Apr 12, 2011

Flashbus: The good and the bad.

Not since DeNiro and Pacino...
Let's cut right to it. The coolest thing I learned at the Flashbus tour in Buffalo last Sunday was how David Hobby lit this photo. (I'm not sure that I'm allowed to show his work here, so I'll err on the side of caution.)

Answer: he threw some fishing line over a rafter, tied it to a $6 Japanese lantern globe, and stuffed an SB-800 into the globe. Heave ho. Don't know about the sync, but I'm guessing he avoided changing power locally.

Very cool.

David Hobby and Joe McNally were both great. They were accessible and fun, and knew their audience well. Ostensibly it was a battle between Manual and TTL flash, but it was really just an exploration of what to use and when to use it.

What I liked...

  1. They were funny. I'll go to a convention on Post-It adhesive if the guy can lay down a few zingers.
  2. They made mistakes. I love to see that pros can screw up, too. Who cares?
  3. There was good swag.
  4. Hobby: 99% of the world couldn't care less about "catch lights" or (gasp!) bokeh. Damn. He's right.
  5. Watching McNally evolve a snapshot into a magazine-worthy double-truck.
  6. Photoshop? As Mr. Hobby said, "Kelby's class is down the hall."
  7. I somehow defied the odds and bought absolutely nothing from Adorama's drool-table.
What I didn't like...
  1. Too many questions allowed in medias res. This broke the flow of many good tutorials.
  2. Attendees who wasted time with 'user-manual' queries that could be looked up on an iPhone.
  3. My crap seat near the back. (Re: Snoozers v. Losers)
  4. The huge, mucous-ridden guy behind me, who hacked out 190 dB cackles every time an in-joke was cracked. (He was beside the two guys who whispered to each other for, umm... five hours.)
  5. The crappy burritos at the "Mexican" place down the street. ¡Ay, caramba! Where were the wings?
(You'll notice that most of the above does not fall on the shoulders of McNally and Hobby.)

There was nothing to actually shoot, but no one wanted to be caught empty-handed. I took a grand total of zero photos, unlike the itchy shutter-fingers who used their D3s (avec 70-200mm VR, natch) to capture the ephemeral beauty of... the slide presentation.


Slide. Chickchickchick. Next slide. Chickchickchick. Same slide with some some notes on it. Chickidachickidachickidachick. It was a little embarrassing. Strike that. It was a lot embarrassing.

If you were a Nikon boy, you were in good company. (The Canon guys had their revenge, though, when Joe's CLS had a bad case of "You talkin' to me?" Like I said, it's nice to see that it happens to pros, too.)

There were lots of men in attendance—what's up with photogs and beards? A topic for another day, I suppose. Lots of Canadians. Poor Drew had a heckuva time getting footage of us in "Whoo!" mode at 10am. (I'd apologize for this, but that would just make it more Canadian, right?)

Hobby had lots to say about his new model of monetization, too. This was refreshing and welcome. His take on it is: staying local, doing your own thing, and doing it better than the other guy. We are "swimming in technology," he reminds us. There is no reason to not be out shooting amazing photos all the time, blogging them, and carving out our own path while we connect with people on nearby journeys.

Even with the hacking and the slide-shooters (seriously?) it was a more than worthy place to drop a Benjamin. Especially since Mr. Borden is worth more than Mr. Benjamin these days.

One final thought... Photodude, if you must wear the hackni khaki photo vest, could you a least drag it behind a car or something, and make it look like you get out in the field once in a while?


Craig said...

I'm gettin' a khaki photo vest for Vegas!

MikeM said...

Could I copy your shots of the slide presentation? My shots of #13 and #42 are a bit blurry.

Seriously, glad it worked out well. I'll be the guy picking your brain for more insights over beers.

Richard Siemens said...

I was at the Buffalo stop too and I'm glad I wasn't the only one whose shook his head at the folks taking photos of the slide presentation. I felt I missed stuff when I was was jotting down the few notes I did - I can't imagine what you would miss if you were worried about getting a shot of each slide.

(And then there were the gasps when a slide went by too quickly. "Oh Noes! My crappy copy of the presentation will be missing a slide!")

As a completely amateur shooter, Hobby's section on monetization did nothing for me and was really the only part I tuned out. But I didn't mind it and I'm glad that others got something out of it.

One thing I would have liked to see is Hobby working through an onstage shoot, even if it was just 5 minutes. The onstage shoots were where I really learned.

It was $99 well, well spent. I'm off to find a silk globe lantern.

JS said...

I, too, was really looking forward to a David Hobby shoot.

I doubt he exaggerates when he talks about his 10 minute shoots, but I would love to have seen it in action; maybe with a big countdown timer on the wall.

(It takes me ten minutes just to set up two light stands without the strobes.)

I'm guessing DH decided that the whole monetization-slash-local blogging topic was more interesting; especially since McNally was doing a walk-through in the second session. David is constantly thinking two moves ahead, and he is obviously very on fire for this new direction.

In my own experience... taking on interesting local jobs where it's needed (especially charity) or committing yourself to a neighbourhood blog is a killer way to improve your skills, especially if you're not concerned with money.

In addition to kicking your ass off the couch, commiting to a local cause allows you to experiment, without feeling like you're cheating the client. As a bonus, you are meeting lots of future clients, who have seen your skills (and integrity) in action.

Gotta get me one of those lanterns, too.