Joe McNally’s “The Pointe Shoe Mysteries” has arrived with the third installment in this fictional noir murder mystery storyline where ballerinas across New York City have been turning up deceased. This third installment video takes us to a cemetery where detective Nik has been given a tip that something sinister is happening—strange music and ghostly apparitions of ballerinas have been appearing. In this surreal twist, Detective Nik continues on the case.
Joe McNally’s Setup
- Tether Tools Air Direct Wireless Tethering System
- Tether Tools Air Direct Arca Clamp for L-Bracket
- Tether Tools Aero Table
- Tether Tools Aero ProPad
- Tether Tools Aero SecureStrap
- Tether Tools Aero V-Mount
- Tether Tools ONsite D-Tap Battery
- Tether Tools ONsite AC to D-Tap Power Supply
- Nikon Z7 FX-Format Mirrorless Camera Body
- Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Lens
- Profoto A10 Off-Camera Flash Kit with Connect Flash Trigger for Nikon Camera
- Profoto A1X On/Off-Camera Flash
- Profoto B10 Plus Off Camera Flash (OCF) Head
- Profoto B1X 500 AirTTL To-Go Kit
- Avenger 40″ C-Stand, Silver Steel 33 Kit Stand
- Phase One Capture One Pro 20
- Nikon Z6 FX-Format Mirrorless Camera Body
- Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens
In this particular scene, Joe takes us to a local cemetery where he will be shooting at night to capture the moody ambience needed to capture these zombie ballerinas. Once again, lighting is particularly important for this shot, but with the challenge of added elements.
The cemetery is lit in three different layers. The first layer is lit using 2 A10 lights and an RFI Softbox to bring out and accentuate the characters within the scene. The second utilizes B4 lights and blue gels to flood the scene; providing depth to the smoke and fog rolling in the shot. There is also A1s used to light up the tombstones. For the third layer, Joe uses additional B4 lights to light the surrounding trees. The combination adds depth to an otherwise flat shot.
Joe explains how the addition of uncertain elements such as the smoke and fog that will play a key role in capturing the shot. He mentions that elements like smoke and fog can’t be controlled—unsure of where the fog will be moving being the first challenge. In addition, timing of the ballerinas jumping will also be uncertain to capture. With the combined mixture of the natural exposure of the sky, Joe is faced with a major challenge—being able to capture all of these elements into one dramatic shot.
“When you have uncertain elements such as fog, timing, a set that goes 50 yards deep, and exposure, it’s all about backlight and reviewing images again and again.”
With the help of the Air Direct, Joe is able to review his images as he moves along his photoshoot. Tethering into Capture One, Joe and his team make the necessary adjustments to capture the image he envisions. It’s a crucial piece of his nighttime photoshoot that he review the images in real time in order to get the mood and vision just right.
Watch the third installment of “The Pointe Shoe Mysteries” Night of the Ballerinas as Joe walks you through his thought process, setup and execution in this grim (and fictional!) series.
Note: No ballerinas were harmed in the making of this photoshoot series.