Archive for the ‘Friends’ Category
Laughter comes easy to Donald and I. We’ve know each other for ten years or so, and to me, it’s just one of the small but rich gifts of this nutty business that he ends up on the cover of this new book. He’s a decent soul who takes his honey out for several spins on the dance floor every Friday night, sips Cuervo like it’s medicine, and always has a bit of a twinkle in his eye. As he said to me once, “The day they put me down, all the music in the world’s gonna stop.” I think he’s right.
Home. Feels good after a tumultuous year. For the rest of the year on the blog, I’ll be focusing on some of the highs and lows of another year of survival as a shooter. I looked around my tiny apartment in NYC in 1979, and realized I was paying all of my meager bills with a camera, and knew right then that I was a professional photog. At that point in time, being called a pro was high praise indeed. It was a mark of distinction that acknowledged the fact that your pictures were not only being consumed by people and influencing them every day, but that your livelihood flowed through a lens. It was a stamp of approval that only a hardy few could merit and sustain. So, as we approach 2012, 33 years with a camera in my hands and counting. Sheesh. I get points for stubbornness, anyway.
But, lots of highs and lows, as always. The new book is one of the highs, and it’s a fun read. Lots of survival lessons in there, right next to the lighting diagrams and production shots. Having my friend Mr. Blake on the cover of Sketching Light is one those wonderfully odd pieces of serendipity that occasionally come a shooter’s way. Donald looks a bit stern and forbidding on the cover for the gentle soul that he is, but I know he likes the picture.
Shot this during a workshop demo, when the sky and the wind just gave me a feeling I could find my way to a picture.
On the other hand, one of the more notable lows occurred this year aboard Flashbus, when a hard turn ended me up in bed with David Hobby. He reported on this incident thoroughly in his blog of yesterday:
Also, if anyone woulda told me five years ago that one day I would be traveling in a tour bus with Joe McNally, I woulda told them that they were nuts.
And if anyone woulda told me five years ago that one day, I would suddenly and unexpectedly find myself in my underwear, sharing a bed with McNally, I woulda punched ‘em in the mouf.
Suffice to say you never know what turns life has in store for you. Especially an unexpected hard left-hand turn by a bus, resulting in the above. After that, I slept in full clothing.
Lots of laughs, twists and turns out there on the road.
The picture up top was shot by Kent Skibstad who attended a workshop and who wrote to me that the workshop “really kickstarted my photographic career, thank you!” It was a wonderful note to get as a teacher.
Had a wonderful time yesterday at NAPP. Just great. The folks in Tampa are well and truly family. We started the day with The Grid, with Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowski throwing out questions to Trey Ratcliff and myself about popular “myths” or rules that get passed around in photo circles, like, “Never shoot somebody’s portrait with a wide lens,” and the like. There was some good discussion in the midst of general mayhem and laughs.
Then, last night, Scott led me through a fast paced Q&A in between clips of the most recent video I did with Kelby Training called, A Day with Joe McNally. Scott is so sure footed, both in the video and on the set, in terms of leading the conversation, and steering it in a positive, informative direction, that three hours passed quick as a blink. People sent in some wonderful questions, and the whole thing was pretty lively. The thing that always gets reinforced to me during these exchanges is how much passion there is out there for shooting pictures, which is, you know, pretty great.
My thanks go out to Scott, RC Concepcion (who shot the above pic), Brad Moore, Nancy Masse, and the whole Kelby Training operation. I’ve done videos with the Tampa gang since the start of their online training efforts, and watched it, in short order, become literally the best resource anywhere for photo and post-production education. As an instructor, you’re able to teach well, and have fun doing it.
The video of Scott and I in NYC is going live today, so check it out here.
Looking forward to hanging with Scott Kelby and the gang down at Tampa this week. (Click on the image above.) Scott and I did a video together in NYC recently, where we started in the wee hours, right at my studio, in the equipment garage, packing the truck and talking our way through the shoot. We talk about the whole deal, from why certain equipment gets brought or not, to strategies for survival on assignment, to location difficulties and solutions. And not just the nuts and bolts. We talk back and forth about the why of a job, the choice of a subject and the motivation to put your camera to your eye in the first place. And, we wander through the workroom, checking out the stuff on the walls, the accumulation of thirty years of imagery, sprung from travels to what is now over 60 countries.
See the picture up above? I look a bit reserved, don’t I? Calm, almost. Well, as you know, it’s anything but calm when Scott and I get together, yakking as we will in the studio on Wednesday night, and also in the location video we did this summer. It’ll be no holds barred, and all questions welcome. Here’s the link to register.
During the day of the video, I shot dance in NYC, at the old Brooklyn Navy Yard, which was a kick, and something I have always loved doing. Below are a couple of shots we generated that day, one with Jonathan, an amazing dancer who uses the urban environment of NY as a springboard for his artistry, and the other with Jenny Ringer, one of the most elegant principal dancers with the New York City Ballet. Just a great day at a great location.
Hope to chat with you on Wednesday! More tk….
Leaving Moab, Utah. I’m heading home, and Moose is heading for the wild blue yonder, somewhere over Texas. With him goes the Digital Landscape Workshop Series, one of the most durable, inspirational, educational efforts in the world of photography. Moving on.
Like a favorite TV series that comes to wistful but logical ending, DLWS has staged its’ last episode. Moose, redoubtable shooter that he is, has been re-inventing himself for a while now, and sees a future up there in the skies, with the fly boys, and perhaps not as much with the bears and the birds. Not that he’s utterly leaving landscape and wildlife behind, he’s just, as all good shooters do, migrating a bit, following his eye and his heart, and seeing how his formidable skills translate aloft. He’s not really abandoning his vast legacy as a natural history shooter, he’s just adding another chapter in the adventure book.
Me, I’m heading back to concrete. It’s been a wonderful ride, being on the faculty of DLWS. I visited parks and places (and yes, rocks and stumps) that I would not have encountered otherwise. You see, no magazine editor in their right mind would think of me first to go do a story on Yosemite Park, or the great lighthouses of East Coast. (Unless they made the assignment in the afternoon, and they had belted a few at lunch. That’s been know to happen in the world of journalism.)
I always had a bit of a cheeky attitude towards wandering around a park, teasing Moose that “I never met a landscape I couldn’t make better by putting a person in front of it.” But, truth be told, it’s been a thrilling ride throughout the natural wonders of this country. I’ve actually made some good landscape photos, mostly because I occasionally had the good sense to stand next to Moose’s tripod, and peer at his settings over his shoulder.
So, now, at the conclusion of the last of these workshops, I did in fact put a person in front of a landscape. My good friend Moose, out there on the highway. A portrait that’s a bit of both worlds–standing on a seemingly endless, battered ribbon of tarmac, bounded by sage, scrub, mountains and sky. For the technically minded, this is two SB900 flash units, a white interior 24″ Ezybox, and a little skip fill off a tri-grip on the road. Good light, which is something Moose knows quite a bit about.
Be well, and shoot straight, my friend. Continue to enjoy this wander with a camera in your hands, even now, as it leads you into the clouds. More tk…
Hi from Joe….please consider today’s blog an invitation to visit Scott Kelby’s blog…..
I did a story once on Korean green grocers in NYC. Running a produce shop in New York is a tough, 24 hour a day job. To make sure the story got off to a good start, I of course needed a picture of a green grocer that, ideally, showed the enterprise, and the all night, 24/7 nature of it, and, very importantly, show the reader we were talking about New York green grocers, not, you know, ones in San Francisco, or Seattle.
After a lot of scouting, and some pretty fast talking, I got these folks to allow me to shoot their shop. Reason being, of course, the Trade Centers give it a sense of place. They of course thought I was just going to take a picture, not load up their fruit bins with flash. Which is what I did. There’s a bunch of strobes in the store, all green gelled, with a magenta on the lens of the camera. Standard operating procedure for Kodachrome.
Like many NY shooters, I go way back with the Trade Centers, now gone. I write a bit of that story today in Scott Kelby’s blog. Scott, as always, was amazingly gracious in offering me a slot for a special blog post during this very significant week.
My thanks go out to him, and all the wonderful folks at NAPP. If you have a couple minutes, head over to Photoshop Insider, Scott’s blog. More tk….