So there I was staring down the barrel of over 14 hours in modern aluminum tubes dubbed “airplanes”. Crossing the sky at over five hundred miles an hour at 30,000 feet. If you know me, you know that I don’t sit still for five minutes. I don’t even sleep like a normal person. Six, seven hour tops. I was going to have an aneurism or some other kind of psychotic episode. Drooling like my son as he gets ready to cut a new tooth. This was no biggie I had been there before. I had gotten hammered, hung over, and drunk again, that never worked. I tried to sleep, that never worked. I tried to sit patiently, that never worked. I figured out what did work on long flights was actually, work. Pile the list from the task master sky high and then before you knew it they would have to take me off of the plane kicking and screaming because there was just one thing left on the list.
Earlier this year my flight to China was this exact scenario. I chose to do something never before accomplished by me, read an entire book. That book was The Hotshoe Diaries by Joe McNally. I read his stories. His connections to the human connection. Every step of the way sprinkled with humor and, well, Joe. During the whole read, I never wanted to stop. I was actually entertained and being trained…although I didn’t know it. I had no way of verifying anything he wrote about. Not yet anyway.
Jump ahead four or five months. Back home in Washington. Up in the Cascades near Mount Baker Ski Area. A hike. A hike in a shitload of snow. Dinner with the wife and kids on a half snow submerged picnic table and then…time to play. The kids went running. I went running. And Heather sat reading a book. That was until I saw something unfolding. A scene of sorts. A girl. My daughter. Staring. Staring at a view of where her father had skied all winter long. A place she has openly discussed going when she knows how to ski better. Heather Meadows. The Baker backcountry. The Cascades. Only one problem. The sunset was fading by some low clouds on the horizon. What to do?
Open up the brain and knowledge base for a few minutes. Dust off the 40+ year old hard drive and bam. Light it like Joe would. Make him proud. Show him that I learned something. One of camera flash at +3 TTL. One AV setting of -1 2/3. One full CTO gel. One angry wife-book had to be put down to hold the flash. And one bribe. “Jade there is an extra desert cookie for you if you hold that pose.” One shot. The first shot. Beginners luck, maybe, but because of Joe McNally I had the brain power to create my sunset. Thank you Joe McNally, thank you.