Some FlashBus flashbacks

My husband prepared a great surprise for me. A couple of months ago, he bought the tickets for the FlushBus tour. I learned about it last week. He also made a great choice of the city- Madison, Wisconsin. Not as crowded as Chicago or Minneapolis, and there was a great chance of spending fantastic weekend biking and sightseeing. Now, that didn’t happen, unfortunately, winter decided to make another round in our part of the country, but the seminar itself was great.

It was very personal and social right from the start. We were greeted in the registration line by both David Hobby “The Stobist” and Joe McNally “Numnuts” with a firm handshake. Wow. Then, they interacted with crowds during breaks, and took questions right on the spot, when anybody thought of one. And ended with a Q and A, lasting almost an hour!

It was very interesting to observe strikingly differences in teaching styles between The Strobist and Numnuts.

The morning session was all Strobist. It was well organized, but it was a presentation of several example shots on different stages of making. It was about Ambient, Fill, Key and Accent lights, and how each provides another layer resulting in the final outcome. With pointing shadows, and how each layer affects them. It was also all about Manual (flash operation) and not as much oriented on light modifiers (although they were there). It was also slightly more interactive for questions.

The afternoon was typical Numnuts. Lack of any organization on the surface, but with internal logic nevertheless. Instead of presentation, it was a live shoot, with many previously chosen faces from audience as “heros” (or “victims”). It turned out that Joe uses the handshake part of welcoming ritual to scout faces he can use in his seminar later on. It was also very dynamic, one set-up after the other, add, change, next one. You either followed or…. just stare in awe in the final images, tethered on the large screen. No time to take notes. Nothing to note either, really. And all shoot in TTL, it either works if you dial sufficient compensation, or you move on.

There was hardly any talk about post-processing. Yes, a few questions were asked, but as neither does much of it, the discussion didn’t go far. But at one point, Strobist wen on talking about something not really about flashes, more about business strategy and his ongoing project. I think many people lost interest quickly, which is a shame. His idea of modern times editorial photography, web presence and giving to the community, it was great, and very practical advise.

I cannot say I have a strong opinion which part of the day I preferred. Both were entertaining. And there is something I took away from both. The most importnat lesson, I suppose, was that there is no recipe. You go to the studio, try everything you have, and something will work, eventually.

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