The Flashbus comes to town…..

Today I had the privilege of spending the day in the company of two of my favourite photographers, David Hobby and Joe McNally. They are currently touring the country together on a hectic schedule and hitting 29 cities in just under 50 days, a daunting schedule, but getting to strut their stuff in front of a lot of audiences.

More after the jump…….

They hit Houston today, at someplace called the Ayver center on Richmond. My wife and I got there nice and early, but that didn’t help. It turns out the Ayver center is more of a banquet hall for weddings rather than a conference center, and it really showed. The session was late starting due to “technical problems” such as trying to find two 9′ screens for the projectors. No stage lighting, so our hosts looked like horror film extras all day and the sound system, well, it just wasn’t. The whole setup had a cobbled together feel, which distracted from the content. They had to keep turning the A/C’s off so the people in the back could hear, which was really annoying as it got pretty damn sweaty on occasion. Tip for the next time for the organisers, get some local help in finding an appropriate venue.  A decent place to hold this session is not hard to find in Houston!

David Hobby opened the show with a very good summary of his workflow. He is a very good communicator, getting his message across very well. Although a lot of the off camera flash newbies rapidly got left behind, I really enjoyed his approach, (AFKA) starting with the getting the ambient nailed, then adding lights one at a time for fill, key and accents. He boils it down to basics and if you get it, it’s a very simple, straightforward approach.

After lunch, it was McNally’s turn. Slightly funnier, and equally effective, flying by the seat of his pants. It was strange watching the old master perform. He cropped arms off his subjects and kinda lost the plot occasionally, but when the magic came together, you could see why he’s had such a successful career. He got a bit testy, like an old uncle, but he was very forthcoming with his answers to questions.

The goodiebag was OK. I really appreciated the cardholder from ThinkTank and I’m sure the Frio will be useful when it arrives. I’ve already put the Lumiquest Ultrastrap to use, and the Rosco gels are very welcome.

Adorama’s presence was a let down. All you could do was order stuff to be shipped later, no stock on hand. The “show special one day only” prices were a joke. Most stuff was only marginally discounted and a quick search found quite a few things at the same price or cheaper online with free shipping. The Lumiquest Ltp that they were promoting at a “good for show only price” of $49 is $6 below average retail. And Lumiquest has the same $49 price on their website. Yeah…right. Needless to say, we didn’t purchase anything at the event. I might have been tempted by the Ltp and the DVD’s, but without instant gratification there won’t be a sale.

Was the day worth $99? Despite the lousy venue, amateurish setup and poor merchandising, it was absolutely worth it. I got to ask some questions and see some of the thought processes of two very different professionals who I have learnt a tremendous amount from. I took away some of their determination and a modicum of inspiration, for which I am very grateful.

More to come………..

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