Monday, April 11, 2011

The Flash Bus - Pittsburgh - 4-11-2011

I just wanted to write about my experience at this seminar today.

To sum it all up...all I can say is WOW!  One of the best things I've bought in a long while.

The Flash Bus is a traveling seminar held by two of todays legendary photographers - David Hobby and Joe McNally.  These two guys have gone through a lifetime of photography and will most likely forget more than most of us will ever learn.  These two give their knowledge freely and anyone interested in photography would be a fool not to tap into that open faucet of knowledge.

Morning - David Hobby

David started off like gangbusters.  He has a great wit and presence about him.  I really like his teaching style.  He has a good way of bringing technical things into a common language that all can understand and relate.  He went in depth into his "lighting in layers" philosophy and had examples of some of his shoots where he used this technique.  I won't get into the specifics of it here, as I think that it is best left to him to explain.  You can learn all about it over at

What I will say is that I was going about setting up my lighting the exact opposite way that David teaches....and I can see why he does what he does.  I will definitely be trying this new way of thinking out with future shoots.  Davis shoots almost exclusively with manual flashes.

David was so engaging that even my wife thought his presentation was superb.  My wife helps with the business and is more on the creative side of things and leaves the technicalities to me...but David made all of his concepts accessible to any knowledge/experience level.

We went from 10am until about 1:15pm, then broke for lunch until 2pm, which is when Joe McNally gave his presentation.

Afternoon - Joe McNally
Joe showed why he is a true wizard with TTL.  He showed a 3 minute slide show of his "greatest hits" and then went into demos of the Nikon CLS system and how he employs it.  Joe pulled subjects from the crowd to help him demo his lighting techniques.  Guess who was lucky enough to get selected...yep...that's right....ME!

04-11-2011_TFB_Pittsburgh 2

Joe was demonstrating how to build layered lighting. I believe he used 4 speed lights in total.
There was a softbox with a strip light directly over head, a gridded snoot low and shooting up...then he blue gelled two rim lights, one each at a 45 degree angle behind me. This gave the results you see above.

But wait...there is more....I also got to hold a light for one other shot. It was a three person shot. The image was of three people holding a laptop, one light was bounced off a piece of paper on the screen and there was a red gelled speedlight behind them. I held that speedlight.

There was a lot to be learned there. Both photographers did an excellent job of giving you a taste of how they work their magic. You learn more than just lighting ratios and stuff about gear. You really get to know these guys and their work ethic and what they stand for. They talk about interpersonal relationships and how to work with clients and subjects/models. Best of can ask questions at any time.

I also wanted to thank my wife for coming along. She really enjoyed herself, learned a lot and we always work best together as a team. Best Light Photographic would not be a reality and the success that it is without that strong woman being there.

What is it that famous quote, "Behind every great man, there is a great woman."

Monday, April 4, 2011

How I Got The Shot #16 - Another Trip To The Zoo

Hello everyone!  And welcome back to another episode.  Back to the Columbus Zoo again.  This time with a concentration on Australian Birds.

Check out the details after the break...