Different Locations, Different Skills

Path photographer… or, in my case, generalist. A generalist is loosely defined as “a person who offers a wide range of diverse skills and an astute mix of knowledge from multiple disciplines.” Being a photographer, my intelligence level can sometimes range from frigid to lightning fast – depending on the day. So a more apt and reliable analogy might be the utility infielder on the ball team. Can’t play any one position very well, but I can fill a number of positions with a reasonable level of competence.

Generalist skills were sorely needed on recent trips. I left home for Norway on February 16th, reaching northern Norway, then southern Norway (if such a thing really exists), and then Romania. Head home for a one night laundry trip, and from there to New Orleans. Basically, forty days straight on the road.

Be taught an amazing workshop with friend and photographer Tamara Lackey and have fun with our amazing and adventurous photographer On the Lofoten Islands – where albatrosses rule the skies. Shot with Nikkor 180-400 f4, 1/4000th, zoom at 310mm, eye-detection AF auto mode. What a bird, it’s coming right at me. Follow and track from unstable RIB ships.

Bird portrait! Flipped the TC on the lens and got to 500mm, ISO 3200.

From the northern island of Lofoten to Stavanger Foto in southern Norway. Amazing time working with Andreas and all the staff, and especially the photographers out on a cold day! Human portrait! With Profoto lights, big and small. For below, I’m using a B10XPlus unit and just remotely blasting it at a window we’ve covered with impromptu diffusion. I put the light away from the window in this situation because I think when the resulting spotlight finally hits the building, it looks and behaves more like daylight. (Not a scientific observation, just a hunch, like, it seemed to work pretty well when I did that.)

Work with Mickey! Micke Johannsen is a Profoto staff member with boundless systems knowledge. The folks at our workshop asked us to create a multi-light setup with the beautiful Jaumela Wiseman. Have fun with her doing her best Catwoman in the old abandoned steel mill look. There are lots of lights here, but the highlight is the Profoto 4′ Octa with grille.

Then, a brief example of flash duration and how it activates the flash and blur techniques.

Then on to Romania! On assignment in the city of Bucharest, I was there less than 24 hours and found myself atop the Arcul in the Triumf, one of the most famous monuments in the entire country. There at dawn with Valeriu Valentin, whose job it is to change the flag several times a year.

And a trip from there to Sofia, in Bulgaria, where I photographed models in super-small water tanks for illustrations of La Fantana, a beautiful-minded, up-and-coming water supply company.

The great thing about this project is that I worked with my dear friends at Fast Idea Production, led by the creative forces of Ionut Ionescu and Andrei Marinescu. Between them and their production staff, nothing is too big or too small. We only tackled the work in concert, and the assembled crew spirit (we shot the video simultaneously with the stills) was over the top. Great energy and friendship around this collaboration.

From the water tank in Sofia back to Bucharest, and, as is so often the case with ad shoots, an overnight adventure. Below, was shot at around 1:00 a.m., and needed daylight. Strobe out on the road. Main light inside.

And then to NOLA! Music abounds, for both the young and the old. More pictures, and sharing thereof. Our workshop group, thanks to the amazing duo Liza Politi and Ari Espay, who run Fancy Girl, Street Boy Productions, were introduced to The Roots of Music, a fantastical music education endeavor for young people in New Orleans. Great to photograph these kids, and send pictures back! Below, the band warms up, and photographer great David Maloney shares his newly created portrait, below, of the subject.

Exciting journey, many locations. Lots of pinging on multiple skills. Tracking and long lens. Lighting portrait. Get up on top of the building at sunrise. The water tank works, with flash lights above, below and behind. Creates daylight at night with flash. Revolving with the music scene in Big Easy.

Whatever skills you have in your bag, you take them wherever the drawing goes.

more tk.

The post Different Locations, Different Skills first appeared on Joe McNally Photography.

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