Man, am I whupped. I just got back from teaching the back half of a week-long intensive lighting seminar at the Defense Information School (DINFOS) at Fort Meade in Maryland.

Here's the deal. Photographers are chosen by portfolio from among the U.S. military shooters all over the world. They are sent to a one-week workshop, courtesy Uncle Sam, at DINFOS where they fan out and shoot assignments of just about every nature.

They are learning and competing - a great combo. The cool prizes (Nikon cameras, strobes, Lowepro bags, etc.,) are second only to the bragging rights for the winners. It's almost worth heading down to the army recruiter to sign up, just for a chance to get in.


In addition to the photojournalism groups, there is one group of five shooters chosen to be on the Advanced Lighting Team. That lucky group is normally taught by none other than Joe McNally for a whole week, where he works with them in an intensive, small-class environment.

Well, Joe M. couldn't make it this year, so the duty was split between myself and a former Patuxent Publishing coworker of mine, Joe Eddins of the Washington Times. He got them first and then handed them over to me. Joe had them for Mon-Weds, then I got them for Thursday and Friday. The presentations and dinner were on Saturday.

My guys had been out all night pretty late the night before, so we mercifully kept them in the dark A/C all day on Thursday and overloaded their brains for about 9 hours. Besides, Friday was coming.

When Friday arrived, we were pretty much screwed a little behind the eight ball. We needed to do a full photo presentation on Saturday, and all of the stuff that they shot with Eddins had already been shown to the main group.

So we turned in a 17-hour day on Friday. We started shooting at 10:00am, finished at 9:30pm and then edited and produced the QuickTime show until 3:00am. These guys totally rocked, and I could not be more proud of them.

I'll be putting a YouTube version up in a few days. But I have to swap the music out first.

Suffice to say that when you are choosing music for a next-day show at 2:00am the night before, copyright and DRM are just fleeting little theoretical thoughts that are not on your top ten list of worries...

Matt H., Matt L., Andy, Jason and Sean, if you are reading this, there will also be some "On Assignments" popping up over the next few weeks featuring your photos and the techniques behind them.

And you mere civilians will definitely want to check out their stuff as it pops up. We did six shoots in a day and they all yielded strong photos. Lots of setup shots, too.

Sorry if I have seemed a little nonexistent on the website this week.

I am sitting at the BWI Airport waiting to catch a plane to Florida for a week, where I'll be looking to get my first good night's sleep in quite a while and then hit the Q&A post for Lighting 102. The first real classwork will be up shortly after that.

We'll then settle into a (roughly) weekly schedule for the L102 tutorials, discussions and assignments after that.

Oh, and on behalf of my Advanced Lighting Team (The "Serial Flashers") at the DINFOS photo workshops, I would like to offer our sincere thanks (to those of you who are U.S. taxpayers) for picking up the tab.


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Anonymous Tykisson said...

I'm not a photographer for the military by any means but i do help them out from time to time inside my command so it was nice to see that you were helping our guys out.

June 10, 2007 1:13 PM  
Blogger Neil said...

Almost makes up for the US Government's huge defense budget.


June 10, 2007 1:21 PM  
Anonymous xharekx33 said...

instead of uploading the video to youtube, you could go to http://stage6.divx.com
the quality and size of the videos is way better (youtube's is just plain awful)

June 10, 2007 4:48 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

How do you get all the cool assignments? Huh? It sounds as if it was very much worth the missed sleep. Next time, do you need someone to carry your spare batteries; eh? eh?!

June 10, 2007 6:33 PM  
Blogger David said...


It's Jennifer's world. We were just living in it.



June 10, 2007 7:05 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

I'll be one of those military photographers in a year.

(Yes, I can't wait to get a chance to go to a workshop like this one.)

June 10, 2007 10:08 PM  
Blogger Steve Thurow said...

As a former military photographer and one that continues to be involved in the military photographically, I say thanks for contributing your time and your knowledge to the military program.

June 11, 2007 9:10 AM  
Blogger James said...

I'm a Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (former PH) stationed at the Media Center's Broadcast Detachment in Rota, Spain -- but I would have enjoyed revisiting DINFOS for that workshop. Go Navy, Beat Army!

June 11, 2007 2:19 PM  
Blogger efrudd said...

I'm still trying to figure out how the military shooters are taking pics of hot girls in tight-fitting clothes.

I thought they'd be out speed-lighting an Abrahams(sp)tank or guys crawling through dirt.


June 11, 2007 2:52 PM  
Anonymous Harry said...

I almost fell off my chair when I saw DINFOS on your site. I went there back when it ws in Ft. Benjamin Franklin, Indiana. I heard it had been closed and later, heard rumours it had re-opened. It was the best time I had in the military and I'm so glad you spent some time with those service folks. BTW when I went, there was no seperate photo-program.

June 12, 2007 3:30 PM  
Blogger Miriam said...

I have nothing to do with the military except, you know, living free because of it and I'm really glad they do this!

Thanks to all you guys/gals.

June 12, 2007 9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May i ask what color the umbrella is in the How to Shoot flash into the Sunset .... thank you

June 14, 2007 1:44 PM  

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