Fantastic models, old warehouse, legendary teacher….

What else can you ask for?

On Friday I headed up to the Dobbs Ferry workshop, held north of NYC by the legendary shooter Joe McNally. In addition to 30 years of shooting for publications from National Geographic to Sports Illustrated, Joe also conceived of and shot the Faces of Ground Zero. Only Joe could come up with the idea to use the largest polaroid camera in the world to capture the faces of one of the largest and most important stories of our lifetime.

He’s also a hell of a teacher. I was never that kid in school that sat in the front row with my hand up shouting “ooohh oohh!!! call on me!!” – but when you’re learning from Joe, believe me, you want to be in the front. I’m also 5’1″, so that helps give me a little cover as to why i’m always squirming my way up there.

Anyway…back to the day. the models. the environment. the gear. it was all just a big giant candy factory for us shooters. and joe was willy wonka.

Note to non-shooters – gear and tech talk start here, be warned (but the pictures are pretty!):

Here’s a quick shot of the first set up – 2 SB 900’s shooting through a lastolite 3×3 panel from above and one SB800, -1EV through the handheld lastolite tri-grip from below (thanks to andrew):

My shot using this lighting arrangement:


We then moved in closer to the beautiful Martina to create more dramatic light. For this set up we added one SB800 shot through a lastolite panel, which you can see held high and off camera/subject right. There is a gold reflecter being held down below.


Moving on to Valerie, a trainer at Crunch in NYC, where Joe had just met her a few weeks before. She’s unbelievable in front of the camera. These are done using the Elinchrom Octabank and a flick off of a gold reflector on the floor in front of her:


And Martina – now really…it’s hard to get a bad shot of her…




So…more to come and more exciting tools to add into the ‘ol noggin. thanks joe, andrew, drew, martina, valerie, lynn and linda…was a great day.

Valerie and John agreed!

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