David Hobby and Joe McNally Flashbus Tour – April 4th, 2011

Yesterday, Shelley and I went to the Cotton Room at the Golden Belt in Durham to see Joe McNally and David Hobby discuss on camera and off camera flash. And all I can really say is that it was worth every minute of it. I admit, I mainly attended so that I could meet and hear one of my idols, Joe McNally, discuss flash techniques using somewhat strobist methods. Because of my little knowledge of David Hobby, other than going through his strobist blog a few times, I did not know what to expect from him. But after hearing him speak in the first few minutes, I knew I was in for a treat. The way that he described some of the methodology to approaching a shoot, the way that he broke down his formula for building his image one light at a time, made me a new fan of his.

David was the first to speak, and he spoke for nearly four hours. He showed examples of his work, his lighting diagrams, and some of the tools he uses to get the results he delivers to clients. One of his favorite tools happens to be one that I have been using for sometime now, the orbis ring flash. However what he does with it is not what many people use it for, he uses it one of his primary fill lights!

He also uses a lot of lumiquest softboxes and some honl modifiers. Well luckily, we carry all of those things at the store. So if you are curious to know more about his setups and some of the modifiers to help you become a better speedlight shooter (or vivitar shooter), than come down and ask for me or Shelley and we can show you some cool tricks we learned at the workshop.

As for Joe McNally, well I would pay to watch this guy talk about soap operas! Whatever he talks about he makes it fun, interesting, and informative. He was there to discuss using off-camera ttl with multiple lights and different modifiers. But before I go into that I have to give a little shoutout to his grips, they were actually quite impressive. Whenever Joe needed something, it was ready for him before he even asked for it, and they had a good sense of where to place the light, even in a tricky location such as where we were yesterday.

But back to Joe. Joe McNally is one of the greatest photographers who have ever lived. What he has done for photography could not be summed up in one book or even a dozen. He has written two of the best imformative, honest, and humble photography books ever, The Moment It Clicks (My FAVORITE OF ALL TIME) and the Hot Shoe Diaries. If you have not read them, get them, we have them at the shop and you will love them so much you will sleep with them and make them breakfast in the morning. Well Joe teaches without condescension and knows that you have to make many mistakes before you can make one good image. He uses his knowledge of light to help your in-camera ttl meter render fairly accurate results.

Now I have to admit, I was not a big fan of ttl metering, especially off-camera. But back when I was doing off-camera ttl, I was using Canon. But now that I have switched to Nikon (one of many reasons being tutorials from Joe McNally doing things with Nikon’s flash system that you cannot do with Canon’s), I have noticed improvements in Nikon’s ttl metering. But after watching Joe’s workshop, I now want to get back to off-camera ttl shooting so that I can play around with the auto fp sync speed, as well as let the camera do some of the work for me. Something that both Joe and David talked about what using TTL when shooting off-camera flash during sunsets and sunrises. They both use AV mode to let the camera adjust the shutter speed to account for the ambient light and not the flash power. GREAT GREAT TRICK!

So, if you want to know more about some of Joe’s tricks come on down and talk to us. We can show you some of the tools Joe uses, too. Now there are a few items that we do not carry at the shop, yet, but we have plenty of items very similar to it, and at somewhat less prices.

Plus, Shelley and I are still planning on doing some workshops on lighting in the very near future, and we will be using some of what we learned yesterday in the workshops (dont worry we will credit Joe and David for everything we learned from them). But then again, a lot of what I have learned about flash in the past few years, I have learned from Joe McNally books, dvds, and tutorials, but even more from just going out there and doing it and finding out what worked best for me.

So, to sum up…

  • Awesome workshop
  • Still think Joe is the MAN
  • Whole new appreciation and respect for Hobby
  • Going back to Speedlights, oh yeah, oh yeah
  • Still not putting down my elinchroms, lol
  • BIG BIG THANKS YOUS to Geof and James for coming in on their day off to work for Shelley and me so that we could go and see these great photographers and hopefully use what we learned to make ourselves more helpful to you, our customers.
  • We carry alot of stuff from the workshop. So even though they might be sponsored from some big name internet store, we will not mention their name, you can still buy locally, support a local shop, not an internet shop. Support the guys who can talk to you, learn your name, spend time with you, and answer your questions.
  • Some of the products…. Orbis Ringflash, light mod from Honl, lightstands, boom arms, sandbags, ttl cables, su-800, ST-E2, speedlights from Nikon, Metz, Vivitar and Canon, umbrellas, giant softboxes and small ones, too. Just come in bc my fingers are sore and Im hungry.

See you soon,



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