Flash Bus San Francisco

Joe McNally and David Hobby’s Flash Bus arrived in South San Francisco today for an all-day conference on all things flash. To see these two live was a big deal for me. These guys are masters!

According to Joe and David, San Francisco’s attendance was the largest yet since the tour started. I wasn’t expecting so many people to be there, but wow, was it packed!

A quick FaceTime with Suki (left). Bag of goodies courtesy of Adorama (right)

The gear table. That’s about $4000 worth of SB-900/Justin Clamp goodness lined up right there. And below, about a bazillion dollars worth of lenses. Drool.

Hey, I want my name on my Lastolite Softbox! Apparently Joe had been bugging Lastolite to make a white-lined Ezy Box instead of silver, and they finally gave in, and named it after him. Coolness.

I also would have liked to be one of the V.A.L. volunteers, with these front row seats (right)…you’ll see why in a moment.

Chattin’ it up with Joe during  a break. After reading all of his books, following his blog, and watching every video he’s been involved in with Kelby Training, it was hard not to feel quite star struck when meeting Joe for the first time. After all, everything I’ve learned about flash photography, including so much of the technique that went into last years 52 week project, I learned from this guy. Meeting him was awesome. Very down to earth, funny, and mild, yet so full of photographic knowledge and experience.  A legendary artist and a skilled teacher.

Same goes for David Hobby. Crazy cool guy, and so knowledgeable in the language of light that it blew my mind. Too bad I arrived a little late and got a pretty bleh seat. Unfortunately, the auditorium was not sloped, so it was nearly impossible to get a shot of the stage without someone’s out-of-focus head getting in my shot.

Chicken Scratch.

David started off the seminar with a great lecture about on-location lighting technique.

After lunch, Joe took over and got hands-on with TTL flash photography demonstrations. While I did learn a ton listening to Hobby in the morning, there’s nothing quite like watching Joe do his thing.

The lighting was atrocious in the conference center. Most of these shots sit between ISO3200 and ISO6400.

Joe called up some volunteers to help out with a shot that ended up involving nearly 30 speedlights. The result was, well, see for yourself:

Very cool. See the actual image on Joe’s Blog.

He’d also pick random people out of the audience and make portraits of them. Running two SB units through a large diffusion panel gave him the result on the right. So simple, and yet such a fantastic result.

A little QnA at the end of the day.

To say I enjoyed it would be an understatement!


D700 | 24-120mm f/4 VR | 70-200 f/2.8 VRII

15 thoughts on “Flash Bus San Francisco

  1. That looks awesome dude! Must have been really cool to sit in and see that in person. You are already a great strobist in my books but this must have a great chance to learn even more techniques. The setup is ridiculous!

  2. Wow! This looked like so much fun, and so informative! Flash is the next huge to-do on my learning list for photography. I know nothing about it at all. I’ll have to be on the lookout for more events like this.

  3. super cool! joe mcnally was one of the speakers at wppi. he didn’t talk too much about flash, but had very interesting stories about his prior photography gigs. glad you got to attend this – sounds really fun. Can’t wait to see your new posts implementing your new flash skills =)

  4. If you think THIS looks like fun, you should’ve been following the Tweets of the guys on the ‘bus ☺ ☺ (@jeffreypix @JoeMcNallyPhoto & @strobist).

    Oh well, maybe next time…..

    Helen Oster
    Adorama Camera Customer Service Ambassador


  5. Wow, I can tell you enjoyed it because I definitely enjoyed reading this. What creative work, and I;ve never heard of these guys. Thanks for introducing me and wonderful post.

  6. Oh man… Now I wish I went… dang it Jonathan. Dang it!!

    Looks so much more fun and interactive. I went to the Photoshop class offered by Kelby a few months ago at the SSF Convention Center too. I don’t think I really learned much but this one looks pretty fun :). Great shots! I love all of them! You are already a strobe master!

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