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Darkness in an Urban Environment: Managing Light on the Streets

Lesson 6 of 9

Shoot: Male Model with Dusk City Traffic Background

Joe McNally

Darkness in an Urban Environment: Managing Light on the Streets

Joe McNally

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Lesson Info

6. Shoot: Male Model with Dusk City Traffic Background

Lesson Info

Shoot: Male Model with Dusk City Traffic Background

Spread your stance out, kinda superhero sorta stuff. Okay cool, that's nice. That's nice. All right, Cali, can you come drift towards me and light him kinda hard from a distance. (camera shutter clicks) All right, little weak on the flash but that's predictable. The other problem I've created, I tell you what Cali, can you switch out to the fabric grid please? Yeah. Thank you. Reason I'm switching to the fabric grid is you can see, I heated up the telephone pole or the light stanchion there, because I'm crossing it with light. Hopefully I can control most of that by introducing the fabric grid so it won't spill onto the light. Also I have to amp up the light a little bit. Now the other solution obviously, forget about that, just flip the light to the other side, which we can do, we can wait for a traffic light and Cali and I can drift out there and we'll figure it out. You want me still far back here? The trouble I'm having is this, the pole. Yeah it's cutting right? Yeah. ...

All right, let me frame up for a second. All right, now we got the pole out of the frame. Feel better? Okay, yeah, much better. That's where we'll start. Okay. All right, so now I'm gonna take control back from the camera because I wanna go to normal synchronization, get myself out of the high speed area that I'm in. High speed sync enables you, obviously, to synchronize your flash with shutter speeds that are extremely high, up to 1/8000. I don't need that right now, it's more important for me to get the most juice outta that light. And as has been said many times, okay, in the course of lessons about flash, when you go into the realm of high speed sync, you start to lose flash power. So what I'm going to do, because the shutter speed is floating on me, right, that's the nature of aperture priority, you prioritize your f-stop, your shutter speed floats around. So I'm gonna get out of that mode, I'm gonna go into manual at 250, which is the ceiling for normal synchronization, I'm gonna go to, let's call it f4, that's a dart at the wall. Ya know, we'll see what happens. And I'm on manual now on the light, so I've made significant changes here, it's still a wireless flash solution, but I've gotten outta the realm of TTL, I've signaled to the flash that it's now manual. Which means that it's power level is not gonna vary the way it does in TTL mode. So now I have the most power the flash will give me, reason being, I put that fabric grid on it. The fabric grid is going to chew up some light, so I need to kind of double back and power that light up as hard as I possibly can. Also if you look, you'll see the light is quite a distance from my subject, so I'm asking a lot of this small battery-operated unit. All right, here we go, way to go Andre. Cool. Cali, come back just about a foot. Thank you. Nice, good pose Andre, fantastic. (laughs loudly) That's a marvelous hat that woman was wearing! (laughs) Oh, we just blew that stoplight, so we have to wait for another stoplight. (chuckles) Oh. perfect, perfect. That was like I was shooting a seascape, and a large boat just went like this. Right in front of my picture. All right, here we go gang. Nice, way to go Andre, perfect. (laughs) There's some amazing people out here tonight on Park Avenue, I just... Anyway here we go. Nice. Okay we're getting there, that's as much as I'll allow myself right now, I need to get tighter to him 'cause I still got a bit of the pole, I still got a bit of stuff in there that I don't need. Exposure, basically pretty good. I'm getting to the point now though, I'm gonna have to, what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna open up to 2.8, let's make my background brighter, so let's do the math here. I just went one stop open, that means I'm no longer in TTL, what I have to do, is signal my flash to come down by one full stop, and maybe a third, because it was a little bright before. It's manual, I can do that, it's now roughly half power, half power minus a little bit. All right, here we go! (camera shutter clicking) He's kind of a tall, rangy guy so I'm just trying to emphasize his graphic nature, you know, he's got the good chiseled looks and all that sorta stuff. I'm using the egg crates so the light's sort of collecting up around his face and torso, not so much translating to his legs, so I'm trying to pop him out of that environment. All right here we go again. (camera shutter clicking) We'll take a little light out of this. Distance all right still? Yeah you're okay, here we go again. Nice, good look. (camera shutter clicking) Good look. It's amazing what color does for a photograph. Pretty simplistic thing to observe, but when the lights change and it goes to the red taillights, whole different picture. So let me see if I can get this one more time, get something decent. (camera shutter clicking) Cool, good look, way to go. Cali flip sides, quick! (camera shutter clicking) Nice, way to go Andre, cool, cool, cool. Cool. Now, look towards that light Andre. Okay. How's that feel? Little bright, but... It's all right. Yeah. The brightness I mean. All right, we're gonna move pretty soon, 'cause Park Avenue's gonna start to get a little on the dark side. But, I haven't given up yet, we'll probably spend a few more minutes here. I've got a nice profile of Andre looking down the avenue with the red lights of the city behind him. Now I'm gonna get a little theatrical, I'm gonna throw kind of a hard rim, 'cause he's got a great profile so I'm thinking like putting a hard rim off of him that has a different color. Might be too much, might be ridiculous, but your job on location like this is to experiment, so that's my next step, is see what a rim light looks, with this attitude and direction, of my model. So we'll take a look here before we abandon this location. All right, here we go. Gotta go there Annie, no you're fine where you are, Annie go back up on there, yep, yeah, three quarter back, there you go, great, okay, yep, cool. Okay, kinda move this way a bit Annie, there you go, a little steeper, great, great. Cool. Getting a little bit of flare off of that. Choo! See what happens. Could we fix up a gaffer tape gobo on that on camera side please. Getting a little bit of flare off of that lens because it's very strong and it's kinda getting into the realm of what the front element a lens might see. So we're gonna do a quick field fix on it and slap some gaffer tape on the camera side of things, shut it down, and it should eliminate the potential flare. Cool, nice. It's also very stylish. All right. Cool? Nice. Cool? Good, better, better, better. Perfect, way to go, way to go, nice Andre, nice. Okay, Annie, go more directly behind the pole, okay. Just, yeah, come on outta there, I just wanna test the backlight. Okay, just look that way please Andre, thank you. That's where you need to be, that's it, yep. So, we'll give this a try. It's actually not looking so bad. You know... All right, perfect, way to go, nice, nice. Nice. Cool. Perfect, good look Andre, good look. Way to go, way to go. Even more rotated this way please, Annie. Yep, there you go. Nice. Cool. Good, now go directly behind his head with the light, there you go, right there, let me just see how that looks. Okay, all right. Good, could you guys switch, could you give that to Annie, can you go behind Andre? Or can you get down, Annie and? Okay. You just trying to get the light? Okay. So I just want the light to curl around even a little bit more, I mean this is pretty good. So you're wanting it to kinda, I want it come around and really, really rim him, See it, like on his... you know, back of his head. All right, here we go, let's give this a try. Joe, do you wanna go 85 zoom maybe on instead of 200? Sure, yep. We're gonna widen out the zoom on that light. Spread it out a little bit. All right, here we go. Good, good, nice. Cool. Nice, Andre look more towards there, there ya go. Nice. We'll give that one more try, everybody stay where they are, remember their position, that was a really good look Andre. So I got a lotta circles of confusion, what's currently referred to as bokeh or bokeh. We used to kinda call circles of confusion, out of focus, stuff in the background, lots of concentric circles from the various traffic lights and brake lights, makes for a nice pattern, always does. Got a city feel to it, and I introduced this other color, which could be plausible in the context of the big city. All right, here we go. Ready, good. (camera shutter clicking) Good look, good look, good look. Nice, okay, we're done with this location, nice job. All right, so that's what we ended up with. It's not bad, you know, it's all right. Got some color, ya know. Nice job Andre. Oh I like that.

Class Description

In this exclusive class, join legend Joe McNally, on the streets of New York to see how to bring light to one of the busiest and most dynamic backgrounds. He'll walk through how to prep your gear, scout for locations, direct your models, and incorporate flash to make your subject stand out on the city streets. He'll discuss how to set your exposure and plan your shot to achieve the "bokeh" look of the city glow behind your model. Learn tips for planning your shoot so you're within the city regulations as well as techniques to help work through any troubles you may have while on location. Gain the confidence and know-how to photograph your subjects with flash in what can seem like an impossible environment.

Class Materials

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Ratings and Reviews

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Janis Shetley

This behind the scenes class is great for those that already have a solid understanding of how to use their flash off camera. I really learned a lot watching Joe work with the models, seeing where he put the flashes, where he stood, how he framed the shots, how he had the models move - especially in the "movement" segment. The three light segment was also interesting - I would have never tried putting the reflector on the pavement with a flash firing into it - so cool. If you need detailed instructions on using your flash and camera - this is not the class for you. If you want ideas on how to get the most out of your flashes on the street - this is it. Great class. Plus Joe is just a great teacher and fun to listen to for 90 minutes!

Benjamin Lehman

One of Joe's most magnificent qualities is his ability to be *real* while teaching a class: Is everything going haywire, or are there troublesome problems that are challenging to overcome? Joe doesn't shy away letting you, the student, realize that even the pros have to deal with constant, unexpected problems. His other strength is showing you how to persevere and overcome those hurdles; and one of those biggest hurdles all photographers run up against time and time again - Light! Joe will go down in modern history as the father of small (and large) flash photography. He's not afraid to use the entire US output of flash watt seconds on a single photo, but he's also quick to remind us that flash is a tool, and not a crutch. This was a great course for those photographers who want some experience out on the street before ever leaving their house. As you grow and learn more about your camera and what it means to be a photographer, you can always come back to a class like this and learn new things that may have seemed alien to you the first go-around.

fbuser 4d17acbc

I like the class. It is a good primer for getting an idea of some of the things that you need to think about when you are doing a night shoot. This is a quicky class Joe just touches on a bunch of stuff so you don't get a lot meat and potatoes on this class, but I found it helpful. Worth the cost.