I’m thankful that when I take a picture, I can still hear the shutter:-)
I’m thankful for all the fancy new gear we have available to us as photogs, even though that time honored maxim of nothing working right when you really need it to still applies.
I’m thankful I still need to shoot about as much as I need to breathe.
And, I’m thankful there still remains a direct connection between my shutter finger and my heart and lungs. The very slight activity of that finger when it assists in recording what I might perceive to be a good photograph can completely arrest, for a split second, the activity of the other two. I’m thinking of donating my cadaver for forensic research so someone can write a learned paper about this physical oddity.
I’m thankful for Lynn in my studio, who in addition to producing jobs, paying the bills, keeping us afloat, and answering the phone creates a wonderful atmosphere of friendship, fairness and frivolity at our tiny shop.
She in turn is thankful that I don’t answer the phone, because when somebody calls and offers us zero for the rights to use our work, I’m prone to use the f word a lot, and we’d rapidly not have to answer the phone anymore, ’cause no one would call us ever again.
I think I’m thankful that the reprint rights to all photos recorded and yet to be recorded by any medium heretofore, forthwith and yet to be devised that will be reproduced at some point on the moons of Uranus via holographic transmission in future millennia are so desirable. That means us camera clickers must be doing something right, because, seemingly, everything we produce is truly excellent, valuable and will withstand the test of time.
Pursuant to all that, I’m thankful and still amazed that the phone does ring and people offer to pay for that which I would gladly do for free, most of the time.
I’m thankful my dad had a Beauty Lite III rangefinder camera which I borrowed in 1973.
I’m thankful, actually, for all the crazy jobs, long hours, heavy gear, busted assignments, heartache, insecurity, overfull credit cards, flight delays, outright despair, and the general personal and professional mayhem that swirls about the act of being a photographer like a personal mini-twister. All that bad stuff is like the debris on the sides of the road of one of those post-apocalyptic movies. Stay the course, stay on the path, and it leads somewhere, like to the reward of a very occasional good picture. I’m thankful for that road, and the many lifetimes spent on it, even though I walk it now not so much in purposeful, smooth strides, but more of a broke down shuffle, kind of like Wily Coyote after an unfortunate encounter with an oncoming train. It seems a small price to pay.
I’m thankful for the gang down at Tampa, the Kelby tribe. They define fairness and decency.
I’m thankful for all the pixels, even though I don’t need anymore than I already have. If I end up getting some more, I don’t know where I’ll put them. I came into the studio the other day and a whole bunch of them were hiding under my chair.
I’m thankful Ernst Haas made a book called The Creation. At the end of a tough day in the field, just looking at it is like taking a shower.
I’m thankful for Sid and Michelle Monroe, whose wonderful Santa Fe gallery remains a place I go to remind myself of why I continue to do this.
I’m thankful to the bunch of folks who read this blog, or come to a workshop, and engage in a passionate pursuit of be being a better photographer. That pursuit is life long, and worth it.
I’m thankful that Drew, Cali and Lynda in my studio put up with me. They are terrific colleagues, and wonderfully talented.
I’m thankful Derek Jeter continues to play baseball, excellently. And I think I’m thankful, at least on one level, that the NBA season is in the dumper. That means a disappointing showing by the Knicks will potentially be avoided, at least for a time.
I’m thankful for my kids. Claire likes school. Caitlin might yet find what is very beautiful and worthwhile inside of her.
I’m thankful Jay Maisel didn’t become a painter. I’m also glad he throws the f-bomb freely. Some folks might be offended. I think it’s just creative use of language.
I think I’m thankful for Vincent Laforet’s blog, even though I can’t even pronounce most of the stuff he talks about.
I think I’m thankful for Google Plus, though I don’t know how to work it yet. I know it’s important ’cause Dave Moser at NAPP kidded that he was going to punch me if I didn’t add him to a circle. I don’t know. I might hold off just to test if he’s serious or not. On the other hand, that might be unwise, ’cause of the many wonderful things Dave is, “kidder” might not be one of them.
I’m thankful for my ten year friendship with Donald Blake in Santa Fe. His wise and mischievous face is the cover of my new book. We are now bound together, via a picture, forever.
I’m thankful I’m still able to travel into the land beyond the yellow border. The folks at Geographic continue to tolerate me. I’m also thankful that NGS photogs are largely not included in most of the conference calls, and story pitches, and all those magazine machinations that need to occur. We’re field people. We don’t do well in an office, or in meetings, for lots of reasons, including the possibility that we might actually say what we’re thinking out loud. Best to just shut up and shoot.
I’m thankful I’ve been around long enough to have known Eisie, Gordon, Carl, and Mr. Mili. And to still know John Loengard, Ralph Morse, Jim Stanfield, David Douglas Duncan, Neil Leifer, Walter, Johnny I, and so many, many legends who have taken up a camera over time. Their work is the bedrock on which we all stand.
I’m thankful airplanes generally go interesting places, ’cause I’m on them a lot.
And this year, I’m thankful for ground transportation, in the form of a cartoon decorated bus that logged 14,500 miles across this country. For all the folks who saw fit to come out to Flashbus, many, many thanks. For DH, Jeff, Grippi, Lenz, Cali, Drew and Phil–all praise.
The above mentioned crew riding on an enclosed, wheel borne metal can for six weeks also makes me thankful for air freshener.
And yes, I’m thankful for manual.
And I’m thankful for camera manuals. And for the fact I’ve really never read them.
Once, a video producer, exasperated by my antics and non-sequitur behavior during the shoot, looked at my ever patient wife, Annie, and asked, “Is there an off switch?” Her response: “I’ve never looked for it.” For her kindness, decency, patience and love, I am forever thankful.
Lewis w says
Many thanks for the man known to friends as “Joe McNally.”
Jesper Vang Skaerbaek Jensen says
I’m thankfull for having the chance to reading this blog 🙂 Happy thanksgiving to you all …
Adam Haworth says
I’m thankful for my dog Archie, I wouldn’t have fallen into photography so far without him.
Randy Aylwin says
This is so well put.
It really hit home.
Peter Puna says
Thank YOU, Joe, for being an inspiration both as a photographer and as a decent, caring human being. And thank you for the many funny and touching posts you have graced us with.
…and i’m thankful for this blogpost. =)
Bob DeChiara says
John Patton says
Beautiful Joe. You’ve expressed perfectly what most of us feel. Thank you for sharing so much. You are greatly appreciated.
Vic Schmeltz says
And I am thankful for you Joe. We have never met, yet you have taught me so much.
Wayne Berry says
Thank you Joe for all you do. You are truly appreciated.
And Joe…… I am thankful that I finally got to attend one of your workshops and meet you. You are an inspiration to many people. Not just to inspire us to be better photographers, but also to inspire us to be better human beings. You probably don’t realize your reach and your effect on a lot of us. Thank You and Happy Thanksgiving.
I’m thankful that you are equally eloquent as a writer & as a photographer.
Sam Ogden says
This pretty much sums up the year for many of us. Thanks for spending the time to put it in print. Happy Thanksgiving.
Don Koehler says
Many, many of your fans ans friends are very thankful you’re around this world. Makes things much more interesting. Happy Thanksgiving to you and the family. Keep writing and shooting.
Doug S says
Thanks Joe for being Joe. Your blog post was a great way to start my day. Happy Thanksgiving.
Sue Sikorski says
I am thankful for Joe. Whether it is reading your blog, one of your books or a watching a Kelby Training course – you inspire me. You are an amazing photographer and an equally wonderful writer. Most of all, I love your undownable spirit and sense of humour. Thank You.
Thanks for sharing. I’m thankful to be able to watch your antics and skills meld together on the Kelby Training videos and in your work.
Skip Barber says
Thank you Joe for all you do to keep us aspiring photographers motivated and learning and trying new things.
Bill Bogle, Jr. says
We are all thankful for your inspiration and work. I wish you and Annie a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Bill Bogle, Jr.
Deb Scally says
I am thankful for guys like you, Joe, whose stories and eloquence keep me smiling and inspired every day to keep my eyes open and my trigger finger ready. Great Thanksgiving post!
kyle jerichow says
Well this stole the thunder of my next letter:
but I am thankful that your Asia tour was on top of my honeymoon.
I am thankful that you and Drew are such genuine people.
I am thankful that you allow me to bug you at will.
I am thankful for the sashimi place that Drew recommended in Singapore.
I am thankful I get to attend a workshop and seminar in January of 2012.
All the best and Thank you!,
Steve Shipman says
Brilliantly put, a humble and timely reminder of good things and good people to remember.
Joe McNally says
And I’m thankful you’ll be there in Jan. hang in and we’ll see you guys soon…best, joe
Jim Collins says
Great stuff Joe. Lots of fun reminders here that the things we’re most thankful for are the things we often overlook…
Great meeting you this year as well. Let me know if there is ever anything I can do for you.
Chris Nemes says
Thank you, Joe! For staying a beacon upon a hill.
Hector Segovia says
Joe i want to assist to that January Workshop, where is it, please !!!!!!
Best Regards from MÃ©xico !
Brad Hamilton says
I’m thankful that I follow you on Twitter, and that you steered me to this post at a time when I needed it.
Charles Carstensen says
You are the best.
Dan Bailey says
Joe, this is such a great letter, and not just because it’s the generally accepted, appropriate and “right” kind of blog post to write on the day before Thanksgiving. No, it’s wonderful because it’s written with an insight and true conviction that we all know is genuine, and because we can all relate to it, even if many of us have never even planted our feet anywhere near your shoes.
Love the part about the pixels and the lack of an off-switch.
Happy Thanksgiving, and best to you, your family and your crew.
Paul Hara says
You sir, are the Mark Twain of photography!
I’m grateful that I stumbled across your name somewhere and have become a huge fan in the last few years. Hopefully you can make it back up to Canada again.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family and friends.
Dennis Oder says
And I’m thankful for all the knowledge that Joe McNally passes on to us photography lovers. Happy Thanksgiving!
Joe – I am thankful for you and hope the off switch remains a mystery…I am thankful for how much you give. All year long.
Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving.
John O'Neill says
And we, the readers of this blog, are thankful for Joe McNally, for sharing his knowledge of photography — both techniques and creative inspirations — and for doing so with style and grace. Happy Thanksgiving.
Ahmed Sharif says
thanks to you, I’m now a strobo-maniac!!
you helped me become a become a better photog, Joe!!
gary smith says
I’m thankful for Joe McNally who educates and inspires us to keep moving forward with our photography. Oh, and to not take things so seriously all the time.
John A. says
I’m thankful that you decided to pick up the pen (err.. keyboard) along with your camera. I’ve learned so much over the years from you and continue to do so.
To quote a silly hairband from the ’80s, “its not what you got, its what you give” …and you give a lot.
I’m also thankful for the new book you wrote and am thankful I have a Christmas tree that it might appear under this year. Also thankful for getting to attend the Flashbus tour with you and Strobist, that was one of the highlights of my year.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, and thank you!
patrick PAPOUGNOT says
Joe’s last message is the very reason why despite 10,001 bad pictures, I take a decent one when all that could have been wrong, went wrong. Photography is an Art, not a science, and there is no more human activity than to take and share a good picture with somebody.
David Bundy says
I am thankful for Joe McNally who took me and a handful of college students to his hotel room to review our portfolios until the wee hours of the morning at the Eddie Adams Workshop two decades ago. Still headed in the right direction. Thanks!
I’m thankful of “shoot what you love” because it changed may way of making photographs.
Gregg heckler says
Thank you Joe, that touched my heart. I’m thankful I have someone like you with so much experience to draw from and to inspire me to never get lazy.
Sam English says
I too am thankful for Joe McNally…the blog, the books, the Flashbus tour, the shared insight, the humor and the inspiration…..thanks, Joe !!
Amen to Joe
Mark Catizone says
Thank you for all the inspiration. If only I can achieve a small fraction of what you do as a photographer, I will die a happy man.
Bill Griffin says
I think I speak for all, Joe…. We’re thankful you think about stuff!
Again, one more of the guys who I wish was my friend..
All the best Joe..
Steve Wylie says
Thanks, Joe, for everything you do for us hacks out there, trying to be better photographers. You’re an inspiration to us all, on so many levels. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Monico Havier says
I’m thankful that Joe can tell a story by capturing a moment in time only 1/125 of a second long as well as with words like he shared in this post. With so many ways to express ourselves it’s always nice to have someone of Joe’s monumental talents showing us all how it’s done. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Joe. And Happy thanksgiving to your family and crew.
Ray Spencer says
..and I’m thankful that I have had the chance to absorb a bit of the McNally wit and wisdom. Dobbs Ferry always rocks!
PS – Your wife Annie’s response is oh so perfect
Jon T says
Every now and again you write something that shakes me.
This was another one. Thank you.
I hope I get to meet you one day in person – because I shall give you a big hug.
Wow great words! Going to read again in a moment!
Patrik Lindgren says
I´m very thankful for your continuos insights that you share with the rest of us. And i´m very thankful that you exist, cause you are a true inspiration in so many ways.
Very well said. I’m personally thankful to YOU for the inspiration your work provides to me and to so many photographers who love this craft and art.
Thanks for being so unpretentious, approachable, and willing to share your knowledge and experience with us mere mortals.
Graham Thoburn says
Good read. Joe if you didn’t take pictures you would have made a fine Canadian bush pilot! Your life and thoughts and antics are much the same as a pilot. That’s what connects me to your humor. That and a camera of course. I love the blog. Cheers GT
I’m thankful for you Joe, because without you I would have never found the light 😉
Have a safe, warm, and Happy Thanksgiving and don’t forget to wear the elastic waist pants to dinner LOL.
Steve F says
Nice. Thank YOU!
Very inspiring words. Thx
wow that was awesome! 🙂
and also, thanks to you for being my greatest inspiration!
I’m thankful to you for spending time sharing your insights into the world of professional photography. Great blog!
I’m thankful that Joe McNally continues to share his photos and words with us.
Mike Daniel says
I am grateful that a good friend sent a link to your blogspot. I enjoyed your post. Thanks Joe.
awesome! can’t wait to read more!
Jay Mann says
I am thankful that there are people like you who give so selflessly so that the rest of us can improve our craft. One morning in Iceland, I asked you how you could maintain the 14 hour a day schedule working with us for 5 days in a row. You looked me straight in the eye and said “Jay, you came all the way to F—g Iceland, you deserve my full attention”
Cindy (Cali's Mom) says
I am thankful that you are part of my son’s life. You are a very special person!
Dianne A says
And, I’m thankful for a superb photog who is confident enough in his craft to teach and show us how he “makes the sausage” and to call himself “numnuts” and to laugh at life’s foibles. You’re a real pro, Joe. Happy Thanksgiving.
Thanks for all you bring to all of us who love what you do and strive to do it as well as you!
…and we’re thankful for you, man! Keep it up.
Joe, I’m thankful that you exist, and continue to be ‘you’. Your influence & inspiration mean more to me than I can ever really put down in words – I hope my images tell the full story.
Happy Thanksgiving, Joe! We’re all thankful for your insight and willingness to share it… 🙂
Frederic CHELMAS says
Superbe Joe, quelle classe !
Tu es un trÃ©s grand photographe mais aussi un grand homme,
si tant est que quelqu un en ait doutÃ©.
Merci Ã toi pour ses superbes photos !
Sorry for my English it looks like French !!!
Thanks for all your creativity, humanity, and so on…
Sherwin Dela PeÃ±a says
Thank you for being an inspiration and setting the bar of what a successful photographer should be.
Lee Ann says
I am thankful to you for putting it out there everyday and writing about it so perfectly.
randy baran says
thanks for a career that inspired this great column. pixels hiding under your chair! they become like children to a father goose, don’t they?
Pascal SauvÃ© says
After reading your latest blog entry, I was left with the same sense of wisdom that was imparted to me after absorbing “Desiderata” for the first time.
Joe, thank you for your passion. Please keep going and please realize it’s okay to occasionally make the wrong turn at Albuquerque – heck, sometimes it’s downright fun 🙂
Steve Burns says
And we, well most of us, or some of us, or just me am thankful for all that you have shared with us. Have a great Thanksgiving!
Ian Loomes says
Joe, we are ALL thankful that you do what you do, and that you are willing to share your vast knowledge with those of us who strive to become better photographers. Can’t wait for your new book (had it on pre-order at Amazon since the day it was announced). Please keep doing what you do. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, and to all at Joe McNally Photography.
Thank you, Joe Mcnally.
Thanks for a great day at the Chicago stop on the Flashbus tour!
Tom Marriage says
Thankful for all the great photographers that are so willing to share their talent like Joe, Scott and David.
Cameron Davidson says
Your post brought a smile to my face. Thanks Joe!
Joe, happy Thanksgiving… I’ll echo what was already said… I’m thankful our paths have crossed and you continue to inspire me and so many others to pursue this craft with passion…
Joh Leach says
Thanks for coming to St. Louis on the tour and putting a “Human” face to what some consider an enigma. It was worth the drive for me and others. Your visual perception can make subtle changes in the flow of life’s understanding on this little blue rock.
I am thankful that after 29 years
I’m still in this crazy profession.
The people I have met and the
experiences I had, I would not trade for
Also thankful that my daughter took a
photography class in high school, of which
she said, “hey this is not as easy as it looks”
Keep the blogs coming Joe!!!!
I’m thankful there are people like you that inspire and astound us! You style and wit in writing humors me, and your style and grace in shooting wows me.
Hannes Uys says
Moving Joe! I may have moved a few inches.
And I’m grateful for your generosity and expertise, humor, and tireless blogging. You inspire me!
Mario Plouffe says
Merci, Joe de partager tes connaissances, tu es une source d’inspiration sans fin. Un Ãªtre exceptionnel.
Now in english
Tank you Joe to share your experience, you are an inspiration Wotherspoon no ends. Ã€ gentleman.
I watch your’e video your books and it’ s very inspired
Save the planet, the only one with Joe McNally
PS. I Hope to see you in Montreal one of these days… Or i take my car and go to the next Flash Bus Tour.
John Given says
I am thankful for the knowledge that Joe passes on so freely!
Thanks to you for all the teaching. See you on Monday in Lausanne, Switzerland at the course. Alexander.
Ps take warm cloth, its really cold here.
Tom McKean says
I’m so thankful for knowing you for your wonderful sense of humor, and for your passion for photography. And I’m so glad Anne has not found the switch to turn you off. I like that very much.
Gary Martin says
Beautiful thoughts and funny words Joe..I’ll say it again..You crack me up..Very Happy Thanksgiving to you and the family!!
Joe, I speak for myself and many others; We are thankful that you share your knowledge, experience, and wisdom with us!
Joe, we all are thankful that you are a heathy man and you can continue sharing your thoughts and things with all of us! Thank you so munch!
All the best from Munich
C and I
Murrieta Wedding Photographer says
Truly inspirational words by an amazing photographer, photojournalist, storyteller, ARTIST
we don’t have thanksgiving here in Germany but if we did, I would be thankful for your blogs, books and being an all round motivating person who like JoeT says “we are thankful that you share you knowledge with us”, who is not afraid to speak his mine and drop the f-bombe.
Hope you and your family and crew had a great thanksgiving.
I’ll add my vote to the crowd for A Big Thank You sir, you the best Joe!
Diane from Michigan says
I’m thankful for you, for the way you write, for you amazing sense of humor, for your decency and creativity and talent, for the way you share, for the way you treat us as your friend, for your incredible talent! Oh, and for that cartoon-decorated bus that made its way to Michigan. That was an wonderful day!
Blessings to you and your family!
I am thankful for Joe and his books, I learned so much about small flashes that I am much more confident now that I can handle any situation thrown at me.
I am thankful also for this very sincere and human blog post. The most moving point was this:
…and asked, “Is there an off switch?” Her response: “I’ve never looked for it.
Hannes Uys says
And we are thankful for you Joe.
Dennis de Jesus says
I know this is a little late for the occasion, but I am thankful for a company like Nikon and being introduced to the Nikon D40. That was my first camera and for discovering you Mr McNally on how you inspire and take everyone into this great journey on discovering how great life and our world is through the craft of Photography. I thank God for people like you who truly is genuine in helping others reach their dreams to not just be good but great. Thank you Mr McNally.
Steven King says
“…looked at my ever patient wife, Annie, and asked, ‘Is there an off switch?’ Her response: ‘I’ve never looked for it.’ ”
An amazing picture of love painted in a single sentence. Beautiful. Moving. Inspiring.
Thanks for sharing Joe!
Prateek Dubey says
One of the most inspiring pieces I have ever read.Thank god you are a human being like the rest of us, and thank god you are grateful.
Joe Mc Nally is a human being like me. Yippee….
Thank you life. Thank you Joe
jim mcd says
Joe: Like so many others, I’m thankful for your blog, books and open sharing. You’ve a great sense of humor, humility and skill (s). Again, thanks Joe for sharing/teaching the rest of us. And taking time for the rest of us.
Brisbane Wedding Photography says
There are a lot of things I am actually thankful for. I am just so thankful for everything in my life. Photography has helped me see the beauty in this world, no matter how simple things are.
kelly borgman says
You are the best, I loved reading the above especially the last part where your wife has never looked for the off switch.
Al Hart says
The cost of the first book was bad enough. Now though, I’ve bought two more books, one DVD, one softbox, a C stand, two umbrellas, a reflector, a diffuser, two umbrella holders, and two SuperClamps. I’ve also been brainwashed into buying three Pocket Wizards and two brand-new SB-910s.
Listen McNally, either stop writing or send money!
-al hart, farmington hills, mi
Alex Carrasco says
My copy of the creation just arrived at my doorstep, I ordered it after saving this post in my personal hall of fame, with Zack Arias’ transform and other gems of the net. I thank you for this post Joe, and for all the inspiration you continue to give us through the years, it is much appreciated.