The Seattle stop of The Flashbus Tour
I can’t stop thinking about my 9-5 shift in the office of David Hobby and Joe McNally at the first stop of The Flashbus Tour in Seattle. It took place over the course of a far too nice day out at the Washington State Convention Center on Friday Mar. 11. It should be said, upfront, that this was an unapologetically geeky event. Hobby, wearing his trademark shorts, came out to the greet those waiting in line. There was nary a camera-less hand in sight among the predominantly male crowd.
More photos after the jump
The event was a blast. I really can’t do the humor and passion of these two gentleman justice. They put on a show, while informing and keeping things interesting. They both actively sought out questions from the audience, stopping to ask if there were any final questions before departing for a new subject. I felt like it was one of the most genuine photo lectures I have seen live. So approachable.
Hobby took two hours breaking down two images light by light. He circled the highlights. Then he circled the shadows. He walked the crowd through the light he picked, why, why he put it there and what his motivation was. The motivation is key. A picture is made and broken by the light. And though there is no wrong way to go about it, Hobby had more than a few tidbits of wisdom to share.
Like his AFKA system. Ambient, fill, key and accent. He starts off with checking out what the ambient light situation is like. Then he’s using fill to bring his minimum light level up to snuff in all the key areas he needs legible. Think the deep shadows. Once he can see where he needs to there, he finds the best key light for the job. He is fond of the Photek Softlighter II, a product I use for many of my portraits — including Emerald Comicon. Then Hobby works in some accent lights to set his subjects off from the background. If it sounds complicated, it is only to the extent that you don’t try it out! Get to work on that homework guys…
I loved what McNally had to say about not panicking when time with a subject drops from the promised hours to a few moments. To paraphrase: They give you 2 minutes when you were supposed to have 3 hours? Meh. They’re probably boring you after 1 minute. And besides, your day rate was based on oh, 2 minutes.
McNally even posed for a few pictures of his own. His crew shot photos of him as he jumped for a rock n roll guitar pose. The lights didn’t sync in the front. Thanks people using flash in the crowd. I happened to catch his blue backlights though in my view from the crowd.
Without going on for too much longer, it was really great watching McNally constantly berate his two assistants and intern as they did the live portrait shoot with people plucked from the crowd. Occasionally, McNally said, he will post a blog asking event participants to dress up. He got some willing participants. Three costumed event attendees from the crowd took to the stage. A “lumber jack,” a “Black Swan” and a woman dressed from the 60s.
Not a lot of images in this photo blog post today. But that’s okay. It was nice to just sit back and listen to two really good teachers give a hell of a lecture.
PLUS: Here are the street photos I shot during the lunch break:
Thanks for looking!