But We Don't Look a Day Over Three

Four years ago today, the very first messages went out on a couple of photography message boards to spread the word about a new lighting blog called Strobist.

It's been a crazy ride, and I sometimes shake my head at all that has happened since. Keep reading for a sneak peek at a couple of things in store for the upcoming year.

First of All, Thanks.

To say this has been a life-changing experience would be to put it mildly. I have met readers from all around the world, and watched so many people -- myself included -- grow their passion for photography.

I can imagine nothing more exciting than swirling around at the center of this vortex for the last few years.

And the path is even more stark when compared to what would have happened had I just plodded along at The Sun, where I was happily (and, I thought, securely) employed four years ago today.

All of that would have come to an abrupt end on April 29th of last year when about half of the photo staff were laid off on almost no notice. Not that The Sun had much choice -- the state of newspapers right now is pretty obvious. But to see it happen to such a talented and motivated group of friends was like watching a bomb go off in a crowded room.

And I would have been in that room. That would have been the end of most of the income that was supporting our family. Susan had made the admirable choice to stay home with the kids, and we were willing to make some sacrifices for that. But losing 90% of our income certainly was not in our plan.

So it is with profound gratitude that I say thanks to all of you for reading, for being such a cool community and for creating such a positive vicious circle when it comes to learning about light. You are the reason my family is safe and happy, and I will always be grateful for that.

What to Expect This Year

First of all, do not expect anything like a Lighting 103 anytime soon. It would be repetitive, and you guys are way past spoon-fed lighting exercises at this point. L101 and L102 will always be there, and covers most of what you can do with a speedlight.

However, I will be going back through Lighting 101 and updating the posts with more current information and maybe some better example photos, diagrams, etc. It's amazing how much has changed in the small-flash lighting world since 2006. You guys have sorta created your own weather patterns.

Significant changes to L101 will be noted on the front page as they are posted. I hope to make Lighting 101 more comprehensive, detailed and up-to-date.

And speaking of spoon feeding, one thing that I have found with many of the site's readers is that it is possible (even easy) to geek out on lighting tips and tricks. They are just techniques -- not and end-all. The point is to learn the basics and then apply them to your own vision.

It's not the parlor tricks that are important -- it's what you can accomplish through your photography with newfound techniques and abilities. It's like, okay, you know how to light -- what now?

To that end, the biggest new direction you will see this year speaks directly to the "what now" part. For the last few months I have been working on a project that will serve as a template for those of you who want to create something of value in their community with their cameras.

It's fairly simple, free and can be adapted to include multiple potential revenue streams for those of you who may wish to monetize it. But more important, it will provide an easy vehicle through which to explore your own vision -- within your own community. As a 20+ year community photojournalist and a full-time blogger, I am kind of excited about it. You'll be hearing more about it soon.

Also, I want to continue the site's work with Kiva and other grant-related projects. I have already spoken to some of you about developing a framework for us to actually fund some photography-related projects. That's in the on-deck circle, too.

All of this, of course, will be done in the context of an ongoing exploration of light and lighting. I'll be writing up many of my own shoots in the On Assignment section, but also hoping to introduce you to other photographers around the world doing cool stuff with their flashes.

And while we're at it, if you come across a photographer doing amazing stuff with light, please drop me an URL in the comments. I very much appreciate your tips -- they bring so much to the site and to the other readers.

Thanks for a great year, and buckle up for the next.


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