The Gear-Saving Reflexes of a Pro Photographer

Photographers do a lot to get the perfect shot, and sometimes even put gear safety above personal well-being in dangerous situations. Here’s a fun video photographer Joe McNally posted showing him getting knocked over by a longboarder while trying to capture a shot. Notice how he holds his position long enough to snap the pic, deftly moves his camera to his other hand when falling over, and immediately checks the photo when he gets back up. True pro.

  • Angie

    That was such a graceful fall!

  • Daniel Austin Hoherd

    I don’t think he’s checking his gear… I’m sure he’s confident that the camera is OK, and is checking his shot to see how awesome it is.

  • Daniel Austin Hoherd

    I don’t think he’s checking his gear… I’m sure he’s confident that the camera is OK, and is checking his shot to see how awesome it is.

  • Ken

    Why is his flash pointed back over his head?

  • Happy Tinfoil Cat

    Photographers heal, cameras and lenses don’t.

  • Keikiplate

    Why would a person get in the way of another just for a shot? Selfish Photographer.

  • Anonymous

    Uh, this was not a “pro” moment. He’s supposed to shoot the story, not be the story. He could have hurt that guy. I would have been more impressed if he got out of the way instead of insisting on getting the shot.

  • bonka

    Agreed, what reflexes? The boarders skills saves the day. He’s probably on a wide angle lens, and thought the boarder was gonna swush right past him. 5 inches to the right probably also would have gotten him a boarder without the expression “Dude, WTFFFF are you doing in the middle of the road!?” in his face. ;) Nice fall though.

  • Tyler Webb

    I’m thinking a man who has been shooting for as long as Joe has, and especially one that has repeatedly emphasized the power of shooting portraits at the wide end knows where his subject is in relation to himself.


  • robocon

    Just a guess, but he could be triggering remote flashes. When the flash goes off, it looks like there are other flashes going off. Creates more depth to the lighting.

  • Joe

    I’m willing to bet he’s there to shoot the guy on the skateboard. You know set up shot. This is a part of the gig.

  • Anonymous

    I mean, it’s always cool to be in a situation where you don’t put the life of yours/others at risk and at the same time getting a great photograph! Apparently that’s just not as fun to him.

  • Jhracer3

    Looks more like a douchebag moment to me. He deliberately stays in the way until the boarder hits him, messing up the run. And that fall was anything but graceful. And I’m not sure how it took amazing reflexes to save that camera. Why are we supposed to be impressed here?

  • Photosophy

    Looks to me he was positioned to catch the boarder in a drift (which the boarder clearly begins in the video) but he catches on dryer pavement and clips McNally.
    He would have gone past just fine if he could have maintained the slide.

  • ac

    The boarder grapples on to Joe at the very last moment, possibly because of a wall of sorts, behind (hence the backwards flash). Don’t make ignorant comments such as “he could be killed! selfish photographer”, etc. I understand completely what kind of shot Joe is going here, and I understand the actions of both the boarder and the photographer. No one is at fault here.

  • Thisismyspamaddylol

    justified beat down imo

  • Thisismyspamaddylol

    justified beat down imo

  • Kbledsoephoto

    I completely agree with “ac.” For all you know, that shot probably was planned. For all of you saying that he “messed up” the skateboarders “run,” that’s BS.

    Also, any good photographer knows that to get the “great” shot, it’s best to take an interesting angle. Often that means getting in the subjects face (or in this case, getting in front of his long board) and risking your equipment or your own personal safety. Maybe I’m just thinking that the above comments are from PORTRAIT photographers, but any photojournalist out there knows that this is what you must do to create an interesting, and inspiring, photograph.

  • Chudez

    lots of comments castigating Joe McNally, but an 18 second clip doesn’t give me enough context. i don’t know if it was a live sporting event or a deliberate photoshoot with the objective of getting as close as possible. without that context, any judgment rendered is flawed. the only correct observation was aptly summarized in the post: photog standing his ground until he gets his shot, then reflexes protecting his slr

  • 18silver

    I was fortunate enough to have attended Joe’s workshop the weekend he was in Vancouver, when this happened. It was a planned shoot, the boarders and Joe were working together. The slide went a little wide and bump! No biggie. Cheers.