The Joe I am talking about is one of the masters of off camera flash and he was sharing his expertise at the Los Angeles Convention Center. It was the Location Lighting Techniques for Photographers Tour with Joe McNally brought to you Kelby Training Live, try saying that three times fast.
Joe is a highly caffeinated whirlwind of camera settings, lighting ideas and photography information and he shares it at a break neck pace. It is nearly impossible to take in all the information as it comes at you, thats why the class comes with a workbook with the basic notes written out for those of us who never take notes. But let me start at the begining…
The lighting class was held in Los Angeles, which is 120 miles north of where I live in San Diego. I know Southern California traffic is bad so I left the house at 6am. I finally made it into the classroom at 9:30am !! Three and a half hours sitting in traffic listening to the news. What a crappy start to the day, but I was finally in the room and things were looking up. There was Joe and a TON of lighting gear set up on the stage and the first person I see is Drew, Joes assistant. I met Drew when I taught at the 2009 Photoshop World in LasVegas and he is a great guy and a hell of a shooter. He took a minute out of his crazy day to show me a couple of shots he recently took backstage after a show of some friends of his. They were flat out amazing. Then he had to run off and make sure all the batteries were fresh and the stage was set. Oh yeah, he was slamming a huge cup of coffee, I think it is a necessity to keep up with Joe.
Now I am not going say that Joe has a few flashes at his disposal because that would be an incredible understatement. He has a ton of flashes at his disposal. It is like serious Nikon flash porn.
I am pretty sure that these are just the spare flashes, I mean there are only 7 of them. I’m just kidding, they have flashes set up for all of Joes needs so that the class moves along and no-one has to sit around and wait while flashes are set into softboxes and other clamps.
I took a seat on the far right side of the room and with 5 minutes to kick off, the room was full. Joe took the stage and started by showing a slideshow of some of his best known work. It is awe inspiring to see work that graced the pages of National Geographic and a huge variety of other publications. Just amazing work.
So I am not going to go through all the information that Joe shot at all day. Needless to say it was freakin amazing and I recommend that any time you get a chance to learn from one of the masters you take it.
Joe shooting with Drew assisting. One light? Two lights? Maybe another background light, add a tri-grip diffuser. Build the lighting one step at a time.
Soft Boxes, Umbrellas, diffusers, flags, gaffer tape, and a couple of assistants, I mean Voice Activated Light Stands.