The Flash Bus Tour With Joe McNally and David Hobby – New York

by Mike on April 9, 2011

(My fine-art portrait of David Hobby, a.k.a. the Strobist. TMZ paid me $4,900 for this photo)

Last Thursday, I had the distinct pleasure of attending the New York stop of Joe McNally and David Hobby’s (a.k.a. The Strobist) Flash Bus seminar/workshop tour, and I have to say that I had a absolute blast.

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of horror stories about the shortcomings of overpriced workshops given by inexperienced-but-big-name photographers.

Nothing could be further from the truth with the Flash Bus tour. David Hobby was a newspaper-photojournalist for over 20 years, and runs the most popular off-camera lighting website in the world. He’s also just plain good with a camera.

And Joe McNally is Joe McNally. He’s shot big features and cover stories for everyone from National Geographic to Life to Sports Illustrated, and he’s a damn good writer too.

As far as the cost of the seminar goes, it was a bargain at $99.

First of all, both of these guys are funny as hell. I’m serious – they have impeccable comic timing. If the photography industry really goes down the tubes, they have a future as a comedy duo.

So even if their teaching had no substance at all, it wouldn’t have been a total disaster of a day because I was laughing almost non-stop.

The day was divided up into two three-hour sessions with an hour in the middle for lunch, followed by a joint Q&A session.

David Hobby led the morning portion, which showing how he builds lighting setups, one light at a time. In the afternoon, Joe McNally did a 2+ hour live-shooting demonstration using Nikon’s CLS system.

Both guys did an outstanding job and I picked up a few pointers that I’m already beginning to integrate into my style.

Also, they gave away some really nice swag. Every member of the audience received a bag of goodies including the following:

-$25 photo book print credit at Adorama (I spend at least this much at Adorama on prints every month)
Think Tank Pixel Pocket Rocket – $16.50 value
Limiquest UltraStrap – $8.95 value
Frio Cold Shoe – $14.99 value
-Mini Set of Rosco Gels – worth a few bucks at least
-Discounts on all Nik Software products (though the Complete Collection for Lightroom and Aperture is on sale now for just $149 at Amazon)

On top of this, they gave away thousands of dollars worth of gear, including Lastolite Reflectors, Lexar Memory Cards, Manfrotto Justin Clamps, and Spyder Calibration Systems.

$99 was an absolute bargain before all the freebies – but the complimentary stuff just made Flash Bus an even bigger bargain.

I also dropped by Adorama on Friday morning to buy a Mamiya 645 camera (which I’ll unfortunately be returning on Sunday), where David and Joe were having a meet & greet. I spoke to David for a few minutes to thank him for putting together an affordable and fun educational experience. He’s one hell of a nice guy.

I’d love to see these guys continue the tour next year, perhaps bringing along Zack Arias to join in the fun.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ingrid April 11, 2011 at 9:50 am

I am so sorry I missed you, Michael! Glad to hear you enjoyed the show, er I mean workshop.

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