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View From My Window….

Mar 31

In Seminars & Workshops, Travels at 7:22am


In Abu Dhabi, as the guest of the AbuDhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage and their wonderful emissary, Bader Alnomani.  Teaching here to coincide with the Emirates Photo Competition under the auspices of the ADACH and the FIAP (International Federation of Art Photography). Having a terrific time, seeing portfolios, teaching about light, and in general enjoying Abu Dhabi, which is a city where, previous to now, I had only visited the airport. I see the above scene from my hotel window every morning. It is an immediate reminder that I am not home.

Lessee, my work flow on this one might be instructive.

Wander jet lagged through hotel room in pre-dawn dark. Look out window. The Sheik Zayed Mosque. Also known as the Great Mosque. Nice. Pretty.

Let eyes wander upward to…full moon. Stand there slack jawed, toothbrush hanging from lower lip. Put two and two together. (Not easy for me even on 8 hours sleep.)

Race around hotel room, grab Gitzo, D3X, 200-400 zoom. Look again at moon. Disappearing behind clouds. Curse.

Open patio door. Setup tripod, camera and lens. Hope no one notices I’m still in my u-trou.

Make rushed, bad exposure of moon. Calm down.

Dial in minus 2.7 EV. Make another exposure. Better. Swing camera to Mosque. Adjust EV to minus 2. Make shot. Looks okay. Clouds closing in.

Program camera to DX format to get bigger moon. Program 2 shot multiple exposure. Make shot of moon, swing camera to Mosque. Make second exposure. Doesn’t work. Why? I thunder thumbed and programmed the multiple exposure wrong. Curse.

Do multiple thingy button on D3X properly this time. Zoom. Get big moon. Place in upper left. Swing camera to Mosque. Zoom out. Make another shot. This time both exposures pop up in LCD. Say thank you to St. Jude.

Repeat. One more frame. Moon gone.

Sit. Launch card into Aperture. Cool. Push some sliders. Saturate, contrast, sharpen. Got a preset for blog. Go click. Pic on desktop. Put into blog.

Go to breakfast. Try to remember to put on my pants.

More tk….

111 Responses to “View From My Window….”

Cynthia Farr-Weinfeld says:

on March 31, 2010 at 7:24 am

LOL! Great story and great composition, Joe! Hope you get over that jet-lag soon. Don’t know how you do it. . . Cindy

Hafiz Ismail says:

on March 31, 2010 at 7:28 am

Damn Joe! u’ve inspired me with this shot!


Guenther says:

on March 31, 2010 at 7:31 am

Wow, how many Speedlights and Lastlite Skylites did you use to get the light in the Great Mosque?

John A. says:

on March 31, 2010 at 7:32 am

Very cool!!! That is a really beautiful piece of architecture. I love even better that you did the moon/mosque shot as one (combined) exposure in camera rather than in post. Hope you have a good trip… and don’t forget your pants!

hfng says:

on March 31, 2010 at 7:34 am

What a spectacular view!

Shd put on pants. Moon might have a different meaning otherwise.

Stephen J. Zeller says:

on March 31, 2010 at 7:36 am

Very nice Joe! I’ve been using Lightroom for the past several years, but Aperture 3 has certainly gotten my attention.

All the best,


Carl Licari says:

on March 31, 2010 at 7:38 am

Sweet shot, but don’t like the construction on the left. Photoshop it out.

Ken Worley says:

on March 31, 2010 at 7:38 am

Great shot! I love the instructive work flow, All though I could have gone without the mental image, now stuck in my head, of a pants-less Joe shooting on the patio. :)

Barb says:

on March 31, 2010 at 7:39 am

It’s good to know that even the best in the world don’t always get it right the first time. Stunning photo and thanks for sharing the process. I’m a huge fan!

Cesar L. Diaz says:

on March 31, 2010 at 7:39 am

Amazing, i gotta say Joe, i was right there taking that shot, thanks for sharing

Tampa FL.


Jeff Antonic says:

on March 31, 2010 at 7:42 am

Brilliant Joe!-A great way to wake up!

Marcin Retecki says:

on March 31, 2010 at 7:42 am

As detailed as always! The view is amazing! And no, I don’t mean McNally without pants..zzzz…the Mosque obviously!

Paul ibbetson says:

on March 31, 2010 at 7:45 am

Looking @ pic reading text jaw dropping slightly looking @ pic Reading text trying to keep up with joe jaw somewhere on the floor think I might be a couple of lightyears behind you.

Another nice shot joe

sherri says:

on March 31, 2010 at 7:50 am

Absolutely stunning!!

Lewis Coward says:

on March 31, 2010 at 7:53 am

What can I say … the picture says it all. Have a good one Joe. It’s an amazing place and when the sun sets (eventually) that soft golden light and gentle shadows will just shout out “shoot me, shoot me”!

Remek says:

on March 31, 2010 at 7:54 am

Oh Joe, we love you for the “Try to remember…” bit. :)

Luka says:

on March 31, 2010 at 7:55 am

Yeah, the pants thing happens from time to time.

Stephan Mantler says:

on March 31, 2010 at 8:03 am

Good to see that some people still remember stuff like multiple exposures in camera… wonder how many would have gone to Photoshop instead (and spent much more time there than dialing the camera to its proper settings)…

Also good to see the same people may be encountered wearing pants to breakfast.

Neil Walton says:

on March 31, 2010 at 8:03 am

Great capture Joe, I hope you did get your pants on before breaky! Love the image you can get with the early morning sun and a bit of dust in the air. Makes for a very powerful image. Those mosques are very impressive. Having worked over seas the last 15 years I have seen many but photographed few. You are a lucky man to get this capture.

Well done

Magnus Bogucki says:

on March 31, 2010 at 8:05 am

Master in action in other words!

ron hiner says:

on March 31, 2010 at 8:08 am

all makes sense to me except the DX mode thing. Isn’t that nothing more than in-camera cropping? (awesome shot, btw!)

Mary Anne Morgan says:

on March 31, 2010 at 8:12 am

I love your workflow tutorial here, and this is an amazing picture. Thank you for your honest and humble musings on your journey. They make the amazing seem more accessible for the rest of us.

Sandeep says:

on March 31, 2010 at 8:14 am

Joe, very nice work as always. I was in abu dhabi 15 years ago. Looks like time to visit once again

fan of Joe club

Colleen says:

on March 31, 2010 at 8:20 am

awesome photo. Looks like I need to learn how to do multiple exposures. There are so many cool things to do with a camera

John Young says:

on March 31, 2010 at 8:21 am

Looking forward to reading the ‘putting on pants’ workflow…… Great picture, being a photographer is a curse sometime, like an itch you just can’t scratch. You see pictures and just have to drop everything (sometimes the even means the pants!) and grab your camera to capture that moment. Thanks for sharing it Joe.

Girish says:

on March 31, 2010 at 8:21 am

Nice shot. Thanks for mentioning the work flow.

I actually like the moon covered by the clouds. I feel, if the moon was clear it could remove the attention from the mosque.

Beth Ackerman says:

on March 31, 2010 at 8:25 am

Oh my. I love this. The beauty, followed by the frantic “i’m not ready! but it is!” the bumbling, even when you are Joe Mc-teachin us all how to do it-Nally! Thank you.

Bill Griffin says:

on March 31, 2010 at 8:28 am


A word of advice!

Don’t ever attempt to write code or hire someone to do so.

Your algorithms are impossible.

He! He!


Jim Hughes says:

on March 31, 2010 at 8:35 am

Love the image, but really liked the workflow part — especially that even McNally occasionally struggles with a camera settings. Enjoy the blog!

Mark says:

on March 31, 2010 at 8:36 am

Very cool image and love the workflow. But, are you allowed to thank St. Jude (the patron saint of hopeless cases, of course) when you’re photographing a mosque? Shouldn’t it be Allah or someone else?

Kevin Williams says:

on March 31, 2010 at 8:38 am

Raw brain dump – excellent! No wonder you blogged about it, I’ve never got that multiple thingy button to work so well. :)

Mongo do good.

Jbedford says:

on March 31, 2010 at 8:40 am

Whoa, dude!

Wayne says:

on March 31, 2010 at 8:46 am

They say crazy and genius are indistinguishable…

Doede says:

on March 31, 2010 at 8:50 am

Hi Joe, good instruction and nice photo! Can I do this with my D300?

Perhaps you could explain some more about dialing EV up or down. It still is not very clear to me when to use this option. I shoot alot in A or in manual modus. Most of the time I keep the D300 at EV0 and change the flash or shutterspeed.

Kind regards, Doede

Michael Wiesman says:

on March 31, 2010 at 8:54 am

Beautiful shot(s). Enjoyed the play-by-play. haha.

Wouldn’t mind waking up to that scene on a daily basis.

Johan Sopiee says:

on March 31, 2010 at 8:55 am

hahaha! this entry cracks me up! nice one!! love the final image you produced. very cool!

Steve Burns says:

on March 31, 2010 at 8:58 am


BTW, the AP say’s you’re fired. ;-}

Ingo Meckmann says:

on March 31, 2010 at 9:00 am

Awesome – as always. You’re the inspiration! – thanks for sharing.

Kevin Glackmeyer says:

on March 31, 2010 at 9:00 am

nice frame….how many SB-900′s to light the inside of the building?

Mark Dunlap says:

on March 31, 2010 at 9:05 am

Very cool Joe. Even jet lagged and without your pants you’re able to pull of some amazing images. :-)

Dave Pawson says:

on March 31, 2010 at 9:06 am

Heck it’s hard working being a photographer Joe! I wonder you remembered your brain after all that struggling, never mind your pants.

Nice result though. Worth the effort.

Giovanni Ferlito says:

on March 31, 2010 at 9:09 am

Bravo Joe!

Anita Hadjur says:

on March 31, 2010 at 9:15 am

I was lucky enough to experience Abu Dhabi myself a few years ago. Hilarious post, did you remember your pants?

Heinz says:

on March 31, 2010 at 9:17 am

Joe you are in the wrong profession!

This post is hilarious! Do the producers in Hollywood use the internet at all cause they sure need to be contacting you about doing a movie.

Oh, and awesome picture by the way!


Chris Davis Cina says:

on March 31, 2010 at 9:27 am


Steve Pepple says:

on March 31, 2010 at 9:32 am

Sweet shot, Did the same kind of scramble about a year ago while staying at friends’ home in Florida and being awakened by a full moon shining through the shades. No multiple exposure though. http://www.pbase.com/spepple/image/109061753

JivZ says:

on March 31, 2010 at 9:41 am

Lol, your workflow looks alot like mine, except your results are a lot better :-)

metacircular says:

on March 31, 2010 at 9:49 am

You just gave me new appreciation for multiple-exposure…one more thing to add to the practice list.

Sathish says:

on March 31, 2010 at 9:54 am

Awesome Joe!! You definitely threw some ideas into my brain. Now that will keep troubling me till i experiment.
Thanks and u hav a great time!

Patrick says:

on March 31, 2010 at 9:55 am


Thanks for injecting some humor into my day. BTW, Good job on the pictures I am assuming pants are not optional in Abu Dhabi.

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