Hi Ho, Hi Ho
Back to the office I go! Although I’d rather be out studying nature and all it’s wonderful diversity. I liked this image taken this past fall in Kootenay National Park partly because of the texture contrast, but also because it represented to me the cycle of change. These limey-green baby lodgepoles are pushing up in a solid mass to replace the skeletons of their burnt parents. Why is change so hard for humans yet so inexorable in nature?
The workshop this past weekend with Joe McNally was really interesting. Although I didn’t learn a lot about technical stuff (a tall order anyway seeing as how I was starting from the level of: “How do you turn this thing on again?”), I did gain many ideas about what you can do with flash and studio set ups. I tend to like a little more structure in my learning and a definite path from A to B, but it was insightful to see a professional photographer so relaxed with all the curve balls artificial light sources can throw your way. I had no idea. Also refreshing was McNally’s disdain of The Great Pixel Race. Don’t we have enough pixels already? he lamented. McNally uses what works, and if it doesn’t work, then he duct tapes the *!#$ out of it until it does. The audience suggested that he was like Red Green, but apparently he didn’t know what we were talking about. Shame; they’d get along.
Have you ever sat back and listened to the terminology involved with flash photography? What the heck do we mean by ‘master’ and ‘slave’ (photographer and assistant, perhaps?) Are you in trouble when your ‘kicker’ fights under the ‘strip light’ with the result that the model sitting in a ‘V-flat’ looks flat? Should you break out the ‘silverboard’ or the egg crate to ‘diffuse’ the situation? There are also other hazards of the job, beyond the ‘slave’ issue: you have to be good with gels and watch out for undue ‘spill’ from the beauty dish. But don’t worry, if anything goes wrong, you can probably ‘flag’ the ranger on set, and maybe even break out a hot pack in big emergencies. Phew!
Here are some of my favourite ‘McNallyisms’ from the weekend.
Thunder Thumb – when your sorry excuse for a digitus primus bashes two buttons at once, or accidentally alters some setting or other, blame those meat hooks you call thumbs.
Long Lensing – it’s a verb! I love the continual evolution of the English language. Have you long-lensed your subject today? Did you get in trouble if you did?
Xerox your subject – when your thunder thumb changes a setting on you without your knowledge, charging your flash to full power, and you blitzkrieg your model with a nuclear blast of power from your flashes. When they can see again, they may or may continue the shoot, so be forewarned.
Kill Zone – the radius of the blast when you xerox your subject.
“This job is 90% confidence.”
“I would rather put razor blades in my eyes than do a group shot.” (It’s ok, Joe; I don’t think anyone is going to make you!)