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Whose Knees Are These?

Mar 4

In Friends, Seminars & Workshops at 11:14pm


Okay, I ‘ll give you a hint. He’s at GPP in Dubai. He uses speed lights. And this is the 3rd time in this millennium he has worn long pants. Give up? Mystery man revealed here.

(I also went to his class on social media and if there is anybody on the planet who knows more about the role it is currently playing in our industry, I certainly don’t know them.)

Speaking of knowledgeable people in exotic places, my buds Eddie Soloway and Renie Haiduk are heading for Africa. Both are wonderful shooters and teachers. Eddie’s book, A Thousand Moons, is simply one of the most beautiful books I have ever held in my hands. Definitely check out his website, and Renie’s. Hit this link for info on the Africa trip……


Still in Dubai…..


Rolling along here. In classes last few days, not the desert. Had a seminar day yesterday, so wanted to show the gang the notion of doing a commercial looking, bright, open white background kind of shot that lots of clients love, ’cause it is in fact, bright, white, and they can load it up with logos and type. Also wanted to show you could do a shot like this with TTL small flash.


Cross lit the background, which means taking the right side lights and throwing them to the left and vice versa. Alessia, who is just terrific in front of the camera, is leaping up and basically into the light coming from a 3×3 Lastolite one stop diffuser panel, supported by a c-stand. And there’s a floor skip coming off a 3×6 silver panel laying on the floor, with one SB unit bounced straight down into it. Group A, B, C, all playing together well. We started real small in the seminar, showing options for one light, hot shoed to the camera, and then built scenarios up to this, with a bunch of SB units working together, not only to cover the set, but to give a pretty good recycle time at 1/250th @ 5.6.

And, in the “this just in category,” Syl Arena of the Pixsylated blog madness is the headliner over at sportsshooter.com. Seems somebody figured out Canon flashes:-)

Heading back stateside this weekend……more tk….

32 Responses to “Whose Knees Are These?”

K Hemmick says:

on March 4, 2010 at 11:18 pm

hmmmm, at first I thought she was kneeling, not jumping. You stopped her.

K Hemmick says:

on March 4, 2010 at 11:18 pm

They are Wee knees.

Craig Ferguson (@cfimages) says:

on March 4, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Wish someone (ie me) had have figured out Canon flashes before the workshops in Malaysia. :)

Ken Toney says:

on March 4, 2010 at 11:50 pm

Joe, I’ve got 4 900′s and thats not enough! I need one or two more. 10 years ago I would have thought that was the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.

Greg says:

on March 5, 2010 at 12:12 am

Where’s numnuts?

Glyn Dewis says:

on March 5, 2010 at 12:31 am

Hi Joe,

Thanks for the post; worrying thing is thought that I didn’t need to click on the link to know who’s knees the first picture was showing…lol

Great info re the white seamless; especially using the silver reflective.
Enjoy the remaining time over in Dubai and if not before I, I’ll see you there next year.

All the best to you and yours,

Meng Soon says:

on March 5, 2010 at 12:42 am

Wow Joe ! Imagine with a few speedlight and of course … good technique … can produce such awesome picture ! Keep it up ! :D

Matt Timmons says:

on March 5, 2010 at 12:54 am

Hi Joe,
I was wondering if there is a benefit to using small flash for these kinds of shots? I mean it’s still about a seven-thousand dollar setup there. Is it for compact travel benefit? Regular strobes would seem to be the way to go cost-wise for this shot (only need 2 or 3). I know someone could light just about anything with enough small flash (space telescope, etc) but most photogs carry one or two flashes.
I’m just curious if I’m missing something (other than a couple of brain cells so forgive me if it’s something really obvious) as I don’t use small flash, just a sh*t-ton of large strobes.
Cheers, -Matt

Dave says:

on March 5, 2010 at 4:10 am

One…two…three…four…five…six…seven(!!??) SB-900s.


Thomas says:

on March 5, 2010 at 4:20 am

I’ve been doing a ton of those shoots with my kids. They jump from my shoulder down on our bed. I use a remote trigger and angles. It’s something fun to do together ;)

I’m never really satisfied with them – the lag of context (just like your), from shadows or similar, makes it very, very important that they have a “jumping/flying” posture. So I try to keep a bit of a shadow, like these two:

(shot with three small flashs)

BTW: I was at the Strobist seminar in London December 2008. It was cold. He was in shorts.

Lesley Gracie says:

on March 5, 2010 at 4:28 am

Hi Joe,did you have to add black flags on either side of the model
to stop flare from the bg? We’ve been doing a similar set up at
college in the studio with elinchrom lights, then using shots in Photoshop class for pentool practice.

Richard Hales says:

on March 5, 2010 at 5:38 am

Thats a lot of SB900s, wouldn’t have been easier to use a couple of big studio flashes?

Robin C says:

on March 5, 2010 at 6:15 am


Could they be St David HoBEES KNEES?
(Sorry I couldn’t resist…)

Very jealous of all the folks at GPP

Radu says:

on March 5, 2010 at 6:36 am

He didn’t figure out Canon flashes :) He used RadioPoppers.

Some interesting articles there. Thanks.

Brent Pennington says:

on March 5, 2010 at 7:59 am

Thanks for posting this one! The info on doing white BG shots with Speedlights is going to be very useful! I’ve messed around with this before but could never get it quite right – I guess because was using 4 Speedlights instead of 7!

I’ll have to see about borrowing some, as I’d really like to give this a try.

joe mcnally says:

on March 5, 2010 at 8:48 am

Hey Gang….yep, using some bigger flashes would certainly work, and would perhaps be easier, and also more cost efficient. thing was, the teaching I was doing that day involved small flash. That’s what the audience was interested in exploring, so we stuck with it, and started with one hot shoe flash attached to the camera and just built a bunch of solutions from there.

leslie, surprisingly, we didn’t need any black flags or cutters. I was worried about flare when we started, but it wasn’t a problem. Did put some gaffer tape on the camera side of the dome diffusers to play it safe….Best, Joe

Norbert D. says:

on March 5, 2010 at 8:50 am

Hi there,
Yeah, it wasn’t too hard to guess the owner of the knees… :-) ))

But one thing is missing in your diagram – the numnuts. WHere’s he?!?

Enjoyed this post as any other on your blog. Keep up the good work, Joe!

Justin Van Leeuwen says:

on March 5, 2010 at 9:28 am

Me likey! I just got a 3×3 lastolite panel to couple with my quadra set – feeling good to put it through it’s paces and this is the kind of inspiration I need!

Johann says:

on March 5, 2010 at 9:32 am

Greg, I thought the same thing.

Joe, are you at least getting a free room for product placement? Thanks for the tip.

Mike Clemons says:

on March 5, 2010 at 9:40 am

Hey Joe… never seen a whole pic of David in big boy britches.

btw… did you forgot to put where numnuts was in the drawing? That’s the fun part.. where in the world is numnuts.. a new blog game!



Norm Cooper says:

on March 5, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Joe’s there…

David Hobbit is there in PANTS (what! that venue must have a dress code, or was it the rain?!

and where’s Zack with “ONE” LIGHT!

and here is Syl in action with his own Trident-o-speedlights!

Linda Brinckerhoff says:

on March 5, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Hey Joe – where is Numnutz in the diagram?
Waiting for you in Santa Fe for DLWS.
Bring your coat. It’s cold here.

Marvin says:

on March 6, 2010 at 5:09 am

I was in that seminar and I, together with other participants, was totally blown away. Joe, where’s that picture you took where the other model (sorry, forgot her name) sat on the auditorium’s stairs and you lit her up so beautifully WE blurted “WOW!!!” in perfect unison? It was an amazing, amazing experience. I think I learned more in that 4 hours you spent talking to us than in my 2 years of reading, practicing, attending other workshops, etc. Thank you for your time here in Dubai/GPP. I hope we see you again next year. You’re my hero.

Girish says:

on March 6, 2010 at 5:31 am

Thanks Joe for the setup. Very helpful.

That photograph looks wonderful.

Dennis Pike says:

on March 7, 2010 at 7:46 am

I didn’t know David Hobby owned pants… he had to rent them, didn’t he?

Calvin says:

on March 7, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Damn…. we was at the same time in Dubai:-)))))
I was teaching there a clas sin photography and photoshop.
But have to leave Dubai on March 3rd

Maybe i will get another Chance to meet you
Kepp on going Joe

lg Calvin

Vineet Modi says:

on March 9, 2010 at 4:39 am

Hi Joe,

I had a great time at GPP this year! Definitely worth coming all the way from India. Will definitely register in advance next time for your bootcamp as this year the seats were full.. but I really enjoyed your lighting seminar where you took that shot of Alessia.. She’s a wonderful dancer.

Don’t forget to check out the awesome shots of mine David Hobby clicked in his ‘Lighting In Layers’ class.. he just nuked me with 8 flashes from all sides and it was just mind-blowing! But more fun would be to see him wearing long pants, which I definitely missed :)

See you next year.

stephen says:

on March 10, 2010 at 7:45 pm

lol @ the reference to Hobby always wearing shorts :P

matt haines says:

on March 10, 2010 at 11:34 pm

I did a similar ‘hot white’ shoot a couple of weeks ago, and I lit the white seamless in the same way…although perhaps last decade’s version. Three SB-28s (because that’s all I had) set at 1/2 power, and a Metz Mecablitz 60 set at something less than 1/2 power. Upper and lower, cross lit, just like you’re doing. So it’s definitely doable with low-power strobes.

I saved the Alien Bees for the main light and fill.

And I see I’m not the only one who immediately thought “David Hobby” when seeing those legs.

Coach Online Outlet says:

on March 11, 2010 at 3:58 am

your ideas are very special,I support you.I think you must be a clever man.so i want to know you.

Rick Wayland says:

on June 2, 2010 at 7:41 pm

hi,fantastic pants in your post,I love that beautiful pants,I need to find one for me,bill

ugg says:

on December 14, 2010 at 2:54 am

wa,I thought it was enjoyable at best.Very good have nothing to say.

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