The Flashbus Tour!!!!

I know I overuse exclamation points but this is one of those times I feel it is completely necessary.

I am a grower. Weird phrasing I’m sure but the best way to explain me. I feel like I am constantly trying to grow and evolve in my life. Whether it be as a parent, a friend, a business owner, or an artist.  When you’re a grower, you’re constantly looking for ways to aid your growth. I found just that opportunity when I heard about the Flashbus Tour. Two amazing photographers and lighting magicians David Hobby & Joe McNally teamed up with Adorama and a few other super cool sponsors to create a tour across the country teaching the masses about lighting and some of the cool things that can be achieved with off camera flash.

The day it was announced I was all over it. I had the credit card out and I was ready to throw down with whoever I had to in order to go. Then my dog decided to use the restroom in the hallway, the kids simultaneously lost their minds and somehow I got so distracted I never got around to signing up that night. The next morning I awoke to it being sold out in my city (Seattle)! I was so bummed out. I posted on my Facebook page and was directed to get on the mailing list in case there was a cancellation. Days went by. I went to the WPPI (Wedding & Portrait Photographers International) Convention. While I was there I got an e-mail from Flashbus saying … you’re in. You have 24 hours to contact me before we give your spot to someone else. Amazing right? Not so much when your phone doesn’t work thanks to 16,000 other photographers using up the network. Apparently they all have iPhones. I was panicked. It took 3 hours for the e-mail to go through begging that I could e-mail my response and info in. The next morning I went to my platform classes and hoped my e-mail had gotten there in time. I stopped by the Adorama booth with the fab photographer Katie Fulton (currently working out of Savannah, GA)  so she could order a new lens. I scrolled through my e-mail and found a reply from The Flashbus! Whoo-hoo! I needed to stop by the Adorama booth and find Jeff Snyder and get my info to him. I looked up and who is helping us but the super helpful Jeff Snyder! I was able to give him my info and get in for sure!!! Whoo-hoo!!

Fast forward to March 11th 2011 … the day of. I left my home at 7:30am to get down to Seattle. Traffic being what it was, I was able to get to the convention center by 9am. Two cars parked away, a couple of girls began getting out their car. One was dressed at Black Swan … She had obviously read Joe McNally’s blog. She (unlike myself) had the guts to dress up as he had suggested. I made my way to the class only to find a HUGE line. Someone there said there  was possibly about 400 people at this class. This made me a tad nervous. I had taken a lighting class at WPPI and it was not good. I walked away from that class thinking it was just must be really hard to teach a class to 200 people. Now there is double the class size and I am about to get swallowed up in the mass of people.

I met up with fellow WA photographer Katia Hudson and we sat together. It’s so hard to describe the excess of knowledge I was able to take away. Within minutes I knew it would be worth every single penny I paid and more. It started with David Hobby AKA “The Strobist”. I am a huge fan of him and he was primarily the reason I was so excited to go. I kept finding myself leaning forward and writing everything.David Hobby believes in the layering of light. Ambient, Key, Fill and Accent Lighting. He went through the steps of how he chooses to do this and gave slides of examples. He gave information on equipment he used without every feeling like he was trying to sell something. He showed what he felt were his own flaws in previous work (where the audience basically looked at him like he was insane) and then made you feel at once like you were capable of doing such good things with lights. He then proceeded to show how he thinks outside the box and uses things you wouldn’t find at your everyday camera store to achieve amazing results. Biggest thing I learned from him was not to be afraid to try new things. Don’t be afraid to fail. Favorite Quote: “Getting your photograph should be a good time.” Indeed!

I went to a yummy lunch with my new friend Katia. Learned about her and her family. We were a touch late coming back after lunch because we had been enjoying talking over photography stuff and what we hope to do with what we learned when we got home. We walked back into the room to find everyone but us in their seats. It took us a little bit to find two seats together and then we sat down. If you think “The Strobist” was a wealth of information … Joe McNally blew me away. He pulled the poor Michael Cali (part of the crew) up on stage and made him the subject. It was hilarious and informative. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. I tried really hard to take notes but I just could not look away. I was trying to take in everything he was doing. He showed using his speedlights at a HUGE distance and the effects you can have. He lit an entire room of possibly 400 plus people with Nikon speedlights! WHAT? Yeah he did. He was funny and real and you felt like he was talking directly to you. He pulled on stage the people who came dressed up and showed even more what could be done with off camera flash. He demonstrated different techniques and explained things so thoroughly you almost didn’t have to ask questions. I laughed a lot and I stayed until the very last moment to soak everything in. Favorite Joe McNally quote: “Take your time. Take a deep breath.” I will try Joe.

I lucked out on the drive home and after dinner with a friend (Love You Denise!!!) I was finally able to sit down and just absorb what the day was like. It was amazing. It was overwhelming. It was also time to REALLY look through my goody bag. I did a little look through when I first got there but sitting on my couch with it all spread out was pretty much the icing on the cake. I can’t believe the stuff they gave. It made the value of what you got excessive.

I feel like I was sooo lucky to be able to go. There was soo much information. I knew all of a sudden that I was going to break out that SB-800 and really try to be creative. I am excited about what I learned and what I’m going to do with what I learned. If The Flashbus tour is coming to your city and it hasn’t sold out yet … get on it! It’s definitely worth it!

15 thoughts on “The Flashbus Tour!!!!”

  1. i’m so jealous! i spent too long debating going, and thus have missed my opportunity. i think next year at WPPI (because there WILL be a next year!) i need to try and get a lighting class in. i just don’t know how to use my speedlights any more than just on a hot shoe. which one did you go to that was not helpful? just so i can make sure to potentially avoid it if it comes up again next round

    1. I am going to WPPI next year for sure as well. There is no way I could stay away. I’ll send you an e-mail. I don’t want to post to the interwebs my little review on the bad lighting class.

      1. Joe is the best teacher in photography that I’ve come across. He has influenced me so much in lighting, photography and life in general as a photographer. Glad you had a chance to learn from him and David.

        1. Joe McNally really was amazing and fun! Wish I had taken your lighting class at WPPI! I heard from a CA photographer I met at the airport … your class was worth the cost of admission to WPPI!

  2. Hey Kel-

    I am honored by what all you went through to get to attend in Seattle, and certainly glad we were able to make the day worth the trouble.

    And yeah, is McNally a little insane, or what? Now you know why I go on first…

    Thanks for coming,

    1. McNally is definitely a little insane but highly entertaining! I am so grateful for the time you spent to really teach. It was wonderful getting to see you live and I feel like I learned a ton from the both of you. I really hope you guys decide to do it again in the future! If you do, consider my ticket sold!

  3. Thanks for the write-up!

    I’m attending The Bus stop in Madison, WI. I’ve been a fan of David Hobby for quite awhile, so naturally I was excited when I heard he was coming to my town. Add Joe McNally and some good reviews and I’m more ready than ever!

    1. I’m a HUGE fan of David Hobby! In fact, I’m having a fan girl moment right now since he replied to this blog. I’m sorry … let me pull myself together …

      You will love The Flashbus!

  4. Joe is a superstar. I’ve seen him live many times and he never disappoints. He just makes it look so easy.

    1. He really does make it look so easy. I LOVE it when he says … “Let’s see what happens …” It’s so hard to believe he actually means it. It does however, give you a feeling like you can have faith that a few mistakes don’t mean you’re a failure.

  5. I am so glad to hear good comments about this program. I am in Florida with no seminar close by. However I am driving to NH for the summer but leaving early so I unpack and head back to Pittsburg PA for the Flashbus Tour as Boston MA, NYC , Buffalo NY and Washington DC are all sold out Canyou tell I really want to attend this?

    1. Sounds like you’re going out of your way to make it happen! I don’t think you will be disappointed!

  6. Wow! What an amazing post? I can hardly wait for Raleigh NC. Thanks for sharing. You should be having an even bigger fan girl moment not that Adorama has linked your post on FB. Well done!

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