Bus_Rider_Mexico_NS306AGirl_in_Doorway_NS307AIronman_Underwater_newAMcNally_283_G_v3 copyA copyRwanda-Pano_NS026.tif
responsiveslider_lol_02 The Language of Light DVD - More
MeetJoe_02 Meet Joe McNally - More
inthebag What’s in the Bag? - More

Archive for the ‘Thanks’ Category

LIFE Guide iPad App..

Jan 13

In News, Thanks at 3:51am

Hey guys, Drew here sharing some blogging duties from our Asian Tour stop in Singapore. Just wanted to give a quick update on the LIFE Guide to Digital Photography iPad app.  It’s featured in the iTunes New and Noteworthy list, and it’s now the #1 paid photo app!

If you own an iPad, and haven’t yet checked it out, definitely give it look…It’s basically the entire new LIFE book, plus a ton of fun video instructionals, audio content, etc.

Also, wanted to send a big thanks to our buddy Andy Szejko at Few Loose Screws for pulling off a great new blog design.  We’re having fun with it, and hope you guys enjoy the new look as well…a bunch more cool features and new site coming very soon as well..keep on the lookout!

More tk….

Merry Christmas Everybody….And Best Wishes to All

Dec 23

In Thanks, Thoughts at 5:00pm

And all best for 2011! Blog will be back next week….

More, as they say, tk….

First Off….

Oct 18

In Thanks, Tours at 7:20am

Many, many thanks to all for the heartfelt notes, stories and condolences sent over the last few days. As was often mentioned, these little fur balls come into our lives and wrap themselves firmly around our hearts. It was wonderful and emotional to read so many stories about so many people’s pets, and their lives, and how much they loved them. Hard to say goodbye, even though we pretty much know that’s what we’ll have to do. I can only be thankful, and smile, knowing now that so many who stop by this blog have or had their own Nigel:-) They are all up there somewhere, and we’ll see them again. Blessings and thanks to all……



Shot this the other week onstage at a Kelby Lighting Tour stop in Tampa. Worked with the high flying Mick, and was able to demo this as an example of high speed sync. Shot this at 1/8000th @ f4, ISO 800. Just a couple of frames, ’cause on those tour days, we move fast, and don’t linger overmuch on any particular setup. Liked this one, though.

The lights are on sticks, either side of Mick. Essentially, it is all sidelight, no frontal illumination at all.  Could have easily overpowered this dim room in “normal” operation, and shot at, say, 1/250th @ f8 or so, but wanted to demo the sync capacity we have now, which reaches stratospheric shutter speeds.

On Nikons, hi speed is enabled in the camera menu–E1 is the custom category and number. For Canon, it is a click on the flash itself. Hi speed sync is a useful tool, but not one you might wish to trot out every day, mostly because the hi speed operation requires the flash to pulse throughout the entire exposure, robbing the flash of some of it’s power. I used 4 flashes on this, and I had some surplus f-stop, so it can easily be done with two, one per side. One thing to remember–I turn the flash heads vertically, to line up with the vertical nature of the subject. Small thing, and not completely necessary, but if feels logical to me. (But then again, logical to me, is well, uncertain territory.)


The above is the type of thing we do during our tour stops. Got some upcoming, check them out here.

Fast flash for a high flyer….more tk…..

And now a word from our FNG..

Sep 27

In Friends, Thanks at 5:15am


When Joe and the gang asked me to write about my experience as the “intern” for the blog, I was pretty damn close to having a panic attack.  Exactly how do I sum up one of the best experiences of my life in a few paragraphs.. especially for all of his followers to see?  Pretty nerve racking, huh?  After countless failed attempts to start my post, all of which sounded like I was about to give a speech at a high-school graduation, I decided to revert back to why I do what I do.. why I became a photographer in the first place.

This feeling of loving what you do is displayed from each and every person that takes a step through Joe’s door each day.  I can honestly say that I have never met a group of individuals who care about their “job” as much as those with whom I work beside.  We all bring everything we have to the table to make what we love possible.. beautiful imagery with meaning.

I must say; however, that they did have their fair share of “fun” with me.  For those of you who desire that internship opportunity with Joe.. you better have a strong head.  If I wasn’t such a tough and manly dude, I would have shed a few tears throughout my stay (thankfully I am, though).  From spending some time in a heavy-duty plastic bin, to being a carrier mule for gear, it was almost like going through a boot-camp of photography.  They tried to break me, but I think I’ve managed to come out in one piece :)


In all seriousness, words could not possibly describe my experience with Joe and his crew.  How many interns can say that they spent their very first assisting job on Jay Maisel’s rooftop photographing a ballerina? Or had the chance to spend an entire month helping with lighting workshops? Or got to personally know the photographer who made them love what they do in the first place?  I am proud to be one of those rare individuals that can say that they fall into that category.  The relationship that I am walking away from this whole experience with is something that is more valuable to me than anything on this earth (aside from my family.. and my friends.. and my dogs.. and.. just kidding Joe).


All in all, it has been an honor and a privilege to work beside such a great group of people for the summer.  It was tough saying goodbye to the big guy and his assistants, but more opportunities opened up to me through my time spent at the studio.  Aside from the intern hazing rituals, they treated me like family, and that’s what made the whole experience for me–a boss and coworkers who you can call family.  How I managed to find someone like Joe, who is  always willing to put you before himself, is beyond me, and that is a quality I will carry with me until I die.

I know this is blog post about my experience as a summer intern for Joe McNally, but it is also a huge thank you to him and his team for giving me an education and an experience that I could not have received otherwise, and for that, I am grateful.  I wish him the best in everything that he does, and I look forward to the day that we work along side each other again.

I am now off to continue working as an assistant in Newport, RI, as well as pursue my passion as a wedding photographer.  Thanks to Joe, I will be ready for anything that happens to come way.  Although my wedding site is currently being redesigned, you can check out my personal work in the mean time (www.mcaliphoto.com).

From Joe….

Way to go Cali…..nice job, even when we put you in that box in the garage…more tk….

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……