Birthdays, Heresies and Watt-Seconds

Strobist turned two this weekend. And while I will admit that it is not yet completely potty trained, now is as good a time as any to announce some upcoming changes.

What to expect in the coming year, after the jump.

Looking Forward

In upcoming weeks you will no doubt notice some changes. They will be welcomed by some, and poo-poo'd others.

This site started out in 2006 as a small trail of bread crumbs for photojournalism students and young pros on how to use their shoe-mount flashes a little bit better. It was designed to fill the gap between what they taught us about light in PJ school, and what we needed to know in the real world.

But over the last two years it grew into something way bigger than that. It became a place where people gather to learn about light. And believe me, I have learned more in that time than any of you have.

Given that we have spent two years digging very deeply into what kind be done with a small kit of speedlights, there is a growing danger that the site will just become a circular, self-derivative discussion. And since excessive inbreeding (especially the intellectual kind) never did anyone much good, it is time to shake things up a little.

Starting in year three, we will be expanding our coverage area into all kinds of off-camera flashes to see what we can learn form the photographers who use them.

(What the...?)

Why? Three reasons:

First and foremost, the beauty of learning to use your speedlights in manual mode means that every single skill you acquire is translatable to the larger strobes. That's such a cool thing, not to having to learn a whole new skill set just because you are moving to a larger powered light. And many of you are making (or have already made) that leap.

(That alone is reason to expand your speedlight abilities beyond TTL systems such as CLS and eTTL.)

Second, the vast majority of what is being done with big strobes today is translatable down to speedlights. And easily so, since you understand the 1/1-, 1/2-, 1/4-power thing. And as such, it is crazy nuts not to take a close look at those guys and see what we can learn from them.

Third, if you want to improve your game in any arena you really need to learn to look beyond the genre in which you are operating.

Here's how I thought while I was at The Sun shooting with light for a newspaper:

Say for the sake of argument that I was operating on a theoretical level of, oh, 20 on a scale of 1-100. Say the hot shots at the bigger papers were shooting in the 40's on the same scale. If I merely looked at what the other newspaper guys were doing, tried to learn from them, and partially succeeded, I might end up in the 30's. If I were lucky.

But if I looked at the very best people in the photo world, the 90th-percentile guys, learned from them and still failed to totally get it, I might end up in the 50s' or 60's. Kinda weird, granted. But that is the way I always thought.

So from here on out, I am going to make a concerted effort to expose you to some of the hot shots in the business in the form of reverse engineering exercises and "guest" On Assignments.

I don't care if they are using speedlights, Profotos or magnesium powder. Light is light. And we may as well be learning from the folks who are working at the highest levels.

If you have any particular favorites, leave me a URL in the comments. I cannot promise I can get them, but I can promise to look into each suggestion.

I will be translating the big lights down to speedlight-speak wherever possible. Because that is where most of us are working. Look for the first one in that series to appear later this week.

Speaking of shooting and "On Assignments," that is what you most requested on the last reader feedback post, so that is going to be given a higher priority. I want this site to be the place for the next-gen folks to learn about light that us older farts never had.

If you are a high-end pro and you are reading this site, I will very likely be hitting you up for a chance to pay your early mentors back. Or, more accurately, pay them forward. I cannot promise you riches. But I can promise you some serious, industry-wide traffic to your site. And I can also teach you what I have learned about search engine optimization for shooters.

And, as I have officially gotten bored silly with not being a regular shooter after eight months, I am back in the saddle. I will be shooting some jobs for The Sun (call me, Chuck) and would be very happy to be in the rolodex of any of you dear readers' various publications.

To that end, I have put some photos into my Zenfolio page, with appropriate contact info for possible location people jobs in the Baltimore, MD, area.

So if you are reading this from your scanning station (or, better yet, at the picture desk) of an editorial publication, I would be much obliged if you would take a moment to enter me into your system of stringers as Your Man in Baltimore. Of leave a note on the appropriate colleague's desk.

Having been a kept, in-house shooter for 20 years, this photographic dating stuff will be new to me at first. So I am going to be jotting down my "lessons learned" in the occasional OT post in the hopes that it might be helpful to some of you in similar positions.

I also have started work on what I think is a very special self-generated project. There will be more on that, soon. So between those two shooting venues, my OA's will be coming back, too.

And speaking of OA's, remember the Old Masters post from late last year? We are gonna be using those guys as a way to sharpen our reverse-engineering skills while we get our culture on. After all, they were the first quality reverse engineers of light. In short, look forward to some interviews with some dead guys in the mix. They have good stuff to teach us.

If that's not enough, we still have two sections of Lighting 102 to finish up. And then we'll be doing regular, real-world assignments as a group. I might be able up the ante a little to make it more interesting. I have a few ideas.

And finally, for those of you who are interested, some stats from the year that was:

Over the past year ending April 5th, 2008, there were 503 posts, which received a total of 14,540,459 page views from 1,493,505 different readers from 208 different countries/territories. Heck, we even had one visitor from Antartica who read 8 posts over a span of 21 minutes.

Thanks for a wonderful year, and I am very much looking forward to learning along with you during the next.


(Handy flash photo at top by Ecatoncheires)


Brand new to Strobist? Start here | Or jump right to Lighting 101
Connect w/Strobist readers via: Words | Photos

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Anonymous Zeke said...


I've been reading since just about the beginning and loving every minute of it. You've shown me the light and made me think about photography in a different way.

Thank you for that and more.


April 07, 2008 12:55 AM  
Anonymous Jason Hill said...

Thanks for creating and maintaining a top notch website. Just a year ago, I was a struggling amateur. Now thanks to the Stobist I am able to do off-camera lighting projects for various models and businesses in my areas. For that I am forever grateful.

You have a reader for life here.

April 07, 2008 12:56 AM  
Blogger KerryG said...

While this may tweak out a few hard-core strobists, I look forward even more reasons to visit this site every day.

Kerry Garrison

April 07, 2008 1:03 AM  
Anonymous jason harry said...

i adopted your learning technique when i started and am very happy to supply two names of people who took me forward with their years as professional photogs as follows

philip dunn (UK) ex sunday time and daily express and free lance travel photog can be found at and the great joe mcnally (USA) at www.joemcnally.oom if you get chance to speak to these guys you will know both are very experienced in the field.

In total I spent two and half weekd with these guys in total and they helped me no end in shaping my start in this business, in a big way and in sharing the small detail.

My website is and I have been looking through this site from time to time to refesh my brain matter from time to time and help me keep on track and to reinstall those things the guys mentioned above taught me and i forgot at some point along the way.

As joe says it is a marathon this business not a sprint, the thing is this, it is all up hill and it is hard work no matter wat anyone says but it is very rewarding if you are creative.

good work with the blog ...keep going

jason harry

April 07, 2008 1:15 AM  
Blogger ros3wood said...

I'm really looking forward to learning even more from this site - and just when I thought that we couldn't talk about speedlights anymore!

April 07, 2008 1:51 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Your an inspirational teacher David and for that I thank you!

Many happy returns, here's to another great year of strobing! :)

April 07, 2008 2:15 AM  
Blogger udijw said...

Happy Bday David,
2 years, hu? on one hand it looks so close on the other hand the amount of knowledge you shared is like 10 years.
Keep posting.
- udi

April 07, 2008 2:25 AM  
Anonymous Wayne said...

Thanks for all your efforts in maintaining such an excellent resource for everyone.

Happy Birthday Strobist! Happy Birthday David! :)

April 07, 2008 2:34 AM  
Anonymous Nabityphotos said...


The last two years have been a blast and I'm looking forward to the expanded direction of your blog. It's what you do best: stretch our minds and keep us growing!

- Ron

April 07, 2008 2:44 AM  
Anonymous John Reid said...

Happy Birthday strobist. I've been a dedicated fan since about the 3rd article of lighting 101. Your site has been hands down the most inspirational and useful on the web. You transformed me from being a landscape photographer to a "anything to do with lighting" photographer.

I think its great what you are planning for the future. I would love to see an article on this guy:

Clearly he does a lot of composite work, but his lighting is inspirational.

Lastly, as a matter of interest, I see our South African photo mag has a strobist article almost every issue these days. Check it out at

April 07, 2008 2:53 AM  
Blogger Mister Tim said...

Well, if you're asking for suggestions of people in the 90th percentile that we want to learn from, no specific images or URLs in mind, but a couple who would fit that bill would be Bert Stern and Geoffrey Crewdson.

April 07, 2008 3:37 AM  
Anonymous Joost van der Borg said...

I had the idea something was gonna be changing. I think it's a smart move to go back to shooting, for yourself, but for the site as well. Some of the most helpful things came out of your posts detailing your actual, real life, shooting.

A small question: Whatever happened to the dvd-series you were shooting for around the summer? Did I completely miss some post?

April 07, 2008 3:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David, I owe you and this site so much. I have upped my game so much in less than one year directly and indirectly due to your blog. I am indebted to you. Keep up the good work!

April 07, 2008 3:47 AM  
Blogger focusfinder said...

Good for you: a light source is a light source. The photons don't care what you call them. It's how you tame them that matters.
Best wishes for your continued success at Strobist,

Peter Bryenton

April 07, 2008 3:47 AM  
Blogger Marco said...

Happy birthday, mr. Strobist. I think you have some great plans for the coming year and I very much look forward to them. Best of luck!

April 07, 2008 3:53 AM  
Blogger hindsight said...


In my opinion, it would be very interesting to continue your work on the series of lighting 101 & 102. I think there's more than that to be teached and experienced.

Then I encorage you to continue with a light 103 or 200 to enhance the knowledge of all people who are day by day reading your posts.


Miguel Angel Touset

April 07, 2008 4:07 AM  
Blogger unkarl said...

Thank you so much for all you do and all you have shared. Long may it continue.

Where's the Strobist DVD??

April 07, 2008 4:49 AM  
Blogger Heinrich said...

I would love to know, how this guy is lighting and what he is using to do it....

And by the way: Happy Birthday

April 07, 2008 5:02 AM  
Blogger vedtam said...

Each day after I wake up, the first thing I do is to pop up my notebook and check "strobist" to see what is going on.This site is a wonderful resorce, I have learned so much, actualy anything I know about photography.Now I am working as a fashion and commercial photographer and I am happy to see that my clients are pleased with my work, thank you David for eteaching us and for sharing your knowledge.
I can hardly wait for the new changes, the idea of expanding strobist is just colossal!!

Keep up the good work!!!!

Varga Edmond

April 07, 2008 5:12 AM  
Blogger J. Beckley said...

Thanks for everything you've taught me over the last year and a half. All of my lighting books make more sense now and my photography has improved to where I'm not afraid of the flash! Happy Bday Strobist!!

April 07, 2008 5:22 AM  
Anonymous dhani said...

Frank Ockenfels,
this is one guy to check out, hollywood movie posters and some of the best lighting I have ever seen.

April 07, 2008 5:24 AM  
Blogger Rich said...

Thanks for all of the time and effort you put into this blog, David. Onward and upward!

April 07, 2008 6:06 AM  
Anonymous bostjan said...

I welcome all the new ideas, they are great. It's nice to hear that you decided to get back to The Sun and do some freelance jobs. I kinda miss your On Assignment photos and descriptions, those were very insightful.

All in all, it's seems you haven't ran out of ideas yet :) and you probably won't have problems with getting pros to share their knowledge since you're running the world's most popular website for learning about photographic lighting techniques.

Oh and let's not forget Happy Birthday!

April 07, 2008 6:37 AM  
Anonymous thekevinmonster said...

This is awesome. I don't see why it's bad to talk about any kind of lighting at this point. I certainly wouldn't mind learning about bigger monolights and such... I feel that eventually, I'll end up getting some if I ever set up a studio.

I hope no one complains, considering the number of people with Alien Bees in the flickr pool/boards...:)

April 07, 2008 6:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday! I haven't skipped a single post since I first discovered this site, keep up the fantastic work! This is simply the best resource on lighting of any kind on the net. Thank you so much for what you have given us, and what is yet to come in the future. Thanks for sharing knowledge that would otherwise have taken me at least 10 years to aquire on my own.

As you say, light is light, so I'd love to see some reverse engineering of great movie lighting. Even though they obviously don't use speedlights or profoto heads, the techniques are still the same. And I'd say it's a great way to avoid the "excessive inbreeding" not only inside the strobist community but also the still photography world as a whole.

For an example, here is a link to short film by acclaimed director Wong Kar Way who uses amazing lighting in all of his films. Incidently, light is a central theme in this one, so be sure to check it out on the Philips web site.

But there is a lot more, like Janusz Kaminski's work on Schindler's List (a great example of fantastic lighting for black and white), or films like The Black Dahlia, Fight Club, The Matrix, Psycho, The Aviator, or (speaking of old masters) Kubrik's Barry Lyndon, and millions more.

Keep up the great work and good luck for your future career! You are an inspiration to us all!


April 07, 2008 7:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being a lurker for some time but never miss a post... Happy Birthday and many more to come.

April 07, 2008 7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being a lurker for some time but never miss a post... Happy Birthday and many more to come.

April 07, 2008 7:52 AM  
Blogger John Leonard Photography said...


You should enable some print ordering on your Zenfolio site. So long as there is not a copyright issue with the Sun on them. I think you could make some extra pocket money on some of those images.

April 07, 2008 8:01 AM  
Blogger Hunter said...

First things first, happy birthday! Or, would that be "bitday" since this is a computer thing.

Second, I think it is brilliant to expand into all types of flashes. To me, there is little to no difference between a speedlight and a strobe head. It is just a question of portability. Why confine yourself to just one option is the only really distinguishing factor is size?

By the way, can we post this new concept for Strobist very clearly on the Flickr forums? There seems to be a minority of people that complain strobe heads are not in the spirit of Strobist. Well, now they are.

Great work David. By the way, count me as a very new reader that has learned a lot in just 6 weeks. Also count me as a daily reader. Cheers!

April 07, 2008 8:04 AM  
Blogger offer said...

Happy b-day, Im really looking forward to this since I only have a pair of Bowens traveler 750W flashes! I want to buy some strobes and a couple of RadioPoppers, but I just don't have the money yet.

April 07, 2008 8:09 AM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

Jeremy Cowart

Awesome guy (he came to the Nashville Strobist meetup a few weekends ago). He shoots Profoto heads and has quite the celebrity portfolio after only 3 years in the business.

April 07, 2008 8:11 AM  
Blogger christopherbautista said...

I couldn't agree more. I was actually thinking about how it would be nice to learn how to use other equipment besides speedlites.

April 07, 2008 8:24 AM  
Anonymous Jon said...

Bring it! We're ready!

April 07, 2008 8:40 AM  
Blogger IllOgical said...

A big hurray for this 2-year old.

An even bigger hurray to the porposed changes. More On Assignement & reverse engineering light :)

Thanks DH!

April 07, 2008 8:46 AM  
Anonymous cudazi said...

This is a great site, I've sent it to about every other photographer I know - good work!

April 07, 2008 8:56 AM  
Blogger Harmeno said...

It has been a short while approx. 6-9 months since I drank the Kool-Aid this place has become my second E-Home.
the people and the skills here make me vomit with desire to learn and practice.
you all are very much the photogs that I have been looking for. open minded,open resourced and open hearted.
thanks again
ohh yeah and Happy Freekin Birthday Strobist

April 07, 2008 9:10 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

So, like you can tell what I'm reading here, right? You can't tell, like, what else I might be looking at on the net too, right? *nervous chuckle* Like, you wouldn't have to tell anyone about that, right?

April 07, 2008 9:10 AM  
Blogger Mitch said...

2 Years already? Wow! Well done David and thanks a lot for all your quality info. Keep it up!

Mitch, London

April 07, 2008 9:21 AM  
Blogger Harmeno said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 07, 2008 9:29 AM  
Blogger John Lewis Photography said...

congratulations on a great site and a great community. Thank you for sharing the knowledge and with such great style.


April 07, 2008 9:29 AM  
Anonymous Allebach Photography - Philadelphia said...


Thanks for everything this site teaches. As for a suggested lighting guro try , he is wonderful with lighting and his images are a bit different.

April 07, 2008 9:37 AM  
Blogger BobtheNailer said...

Hey David...
I have been reading for the better part of a year, but am still a newbie. And I have been putting my gear together slowly as being a father with 2 young kids money is tight. Please keep up this great blog. I use pentax Although I did get a sb-24 on ebay ) so I have to apply things to my equipment. Everything on a small budget. I even bought a couple of stands and strobes on ebay for sub $100 for a small home studio. Happy Birthday strobist!!!!!!!
Just don't move past us little guys.

April 07, 2008 9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Strobist - and thanks David, your efforts here are much appreciated.

Mike from Rhode Island

April 07, 2008 9:50 AM  
Blogger mhakola said...

thank you for everything you've contributed to the industry and for being one of the few photo bloggers who has remained upbeat about the industry and hasn't become snide and bitter about the state of affairs. You're the first bookmark on my browser and the first one I visit in the morning to start the my studio day on the right foot.


April 07, 2008 10:03 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Happy Birthday.

I have been viewing Strobist for a little over a year and have to say that I love your blog. I have looked though your blog postings countless times to help me learn and understand lighting. I am glad to hear that you are expanding the blog to include larger flashes. I really can not wait to learn more. You are an amazing teacher.


April 07, 2008 10:17 AM  
Anonymous Gary Cosby Jr said...

I just wanted to say thank you again for all that Strobist has meant to me in terms of technical information which is very valuable, but more importantly in inspiration which, like the commercial says is priceless.

The concept of Strobist, giving back to the profession and helping other shooters, is the very reason that I started my blog to help young and small market photojournalists. Many, many thanks.

Gary Cosby Jr.

April 07, 2008 10:17 AM  
Anonymous Alex said...

I spend more time on it time on that I should--a clear indication of where my real interest lie!

May I make a suggestion? While we explore lighting in broader terms, a series on hand-held light meter techniques would be a great help.


April 07, 2008 10:25 AM  
Blogger BMC Photo Blog said...


I am new to Strobist and just want to extend a heartfelt thanks. I've learned a ton in just 6 weeks and look forward to continuing my enrollment.

Brian C

April 07, 2008 10:34 AM  
Blogger bmillios said...

Happy Birthday!

Just a suggestion for the first "crossover" article ...

If you could explain the relationship between the various ways of measuring the output of strobes (guide numbers, watt seconds, phasers on stun, etc.), how they relate to eachother, and how we can "translate" from one to the other, that would be awesome.

Cool pictures and learning aids gratefully appreciated.

(I'm glad you're doing more OA stuff. Those were my favorite. I look forward to your upcoming self-assignment!)

April 07, 2008 10:45 AM  
Blogger Alfred said...

I have been visiting this site for, well I'm not sure, let's say a few months, but what I have learned here far exceeds what I could have learned in a few years without this site. I can only say that any change is welcome by me, it can only promote more knowledge.
Thanks David!

April 07, 2008 11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

Congrats on two years and many thanks for the blog and all of your teachings.

In the past, you've mentioned a DVD but that seems to have gone quiet. Are you still planning a strobist lighting DVD? I'll take the DeLuxe Box Set if you do


April 07, 2008 11:19 AM  
Blogger M said...

Hey, sounds like great stuff planned for 2008. You're making a great blogger even better. Good for you (and lucky for all of us).

Thanks for all you've done, and looking forward to all you have planned.


April 07, 2008 11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent news David, really looking forward to the new material.

As a business move the "speedlight" sector is pretty niche and only really includes Move into the big pond of studio lighting and there's some real competition. I'm not saying your stuff won't kick ar$e, just that it will now be one of many. So long as you keep a strong "how to do it with smaller lights?" element I think you'll dominate that sector too with the following you've now got.

I'll be here though, reading every post as I have done since day 01. And when the DVD comes out, put me down for 2. One to wear out, one for the archive.

Great stuff and thanks for ther last 2 years.

Cheers chap,

"My philosophy, like color television, is all there in black and white" - Python

April 07, 2008 11:41 AM  
Blogger Photographer : Mike Rice said...

I've been reading for almost the full 2 years and was so thrilled when I first came across this site. I've learned so much and now, I'm even more excited for what has to come.

Thanks you everyone!

April 07, 2008 11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been shooting available and continuous light for years, primarily for budget reasons, but also because I felt like I didn't even know what I didn't know about flash and where to start finding out. I discovered Strobist a few weeks ago and my brain is simply smoking from the massive download of info I've picked up in such a short time.
Thanks to Strobist, before I plunk down my first nickle in off camera lighting I'm already well ahead. Thank you for saving me years of trial, error and untold expense improving my game. Ah-pree-shate-cha!
Abilene, Texas

April 07, 2008 11:43 AM  
Anonymous Piet said...

Happy Birthday also from me, David.
This is probably not completely on topic, but I did not know where else to post: any chance that you might come to Europe again for a Seminar in Paris, London or Brussels?



April 07, 2008 11:56 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

Happy Birthday to The Strobist!

What a great trip these two years have been. I really look forward to hearing about how the re-entry into the freelance workforce goes. I know many other aspiring Strobists would be keen to hear about the business networking/contracting side of things.

I also welcome the move to cover the big flashes. Plenty of overlap in lessons to be learned there. The only danger I see is that the gadget envy and the perception that the big flashes are "better" than the speedlights. I would hope the readers don't get the impression that they are "making due" with their speedlights until they can afford the big guns. There are so many benefits to the speedlights, no matter what your budget (portability, recycle time, zooming heads, self-contained power, ease of mounting in crazy and creative places - and some brand-specific benefits like TTL and repeat flash mode).

April 07, 2008 12:08 PM  
Blogger Wink of an eye Digital said...

Congrats on the milestone. If not for you and the group I'd be asking a lot of questions and getting no answers.
This is the place to be if learning. With your changes in your planned format all skill levels will benifit

Here's my vote on a Guest

April 07, 2008 12:16 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

Glad to see some changes coming! I love strobist, and it's revolutionized my philosophy on shooting, but it is definitely risking that "intellectual inbreeding" point.

I can't wait to see what the new year brings!

April 07, 2008 12:17 PM  
Blogger newsphotoken said...

A good photographer to profile would be Matthew Gilson, from Chicago.

He is one of my favorites.

Ken Ritchie
Madison, IN

April 07, 2008 12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After looking at his website I would second the eric ogden request, he is fascinating.

Also Happy Birthday and thank you very much for doing what you do.

April 07, 2008 12:39 PM  
Anonymous Phil Dawson said...

Well, I've quietly been reading strobist for a while, and it inspired me to up my ante, move away from studio strobes, and learn to use these little speedlights and pocketwizards out in the open.

I am really looking forward to the on assignment stuff, as any motivation for practice is useful.

Congrats, on 2 years.

April 07, 2008 12:42 PM  
Blogger Welcome to Black Tie Photography said...


Let's get it on! This is tooo exciting. I love learning new stuff, love it!

Bill Zaspel

April 07, 2008 12:50 PM  
Anonymous Mark in UKville. said...

David, congrats on 2 years.

I hope the "return to the office" works well. You're doing a superb job.

Now TODAY would be a really cool date to announce that we can order the DVD in the UK - you missed Christmas and my birthday ;) (heck... make the US wait until every one else for fun!!!)

Your plans for the future sound great. I'm particularly interested in the "old master" stuff as I often go to the galleries in London in search of inspiration.

Congrats again. I look foward to the 10 year celebration party. ;)

April 07, 2008 12:52 PM  
Anonymous Zoltan Barothi said...

It was time to change, thanks for not letting this site down.
I am an eager reader of your articles and although I am not really using the techniques, they help gettig an idea about lighting for when I need it.

I always thought that your real life PJ articles were the best and I am looking forward to hear and see photos from your new jobs.
Regards, Zoltan

April 07, 2008 1:07 PM  
Anonymous Keith said...

Congrats on everything so far, this site/community has helped me a great deal.

I'm not going to give you a name for a suggestion to profile, more of a genre. I would like to see more profiles on some great photographers that are using strobes for objects larger than people. I'm not talking mountains, but things like vehicles, architecture/interiors, etc.

Thanks and all the best to you.

April 07, 2008 1:08 PM  
Anonymous Eastsidehomes said...

I have enjoyed your blog for over a year now and am excited to see what this next year brings! Thanks for all your hard work!!

April 07, 2008 1:16 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Wow... and here I thought I was going to be drummed out of Strobistville for having recently purchased a small collection of studio lights..

April 07, 2008 1:41 PM  
Anonymous john said...

So much discussion on light but I haven't seen anything on how our eyes work (I put the two hand and hand; can't really have a discussion about one without the other).

I suggest taking a look at a book titled, "Vision and Art: The Biology of Seeing".

April 07, 2008 1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi David, I stumbled into here a while back on a link from, I believe, Moose Peterson's website. You've shown an old wildlife shooter "the light" (stick finger down throat now :)). Your site is a valuable resource and I look forward to your new direction!! Many Thanks, Kevin in CT

April 07, 2008 1:46 PM  
Anonymous roger said...

more beer, more nudity for year 3


April 07, 2008 1:49 PM  
Blogger S Blaesbjerg said...

Happy Birthday,

A BIG light photographer worth looking at is:

April 07, 2008 1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're going to talk to "big strobe" guys, I'd love to see you have a visit from Robert Seale or Joey Terrill. Their how-to's on SportsShooter have always been informative, and their work speaks for itself.


April 07, 2008 2:06 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

Jeremy Cowart is a great photographer that would be great to showcase. He came to our latest Strobist meetup and really was helpful to use newbs for being a big time player. ;-)
His site is here

April 07, 2008 2:10 PM  
Blogger Monica said...

I found you guys about six months ago and between learning lighting from your posts and building up my portfolio in a photojournalism class I've started working with a professional dance photographer. And now I'm going to be teaching my photojournalism professor about studio lighting!
Keep it up - I can't wait to see what we'll learn next.

April 07, 2008 2:29 PM  
Blogger seenew said...

Thanks for putting together and maintaining such an invaluable resource! I'm a photo-major at the Savannah College of Art and Design, in my second year now. I've been visiting the site for several months now, inspired and motivated by every new post.

Keep up the great work, I'm looking forward to it!


April 07, 2008 2:45 PM  
Blogger ogalthorpe said...

This has been my home, of sorts, for the last year+. I'm looking forward to the change and hope to grow along with the site.

BTW, I just bought my second WL X1600. Should be here Friday.

Thanks again,


April 07, 2008 2:54 PM  
Anonymous Larry Eiss said...

Congratulations on completing your second year, and on the great traffic stats.

I heartily support the changes you have planned. Like a couple of others, I;d really love to see Lighting 201, etc. There is a lot to learn.

Best wishes David.

April 07, 2008 3:25 PM  
Anonymous Graham said...

Two years and going from strength to strength, can't wait to see what year three brings, thanks for helping me to see the light, David!

April 07, 2008 3:34 PM  
Blogger A. Jesse Jiryu Davis said...

DH, I think this is the right direction to go -- we were getting sidetracked with stupid guy stuff like DIY ringlights (how many different versions of these awful hacks?) and that pole with 20 speedlights attached. Let's get back to the light. Examining the works of masters, regardless of equipment, will help.

April 07, 2008 3:47 PM  
Anonymous Melinda Stewart said...

Many thanks for all of your time, effort and knowledge. Fantastic blog.
Funny, I have been thinking lately after reading your posts that you needed to get back to shooting. It was very clear that you missed it.
I was also playing around with rechargable spot lights, flashlights etc and thinking that you needed to expand into different froms of light. So glad to hear about the future. Lets go!

April 07, 2008 4:05 PM  
Anonymous Sassomoso said...

Happy Birthday!

Well, I'm glad to say that this site exists, as it has given me many insights on how to understand lighting in photography. While still in my beginning steps, I've always been fascinated by beauty & fashion photography. As you offer to feature some of the pros in the business, maybe a recommendation for mainly beauty-photography would be

Akos Photography

I think it's great to get to know some tips & tricks of the pros and see what kind of equipment they use, in order to understand what is possible as an amateur and where it might take you.


April 07, 2008 4:11 PM  
Blogger Tim Schmitt said...

Happy Birthday!!!

The Stobist is growing up?

You may consider some of the Dean Collins stuff for your year three(3) articles.

I think you can keep that DIY feeling that the is known for, by engaging the Strobist community in making those light panels from PVC and other materials.

I can envision this group creating several different designs to accomplish those tough lighting situations.

I got mine done ... on the cheap too!

Tim Schmitt

April 07, 2008 4:17 PM  
Blogger alex said...

Thank you for the education, David!

My first experiment with a staged portrait shot, outdoors with off-camera flash, is in the top 20 on Flickr's Explore for yesterday. The lessons from the blog have been indispensable.

April 07, 2008 4:26 PM  
Anonymous Steve from CA said...

Congrats and thanks so much for your continued hard work on Strobist! I'm interested in any kind of light, no matter what the source. Kudos to you! Would love to see an interview with this gal, one of my new favorites:

April 07, 2008 5:14 PM  
Anonymous Eric S. said...

Thanks for the site David, I've learned a ton. I love the idea of adding in studio strobes, as I hope to make the jump some day.

In addition to the strobe articles, how about some articles on post processing? Specifically post processing methods to really bring out the lighting we have learned. I think that would be really useful for some people.

April 07, 2008 5:26 PM  
Blogger Pinecreekboy said...

Happy 2nd birthday!! Thank you for all that you've done; the knowledge, the inspiration, the community.

I wholeheartedly support your approach to year three.

How about an interview with Gregory Heisler? Kirk Tuck would do well as a guest OA. Maybe a lighting 201 in the fall?

Thanks again,

April 07, 2008 5:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arghhhhh, thanks to Strobist I can't even look at photos anymore without trying to reverse engineer the light, focal length and f-stop. Heck, I even do that when looking at paintings now (from Leonardo to Picasso to my friendly local painter)! This is some addictive stuff for intelligent people, you should put a warrning or three.

April 07, 2008 6:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Hobby

I do believe I'm in love with you...

-- Jeff

April 07, 2008 6:31 PM  
Anonymous Justin said...

"I don't care if they are using speedlights, Profotos or magnesium powder. Light is light. And we may as well be learning from the folks who are working at the highest levels."

I've never commented here before, but that made me do so. Thank you. And well-said.

April 07, 2008 7:38 PM  
Blogger Marcio Brazao said...

Happy Bday!

Many thanks for all the quality info shared. This blog makes me thinking of restarting my photog career after solding my beloved pentax 67. But, hey! just remembered of a 2400Ws "brazilian made" generator catching dust on the basement! Looks like the right time to clean it up... Where's that cat, anyway... Got something really bright to show him... Just kidding!

Thank You!

April 07, 2008 8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've only just recently discovered your marvellous site, and I'd like to second (third?, 947th?) what others have said - Thank you for the wonderful ideas and inspiration.

And happy birthday!


April 07, 2008 8:14 PM  
Blogger Pamela Vasquez said...

David, you should be very proud of yourself. You have accomplished amazing things with this blog/site/ photography has changed completely since the day I discovered your site, by accident, 1 1/2 yrs ago while searching for less cumbersome way of lighting an outdoor scene. I owe so much to you and the subcribers of flickr/strobist. I am nowhere close to an amazing photographer, but I am very pleased with my accomplishments thus far. Thank you thank you thank you. I am happy to hear you are returning to a more consistent shooting schedule. My husband works as a copyeditor at the St. Petersburg Times in St. Pete, FL and I have told him to give your info. to the appropriate person there.
Good luck in all you do and again, thank you for all you do for us.

Pamela Vasquez

April 07, 2008 8:30 PM  
Blogger ImageCubed said...

Happy Birthday!

We share the same birthday. I recently stumbled upon your site and fell in love with the content and value of the information.

Chris Davis

April 07, 2008 8:46 PM  
Blogger Clint said...

Once again, I'm glad I'm not nuts!

I was converting all of your Nikon SB26 talk to Viv285HV from the beginning and then to 320w/s monolight since strobist 1.0.

It'll be interesting to see if I transposed into the right key, as it were.

Happy birthday to Strobist and thank you a million for teaching us to light.

April 07, 2008 9:12 PM  
Anonymous Tom Legrady said...

I passed by perhaps 18 months ago and thought, "What a bore" .... 6 months later it was just what I needed and I've been by almost every day, since.

I'd love to see a guest spot by Hasnain Dattu, a Toronto photographer I've come to admire recently: Or if you really want to ramp up the traffic, get Annie Leibovitz to do a guest week discussing how to light a Lizzie, and how to getup the gumption to suggest royalty remove the tiara.

I have a stack of pennies, due to become rare and valuable when the Royal Canadian Mint stops making them, or a check, if you prefer light-weight solutions, ready to send you as soon as I determine the appropriate amount. Put it on credit for my copy of the DVD ... the one you've been avoiding working on.

April 07, 2008 9:27 PM  
Anonymous Jorge said...

thank you for the website thank you for your time david

April 07, 2008 9:34 PM  
Blogger Joe Reifer said...

spellcheck: derivative (dirivative in your post)

April 07, 2008 9:57 PM  
Blogger Wes said...

Thanks so much for your time on the site. I think this is an excellent path to take the blog and am seriously excited to learn about the heavy guns too.

Oh my goodness, if you could get Gregory Crewdson's lighting guys, that would be amazing (though advanced for sure). You can contact him at Yale or through his gallery ""

April 07, 2008 10:09 PM  
Anonymous Mary B. said...

I've been a regular reader of the site since I discovered it about a year ago. Though I use studio strobes I've always found the posts informative and inspirational. I'm looking forward to the new information to come, and doing some of the assignments too.

Keep up the good work.

April 07, 2008 11:32 PM  
Anonymous melissa said...

Happy birthday! is an aries just like me, no wonder we get along so well. I am a bit older than the blog but a perfect example of teaching an old dog new tricks. Thanks for all you share and all of the inspiration you throw out there. I will have a piece of cake in your honor when my cake arrives later this week.

April 08, 2008 12:05 AM  
Anonymous Jeff Geerling said...

It's not like anyone's going to get down this far in the comments... but I'm going to add my 'Happy Birthday' anyways!

April 08, 2008 1:39 AM  
Blogger B.L.Atkins said...

Hello D.H.
I just stumbled upon your site one day in a search to make my photography better. I can confidently say I have. This site introduced me to flickras well. Thank you for that. It's has been fun.
Now, instead of going to Olin Mills or Sears or one of the many others, I can shoot my family's photos right at home. Right now I'm looking at some nicely framed captures of my son and daughter that I shot so beautifully.
I like what I'm reading on the expansion of the site to include more on assignments. I think for me it gets me to shoot more.
(Like the old Tiger Woods commercial)
"I am Strobist"
Barry L. Atkins
P.S. My first blog post was about this site.

April 08, 2008 2:05 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

A very happy birthday!! Looking forward to reading more, sounds like this year's gonna be fun ;)

April 08, 2008 2:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Best wishes for this next year!

Carlo M

April 08, 2008 2:58 AM  
Anonymous Jens said...

david, happy birthday and congratulations! i really LOVE reading yout blog and i learned pretty much the last six month though i hoped i found this site much earlier ...

i'm really looking foward to the changes and i can't wait to learn from the "big guys".

one of my personal favourites is vincent peters:

i really would love to read about him here on strobist.

keep on rockin'!


April 08, 2008 3:28 AM  
Anonymous Jay said...

Respect. And thanks too. Can't say that enough.

April 08, 2008 4:37 AM  
Blogger gravesr said...

Happy Birthday!! Strobist
I have only been on this site for about 2 weeks and can't seem to get enough. It has become part of my daily life. Love all the articles and the practical advice. I've been hooked on photography for the past 20+ years and love the instant feedback that little window on the back of my camera provides.

Keep up the good work! Thanks All!!

April 08, 2008 8:35 AM  
Blogger Josh Evilsizor said...

Congrats on the 2 yrs!

Since there will be a shift to bigger lights, I'd love to see you do an article on Dean Zulich (He was one of the finalists on VH1's the shot) He has a lot of interesting lighting techniques.

April 08, 2008 12:41 PM  
Anonymous chinua said...

Happy birthday, and please prepare for some shameless gushing (hip waders might help)

this blog more than anything helped me love and understand light, and how to control light, which turns out to be all there is in a photography.

the best part is that the knowledge i have added has even reverberated out even into (gasp!) ambient light and transformed the way i see the world artistically. nothing short of a kind of conversion. (kool aid anyone?)

thanks for having the bravery to resist dogma for dogmas sake, and making it about what this blog was already best at, good stinkin' light.

i have learned so so so so so (ad infinitum) much here and have had a ton of fun, learned how to shoot better, make more money, how to make friends and how to fly and alot of amazing things.

i welcome the changes and congratulate you on your foresight! keep shaking it up, we could all get alot better. i hope this is as fun for you as it is for us.


April 08, 2008 3:37 PM  
Blogger Yiye said...

Happy Birthday Strobist!!

I only have one question:Is lighting 102 going to be finished as it was planned, talking about the use of lishting with speedlights?

Thank you so much for your effort with this project.

April 08, 2008 5:22 PM  
Anonymous Safety Bill said...

Congrats on the 2 years, the success, and the fame. Your unselfish contribution to better photography for countless thousands is immeasurable, not to mention all the Strobist-style gear that's been sold due to your blog. I hope you can convert some of this success to cash - you deserve it. I've learned a lot in the short time I've been here, and am grateful.

I'm also disappointed to hear you're moving toward more coverage of studio strobes. One of the things that sticks in my head is your story about how you used to lug the big lights around before you figured out how you could do as well with smaller gear. Does this look familiar?: "Larger strobes have their place, but they tend to spend a lot of time in trunks and stuffed under beds."

What you say about strobe lighting techniques and operation is true, but why couldn't it be covered in a different blog?

April 08, 2008 5:30 PM  
Blogger santopalomo said...

Just a real good job. I'm so excitated waiting the new times. I usually work with big strobes, and your are right: Does Size Really Matter?

growing together.

April 08, 2008 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Mark said...

I'd be interested in seeing how flashes could be used in place of the numerous lights that were mentioned in the Dave Hill interview.

With all the hype about Dave Hill, I prefer the photos produced by Gary Land.

This site is invaluable. Thank you.


April 09, 2008 12:44 AM  
Blogger Sybren said...

Congratulations, and thanks so much! You've taught me so much - without you I wouldn't be the photog I am today.

April 09, 2008 2:25 PM  
Blogger Columbus Mix Xchange said...

I am up for it. I already love the changes. I challenge you to get Gregory Crewdson.

April 09, 2008 4:26 PM  
Blogger Houser said...

I say bring it! I just got my first AB800 in yesterday. Sure it's no Profoto, but it has plenty of punch. So much so that I had to re-think through my lighting set-up on the first round of shots. But it's from the information I learned here that I was able to quickly adjust and not get too bogged down with the new gear.

I've got several shoots lined up where the ABees are not going to be practical. Small flash-guns are going to continue to be a mainstay in my arsenal. But light is light. I think the more you focus on the options of light, the better informed we all will be.


April 10, 2008 1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy birthday DH!

"Over the past year ending April 5th, 2008, there were 503 posts, which received a total of 14,540,459 page views from 1,493,505 different readers …”

As a trained mathematician I strongly believe none of us can perceive any number larger than 10 properly, so I like to put statistics in some kind of context…

Page views: That’s one page view on average every 2.17 seconds all year. Woaaa ! tick… tick... tick…

How many readers? well I figure 1.5 million readers have been influenced in their photography and made to think by DH for between 6 months and 1 year each—at least. How long is that ? Well put all that thinking time end to end… and you get 750,000—1.5 million years. Wow.. how long is that? Well…

Consider from Wiki…” Archaeology indicates that ancestors or relatives of modern humans might have controlled fire as early as 790,000 years ago. The Cradle of Humankind site has evidence for controlled fire from 1 to 1.8 million years ago”

Seems kind of neat that the length of time people have been thinking about DH’s views on flash light which you could argue is artificial fire; is the same length of time that the human race has been thinking about real fire. And that was just this year.


Feel chuffed David? You deserve to!

Thank you.

Jonathan Histed

April 10, 2008 5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought there were only 195 countries?

April 12, 2008 1:52 AM  
Anonymous filhunter said...

Reply to Jonathan Histed:

Neat numbers, but not surprising. Human knowledge has always expanded at an exponential rate, as long as we have a sufficient number of humans among us to keep that going. And then we apes benefit, too.

David is a human.

April 13, 2008 3:02 PM  
Blogger Caradoc said...

I thought it might be worth pointing out that "CLS" doesn't necessarily include "iTTL". The CLS/AWL optical signaling includes provisions for manually setting power - and as your previous blog entry about the SB-800 "superslave" pointed out, the sensor on the SB-800 is incredibly sensitive, and highly reliable within its limits.

Several of us from the Nikon CLS Flickr Group have started using the "extremecls" tag to indicate images where CLS/AWL has performed extremely well.

April 16, 2008 2:01 PM  

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