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Archive for September, 2014

Profoto B1′s in the Studio

Sep 12

In Equipment, Field Test at 9:42am

After PhotoShop World, I stayed in Vegas, which is home base for amazing athletes and performers, such as Manu, above. I did more experimentation with the Profoto B1 units, and made some more strides with the Nikon TTL version of the air remote. I’ll post more material in the next couple of weeks, but the B1 itself has been a wonderful light to play with. I know they are principally designed for location, but we took them into the studio and experimented in a very controlled way. Really enjoying the control of these lights, and the design. Battery life is excellent, and the air remotes are bang on dependable. Lots of room to move with these.

Have a great weekend everyone! More tk….

 

 

That Day Again….

Sep 11

In Memories at 5:28am

In the aftermath, a long time ago now, at the Giant Polaroid studio on the Lower East Side, Harry Davis, a firefighter with Squad 18, got up on the podium, closed his eyes and cradled his axe like it was a newborn.

It remains a favorite photo, from a difficult time. Today, all over the city and elsewhere, there will be pause. I will stop by Ladder 9/Engine 33, as I always do, and stand to the side as they ring the bells. I remain honored to have met these amazing people, and to have made a few pictures. Because pictures help us remember.

More tk…..

 

 

 

 

Studio Lighting in NYC!

Sep 8

In Seminars & Workshops at 8:30am

The week of PhotoPlus Expo, which just happens to fall during Halloween this year, promises to be busy. I’m collaborating with long time colleagues at Adorama to stage two straight days of studio lighting workshops, immediately prior to the PPE blowout at the Javits Center.

Here’s the link. We’ll amass a lot of resources, showing off Profoto studio and location systems, as well as speed lights. We’ll have models, manufacturers, demos, and hands on experience shooting for all participants. Gonna be a hoot, and a very rich, busy couple of days investigating lighting strategies and techniques. Any questions you might have you can email jsnyder@adorama.com, or annie@joemcnally.com.

We’ve rented the gorgeous spaces of Tribeca Skyline Studios–the whole joint is ours to play with. There will be multiple setups, with expert staff at each one to guide participants through the thicket of both the technical aspects of the lights and shapers, but also the staging and working of a shot.

So again, here’s the link. It just got announced on the Adorama site last week and half the spaces are already gone, so if you are interested in this, best to make the call sooner rather than later. Can’t wait…lighting in my home town.

 

More tk….

#PSW 14!

Sep 3

In Seminars & Workshops at 8:33am

We did our “Characters On Location” pre-con yesterday in Vegas at #PSW14. Always fun. We had great participants and the usual array of fantastical performers from the Vegas world of Cirque du Soleil and other shows. Great people, such as Manu, above, are a wonder in front of the camera, and very giving of their skills to the class.

Shot on black, with two Profoto B 1 units, fitted with large strips, governed by egg crates. Above Manu is an SB 910, fitted with a gridded Flashpoint beauty dish.  (There is a new version out. Contact jsnyder@adorama.com) The SB unit is running on a manual slave eye, and I’m pushing the B 1′s with the very reliable Profoto air remote. Shot about four frames of this as an example and then the class went back to work. Next step, if you choose, could be another speed light up front and low, to light his chest and interior forearms. Thankfully, I get to work with Manu again, later this week.

One of the reasons it’s wonderful to work with dancers and performers of this caliber, as I always note, is they can physicalize your imagination. Many thanks to Vegas shooter Adam Silversmith who puts together these adventures for us. More tk….

A Photographer’s Gift To Their Family

Sep 1

In Birthdays, Thanks at 2:55am

One of the single best things you can do as the resident photographer of your house is give back the gift of your skills to your family. Be the domestic documentarian.

This is what we can do, as shooters. It is a small thing to give back, considering the preponderance of annoying stuff that goes along with just having a photog in the family. We’re pains in the neck, right? Not to mention absolute hell on relationships. If you’re a wedding shooter, bye-bye weekends. Sports shooter? Ditto. And, if you’re a serious, serious sports shooter, say of football, so long Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, potentially. If you explore the rock and roll scene, you stumble home at 3 am, sporting bloodshot eyes, with perhaps the whiff of reefer smoke picked up from the party hard crowd, only to slump in front of the computer and move your pictures.  And if you ever make it to shooting for the National Geographic, by certain estimations you have made it to the mountaintop of photography. And, what you may find, is that hard to attain peak can also be a graveyard for relationships . If you are a traveling sort of location photog, you miss lots of birthdays, first steps, and soccer games.

Photography is an endeavor that tries the patience of even the most forgiving spouse. We run when others stroll leisurely. We work while others party. We don’t buy advance tickets to grand shows or events for fear we might be on assignment and thus OOT. (Out of town.) When we call a potential subject, our first question is often, “What’s your schedule like?” To hell with our schedule. Our convenience, the mandates of our life, aren’t even on the table for consideration.

Thus, one of the very cool things any photog can do to tip the scales back even slightly in our favor is to be there to document the family’s life and times, such as your mother-in-law’s surprise 80th birthday party.

Mrs. Cahill has been a wonderful, loving, mom to me. Nothing I wouldn’t do for the lady. She accepted me as Annie’s choice all those years ago, and that is an amazing gift, indeed. So it was a hoot planning a surprise party for her, and helping Annie and her sisters, Nancy and Teresa, orchestrate all the energy, subterfuge, and back alley arranging this required. We even had Pietro and his staff, at Terra Sole, our favorite restaurant, ever, in on the deal. 

It was fun to do, despite the fact that I had to lie through my teeth to her. After all was said and done, I told Annie we both have to go to confession, big time. At one point, I was arranging things with mom, on the phone, and Annie was scribbling post-its and popping them in front of me. “Say this!” “Don’t say that!” “Say you are making a lunch party for me and she has to come!” I was lucky I didn’t end up that conversation with post-its all over my face. All the shenanigans worked!

Mom was completely floored, and Annie and I did our best to document the shock and then the flood of good wishes. Her friends were there, some from as far back as nursing school. She hadn’t seen some of them in as much as thirty years! Some of the ladies were in their upper 80’s. And, trust me, these gals knew a good party when they saw one. The room was buzzing.

Me? I was afraid mom was gonna be mad at me, so I stuck my face behind the camera and kept flashing, and looking busy. Didn’t really pose hardly any pix. Just shot and moved. Tried party pix with the #D810, and a bit of fill flash, and a 24-70. No light shapers, BTW. Straight up bounce through the diffuser dome. Manual on camera, TTL on flash. Worked out well. It was good to not have to think about it much, as I was so nervous mom was gonna read me the riot act.

(I woulda just blamed Annie and her sisters, for sure. Annie, Teresa and Nancy all worked hard to get this together. Which actually was another good example of how important pictures are to family life. Obviously the pix of mom Cahill’s early life and times were not made on pixels. Annie and Teresa culled the pictures, got scans done, and then Nancy, the resident artist of the family, started collaging like crazy.)

Now, we’ll make a nice album, which will be a simple keepsake for all concerned. And a remembrance, a sort of forgiveness, if you will, the next time I step forward and say, sorry, can’t be home this weekend.  Charlotte, the newest addition to the family, below in mom’s arms, will have pictures of her self and her great grandmother. Which is very cool. 

Happy birthday, mom!

More tk……