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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Anonymous Anonymous said...

error on the slideshow...?

December 27, 2008 1:23 AM  
Blogger diegonyc said...


i can't believe one of my images made the slideshow!!

looking forward to what strobist has in store for us in 2009.

Happy new year David.


December 27, 2008 2:47 AM  
Blogger sitbonzo said...

i've just looked at the photos and some of those are truly stunning. thanks for taking the time to edit those DH.
Happy new year one and all.
david berman / sitbonzo

December 27, 2008 3:38 AM  
Anonymous Richard Cave said...

David it has been a great year, it has gone strength to strength. I am looking forward to the New Year and seeing where your adventure in light takes you.

I know it will be a great journey, it would be great to share it with you.


December 27, 2008 4:46 AM  
Anonymous Andi said...

nice hairy legs! ;)

December 27, 2008 6:38 AM  
Blogger alan said...

Hey Dave, that shot of you in your speedos early on in the show is great. You've really buffed up since I saw you last! :)

Okay, seriously, thanks again for another great year of helping me and thousands of others improve our photographic skills. You'll surely go down in history as one of the most talented, sharing professionals in our industry.



December 27, 2008 8:38 AM  
Blogger Barnacle said...


thank YOU for the year! i have learned a ton of good things from this blog.
seeing my photos in your favorites slide show,, well you don't know how much that means!!!


December 27, 2008 8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

can't see the slideshow

December 27, 2008 8:49 AM  
Anonymous Bill said...

That overclocking your speedlight is amazing. Can the Canon/Nikon service departments modify a flash to keep it permanantly set in diagnostic mode, or modify it to always give a 120ws burst when set on full power? For those of us who only shoot with our flash in manual mode and are willing to give up the warrantee. I'd pay full price to be able to get a 580ex sized 120ws manual flash!


December 27, 2008 10:03 AM  
Blogger BobtheNailer said...

Great year Dave. Keep it up but don't forget the little budget guys.

December 27, 2008 11:25 AM  
Anonymous Nathanael Gassett said...

Whooo! And to think that in a mere series of months I went from not knowing what a strobe was to using them extensivley in my photography (
You taught me how to reverse engineer photos and see how they were lit ( .
You gave me the tools to shoot what I saw in my head (

You taught me about DIY light mods and how to use them (

I went from kid with a hobby to full time photo business owner, and I owe 98% of EVERYTHING I know about lighting to this site directly, and 100% of all lighting info to links and info that came from this site. A HUGE GIANT LARGER THAN LIFE THANK YOU, Mr. Hobby for your crazy amount of work on this site, and for sharing your know-how without holding back. I applaud your efforts! BRAVO!
Heres to 2008, and a wonderful, exciting, 2009!



December 27, 2008 11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The week between Christmas ad New Years is also a great time to clear out the pending file. Anything that didn't get done likel;y doesn't need to get done now.

Thanks for a great blog - very muich appreciated.

December 27, 2008 2:03 PM  
Anonymous Fernando Delfini said...


Thanks to you to explain and teach all these things from your blog. I learn all about strobe, and studio lightning here, the light is the secret of a good photograph, and you make this thing, much much more simple than the "masters" style teach. This is not about numbers, this is about art and creativity.

Happy 2009 and thanks for all !!!

December 27, 2008 3:31 PM  
Blogger said...

Thanks for a great '08. has been infinitely helpful in my early photography career.

Couldn't have done it with out ya':

Heres to a great '09

December 27, 2008 4:06 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Thank you,Dave. We amateur photographers appreciate getting free info in an industry that seems to cater to the wealthy. In the very near future, I will be purchasing some items through your amazon affiliation to help support this site.

December 27, 2008 8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best! Post! Evar!

December 28, 2008 1:33 AM  
Anonymous Djames said...

I agree with Tenney! While my co-workers use two weeks of their vacation this time of year, I'm kicking back and enjoying the slack time. AND I still have my vacation weeks to take later in the year. This is a bonus vacation for me! :D

December 28, 2008 12:26 PM  
Blogger Debbi_in_California said...

I'm planning on buying the new Canon 5D II thought Amazon. I would like to give you the giftfella, and I don't know how? if I just click through on a book via your link will it also give you the credit on the camera?
Thanks so much for all you have given us Strobers

December 28, 2008 4:38 PM  
Blogger David said...


You have it exactly right. If you click through to Amazon from any link on the site, all purchases made on that visit would count.

I am very appreciative of the gesture, and very jealous of you and your new camera!

Thanks so much,

December 28, 2008 5:34 PM  
Blogger New Media Photographer said...

I love this time of year. Saying goodbye to the previous year and planning for the next year.

I also have great plans. New photo and marketing ideas for my business. It's just so much fun.


December 28, 2008 5:43 PM  
Blogger Debbi_in_California said...

(Don't be jealous, you may jump on the Canon- bandwagon anytime ;0)

December 28, 2008 5:45 PM  
Blogger cfimages said...

Thanks for the years worth of work. And extra thanks for this post as there were a couple that I missed first time around. Happy New Year

December 28, 2008 7:33 PM  
Anonymous Ronaszegi photography said...


I would like to join all those good wishes! A great thank you for making this a more enjoyable and fruitful year!


December 28, 2008 8:17 PM  
Blogger DS said...


Not sure if you saw this or not, but I found it and thought it was pretty cool.

Its video and pics shot with the Canon 5D Mark II. The pics are cool!

-david s.

December 29, 2008 1:19 PM  
Anonymous Zoki said...

David, thank you so much for another year full of amazing blog-posts!

Keep it up!

December 30, 2008 7:09 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

Great year David, hope it all continues in 2009.

Just got back from a quick trip to Uganda, feel free to check out the video and see if you can spot the strobist shots...



December 30, 2008 1:24 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

is this your way of telling us there'll be no more blogs before the new year is out?

haha, just kidding. have a great new year's!


December 30, 2008 4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi David, I read the "how to contact you" part and it said here, so here goes..

Keeping the strobist flame on fire here in finland, I cooked up my first strobist video, hope you like it:

here is the result pic:

See ya, Johnny @

December 30, 2008 7:41 PM  
Anonymous Cameron Carothers said...

Thanks for helping me think about light again (after a long time things get old, even lighting). I appreciate all your hard work on the blog and your seminars (glad to have been able to attend one here in L.A.).

Best possible wishes for the new year!


December 31, 2008 12:33 AM  
Blogger Wink of an eye Digital said...

Good Year for you David...had a great time reading all your storys and teachings this year. Best to you and your plans for 09.

I never read/saw anything more funny then the day you let the blog go "auto" for April first article! Some people where glad when you cleared the first few hours of posting!

I see no matter what cattle prodding I did from my desk as to get you to talk about SPOY this year.... this article had some great pics. It was a great idea to just pick some this year.. ey? LOL prod you up into Bastin!

Happy New Year

December 31, 2008 1:34 AM  
Blogger michael said...

Mr. Strobist,

Please let us Nikon D50 users know which of your kits on MidWest Photo site I need to order. With all the Vivitar hoopla, and the format changes -- they list every single camera but the Nikon D50. Please give us a clue!!! Thanks. Can't wait to go off camera flash in '09.

Mike Ames, Olney, MD

January 01, 2009 7:42 PM  
Anonymous virginia photographer said...

Happy New Year! We're all going to have to step it up to survive this one. It's a challenge so here's to good business practices.

January 03, 2009 1:18 AM  
Anonymous Travis Dunn said...

I am a fairly new reader, only discovered the site about 4 months ago... Just wanting to say that I can't wait to see what 2009 brings... Soo much useful and informative content here, thanks to everyone that has contributed.

January 10, 2009 10:52 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Thank you for sharing the photos.

My favourite is the one of the maze/labyrinth by Nanda Lee.

I would like to wish you a great year too !

February 16, 2009 12:39 PM  

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