What a great weekend!! For the past month+ I have been like an 9 year old kid waiting to go to band camp.. well maybe not that excited, but close! Over a month ago the news of the Flash Bus came out. One giant bus, 2 photog icons, and off camera lighting.. all coming to Portland!! I couldn't pass up this opportunity to see, in person, two men and photographers that have molded and shaped what I know about lighting and photography. I Immediately contacted some other photog friends of mine to posse up and car pool it up to the event.
If you have never heard of David Hobby or Joe McNally you may want to check out their work. Both have been around for awhile and you may have seen some of their work without even knowing it. Either way, when it comes to lighting for photography they have a mixed bag of techniques, gear and ideas, but each other's style compliments the others and from that a TON of knowledge can be gleaned. Lets not forget that heaping helping of a "Whose line is this anyway" comedy element that they both have as well. If they had a "scenes from a hat" bit at the event I would have cried happy tears!
Enter the Flash Bus! A giant bus packed with tons of equipment, lighting, and knowledge. As of the beginning of March the bus is making it's way around the US in the hopes of teaching and sharing lighting knowledge and know how. At this point it may be too late to snag a seat at the event as they sold out pretty quickly, but you can still check out their site and see if there are any seats still available.
Anyway, what did I take away from the even besides a swag bag, some photos and getting to meet the two icons in person? A TON of re-evaluation and "get-it-done" know how. First.. I should mention that I am one of those kind of people who likes to over think stuff. That is, until I have have done it once or twice.. then I realize that "HEY, that was easy.. maybe next time I don't need to worry about bringing 300 other solutions." That is kinda how I have been going with my lighting. I have a lot of different things to add and modify lighting in my photog utility belt and knowledge base, but a lot of the time that can can cause more problems then good.
What I learned from David. In one word.. STRUCTURE! It can become very daunting when you get more then one light into a scene. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration. His slow down, take a breath, one piece at a time approach makes it easier to really understand lighting and build a solid foundation towards a good photo. I needed that reminder.. to slow down and build slowly. In a world of instant this and that, gadgets everywhere, flickr, twitter, youtube.. it feels like you get pulled in every direction. Hearing him speak on how he built the lighting in his scenes, his techniques and ideas re-ignited the original, creative, lighting candle that used to burn brightly in my mind. That candle became snuffed out quickly when all the rest of the world got pilled on top of it. Now it seems it never got snuffed out at all, but rather burned a hole through it. So thanks David for reminding me how and why I started to get into lighting and how a well crafted photo is not as complicated as I make it out to be.
What I learned from Joe. Joe is an amazing guy. I feel like I can relate to him on a lot of levels. He is funny, does goofy voices, moves quickly, and isn't afraid to be that "crazy" guy that everyone talks about. Give me some coffee and a lot of those same things happen to me. Put into a situation where I am getting amazing photos and it can happen doubly so! So what did I learn from him? Two things.. Having fun and being tenacious! I try to have as much fun when I am shooting as possible, but he reinforced how much and why that is so important. It was him behind the camera and us in the crowd watching. We were not involved while he was shooting at all, but yet I was having as much fun watching him as I think he was having being a smart ass and making great photos. He also spoke about how tenacious or "go-get-it" he is. From what I have read in his books and blog I already knew that about him, but feeling/seeing that in his voice, his mannerisms, his actions.. kinda felt like a punch in the gut. It is hard to be brave sometimes, but without the desire AND the tenacity to do the things you want it can make moving forward near impossible.
So there you have it. A helping of structure, A pinch of improv/comedy/fun and a dash of tenacity can make a wold of difference in your life and your photography. I had one heck of a great time and would do it again in a heart beat. Thanks guys for coming to PDX!