Leaving beautiful Venice. Great week, as one would expect in this incredible place. Last year, when I taught here, we wandered in as a group to the Ostaria Sora al Ponte, a small eatery at the foot of one of the myriad bridges. I literally can’t recall laughing that hard, that long. The gentlemen who run the place, Marino and Mario, should take their more than slightly tipsy act to Vegas. They would be headliners in a heartbeat. Marino runs the front of the shop, Mario cooks. Collectively, they tipple their way through the day, laughing, tweaking, debating and generally disapproving of their customers if said customers appear cautious, quiet, sober or don’t want any dessert. If you are wise, you go with the flow and get into the spirit(s) of the establishment, and kiss your sobriety goodbye almost immediately. Last year, I barely ate, though I remember drinking a lot and laughing even more.
Well, we did it again.
Jonathan and Marzia of the VSP Workshops and I threw caution to the winds and wandered in there. About the same time, a lanky redhead walked in with short shorts, legs long enough to get an NBA tryout and killer stilettos. Marino immediately began telling her his legs were better than hers’. Naturally, photographically speaking, I joined the debate.
Of course, Marino insisted on further comparisons.
Photographically speaking, I figure my legs are about plus 3 EV. (Photo by Jonathan Maher) Recalled a time, many, many moons ago, when a bunch of us were in Las Vegas for the Larry Holmes-Jerry Cooney heavyweight bout. What you did back then was shoot film tests, soup it at the local lab, and eyeball the results before the fight. We were all hanging around poolside when the test Ektachrome arrived, and various shooters pulled out their loupes and wanted to use my back for a light table. Ouch!
The observers of all this silliness were of course the regulars. I believe I remember these faces from last year. In fact I’m not sure any of them have ever left the bar.
Next morning, up at dawn and in the Piazza San Marco, where we photographed a decidedly more beautiful pair of legs, those belonging to the lovely ballerina, Francesca.
Many thanks as always to Jonathan and Marzia of the VSP workshops, who create a wonderful environment for a workshop. Also, a huge thank you to Marco Tortato, who represents the photographic division of Vitec here in Italy. He helped us with everything from Gitzo tripods to Manfrotto grip equipment to Lastolite diffusers and Skylite panels. Our class was stylin’ to be sure, thanks to him and his generous support.
In Madrid airport now, pre-dawn. (What else?) On the way to Dubai to teach at the Gulf Photo Plus. An amazing workshop with a great group of instructors. (I think everybody in the Strobist community should chip in a buck or two and charter a 747 to Dubai for David Hobby’s classes. In between my schedule, I’ll be slipping into the back of his lectures, Chase Jarvis‘, Bobbi Lane, Ben Willmore….you name it, the list goes on.)
Speaking of Chase, I owe him several beers and a steak the size of Texas. He graciously took over my first class as I am running late to Dubai. After leaving Venice, I have been off the internet and kind of out there a bit in a mysterious land surrounded by a yellow border:-) Many Thanks, Chase!
Carlo M says
Thanks for posting the ballerina shot. I was waiting for that one… It came out great… when you get a chance can you post the setting/set up for the shot…
Good luck in Dubai!
Ken Anderson says
This could have set American/Italian relations back generations………….
Nigel Walker says
Joe, What was an initial disappointment to be informed by Gulf Photo Plus that your first class was cancelled due to your prior arrangements was amply rewarded with a fantastic backup up by Chase. If it wasn’t for missing your class I couldn’t have got to see Chase, which coinciently was excellent. I’m really looking forward to your Workshop tomorrow – thankfully it’s a relatively short flight from Italy so hopefully you wont be too jet lagged.
Mark K. says
Couple of points:
* Use my back as a light table… *snicker snicker* Aye, sonny, yes that translucent Irish top layer could be used as such.
* The McNally gams…um….uh, thanks for sharing. I think.
* The Ballerina in the Piazza. Jaw-droppingly fantastic. Lordy that’s gorgeous.
Travel safe, Joe…
Joe, it took me two days to stop laughing at the leg display of that evening but when I look at the picture there is something that is not quite right and I am not talking about the difference in F stops from leg to leg. Then it dawned on me: it’s your attire…. next year I’ll get you the full drunken sailor hat and jacket to help you blend better! Thank you so much for another truly amazing and inspirational workshop! Working with you is an honour and a true pleasure.
Joe McNally says
Jake, Elwood and the King, huh? Always knew you lived in a classy neighborhood. But then again, it’s Jersey. No mystery. Yeah, the Irsih skin thing. Annie’s got the same curse. We always joke if we ever had kids they’d be like those models in biology class, completely clear, so you can see the veins and everything:-) Made it to Dubai. No idea what time zone it is in my head….Joe
Ken Anderson says
Sorry to be a pest. Was wondering if you had received an email from me to the email account you replied to a question I asked a couple of weeks back? Spam blockers being what they are I thought I would check on this channel. If you have and there isn’t any interest, or you are too busy to reply, i fully understand. You must be inundated! Happy to provide information on the UK’s badly lit bars that might entertain male middle-aged leg contests!
Bill Bogle, Jr. says
We used to call legs like yours out of bounds stakes, like the ones that surround the borders of golf courses. They obviously are challenged by the introduction of natural light.
Great pictures though.
William Chinn says
What redhead…. can’t prove it by that picture! If there are legs, there must be a face.
David Hobby says
Regarding your post above:
I think I am going to have to recalibrate my monitor after that legs shot…
Joe McNally says
I know, I know…talk about a white point….
I can’t tell you how hard I laughed after reading this post. This story bumped Venice up two spots on my list of must sees… Even if the food is only half as good as the ambiance I will have to visit Marino and Mario. Thanks!
Jim Roelofs says
Thank you for sharing your life, pics and inspiration.
Wishing you many, many Attaboys, Jim Roelofs
Jutta Devere says
I love Sonny With A Chance, I’d have to say my favorite on the show is GradyZora, I’m hooked on the show! Thanks for your post!
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