12 Days in California: Days 5-9

Five days with Joe McNally can change your life. Joe is one of those charismatic people who can radiate his passion for photography, and the fact that he is willing to teach all willing subjects his craft is, well, quite a privilege for me. If you have never heard Joe speak, get yourself to one of his presentations or seminars right away. He is entertaining, inspiring, and his self-deprecating humor shows what a genuine down-to-earth person he really is. Joe is the "real thing." Day one of the workshop Joe presents his work and a bit of his own philosophy. In fact each morning we got a small dose of Joe's inner workings. You walk away in complete disbelief that this guy is in the same room with you teaching you how to set your white balance, the same guy who worked with celebrities, presidents, who has been everywhere and shot everything.


I attended this workshop to demystify lighting. If you are going to learn, learn from the best. Did I achieve my goal?  Was I ready for this? Probably not. But the experience was worth it. The class was large (16 people) and we divided into teams of 4 to shoot, each team had one model and we rotated shooting locations (2 locations per day). This was good and bad. I'm not so big on these "team" things not that I'm not a team player but at this point in my life I don't want to put up with people who are difficult (especially when I'm paying). Overall it worked out ok but certainly more hands on, more shooting, more iterations, would have helped me out. Did I master lighting? Far from that. Did I learn enough to keep going? Yes, now I at least know the basics and can keep working on it.

Lighting is definitely one of those "learn by doing" skills. Joe was a big supporter of "add enough light to taste" and like a master chef, he knew what to add and how to add it. I need formulas and stuff. Heck, I don't know enough about what looks good in a glamour shot to even know what to do to make it better. Duh. So maybe I needed a more basic class to build up my confidence and nail some basic setups. There still seemed to be too much trial and error for me...to many options, too many ways to do the same things. That's what makes it an art.

So here are some results for the week. Never worked so hard to get so few so-so images. That's when you know you are breaking new ground.


Gallery of all images for the week.