Taught last week at SVA, which was fun to do. Katrin Eismann has built a powerhouse program there for all manner of visual storytelling and communication. She asked me to come in and teach PhotoShop, but I elected to talk about lighting instead. :-)))
Got a chance to work with a wonderful dancer, Paul Singh. Fortuitously, one of the SVA studios has a door leading to an old fire escape, and an array of very large windows. ‘Tis the ongoing cruelty of Manhattan that such an array of windows never sees direct sun and yields a view of crumbling brick and mortar mere yards away. So, go out on the fire escape with a paint pole, a tri-flash and three SB 910 speed lights and make the sun.
Jon was out there with the lights, and I controlled them from camera via an easy angle my commander flash had to fire out the window. The rotating capability of the tri-flash enabled those three lights to pick up the signal.
On Facebook, my good friend and fellow shooter Fadi Kelada picked up on a variation in the shadows, and asked me if I used more than one light. I was moving fast and simply said yes, it was one light. Now, a tri-flash with three speed lights acts as one light….if you put it through a shaper or diffuser. Used raw, those pinpricks of light have slight variance in their point of origin, and hence a shadow will render as a multiple. Small thing, but I always remind people of it, and now, needed Fadi to remind me!
One of the reasons I tossed off the “It was one light,” answer was that most of the time, it was. For demo purposes, and I often do this in class, we switched up to a single source, a Profoto B1, to show the difference in the feel of the light and the strategies used.
Bingo. One light, one shadow. There is a fuzzy edge to the shadow stemming from the edges of the window frames and the fact that we couldn’t get the light that far away. Jon had it safety lined, but the paint pole only goes so far. Plus if we extended it any further, we would have been lighting up somebody’s bathroom in the next building.
The room looked like this without the addition of some sort of light.
Quick solution, done two ways. Many thanks to Katrin, and to Mike Corrado and Mark Suban, at the Nikon Ambassador Program, who made this possible and trekked in from Long Island on a Friday night. And thanks to the big guy, Jeff Snyder, of Adorama, for stopping by. Everybody went to the pub after the lectures, which was probably the single most important reason I retained the attention of the audience!
Buz Bragdon says
What does “More tk…” mean that you put at the end of each post?
Thanks for everything.
Bill Bogle, Jr. says
I would have paid good money to listen to your lecture on Photoshop. I remember the Dobbs Ferry location where you used the dirty window as a diffuser, and pumped big lights through it.
I would have liked to hear about the person in the bathroom next door who suddenly got the tan they did not expect. Only in New York.
[insert applause here]
Robert Dunn says
I love your work and the images you create and always jump at the chance to read about your work. You have such a great imagination for scenes and how to light them. I am just starting to get into flash work. I hope to some day become as proficient with lighting as you are. Until that day i will just keep snapping away.
Fadi Kelada says
All I can say is.. “Thank You, Joe”.. Not just for mentioning me in your blog post today, which is a privilege by itself, but for all what you have taught me throughout the years and yet still there is A LOT MORE to learn from you.
Robert Emunds says
Quick question – were you using ttl, or manual, if manual – full power? Still trying to get my head around this flash thing 🙂
Greetings from Brasil.
Fadi Kelada says
When it comes to multiple lights, all I could say is that I learned from the best in the world. Big Thank You, Joe. What a privilege!
jed best says
The afternoon lecture and slide show was awesome! A great inspiring talk.
Joe McNally says
It’s an old journalism convention meaning “to come” as in info still needing to be gathered for the story, or there will be more posts in the future..
I see this time you did not use CTO to make the light as warm as on sunset. Did you try that?
Analia Paino says
As always Joe, I remain inspired and in awe by how you transform any room/location and existing lighting condition into something that is beautiful and native to it’s surrounds. Whenever I feel a remote twinge of ‘boohoo poor me the light, location, model etc is terrible’ I slap myself around (figuratively speaking 😉 ) and think back to all the incredible pieces you look for and create where others would walk away and call it a day.
Hi Joe, always been a fan of your work. Quick question – I noticed you have started using the profoto B1’s recently, and now with the B2’s coming to market do you ever see a day when you ditch the hotshoe flashes altogether?
Joe McNally says
No, no gels on this demo. We were moving fast. In real time, on assignment, I would have warmed the light a bit, for sure….
Joe McNally says
No, never, really. The TTL and the proprietary coordination between the camera and the flashes will always be at its best when it is all in the same house. But for bigger flashes, with more power, on those days you need them, man the B1 and B2 units are excellent.
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Gaelle le berre Photographe says
Defiantly ! it is very most important information for the professional photographer just we need read out the full information or details about the latest technologies. this is form of photography is amazing.
Great insight to the way you approach a shoot, thanks Joe.