoting and converting to the 900′s, but I’m sure he still has some 800′s…so it’s hard to say whether all of the small flashes are 900′s, 800′s, or a mix of both, so I’ll just say it’s ‘speedlight’ here…’speedlight’ there…

The static on the tv looks to be pretty uniform, indicating you used a fairly quick shutter, possibly?..

Hmm….so maybe the lamp on the floor is simply…the lamp on the floor…plugged in and set on it’s side? A quicker shutter would possibly douse out all the ambient from the bulb, but still register the light emanating from the bulbs immediate surrounding…not enough punch to light through the back of it…and because the lamp shade is dark and it gradually opens up toward the bottom of it, the light isn’t strong enough to illuminate through that portion of it like it does to where the bulb is placed…maybe??…

….blue gelled speedlight to camera right pointed towards the wall behind the tv…possibly gobo’d to keep from falling too much towards the girl…

….blue gelled speedlight set low on the ground, banging right into the wall next to the man (the highlight you see through the girls legs)…I think there might be another one down there somewhere, too…snooted or gridded and gelled red and rimming out the tv stand and the pill bottles sitting on the stand…

….I got a feeling that the light coming from outside is some sort of constant source, gelled red, but then there is a speedlight just next to the door, snooted or gridded to just skirt across the mans chest, which is where the splash of light on the door is coming from…the highlight just below the man is throwing me, though…

….the girl is kind of tricky, too. I’m going to say it’s a speedlight, CTO’d…..possibly some sort of strip light…maybe through an umbrella covered all but a strip (he did this in “How to light an elf” and it worked pretty well, so why not try it again?)…it looks like it falls across the womans knee, to the left of it a little, and to the right onto the pills, and not hitting much else…

Can’t wait to see how much of this I got wrong :)

Lars says:

on September 4, 2009 at 1:11 am

The girl and her leg lighted with a snooted and CTO-gelled flash near ceiling, camera left. Telly gives general illumination. CTB-gelled lamp on top corner near ceiling, camera right. Back room lighted with a construction yard floodlight gelled red… aaand the telly table legs lighted with CTM-gelled flash, camera left direct. Also, behind the bed, CTB-gelled flash? Heavily diffused flash in lamp on floor.


Thomas Quinn says:

on September 4, 2009 at 1:41 am

Well lets stab at this one….

1) Red light outside the door are gelled car headlights
2) There is a small strobe kicker to fill in the flash just outside the door. Hidden behind the wall just left of the person standing in the door, or the wall between the window and the door frame. Warm Gelled.
3) The Lamp Lying on the floor has a strobe gelled in it.
4) Blue Gelled Strobe behind the TV pointing at the wall
5) Blue Gelled Strobe behind bed under window to seperate the corner of the bed from the wall.
6) EZ Box jsut outside the frame of the camera (Camera Rightish) skimming the right leg of the female.

Just a guess!
Tom Quinn

Halim says:

on September 4, 2009 at 2:03 am

see my awful drawing here

1. Flash 1/16 + Red Gel bounced to the wall
at the corridor (outside the room)

2. Flash 1/64 + Red Gel + Snoot clamped on the light stand that hold the first flash, pointed to the man’s head (outside the room)

3. Flash 1/128 + Blue gel fired to the wall inside the room, below picture to separate woman’s left leg

4. Flash 1/64 + Blue gel fired slightly to the TV + right wall

5. Flash 1/32 + Full CTO + Snoot/Zoom on a boom/held by VALS, fired to the woman’s knee

6. Camera
Wide angle lens (17mm-24mm)
Shutter speed 1/30 and High ISO (3200) to capture the ambient + grains on TV
Aperture around f/4 to make everything in details
WB = Daylight (5500 K)

All hard light

owen-b says:

on September 4, 2009 at 3:01 am


Got all excited when I saw this in my RSS reader because I’ve never reeeaaally done the “work out the lighting plan” thing, I tend to just skip to the answer, but I thought I had a real shot at this. And then I saw all the other answers that got there first.

So, to save time I’ll just say that I agree with everyone else that got it right :)

You can sign my book, that would be cool! :)


cooksfriend says:

on September 4, 2009 at 3:15 am

I think Brad lit it before he left for an easy job with Scott and even tho he told Scott(who will use it in his next book) Scott will not tell anyone even you Joe.

Oh and yes Joe please sign my Tri Grip.


iloomin says:

on September 4, 2009 at 4:15 am

1 flash – red gelled – low in hallway aimed up
1 flash – CTO gelled – in hallway up high aimed at man’s face for rim
1 flash – CTO gelled – in hallway down low aimed at man’s legs
1 flash – blue gelled – behind bed aimed low at wall
1 flash – blue gelled – camera right aimed at table and wall
1 flash – CTO gelled in lampshade (puzzled at angle of it’s reflection on the floor though)
1 flash – CTO gelled – high above camera and model aimed down at model
1 flash – cto gelled and snooted – high above camera and model but slightly to the right of the other flash – aimed down at model’s knee

Stuart Mackenzie says:

on September 4, 2009 at 4:24 am

The red outside looks more likea red/orange gelled theatrical/arri light. The way it seems to tail off in a pyramid kinda suggests it’s way up high at quite a steep angle or the red would spill into the room a bit much

looks like the chap has a snooted flash pointed at his face, probably on a tripod behind the wall with the picture on it. another tightly controlled flash coming all yellow from behind his knees.

inside we appear to have an incandescent lamp on the floor, but you could just as likely popped a CTO’d flash in there. my bet is with working with the incandescent though.

the lady ( if that’s what you call a dame all suicided out on pills ( or is it a frame job…)) is lit with CTO’d flash. I reckon one is snooted to cover the pills on the floor and another to cover the legs

under her left leg and behind the bed we have another flash in blue, just to define the edge of the bed

finally ( who am i kidding) a pink gelled flash camera left crossing to camera right and a blue gelled flash camera right shooting down the right hand wall

Damen Stephens says:

on September 4, 2009 at 5:08 am

Don’t know enough about lighting techniques to hazard a guess, but I will say it is wonderfully evocative – great photo !!

Michael Hansen says:

on September 4, 2009 at 5:13 am

1 flash in the hallway with gelled red with dome on.
1 flash more in the hallway. snooded and red gel on the gunmans face.
1 flash camera right up high. Grib and, full cut of CTO aiming at knee.
1 flash with snoot and half a cut of CTB camera right in the behind the TV.
1 flash zoomed o 200mm CTO inside the lamb.
Cloudy WB.

Hanleyman says:

on September 4, 2009 at 5:42 am

2 flashes in the hall; one grided to create the spill on his feet, the second to ‘red’ the room, both gelled, red and CTO.

i flash blue gelled behind tv to camera right at high level pointing down

i flash blue gelled behind bed giving separation on dead girls leg

1 flash high camera right CTO gridded on models knee with amabient coming through window behind and camera right (possiblyt really sunny day with mega ambient lux coming through window and bed sheet on it…

looking forward to the solution… thanks Joe

Magnus Bogucki says:

on September 4, 2009 at 5:45 am

just the lamp which is on the floor ;)

Rasmus Jürs says:

on September 4, 2009 at 5:59 am

My diagram over the setup. Ive made it as McNally’ish as i could.


Justin Freed says:

on September 4, 2009 at 7:34 am

If figured out the highlight that’s underneath the man…I think. There is one light directly behind him, outside, gelled with CTO. I said before that it might be a constant source, I think it is a speedlight, now. if you look at the bottom of the door there is highlight from some light source…that’s the spill from the one directly behind him. I still think there is a snooted or gridded light up near his face that is skirting across the top of his chest giving the shadow on the door, but there looks to be another one with it, lower, to rim out the lower portion of his trenchcoat…it’s just not angled towards the door, which is why there isn’t much of a shadow coming from there.

The light on the girl isn’t a strip light…it’s either snooted or gridded above camera and pointed down towards her knee.

…I think that’s all I got now :P

Vikas says:

on September 4, 2009 at 7:49 am

here are my guesses:
1. 1 SB900 – with blue gel on lady from top
2. 1 SB900 in outer Ha1l with red gel bounced off the wall.
3. 1 SB900 with red gel behind man again bounced off wall or through the diffuser.
4. Blueish Pink shade is due to Incandescent lamp…

TFS man!

Jan Winther says:

on September 4, 2009 at 8:08 am

We all know that Joe loves HDR, so im sure this is his take on a High Def. image.. ;)

Paul Alers says:

on September 4, 2009 at 9:02 am

Only the shadow knows and the shadow is behind the camera :-) Lets just say they are methodically placed to accent certain elements in the whole scene, I’ll leave it at that.

Kevin Ballon says:

on September 4, 2009 at 9:06 am

I’m probably way off but I’ll give it a shot.

CTOed SB zoome to 200 camera right and high for the light on the lady’s legs.
RED SB behind wall in the all aimed at the wall, nice’n'wide.
RED SB behind wall to the left of the scary guy turning the door into a cookie creating a creepy defined light shaped by the door.
CTOed SB in the lamp.
BLUE SB camera right and high to provide blue light on the wall.
Dragged the shutter for the static on the tv.

Looking forward to seeing how it was done!


on September 4, 2009 at 9:19 am

It`s so obvious-

you borrowed a big Profoto-Lighting-pack from your friend Chase Jarvis. Two large Chimera softboxes in the backroom in combination with a fat fogmachine (borrowed from Drew Gardner). One Front-light gridded on the knee, handheld by Zack Arias. A snooted Light towards the pills on the floor with a DIY GRid-Snoot-Umbrella by David Hobby. Here and there you lost some flashlights…In the end you gave the pic to your Retoucher Scott Kelby, who put some red and blue colors allover.

Too Easy Man

Bill Bogle, Jr. says:

on September 4, 2009 at 9:30 am

Sheet film from a Speed Graphic at f8, 1/60 of a sec. synched to the leaf shutter in the Wollansack lens in the Copal shutter. Exploding flash bulb on the attached grip with reflector, knocked her out and on to the bed. Lovely lighting courtesy of the Motel sign and streelights. The dude at the door was checking on the sould of the flash exploding.

Weegee would have loved it. Isn’t it in black and white?

Bill Bogle, Jr.

Lilianna Story says:

on September 4, 2009 at 9:37 am

Let’s see….
SBs in the room, gelled for the different effects. Outside, however, could that be break lights from a car? Hmmm.

Evan Robinson says:

on September 4, 2009 at 9:52 am

Alright, I’ll have a go at it too.

Flash, outside in that second room beyond the windows, with a whole lot of red gel thrown on there, bounced off the walls to glow up the room.
Second flash outside in the second room with a CTO, gridded to throw a tiny bit of extra light on the the shooters face (not too much though…wouldn’t wanna reveal anything, right?).
Third flash in the second outside room with a red gel, snooted/zoomed/gridded/whatever to aim down at the shooter’s gun.

Inside the death room–
TV left on and shutter dragged a bit to include it.
Knocked over lamp on the floor also benefits from the shutter drag, let’s that orange glow of the tungsten bulb in the frame.
Flash with CTB on the far side of the bed.
Flash with CTB just to camera right, slicing around on that wall behind the tv.
Flash with CTO up high and gridded, going down at the models knees.

All shot with a fairly wide lens, seeing a little WA distortion on the pills and tv at the edges of the frame.

Probably 100% wrong, but a fun thing to give a shot at 6:50 in the morning as I wake up :)

Leave a Reply