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As is Tradition for the Last Week of December

Twenty years ago, Tenney Mason (my first DOP) passed along the wisdom of not taking days off between Christmas and New Year's. No real work gets done, he noted. And you can just put your feet up on your desk and plan out your next year.

That kind of thinking is why he was management and I was a grunt. And I have taken that advice to heart ever since. Even though the week sometimes turned out to be not so quiet.

But this year brings the luxury of stepping back a little and looking at 2008 while planning for 2009. As for the 2009 plans, I'd tell you but then I'd have to kill you. Suffice to say that there are some new things in store that I am pretty excited about.

But the passing year always merits a last look. So I went back through the year's 262 posts to pick out a baker's dozen faves, and pulled up my favorite photos of yours as well.

Favorite Posts from 2008

These include some OA's, a rant and some very cool stuff that the cat dragged in from other part of the web. I have set them to pop up in a new window, so you can just click them closed and pop up another if you want to browse.

• In January, Russell Price, on how not to take our pictures so personally.

• From the same month (and without warning) this testimonial video, created as a surprise by the site's readers.

• At Google they are all about speed. But we like to work fast, too, so we did a lit portrait of engineer Steve in under two minutes from scratch.

• In February, Robert Rodriguez on how to MacGuyver together a feature film out of duct tape, clothes hanger wire and some water pistols.

• From April, how to get insane power out of a shoe-mount flash.

• From the same month, a tutorial on shooting a controlled-daylight, lit portrait in midafternoon.

• For Father's Day, an interview with photographer Jason Lee and a look at his wonderful photos of his daughters.

• In July, testing just how insanely well Pocketwizards work in the field.

• In August, a little sync speed cheating at sunset for a twilight portrait.

• In September, Nick Turpin on a new approach to using speedlights for outdoor portraits.

• In October, a shorthand method for describing (and thinking about) lighting.

• From November, why didn't I figure this out 20 years ago: Run-and-gun, triangle light, totally hand-held, with no stands.

• From this month, plying Rembrandt's tongue with a little alcohol.

Thanks to everyone for another year of peer-to-peer learning. And best wishes for a happy, healthy and creatively lit New Year, too.


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