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Many things to be thankful for….

Nov 26

In Thanks at 10:27am

There are so many things to be thankful for, every day. Too many to list here for sure. One of those things, for me, is the readership of this blog. I am always honored by the fact that you stop by, regularly or occasionally, and for your thoughts, input, questions and critiques. It, for me, is all part of the adventure, one that is evolving for all of us almost daily. This whole idea of greeting the world with a camera in your hand has changed over time, but yet another thing to be thankful for is that while the numbers of pixels change, the basics of picture making don’t. These turbocharged computers with lenses stuck on them are nothing without our heads, hearts, and guts driving them.

So, community, and the sharing of information is important, and I thank everyone for that. The internet laces us all together now, and in this digital maelstrom it has largely replaced the post deadline bar gatherings of ink stained wretches that were the staple of my early days as a shooter. (Not entirely replaced, thankfully. Still happens, if only every once in a while. This development might be for the best, perhaps. After several beers, the information and wisdom exchanged at these meet-ups, while certainly colorful, is mildly suspect.)

So my hat’s off and my thanks are offered to everyone who participates in picture making, that endeavor that is so essential and necessary, yet so frivolous and fragile. Chasing good pictures can be as complex and cerebral as an unsolvable math problem, or as muddy and ridiculous as a greased pig contest. At the end of the day, we often fall short. Thankful for that, too. If I didn’t regularly goof up at this, and the grid of my thumbnails didn’t frequently spell out a message of failure to me, my desperate Irish Catholic need to embrace suffering might impel me to do something else.

So, thankful for it all. For the pictures and those who make them and share them, and also share the travails of going click on a regular basis. Thankful today for my family and friends. And Annie…..especially thankful for Annie, without whom the world would be monochrome, and my pictures would be just so much noise.

Thankful Vanessa came to the bridge! Some folks have written in about this pic, so I’ll parse it out a bit.


Lens (mm): 14   ISO: 200  Aperture: 8  Shutter: 1/40  Exp. Comp.: -1.3  Flash Comp.: +1  Program: Aperture Priority  Focus Mode: AF-C  White Bal.: CLOUDY


Got a pretty nice quality of light on Vanessa because of two things. Volume (size) of the light source, and closeness to the subject. (Where have I heard that before?) The light panel is perched just at the edge of the frame, camera right. Drew is floating the bar with the 3 SB units about a foot, foot and a half away from the panel. Someone asked why the two independent VALs? Basically because of foot traffic on the bridge, having two guys as large as Will and Drew seemed reasonable, and with the wind potential up there, used mini-booms instead of a paint pole. Mini-booms are sturdy stuff, but heavy, and one guy would get tuckered out pretty quick holding up the whole rig. Used an SB900 hot shoed as a commander, cause the camera was almost under the remote flashes and I needed the commander signal to translate upwards, not vector out from the hot shoe in linear fashion, which is what an SU-800 would have produced.

Got pretty good recycle with 3 units cranking away, and ramped up the quality of light at the same time. Vanessa does her mystical, pensive muse thing, stunning as always, and made my job easy. The city and the sky gave us a gift in the background. Done. Thankful, yet again.

More tk……

60 Responses to “Many things to be thankful for….”

Jeremy Wade Shockley says:

on November 30, 2009 at 2:34 pm


Beautiful image-thanks for sharing as always!

- I am a big proponent of the photographer community you have just described, be it over beers or ethernet, there is always something to learn…or teach!

I check your site regularly and have it posted on my own page….


Keep the great work coming- always a treat!

Cheers, Jeremy

John says:

on November 30, 2009 at 6:19 pm

Curious. Did you shoot this with a cloudy white-balance so that her skin would be warmed up and the background would be more orange, or is this all just natural colors with bare flash?

Alex Hurtado says:

on December 1, 2009 at 5:28 pm

Hi again Joe!

It’s been a month since we said goodbye to each other in NYC, after the NGS workshop, but I see you are as generous in your blog as you were in person. We are the ones who must thank you, sure.

I’m reading your “The Hot Shoe Diaries”‘s book, so I’m starting to get used to your drawings, but I still have some difficulties in making the kind of pictures you make…I think I only will need 30 years more and visiting your blog more frequently. I’ll do it.

See you soon


Dirk says:

on December 5, 2009 at 1:39 am

Beautiful shot. Thanks, as always, for sharing your art and your know-how with the rest of us!

Kent Wedding Photographer says:

on December 13, 2009 at 6:45 am

The composition on this shot is simply great, the sense of scale and the positioning of the lady over the intersection of leading lines works a treat as expected.

maurizio says:

on March 28, 2010 at 6:24 am

hi Joe,
just love your work…you are great inspiration for me. I have one question: when you set your wb to cloudy to obtain warmer colours, how can your subject eg the girl naturally coloured? do you use any colour aompensation on your flashes?

Dallas SEM says:

on October 19, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Thanks for this astounding tidbit! I will definitely have to try this in my blog!


Marylee Deline says:

on December 1, 2010 at 5:31 pm

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australian ugg boots for sale says:

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strongzz Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is fantastic blog. A great read. I will definitely be back.

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