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On the fifth night, we were going to try to set the night on fire. The weather had a different idea and wasn’t as cooperative as one would think.

Flambeaux On The Beach

Try To Set The Night On Fire

Day five arrived before I knew it. Much like the trip to the Soufriére Fire Station, this is one of the scenes that I anticipated from Joe’s previous workshops. It’s a beautiful setup. A black sand beach just after sunset. A thatched-roof cabana surrounded by flambeaux. A lovely model in the midst of it all.

The lighting for this environment was pretty much done for us, though. A couple of gelled flashes hid under the thatched roof, and then the main light was on a stand to camera right. The plan simply called for Joe to hand us a PocketWizard to fire the shots.

Like the previous day, this is territory for a pretty slow shutter speed. I’m at f/5.6, ISO 400, and a shutter speed of 1/15th for the shot above. As the ambient light started tanking, I dragged the shutter down to 1/5th, making it much harder to get a clean image.

That, however, was part of the lesson. Joe described handling low shutter speeds as “becoming one with your camera” and had confidence that we could all do it.

Try To Set The Night On Fire

We’re on the beach, eager for this to begin. The flambeaux are lit and the sun is under the horizon. Just as we’re ready to begin, there was only one thing missing from the entire experience – a torrential downpour. Seriously, the skies opened up and just dumped buckets of water on us.

That’s when it was time to shoot. You can see our models are dripping wet in these shots. We’re huddling under umbrellas trying to get our shots. Simultaneously dodging the rain and fighting the diminishing light in the background. The rain threatens to douse our flambeaux scene as bottles flicker out one by one.

Try To Set The Night On Fire

Oddly enough, it’s working. The rain gives us a different element, the models are shimmering and rolling in the sand. Their emotions shine through in a way that I bet wouldn’t have happened if things had gone along without the rain. In a way, it’s a bit of a bonding experience. We’re all wet and dirty, so we may as well have some fun with it.

This is another scene that I hope to try back at home. Florida has plenty of beaches and thatch-roofed cabanas, so it’s a matter of finding some local models and hoping that I don’t get arrested while I try to set the night on fire. Local cops have a tight ass about stuff like this, so you never know.

Wrapping Up The Workshop

Joe McNally Advanced Flash Workshop 2013

Michael Cali grabbed this group photo with Brian’s camera at the Soufriére Fire Station. I think it shows exactly how things went. It was hot, sweaty, and extremely fun. I miss hanging out with these people, both during our time at the workshop and sharing meals later in the evening. Brian, Katie, and Tony were outstanding folks to have as classmates. Joe and Cali were wonderful instructors, both because of the knowledge they shared and the friendly way they shared it. Our models were gracious, kind, and fun to shoot.

If it sounds like I’m gushing about the experience, I am. It’s one of the most personally rewarding weeks that I’ve ever spent. If you’re reading the articles I’ve written about my week in Saint Lucia at Joe’s workshop, trying to decide if it’s worth doing, then let me sum it up for you.  Yes. it’s worth it. I can wholeheartedly endure the entire effort without any regret. The week was full of experiences, learning, and good times shared with wonderful people in a lovely setting.

What more would you want from a week of your life?

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