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Archive for the ‘Videos’ Category

Many Thanks…

Nov 17

In Friends, Videos at 6:46am

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.

The Language of Light DVD Page Is Up!

May 23

In Videos at 5:12am

Thank goodness. It’s been a long, but fun road. It has been out for a while, of course, circulating around on this bus thing:-) But Drew, the gang here at the studio, and our friends over at Few Loose Screws, really took some time to work on a great page that has trailers, pieces of lessons, and just about everything you could want to know about the new DVD…check it out HERE, or, if you’re reading this on the blog, just scroll right and click on the Language of Light image up top for more info.

From one light to a whole bunch, from an empty white wall in a studio to busy locations, we push the envelope of small flash, emphasizing the big three of light–color, quality, and direction. None of the pix are post-processed. The stills in the video are shown just as they dropped out of the camera. Win, lose or draw, it’s all on video. Along with some madcap bits, guest appearances, interviews, and a special tech section from former Nikon tech rep Anne Cahill, who is a lot more coherent and logical at explaining things than, say, me.

“Owning this DVD set is like having Joe right there with you as you learn. I highly recommend this for anyone interested photography!!”Chris Schaecher

“Whether you are a beginner or advanced, amateur or pro, he talks your language….Whatever system you use, you’ll be able to apply this knowledge and put it into practice with much success.”- Brad Matthews

“What I really appreciate is the process by which Joe builds on the initial concept, and improves, tweaks, changes, and corrals the light to make the final image sing.  Lots of instructional DVDs present a lighting concept and a final image, but not the successive approximations that are required to get from point A to point Z, the final image.  And for me, that’s the ultimate inspiration contained in ‘The Language of Light’.” – Steve Wylie

Enjoy! And to the folks who have seen it and sent comments, praise and critique our way, many thanks…..more tk….

Shadows on the Concrete….

May 16

In In The Field, Travels, Videos at 1:01am

Hey gang….blog’s been, well, a little light lately. Truth be told, I had a hard book deadline to meet, so I shot 13 portraits (none of which I can show here quite yet) in 17 days, then jumped on a plane and headed out to California for a Digital Landscape Workshop Series stop. Whew!

In between finishing the portrait series and coming out here, I managed to spend a wonderful day with Scott Kelby and a video crew from NAPP. They started in my studio, and my garage, and shot everything about that day in the field from the conceptualization of it, to the lens selection, to the packing of the truck. In between we took a tour of the  studio workroom, and talked about pictures, from the ones we were about to shoot to the ones hanging on the wall. I’ve got some of my own stuff up on the walls, but we are blessed at the studio with lots of work from other shooters I have known for many years. And we talked about it all. And then we talked and filmed some more while driving through traffic into the city. And then some more, walking around, assessing the location. And then some more, while shooting. And wrapping. A whole day in other words, from packing the lights to using them, from shooting the job to going back home.

The above is the kind of stuff I shot, which is to say the kind of stuff I’ve shot in NYC for thirty years. A day in the life of a shooter. It won’t be out right away, as they’ve got a bunch of editing to do, but it should be a fun class to take a look and have a listen to. One Quadra flash, with a honeycomb grid. That’s it. One light, high angle, done deal.

Many thanks to Scott and the gang for hanging in the Big Apple for a day. Nothing like shooting in the city……more tk….

Introducing: The Language Of Light

Jan 30

In Videos at 8:59am

At the studio, we’ve been, well, busy. A big reason why revolves around this announcement, dovetailing with the announcement last week of the Strobist/Numnuts rolling speed light extravaganza, otherwise known as The Flashbus. (You’ll want to ping DH’s blog, BTW. Big news over there as well.)

We jumped into this project last summer, and have shot and edited pretty intensively since then. A lot of flash stuff in this 2 DVD set. From studio to location and back again, we show f-stops, shutter speeds, setups, break downs (mostly mine), things that didn’t work, things that did, and just about everything in between. There’s also, ahem, guest appearances, and interviews. And an ongoing ramble through my brain (be careful what you wish for) about why light is good or bad, and the thought process one has to engage in when summoned to shoot either a face or a place. How to light it? How to speak with the light? How to describe a scene or a person best to someone who is not right there with you as a witness. Storytelling light, in other words. Descriptive, fluent, ornate, simple, TTL, manual, rich, gelled, clean, warm–you name it–we use it, show it, and, most importantly, describe the thinking behind it.

Tomorrow, Monday, 9am EST, the Flashbus ticket sales go live. If you are digging that idea, and want to join us at a stop along the way, head that way ’cause the DVD is available discounted along with the tickets. Adorama is the exclusive distributor for the DVD, so to jump on the bus, hit the Flashbus site, and follow the path for bundled ticket/DVD. Below is a taste of the recorded mania…..

If you’re not able to join us on the tour, stay tuned for an Adorama URL to get just the DVD. More tk….

That Kelby Clan…..

Feb 23

In On Location, Videos at 8:10am

Had a blast last week with the gang from Tampa out at PhotoShop 20th anniversary in San Fran. Though a couple folks let me know that no one out there refers to their fair city in those terms. It’s either full blown San Francisco, or just simply, SF. Okay. Nicknames or no, it’s still a great place. We dovetailed with the Kelby Online Training video team, led by the intrepid Scriv, and shot a new video. We had great fun, and great subjects.

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How can you not like a bunch of guys who sing nothing but Leonard Cohen songs, acapella, and call themselves a Conspiracy of Beards? When they perform, they are 30 strong, but we were happy that 4 of the guys showed up at the Java on Ocean Coffee Shop.

I just wanted to put the camera down and listen, I tell ya. No instruments, no music, just the power of their voices. Jeff, the guy with the gray beard, smiled and said, “Yeah, load in’s a bitch.” (They just walk into a venue as they are and start singing.) They were great to work with, and Hossam, the owner of the shop, not only makes great coffee and killer deserts, he couldn’t have been nicer about letting us shoot in his store. You know how some people understandably get nervous when they see c-stands, wires, power packs walking in the door? None of that. He was totally cool, and we got good pix without driving too many folks crazy.

_jm49153-blog

Used big light sources for these pix. Shot both with two Elinchrom Quadra heads, each with their own power pack. For the lineup, the lights are in the street, and we stitched together swatches of diffusion for the window. This should make for good video. Window was so big we were taping everything we could think of to block the straight sunlight from pouring in. Used Lastolite one stop diffuser material, tri-grips, bits of the local newspaper, concert posters, you name it. I stopped just short of going into the mens’ room and stealing the toilet paper. For the table pic above, the light source is just over my head, a 3×6 Lastolite panel, rigged horizontal, with the two heads popping through it. Shooting multiple faces close together, soft, wide light sources are the way to go, at least most of the time.

Been having a lot of fun shooting the Kelby videos. I shoot every shot as if it’s for a portfolio piece, and sometimes I fall short, right there on video. But that’s the nature of the location beast. Sometimes you da window, sometimes you da bug. But I keep looking and talking as I go, trying to find solutions that work.

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This one worked pretty well, also shot recently for an upcoming training video. Big light in the background, hot shoe flash for the foreground (30″ Ezybox Hotshoe Softbox) on a paint pole. In between…smoke! And another light way camera right, gelled and defining the far wall. When working in a space like this, sometimes your light has to not just light the person, but define the space.

Enjoying doing the tours stops for the NAPP gang as well. Now wait a minute here fella…you’re actually saying you enjoy having every single frame you shoot pop up on screens in front of 800-900 people? Are ya stupid or just plain crazy?

No, I really do enjoy them and feed off the energy of the kindhearted (mostly:-) people in the audience. It’s hectic, and while I have a game plan, I do riff around pretty continuously. I’ll say to Drew, hey, you know, we could do a double exposure in camera right now, don’t you think? Drew will just roll his eyes and adjust admirably.

But we do move fast. In NY, we made our model look these three ways, in, as they say, a NY minute.

Corporate….

corporateAthletic…

kelby_tour_nyc_0166Fashion…kelby_tour_nyc_0262

The three above were shot mostly small flash, with a bit of big flash for the fashion shot. As I recall, anyway. At the end of those days, I am a wet noodle, and really sometimes ask Drew when we are reviewing frames, “How did I light that again?” Sheesh…

Got some dates and stops coming up for this year already….Philadelphia, 4/7Denver, 4/28 …and Sacramento, 5/7…we’ll be knocking it back with all sorts of flash techniques.

Last week in SF was great. Anytime I can head out there, it’s a good trip. Did some shooting, found a ballerina in the woods, went to the PS20 deal. I had no business being there, but hey, nobody said anything. As I tweeted the night of the fest, they rejected my idea of the Jennifer Aniston slider, which makes everybody beautiful and appealing, at least for a while:-)

Nor did they accept the “Lindsay Lohan Transform Tool,” which puts a dull glaze in everyone’s eyes. Even bounced back my notion of a Tiger Woods plug in, for, I guess, their own reasons.

Gotta go…packing for Dubai….more tk….