The Language of Light - Volume Two - Download
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The Language of Light - Volume Two

In this highly anticipated sequel to The Language of Light Volume One, get a glimpse inside Joe’s thought process as he dissects a location shoot. It’s an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at more advanced uses of light in the field. Now that you have the “how” and “why” of simple lighting mastered, we crank up the volume and add more speedlights or strobes. It’s an entertaining ride as we take our problem solving skills and a whole bunch of speedlights (and some big strobes) on location. We’ll revisit some basic concepts and techniques, but now apply them in a much more complex fashion. In this edition, the video camera floats through the action as a shot comes together, capturing the musings, conversations, and the never ending adjustments of location shooting. It’s not as nuts and bolts as the first edition, and it takes the tools and lessons of The Language of Light Volume One into much more complex realms of using speedlights to good effect on location.

Tapping Into Small Flash

What do you do when your subject is a world-renowned dancer, Baakari Wilder, but your location is a dimly lit theatre? Some of your own tap dancing! Just kidding. In this segment, watch Joe work his way through plenty of challenges in a smoky, drama filled theatre and wrangle control of the ambient light, back light, and most importantly, capture the feel of fluid motion. The dancing is complex, but the lighting keeps pace with the talented dancer and the shifting smoke.

Interview with John Loengard

"I was very honored to speak with John Loengard, one of the most intelligent and insightful photographers, picture editors and authors in all of photojournalism. His wit and wisdom always carries the day, and he has been an enormous influence on my development as a shooter, along with many other photographers who had the good fortune to work for him." - Joe McNally

Small Flash, Retro Glamour

Here we take a lovely fashion model styled with an "old-Hollywood" glamour look and play with the juxtaposition of her posed in a ramshackle basement locale. Oftentimes on location, you are at the mercy of the sun and vagaries of Mother Nature. But why wait for the sun to cooperate, when you can create your own ”sun” using four speedlights outside a window? Thing is, you either have to work with the daylight or fight it. Once you gain control of the light and the scene, then the fun starts.

Small Flash Up On The Roof

Buckle up for some highly advanced techniques in this segment. We construct an elaborate rooftop lighting scenario using 14 small flashes, count ‘em, to showcase a beautiful ballerina placed in the midst of some very cool urban architecture. Starting with the main light, we walk through the location of each speedlight and how Joe builds the set with lots of gels, grip, and TTL wizardry. It’s definitely the deep end of the pool, as Joe triggers thirteen remote flashes with a single commander.

Interview with Lindsay Silverman

"The dean of flash! Joe I always refers to Lindsay Silverman of Nikon as "Obi Wan," in reverential tones. No one knows flash better, and Joe I feels very lucky and honored that he contributed some thoughts for this video." - Joe McNally

Small Flash, Big Window

Say you have to make an environmental portrait of someone in a wonderful, but busy setting. Tricky part is that the centerpiece of your room is a giant window - so the background is a very large window, which becomes a very large blown-out highlight. In Small Flash, Big Window, we explore a technique known as "hi-speed sync" to gain control in an otherwise difficult exposure. Learn about the benefits of this technique, as well as some of the tradeoffs if you go down that road.

Glamour Sunset

When the sun is rapidly fading, and you only have a few minutes of usable slivers of light remaining, staying focused and moving quickly is critical. In this segment, watch as Joe works with a fading sky and turns it into a vivid sunset and our "retro" looking model to play with color and a bit of shimmery motion blur. Even with an impromptu wardrobe change (the mode...not Joe), he achieves success and squeezes out a few shots just before losing the light. One of the lessons here is keeping your head and your eye in the camera until the light is really, truly, gone.

Dancing in the Dark

Here we explore the notion of continuous flow, using tracer lights with our very talented dancer, Baakari Wilder. It's not easy to capture the blistering-fast movements Baakari can makes with his tap shoes. However, it's the perfect time to use a technique known as "flash and blur," where we use big strobes and continuous lights to illustrate the speed of movement and freeze those astonishing tap moves. Here we use two separate flash pops to start and finish a lengthy exposure, where the dancer literally "paints" his moves with lights that are attached to his arms and legs.