Joe McNally

Joe McNally


On Photography

What turns you on creatively?
Getting turned loose. Having an art director or picture editor say simply, “Surprise me.”

What turns you off creatively?
Getting put in a creative box before you even start the job.

What’s your dream photo assignment?
To create a portfolio of the world’s greatest dancers in locations of my choosing.

If you could have dinner with an artist from any era, who would it be?
Michelangelo. The audacity of imagination, the scope of achievement, the voluptuous rendering of the human form is astonishing. Of living artists, Frank Miller. Now that would be cool.

What’s your favorite photograph not taken by you?
Tough. So many favorites. W. Eugene Smith’s “Minamata” work. Albert Watson’s portraits. Ernst Haas’ “The Creation”. Carl Mydans’ body of work. All are formidable. All influential.

What profession other than photographer would you like to attempt?
I’d like to be the center for the New York Knicks or a banjoist in a Celtic band.

What’s your favorite camera feature?
The new Nikon D3 has an astonishing metering system. It’s so accurate and sensitive, it really just about obliterates the need for a handheld meter. I used to go out with two handheld meters—a spot and an incident—and I was constantly juggling the two, trying to find a middle ground. Through-the-lens camera meters were easy to confuse and very prone to interpret a scene poorly. That’s in the past. The Nikon matrix meter handles an incredibly wide range of different scenarios. I can rely on it. The auto white balance is a lot smarter, too. And the bonus is that the improved metering system effectively makes the Nikon Creative Lighting System even better and more intuitive. It’s win-win for the shooter all the way around.

What’s your favorite Nikon product, and how does it help you create better pictures or help you compete as a professional photographer?
I was fortunate to shoot a lot of the D3 catalog material. I fell in love with the camera immediately. Even shooting prototypes for just a few days convinced me it was an essential piece of equipment. It doesn’t just offer a few advances here and there. It’s a quantum leap in digital picture-making technology. It opens up shooting possibilities I never thought would be available. The lack of noise at high ISO makes the camera see like my eye. That old phrase “If I can see it, I can shoot it” is now actually true. Couple that with the FX format and the new 14-24mm ƒ/2.8 rectilinear wide zoom, and we’re definitely in new territory. Clients are always demanding better pictures, new ways of seeing and more imaginative solutions. This camera helps me answer that call.

Nikon D3
  • Superior image quality with a 23.9 x 36mm 12.1 MP FX-format CMOS sensor and EXPEED digital image-processing system providing dramatic reduction of noise at higher ISOs
  • Extraordinarily fast continuous shooting of up to 9 fps at full resolution and 11 fps with DX cropping mode for fast-moving subjects
  • Broad tonal range and depth of images from ISO 200 up to ISO 6400; ISO levels can be expanded with built-in options of Lo1, Hi1 or Hi2, providing the equivalent of ISO 100 all the way up to 25,600
  • LiveView 3-inch VGA LCD monitor with two advanced Shooting Modes (Handheld and Tripod)

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