In Which a Commenter Gets His Soapbox

Today, a peek inside the sausage factory that is this blog.

Every blogger has to deal with this question at some point: What do you do with commenters who attempt to use your site as a large platform on which to go after a third party?

To my view, it is the equivalent of a guest who has had too much to drink standing up in your living room and uncorking loudly on another guest within full earshot of everyone else. And clearly, it reflects more on the commenter than the target of his or her rant.

Normally, this sort of remark falls well outside of the comment guidelines, which have evolved to the point where they effectively screen out this kind of stuff.

And really, I do try to err on the side of publication. I do not want to censor peoples' views. But neither do I want to cede the comments section to the lowest common denominator. And that's the lens through which I normally view comment moderation.

But today, a comment of such ironic merit that I am elevating it to the status of a post. Fully annotated, of course.

The Background

On Monday I published this post featuring the Dave Black videos of using multiple, high-speed flash to shoot surfing and motocross. Alas, I tried to head off the inevitable, myopic comments that were sure to follow with a nod in the post itself. Even so, I did publish most of them -- if they were civil and restrained.

On 8:58am the following day, reader Dale Harper submitted the following comment which will henceforth live in my mind as the gold standard of its genre. Not seeing his comment immediately published (um, I moderate comments) he again submitted it one minute later.

And Now: The Comment, Verbatim

This is dumb, you don't need all that to do that shoot...motion anyway, this crap pissed2 me off. Waste of money. On further review, I went through the blog thingy ma bob as well, he's making a hash of everything, go back to basics dude and work your way up again, maybe re-think your lighting ideas.3 Everyone goes through a faze4 of over powering things but damn, you've taken it to the extreme. anyway, this isn't meant to be insulting5, i'm gonna go put the kettle on. Right, back to this again. I looked through the surf shots on his blog thing. There are 2 good shots up there, that's all you ever need right?6 right! So we don't need to complain about that at all then really...kind of. That's when i searched through the blog more...please re-read the strobist blog7 from the beginning and pay special attention to things like balancing the ambient with flash. I'm sure that you will be well on your way then.8 I know all you 'just out the studio' or 'inanimate objects' only photographers9 will be impressed by this and I can understand why. To me this should be a how-to on how-not-to do things.10 Anyway, I'm only pissed at this because of the amount of money spent on crap he didn't need and he's selling e-books11 on techniques that should never be implemented... but I probably just sound like a dick.12 Some of us had to learn to use light to our advantage and have spent a long time fussing over everything, it's like he just went from zero to hero by buying a load of shit he didn't need.13 Sorry again, but ffs14. Okay, so you didn't get paid for this and it was 'an idea in your head' and you wanted to see if 'it was possible'.15 I understand that. You call this balance? (ISO2500, 1/1600 at f6.3)16 wtf... And the answer is yes, you are welcome to visit me anytime you like17 and I'll be happy to talk about it over a cup of tea or whatever. Please, just think before you light18...

And, The Annotations

1. Leading off: The Straw Man. The video is in fact not about motion blur at all. To be more clear, photographer Dave Black started out shooting at motion-freezing shutter speeds -- made possible by the same FP flash system the commenter derides as overkill later. He only dropped down to motion-blur speeds to eek out a few more minutes of shooting at the end. Like many others, I would have done the same thing.

2. Ya think?

3. Let's not forget the personal attack, shall we? Not only is Dave wasting money, but he is apparently a hack. (Yeah. Turns out, not so much.)

4. While I am no spelling bee champion, I am inclined to note at this point that sheer volume of grammatical/spelling errors and epic run-on sentences do tend to undercut the sting of condescension in the comment.

5. Wow. Good thing, huh?

6. Meh. I usually bale bail after one, myself. 'Cause I'm that good.

7. Oh. No. He. Didn't. Dude, please do not pull me over to stand next to you while you tee off on a third party. I was embarrassed enough by this comment before. But this just ensured it would not have been published. Normally, at least.

8. Oh, yes, yes. I certainly have much to teach Dave Black. And when I am done with him I am going to bring Greg Heisler up to speed, too.

9. Of course! Why limit our condescension to Dave Black when we can go after the entire readership?

10. Funny, I was just thinking that about this comment.

11. FWIW, Dave's teaching experience (back to 1986) predates the existence of eBooks by many years.

12. Um ... no comment!

13. At this point I begin to speculate that Dave Black's first Sports Illustrated credit probably predates the commenter's birth.

14. Actually had to look that one up.

15. Well, if you look at the video, it is under the account of LightWare, who makes the FourSquare and very likely could have been retaining Dave's services to demo it. That's really irrelevant to the quality of educational content in the video, but to assume Dave is working for free is unfounded.

16. Since you asked, here is the thinking. My assumption is that Dave chose 1/1600 as good, base motion-stopping speed. It's about where I would have chosen. Similarly, the D3s has insanely good high ISO and 2,500 could well be Dave's personal ISO quality roof for this kind of thing. Plugging in those two values would have given him the best possible DoF (at f/6.3) for the light level. Not to mention the 200-400 is gonna be sharper there than at wide open. As the light drops, you pick a variable to walk with it that will affect your quality the least. Last would be dropping the shutter speed down at the very end for motion blur attempts. Or, um, what you said.

17. We thought you'd never ask! You can see more of Mr. Harper's work, here. [UPDATE: The blog has been at least temporarily taken down. Presumably -- and ironically -- because of reader comments. Yeesh.] I must note that this separates Dale from the vast majority of comment feces-hurlers. A link to their own work (even if it was left rather obliquely) is exceedingly rare. Please be nice in the comments section.

18. Maybe you meant, "write"?

In All Fairness

As it happens, I recognized a person who turned out to be a mutual friend in a photo on Dale's blog. (Kinda cool, as they both live about 4,000 miles from me.) In an email Mark (the mutual friend) reports that Dale is actually a decent guy whom one would probably enjoy having a beer with.

But sometimes I think we all can sometimes get a little testy in the comments. Or at least look that way in writing when the recipient has no other contextual info with which to interpret.

Or maybe Dale was just temporarily possessed by The Devil. Or a fine single-malt, as Dale is Scottish.

The takeaway: Please do not use these comments as a platform on which to tee off on a third party. And if you are gonna anyway, try not to do it in such a spectacularly (and unintentionally) ironic way.

As always, the comments are open. Be nice.


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Blogger Trevor and Heather Little said...


I'm going to just assume you lost 1 subscription from this guy after his wonderful smackdown.

December 09, 2010 1:08 AM  
Blogger Paul Foley said...

Gee David,
I found myself feeling a little put off today when an 'anonymous' politely asked me for a recommendation on my little blog. I think it polite to use a name when communicating with someone for the first time (yeah I know it's old fashioned). Anyway I let it slide and hopefully pointed him in the right direction.
If I ever get a comment with as much 'verve' as Dale's I'll use your brilliant handling of it as a template (if you don't mind).
All the best,
Paul Foley

December 09, 2010 1:14 AM  
Blogger David said...


Hopefully, not. Actually, I wrote to Dale personally and told him I was, in fact, in awe of this comment's sheer magnitude. And on at least some level I hope this post cement's the comment's rightful place in the annals of comment history.

December 09, 2010 1:52 AM  
Blogger dath1974 said...

I debated a [brief] bit before posting this, but decided that I'd throw in my couple of cents on the subject. . .despite my better judgment. I can absolutely see why David may have decided to post this and I can only imagine how much "fun" it must be for him to moderate all the comments that come through his blog. . . Especially by us long-winded folks.

First, I think it is far too easy to criticize someone else for doing something that doesn't perhaps make immediate sense to you. I admit, I've been there, haven't we all? What I find much more difficult, but ultimately much more fulfilling is to ask questions and risk the possibility that I may look ignorant about a subject. My first reaction to seeing the videos (other than thinking how nerdly-awesome the setup was, I mean, *WOW*) was to ponder at what would make someone go that route vs. the more obvious monolight options. I eventually worked it out on my own and then David gave a nice and concise explanation of it in this post as well. My point really is that, as someone else who "didn't get it" right off, before I decided to make an ass of myself, I let my brain do what it was presumably designed for. If I couldn't ever reason it out and nobody ever explained it, I would have either written it off, or asked someone to explain it to me! Just because you don't understand something doesn't (in my mind) really justify outright attack.

As one of those readers who shoots predominantly stationary objects and people I'm still not entirely convinced similar results are unattainable without FP/high speed sync. In fact I have a few really concrete reasons why I think this and it seems like a very good reason for me to go out on a limb and try it sometime, huh? What would it cost me, a bit of my time perhaps?

-Daniel S. Thom

P.S. Flame away, I fully admit that I have a lot to learn and I know people like David have likely forgotten more than I will ever know on this subject.

December 09, 2010 1:59 AM  
Blogger Kyle said...

I don't think Dale is going anywhere. Scots just don't mince words. David's comments were kinder than a Scottish love letter.
I was actually quite impressed by the shots and would love to figure out a way to shoot prep night games (American football and real football) with consistant results in the crap lighting we get to deal with. Just when I think I have found the worst lighting, I shoot on a pitch that seems to be lit with torches. Oh well. Maybe the 4x4 is worth a try...

December 09, 2010 2:05 AM  
Blogger Gene Fama said...

I think you're being a little hard on the guy.

1) Blur entered the shoot later. The comment assumes this could've been anticipated. Of course it couldn't. But this is silly-ass second guessing, not a "straw man."

2) He doesn't seem that pissed. I know he said it, but it isn't obvious in a "ya think?" way.

3) Your rebuttal is an appeal to authority. And his suggestion to rethink the approach is presumptuous but not a personal attack. And plenty of pros could stand to rethink their approaches (present company excluded).

5) He seems to be hedging a candid opinion here by complimenting you. I wonder if Black would think this insulting.

6) I read this as: "Two keepers from a day's shoot is a good kill rate and a success." Not as: "Take two shots and go home." I might be wrong.

7) I thought this was obnoxious but not worthy of One. Word. Sentence shock. (Do you really call this "teeing off" on Black?)

8) I'm starting to feel odd defending the guy but he seems to be saying that folks who only shoot specular highlights on fruit might be impressed by a tubular sports shot and forget to reverse engineer it or rethink how they might accomplish it. Like we're trained to do on Strobist.

11) Okay the guy's coming off as a dick now but your response is another appeal to authority.

16) At least this comment was worthy of a response, judging from the response. I know I learned something!

The good news is that this blog is so excellent that Harper is your worst kind of flame-thrower. Go read the comments on Huffington Post to see what you're missing out on.


Gene Fama

December 09, 2010 3:04 AM  
Blogger Bernhard A S said...

If you would have asked someone three yaers ago, how can I freeze action with 1/2000 and a HSS fill flash in 60 m distance, the answer would have been it can't be practically done!

The borders of photography are expanding rapidly at the moment, which is one reason why film and the darkroom are nearly extinct.

The combination of electronic lightroom, the digital capture, advanced camera electronics, and more and more small manufacturers like radiopoppers who fill the gaps have surpassed the old school film fotografy in all dimensions.

This Blog is also about pushing boundaries. Sometimes doing more with less, sometimes doing more with clever use or abuse of cheap gadgets and sometimes doing more with more.

Dave Black is doing more with more and he has my full respect for it because he is actually moving boundaries.

If someone wants to do more with less, chill and just do it. Show it, maybe it's also cool.

December 09, 2010 3:21 AM  
Blogger Box of Frogs said...

I aspire to be as bad as Dave Black.

December 09, 2010 4:11 AM  
Blogger James said...

Uh oh....

Neil van Niekerk just demo'd one of those Lightwave Foursquare Blocks on his site: Using Multiple Speedlights with High-speed Flash Sync

I certainly don't think Neil falls into any of Dale's descriptions.

December 09, 2010 6:57 AM  
Blogger xlphotog said...

I think, perhaps, Dale was either:
A. Having a bad day and decided to take it out on you.
B. Waiting for his prescription to be filled and had some time to kill.

Either way, Happy Holidays to all the Strobists out there.
Craig C

December 09, 2010 6:57 AM  
Blogger Steve Kalman said...


Among the many things I admire about you and your organization is your willingness to keep the blog open to comments, even if it adds the overhead of moderating to an otherwise overpacked schedule.

I had to turn off comments to my blog (computer security stuff) long ago to both keep my blood pressure down and to have time to actually work

Thanks for this annotated blog entry. It was a very nice way to start of another long day.

December 09, 2010 7:34 AM  
Blogger Andy Price said...

I am a single malt drinker and I can assure you that is unlikely to be the cause!

December 09, 2010 7:56 AM  
Blogger Dennis Pike said...

I went back and looked at the comments on the original post and was shocked at how many people were bashing the video. Seriously? People complaining that it was showing off expensive gear.

Dave Black is a pro, like a serious pro, so it's not a huge deal that he has that many SB 900's. Look at any serious pro, I guarentee they have tons of $ invested in gear.

and who the hell are you people to bitch about what and how he was shooting? He shot they way he wanted with the gear he wanted. NExt time you do a shoot, I'll stand over your shoulder and tell you better ways to do it.

It was a cool BTS video with what I thought were some pretty awesome results. Part of the fun of photography is doing things your own way, and not having to rely of some formulaic way to do things.

It's the differences in the way people shoot that makes photography awesome.

This is a forum for learning and seeing different ways to do things. Not a place to just whine about what other people are doing. Here's an idea, if you don't like the way something was shot... don't shoot it that way!

December 09, 2010 7:58 AM  
Blogger m bright said...

You know, I am so grateful for these two posts. The first gives me some insight into how to think outside the box. This one, helps me learn a valuable life lesson. As said before, yes we can get angry by not understanding something, but it is best to think it through first before ranting. Or it's best to rant in a non-permanent fashion so you can take it doesn't live on if you didn't mean what was said.

Thanks to David and Dale for the lessons and for the platform.

December 09, 2010 8:44 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

I thought the video was interesting. I did find that several of the things he was doing did not make sense given the context. For instance, grouping the flashes a/b? Someone please explain the point of this given that all the flashes were effectively being used as on source. The other thing; I have looked at his website, shuck full of amazing images, but I think the surfing and motocross photos fall short. Not enough context (to tight crops) show what is going on. This is a sure sign of a photog who is shooting from "outside the sport"

December 09, 2010 8:59 AM  
Blogger John said...

One thing I've noticed about the 'net is, that a lot of people tend to lose all civility and manners when voicing their opinions. I guess because they are protected by a distance of "digital space" where they know they can't be directly confronted and can hide behind their monitors.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I think its very cool that you choose to post the good and the bad. I think a lot of people wouldn't.

The really sad part imho is the fact that people just don't seem to have manners anymore. There is always a better, more convincing way, to air your grievances if you just take the time to think about it.

Did I say think?

Thanks for sharing David!

December 09, 2010 9:02 AM  
Blogger vajim said...

One nit to pick:
6. Meh. I usually bale after one, myself.
Should be:
6. Meh. I usually bail after one, myself.

December 09, 2010 9:09 AM  
Blogger Mike VanKirk said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 09, 2010 9:30 AM  
Blogger Rajan Chawla Photography said...

I did learn something from this.

FFS. Cool.

Thanks Strobist god.

December 09, 2010 9:51 AM  
OpenID wetzelphoto said...

Interesting "comment". As has been said, why not ask questions as opposed to thinking you have the entire sum of the knowledge of the universe inside of your head? When you act like no one can teach you anything, you are correct, they cannot. It is ironic that the people that seem to think they know the most in fact actually seem to know the least. Why also is it that the people who criticize others photography the harshest seem to take the worst pictures?

Thanks for all your great posts David. I have learned so much from each and every one of them. Good thing I am not smart enough to know which are the garbage posts!

December 09, 2010 9:52 AM  
Blogger rlev said...

I hope you emailed Dale before you posted his rant for the world. I probably would have given him an option ... trash the post, rewrite and resubmit, or the headline piece ... you might have done that and Dale might not have minded ... He certainly got on the map ... maybe he'd like to tell us how he lights and times his action.

I found Dave Black video interesting. I assumed he was either doing a infomercial for four square or was trying out something interesting. Sometimes we like to use the equipment on hand. I may not have 8 TTL speedlights but I might try it with 3 manual one (perhaps with some modifier to get the light out to 200mm). My biggest problem then is getting one of those intelligent light stands to aim the thing ...

December 09, 2010 9:53 AM  
Blogger Bernard said...

Go get him Dave!

Personally, I love the annotations. I think this would make a great series of posts. By the way, thank you for posting a link to Dale's blog. Apparently, his works is so good that he feels obligated to criticize others. In fact, it seems he is rather proud of his Strobist post.

I have followed your blog since shortly after inception. It has been an extremely valuable and motivating resource. As such, I try to send colleagues your way any time I can.

Thank you for taking the time to educate the world of photographers, no matter how ignorant they come. :)

December 09, 2010 10:17 AM  
Blogger Cygnus said...

Many years ago I learned that you only knock what is better than you.

Most people will never understand why some choose to go to the extreme edge. Personally I love the idea of going over the top. That is what makes the world go round.

I read the strobist to see what other professional photographers are thinking and doing. Whether I agree with their approach or not, I still take away more knowledge of what can be done.

December 09, 2010 10:30 AM  
Blogger Al said...

I'll be honest and say that I'm new to lighting and didn't even see the article that Dale was ranting about. However, from a standpoint of someone who usually dismisses comments of such a magnitude of grammatical and spelling errors, I didn't get through the second sentence of his rant. Good rhetoric goes a long way when it comes to getting your voice heard.

December 09, 2010 10:45 AM  
Blogger John Maciel (Johan Blitzen or JohnnyFlash to camera geek buddies) said...

soooo yeah.... saw the blog, I bet the traffic's nice,
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.. ok back to life..
nicely handled Dave as usual.

December 09, 2010 10:52 AM  
Blogger Leo DeSouza said...

I found David Black's videos very interesting to say the least. Yes, when someone uses eight speedlights and an array techno gadgets to shoot action, you have to ask yourself if it's really necessary. Dave Black's results speak for themselves. It may have been a bit of overkill but he has the gear and he knows what he is doing. I learned a lot and as a photographer I will take what I can from his concepts, combine that with what gear I own to improve my own photography. I think that's the true purpose of these video posts and Mr. Hobby's efforts as well. All of this stupid flaming is really unnecessary. I would love to hook up with Dave Black for a day's shoot...I can learn so much.

-Leo DeSouza

December 09, 2010 11:01 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

Weird -- My gut reaction to Dave Black's post - wasn't to bitch about how much it would cost to try the same thing - but to thing damn - that's really cool use of tech to make some pretty sweet images.

I just wish I'd thought of it first :P

December 09, 2010 11:12 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

I guess I should be careful when I post my own 8square, 8 sb800, 8 SD-8A behind the scenes video.

No joke friends, I just ordered the last foursquare block to put onto my own foursquare handle and block.

In regards to the commenter, I have no patience, therefore I have comment.

FF ;)


December 09, 2010 11:55 AM  
Blogger Ido said...

I have been thinking about some of these kinds of comments for some time, and here is what I have observed..... it has two sides to the coin.

* A creative person will use expensive equipment because that is what gets the results. They know that cheaper methods exist, but it just will not get that particular effect that they want. For instance, $2500 sounds like a lot for a microphone preamp, but a recording engineer is willing to pay the price, because it gives a certain sound that the on-board preamp cannot give. Period. A chef is willing to pay $180 for a knife even though some people can't understand why he can't use the $10 knife at Walmart. Extravagant? Not in a professional kitchen.

* A creative person will use cheap (or DIY) equipment, because that shows one´s creativity, being able to do great effects with the creative use of unusual gear (such as cardboard). One still gets those little meaningful things one wants, but in a very creative way, using cheap resources. Think of those cardboard snoots, grids, and other nifty things used all the time. They are effective. They work. They have their place.

In other words, when it comes to creativity, anything goes, no holds barred. Look at why they use expensive equipment and try to understand their reasons. It is just another thing in your filing cabinet of creative techniques, even if you don't get around to using it. But knowing it exists extends your possiblities as a creative individual, since it might inspire a nifty lighting setup. If it were possible to get a tower and some equipment that would safely sync a lightning bolt (safety first), you bet your life (pun intended) some photographer would use that setup for some cool lighting effects, despite the cost. On the other hand, look at the cheap equipment they use, and try to understand that also. Try to make one yourself and see how it works. Just one more creative technique in your bag of tricks. The light is governed by physics: the cost of the equipment is a different dimension.

"Can't you do it with cheaper/other equipment?" That is just the wrong question. A better question is "Why did the photographer choose to use that particular equipment?", especially if the equipment is unusual.

"Can't you do it in Photoshop?" Groan. Also another wrong question since Photoshop will not have the wanted effect. Of course, certain effects can only be done on photoshop—but that depends entirely on the photographer, and those little meaningful details that the photographer wanted in the end. A better question would be "Why did the photographer go the long route, and what effect or detail is there, which we can't do in Photoshop?"

It is these little things, these meaningful details that give a little more cowbell to the photograph (not that the photograph is tack sharp everywhere, but there is something in the lighting or the composition or whatever that gives that extra zing, which the average distracted fellow might not notice). We are not concerned with art, but rather a creative endeavor. That's the whole point of the matter. For that, maybe we use speedlights one day, monoblocks the next day, ambient lighting for something else. Maybe we even have to use flashbulbs! Who cares? All of them are useful tools that I can use!! There is something inside, that creative instinct, that wants to get some certain effect or detail in the photo. The more the merrier. If there is a budget restriction, instead of whining, use your creative muscles to get something great. It works both ways.

Price is beside the point. It is that creative spark that is the issue. Creative people use whatever resources they can get their hands on. If they can use them creatively (like cardboard and gaffers tape), that is part of the fun. If they can use some nifty expensive equipment (like the nifty stuff Profoto makes, perhaps 16 speedlights flashing, and an octabox in a pear tree) that is also part of the fun.


December 09, 2010 12:13 PM  
Blogger Nicola said...

Really, what is the point of going nuts on photos that are clearly spectacular, taken by an incredibly experienced and talented photographer, when your own ability is so modest? Photography alone seems to bring out that kind of shameful lack of respect. Can you imagine Michael Jordan turning up as a guest at a high school basketball game and being told he "needs to go back to basics and work his way up?"

December 09, 2010 12:21 PM  
Blogger Ido said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 09, 2010 12:22 PM  
Blogger ::DaleHarper:: said...

@David Hobby

Talking of spelling... ;)

@all that care

I love to take photos. I commented from my phone. If Dave Black takes my comments badly, I'm sure he can contact me with his grievance. Don't worry, you will all forget me in 20 minutes...

@Trevor and Heather Little

I'm still here ;)


He wasn't harsh at all, I just think he's been waiting a long time to make an example of someone and this is the result. No worries :D


haha, yes. One of those or both ;)

@Andy Price

You are absolutely right.

@Joe Horvath

I feel you on the crops and 'outside the sport'. That annoyed me a whole bunch - might have actually been the catalyst.


Wow, you missed the point entirely.


Are you saying I only take bad photos? Or that I'm the worst. :o I'll have to stop. That's it for me. Damn.


Grrr, arrrgh. Let's take his head. arrr...

and yeah...that's it. Thanks for your time.

It was just a comment :o

December 09, 2010 12:25 PM  
OpenID willmcgphoto said...

It's our job, as a creative to find new ways to do things, to take what we find and make it better for having interacted with it, from cereal box snoots, pvc pipe dollies to Dave Blacks uber flash.

We are the guys who poke things with a stick and say "can it be done?".

I dont like the fact that Dale Harper has

A) Tried to bring down a fellow creative
B) Basically implies DB as being a hack and that Dale could indeed give him the advice he needs to get back on track and be a lighting guru as he is by saying "he's making a hash of everything, go back to basics dude and work your way up again, maybe re-think your lighting ideas"
C) Given a bad name to us scots :)
D) Used someone else's Blog to do all of the above

I love the fact that DB is trying something wild and wacky.

George Mallory is famously quoted as having replied to the question "Why do you want to climb Mount Everest?" with the retort: "Because it's there"

That is what i think we are all about as creatives, we push boundaries, change things up and create new ways of doing things, because we can.

@dale, I Googled to check out your work for world wide publications such as Sports Illustrated or Time Magazine, and your extensive ebook collection on techniques that "should" be implemented but i couldn't find them, could find David Blacks though.
That googles a bit rubbish at times. If you could give us links that would be great.

Oh and it is written in internet law that you can no longer refer to it as a "blog thingy ma bob" when you have one yourself.

It's kinda a 3 strike thing, after that, you get a smack on the bottom from the baby jesus.


December 09, 2010 12:38 PM  
Blogger Cody Lee Dopps said...

S L O W C L A P.

*building to roaring applause*

December 09, 2010 12:53 PM  
Blogger Stroboholic said...

Have to say, David, I'm not so sure about elevating this like you did. All those new folks coming to you from the NY Times will now see quite a bit of dirty laundry as the #2 item on the blog. I hope it doesn't scare them off before they get to all the truly awesome stuff you've provided over the years. It would be a shame to lose those new voices. The community is part of what makes Strobist what it is.


December 09, 2010 1:00 PM  
OpenID yo-sarrian said...

Ouch. That was quite, quite painful.

And once more I feel compelled to bring up the amazingly true and relevant "John Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory"

December 09, 2010 1:05 PM  
Blogger Justin said...

I feel the most important question about the video shoot, should be whether or not Dave and his crew went to Hodad's after wrapping up, for the best burger in Ocean Beach, actually all of San Diego!

It's great to see (and read) the passion, this has been educational and entertaining!

December 09, 2010 1:15 PM  
OpenID ducktel said...

To Mr Harper and his comments regarding Dave Blacks photography techniques......its the only thing that came to mind while reading his comments......Thanks David for sharing this with us...


December 09, 2010 1:53 PM  
Blogger Sandra said...

I enjoyed the behind the scenes wiith Dave Black. I generally enjoy the comments on the blog too as they sometimes lead me to a greater understanding or at least give me something to think about. Although I am grateful that the comments are carefully moderated. I feel a wee bit sorry for Dale having his comments singled out as an example of why this is necessary.

December 09, 2010 2:00 PM  
Blogger becky ruppel said...

it's really easy to sit at your computer or on your phone and spew at someone-kind of a flaw in cyberworld. Would you walk up to David Hobby or Dave Black and say it to their face? Doubt it.
There's something for everyone in Strobist do maybe this wasn't for Dale Harper but I certainly appreciate Dave's knowledge and experience and I just like it when people push the edge to see what happens...

December 09, 2010 2:07 PM  
Blogger JoeyT said...

To steal a phrase from former senator Lloyd Bentsen:

"I teach beside Dave Black. I know Dave Black. Dave Black is a friend of mine. Dale, you're no Dave Black."

And, to respond that, "It was just a comment :o" is to evade the responsibility of your own remarks.

I can tell you that I have taught alongside Dave for more than 10 years and have never once walked away for one of his presentations without shaking my head in awe. Every student and instructor alike has the same reaction. Dave has reinvented himself again and again and again, he shares his knowledge selflessly and he is one of the kindest people on the planet. His body of work is remarkable and his inventiveness is enviable.

You picked on the wrong guy.

To paraphrase Rich Clarkson, a legendary photographer and teacher in his own right, "Always know who you're talking about."

Joey Terrill

December 09, 2010 2:19 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

LOL that was amusing from start to finish. Thanks for sharing :)

December 09, 2010 2:31 PM  
Blogger Andrew Mumford said...

"Death awaits you all, with nasty pointy teeth !"

December 09, 2010 2:43 PM  
Blogger Paul Vincent said...

Hi David,

Not gonna comment on the post...

But I'm curious about the 1/1600 using FP....

From What I read FP is using pulsating flash output to be able to sync at 1/1600 right?

if the above statement is true.. then should we see a bit motion blur?

Assuming the reach of a g9 would be enough.... would it be say cheaper to use 4 manual flash syncing at 1/1000? ( not considering the pleasing aspect of bokeh produced by the DSLR? )

- Paul

December 09, 2010 3:06 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

Here's my comment, albeit off-topic:

I like the picture you used in your post David, it certainly grabbed my attention.

December 09, 2010 3:19 PM  
Blogger Kevin Halliburton said...

It's no wonder to me that so many of the current "Old School" masters of photography are the ones still pushing and moving the new boundaries today. It's also not surprising that those who still don't get the high speed sync thing would rather take a knock at the world for moving on without them in ways they don't understand than to invest the energy it would take to figure it out.

What is surprising to me is the incredible willingness of so many of those old school masters to share the results of their personal investments of time, energy and money with everyone else after they have sorted out the new tools and possibilities. Thank

I really wish someone would come out with a 1600 watt, battery powered, high speed sync capable studio strobe that obeys my camera's every command. Either that or leaf shutter lenses for my full frame Nikon. Until then, this is the best idea I've seen. Yes, it's expensive, but so is ignorance.

December 09, 2010 3:27 PM  
Blogger CH said...

@Mike VanKirk
Who says you can't use flash during Motocross races? Every motocross photographer uses flash during races, especially at Supercross. The riders don't even notice the flash when they are racing. Definitely take your strobes with you next time you go to the races.

Chris Hultner

December 09, 2010 3:58 PM  
Blogger David said...


I figured the comment manifesto might be a little confusing to people coming in from the NYT as the lead post. So I put the "Greetings Newbs" post up as a topper.

But I am certainly not going to remove content -- or change tacks -- based on the fact that there are new people being linked in. That happens every day, to some extent. Pretty soon, I would start to feel the need to wear a tie or something ...

Besides, I doubt they'll be more than 2% of the day's traffic when it is all said and done. And only those people among the 2% who could tolerate an infantile sense of humor would stick around for very long, anyway.


December 09, 2010 3:58 PM  
Blogger CH said...

@Mike VanKirk
Who says you can't use flash during Motocross races? Every motocross photographer uses flash during races, especially at Supercross. The riders don't even notice the flash when they are racing. Definitely take your strobes with you next time you go to the races.

Chris Hultner

December 09, 2010 4:01 PM  
Blogger PaulL said...

Um, ok...

Honestly, when I read the piece, the first thing that came to mind was, "How could I do something similar without all those flashes?" But I consider that constructive learning, not the rant Dale posted :)
I'm sure it CAN be done without 8 flashes and the rest...but like my textbooks used to say, leave that exercise up to the reader.

December 09, 2010 4:34 PM  
Blogger p. said...

I am a longtime reader, yet very infrequent "commenter"- for many good reasons.

First of all, like Mr. Harper, I am a terrible writer. I absolutely realize the difficulty I have making clear and concise arguments via keyboard. Most importantly, I realize that my opinions, negative or otherwise, will most likely not have any positive impact on the conversation. That said, I always read the comments because I know that there are countless reader's comments that do indeed elevate the conversation.

[I wish I was savvy enough to provide you with a link to the last comment I made, which was a TERRIBLE JOKE about Juergen Specht's Helmet Umbrella]

Not only do David Hobby and Strobist owe me (or you) NOTHING, but I could never repay them for the education they have provided me. Could you? If you cannot further the conversation, why not just wait until the next post? And if you have outgrown Strobist or if its content is not to your liking, why not focus your attention and words elsewhere?

From one simple-minded blog reader to another- think before you PUBLISH YOUR COMMENT.

-my $0.02

December 09, 2010 6:07 PM  
OpenID kurtwerks said...

Guess I'll thank David Hobby for not moderating my first post into existence. It was ill-mannered and mildly profane. Instead, after some consideration, I confess a certain sympathy for Dale, having more than once made ill-considered public rants.

December 09, 2010 7:32 PM  
Blogger Ellis said...

"8. Oh, yes, yes. I certainly have much to teach Dave Black. And when I am done with him I am going to bring Greg Heisler up to speed, too. "

You know it really is about time that someone taught Greg how to use light. maybe you can get Dan Winters ( to go in with Greg and split the cost of so they can have a one-on-two workshop. I' m sure you'll be willing to give them a discount ;-) Maybe they can talk Albert Watson ( ) into coming along too.

December 09, 2010 9:01 PM  
Blogger zebrafive said...

I think this post is a good call. I'm not near the level of skill of 90% of your readers (certainly not yourself) but I was disappointed (or was that relieved) when visiting the linked site. I'm not sure even one of the photos on the home page would have made my cut for further editing.

December 09, 2010 9:51 PM  
Blogger glenn said...

Please, can someone answer this question;

would using a monolight and a shutter speed set at 200-250 and an iso of 1600-2000 with an f/6.3 been enough juice to freeze the surfers motion and get the shot?

December 09, 2010 9:58 PM  
Blogger VT said...

Wow, David, I'm surprised by this blog post.

My belief is that there are really two ways to deal with posts like Dale's: ignore it, or educate him. You didn't really do either. Instead, you decided to elevate his post and knock it down line by line. Not cool. Yes, what Dale said is rather ignorant but if you allowed his post as it was originally, many others on this blog could have educated him on his mistakes and why David Black's video - although somewhat of an infommercial for FourSquare - was interesting and educational. Of course, we would have probably been overwhelmed with less than helpful rants that would be as bad as Dale's original message too. But, my feeling is that one should either post them all, or filter them all out. By picking and choosing his particular pot, you basically put him in a glass box, gathered a crowed, pointed at him, and told everyone why they should laugh at him.

It's your blog and you can do with it as you wish. I really love the down-to-earth, conversational feel of your work, but for me, you should either filter out all the junk, or allow all of it. Being selective is an abuse of your authority.

Anyway, I still, and always will, love Strobist, but now I will probably always second guess posts on Strobist as "approved". Sorry.

December 09, 2010 10:14 PM  
Blogger David said...


I appreciate the logic, but I am willing to bet you have never had to moderate the raw comment stream from a blog that gets 100,000 page views on a given day.

Would that your were so simple. The very time consuming question I deal with every day in the comments is, where do you draw the line as to what exactly is junk?

I put in a lot of time and frustration so you can get that "approved" list you lament. And trust me when I tell you that you would not want to see the unapproved list. In addition to a steady stream of the above type of crap, it also includes a fair amount of hate speech, idiocy, incoherence -- and a boatload of spam.

No thanks.

December 09, 2010 10:36 PM  
Blogger David said...

p.s., @VT-

What I forgot to add was that this post is a genuine effort to lessen that stream, by example.

I spend way too much time absorbing this kind of crap -- personally -- with every decision either degrading the blog or making me a censor.

It is pretty much the suckiest part of my day, so once in a blue moon I am gonna push back. Sorry if it bothered you, but self-preservation trumps.

December 09, 2010 10:39 PM  
Blogger Ellis said...

"would using a monolight and a shutter speed set at 200-250 and an iso of 1600-2000 with an f/6.3 been enough juice to freeze the surfers motion and get the shot?"

Even at the end of the day where the ambient light levels had dropped so that the only real light source @ 1/200- 1/250 so your monolight was the primary source of light, the flash duration of most monolights or high powered battery powered lights like a Profoto 6B or 7B or Pack and Head systems ( primary current exception: the Paul C. Buff Einstein with the Retro Laser reflector) would be longer than what you'd need to very crisply freeze the surfers and the water spray the way his array of Nikon Speedlights are doing here.

December 09, 2010 10:57 PM  
Blogger klebanc said...

You, Sir, get the Pulitzer gold star award in my book. Fantastic response... great writing... and the most amazing blog on the planet for lighting enthusiasts!!

December 09, 2010 10:57 PM  
Blogger VT said...


I understand your frustration. And yes, I appreciate the hell of moderating a very busy site. I am a moderator of a couple of very busy sites - one is a very, very popular sports site for a football (aka soccer) team, and the other a popular technology blog. I don't run either. I just help moderate.

We get ton's of crap. Yes, hate, spam, etc. We also get a ton of stuff from ignorant members that adds no value. But, we try not to be heavy handed when filtering what is opinion (sometimes controversial, insulting in not a vulgar way, or just off the deep end opinion) to what is junk. It's usually obvious.

My opinion of Dale's post is that, while ignorant, and maybe even insulting of David Black's work and skill, it is not "crap". Dumb? Yes. Uninformed? Yes. Representative of a group of strobist readers who think that you should only ever talk about DIY and cheap stuff for the average guy, and not useful, educational stuff about light and photography, regardless of the gear/style/price, etc? YES.

Trust me, man, I wasn't judging you by making the "approved" comment. That, as I said, is my opinion and I don't even pretend to understand the mountains of crap you have to shovel to keep the blog entertaining and intelligent. I just don't think the way you singled out Dale, who had to identify himself when he posted - unlike the armies of Anonymous Cowards that always seem to be the source of endless tripe - was cool. It stinks of picking on one particular poster for a really bad post in order to make an example of him to others who might think of posting similarly stupid stuff.

But, I get your point and I definitely respect it.

Maybe you should think about getting help from people you trust to moderate out the garbage and leave in the useful stuff, even if controversial or "ignorant". I'm sure you'd have no problem finding volunteers who'd love to help.

December 09, 2010 10:59 PM  
Blogger Stormin said...

... I finally found the Strobist Comments section! I followed my nose, thinking that I had stepped in something walking across the barnyard...

December 09, 2010 10:59 PM  
Blogger Chris Johnston's Nambian Photography said...

FFS, That's a good one, handy, clean enough to slide by Ma and Pa, so FFS, this is simple enough get Nikon to put Mr. Black and Richard on a plane to Namibia, I'll take them some place really cool where the elephants and lions and tigers roam (looking for fresh pink meat to play with,) in horrible lighting conditions and let them shoot it out, winner gets to feed the loser to the Nile Crocs. Since I have a download pipeline that works at geologic speeds I rarely download YTS (You Tube fecal matter) But being familiar with Mr. Blacks innovative work I though WTF might be worth an hour, and it was, I thought the end result was magic and that Dick is CFS (completely full of fecal matter....)

Chris Johnston,

December 10, 2010 12:15 AM  
OpenID Zack said...

Well, Mr. Harper doesn't suck. I don't see anything really special on his website either, but he doesn't suck.

Between my jobs selling cameras and teaching photography, I hear a lot of this vitrol. 'Advanced amateurs' that know a little but lack the ability or desire to push their abilities further are responsible for the vast majority of this junk.

I once shot half a roll of Tmax 400 rated to ISO 1600, and developed my film at the 'wrong' temperature just to shut a kid up when he saw that - SURPRISE - it came out well.

In the end, all that matters is results, and your personal satisfaction. If that means junk equipment, $15,000 of gear, smearing vaseline on your UV filters, or taping radiosync'ed flashes on walls, it doesn't matter how you get there, so long as you get there.

December 10, 2010 12:49 AM  
Blogger MortonPhotographic said...

Great post. I am glad you brought this out in the open--I hate it when people do this. Right, wrong or indiferent, it's just cocky and ingnorant.

I think everyone will agree with him on one thing, however... point 12.

December 10, 2010 2:56 AM  
Blogger Denny Wells said...

David - as always, you handled this with great tact and a little humor. That's one of the things I love most about your blog. Sure, there is a lot of great gear & lighting technique content, and I have learned tremendously from it. But every once in a while you insert a tremendous post like this regarding how to treat people, especially in conflict situations. I love the way you make direct contact to diffuse the situation and treat people with respect.

I almost didn't submit this comment, simply to keep your moderation workload down. But I didn't really see anyone else saying thank you for... well, for being polite.

December 10, 2010 4:34 AM  
Blogger Bogdan said...

Dave ..
I think publicly dissecting someone's comment in this manner was quite low of your part.

Just because you have to sort trough all the comments posted on your blog and take out the garbage, does not justify your actions.

It's no secret that this blog is a major source of income for you and your family, so moderating your comments section should not sound like such a chore considering you get to do what you love (blogging about your passion) and get paid for it .

We all have jobs and people we don't like or get on our nerves.. but we are not going to make blog posts out of it.. there are other ways to vent..

Besides when I go to I expect to read something photography related and not some post about a poor bastard who made a stupid comment ..

Not taking things personal would be the right thing to do.. After all even people like Dale Harper generates traffic to your website which = to more $ in your pocket..

Now before you get all defensive on me....let me say that I do enjoy your blog a lot! and I realize the amount of work and time you put in it so getting paid for it sounds only fair to me. But we have to know
where to draw the line between making things personal/putting ourselves on the authority pedestal and professionalism.


December 10, 2010 6:27 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I get that it sucks to be on the receiving end of goofy comments seven days a week, and I suppose there is some therapeutic value to pushing back when somebody leaves their self wide open as in this sad case of a grumpy Scotsman.

But it doesn't do much for OCF, and the timing of the link from the NYT is unfortunate. Trying to fix it with the post welcoming newbs is fine but there is so much great content on the site, the rant against goofy comments just doesn't fit with your (blog) style or tone.

Anyway it is over now, hopefuly you are good for another year.

For more interesting and useful content: when do we get your take on the PW MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 for Nikon? Mr. Hogan mentioned it December 1, I expect you are under some kind of NDA but hopefully that will be lifted soon, looking forward to your views on this.

December 10, 2010 6:56 AM  
Blogger JacobyP said...

Sorry David, I am with VT. A blog with your readership is going to have its fair share of opinions that might spill off the page in either direction, and although it is probably a pain in the Scottish arse to moderate all of the traffic, good and bad, you sort of signed up for it when you created this wonderful monster. In a perfect world he would have waited until morning to post his opinion and you would have done the same before posting your editorial. As it is, you both come off as seriously unprofessional.

I do not blog nor do I plan to, but there must be a better remedy to your unsavory blog-mail than to pick on a kid who may have had one too many tokes or one too many scotches. We have all been to that point. This kid, though, now thanks to your blog and your own perhaps skewed filter, has hundreds of thousands of people thinking that he is an arsehole.

Love your site, but I think you messed up on this one.

December 10, 2010 6:59 AM  
Blogger Nicolas Feret said...

I'm still cracking up an hour after I read that... so good :)

December 10, 2010 7:01 AM  
Blogger Alex Kotlik said...

Yep, it happens a lot and I like the way you handled this case, David.
But also I think you made quite a promotion for Dale ;) I believe that his blog got at least a few hundreds of visitors because almost every reader of your blog went there for sure to see what He is capable of (no comments on that though :) )
I need to say also that since I started to learn to use off-camera speedlites 4 years ago there were 2 main resources for me: Strobist and Dave Black's brilliant monthly 'Workshop at the Ranch'

December 10, 2010 7:56 AM  
Blogger Valerie said...

Wow. I wish I had the confidence to round on someone so thoroughly, in public, when they produce work as stunning as Dave Black's, and in a forum like Strobist. (New sentence to avoid running on...). And I've got to say, rounding on people is something I am especially good at.
PS - David, what an excellent way to deal with this situation. I am, once again, in a bit of awe.

December 10, 2010 8:33 AM  
Blogger Bklynphotochic said...

Although it was interesting to share the commentor's rant as a lesson it only wasted more time and energy on someone who is desperatly in need of attention.

December 10, 2010 11:35 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Histed said...

These are serious issues, and as always David makes reasoned, thought provoking asertions.

My comment is about tone rather than content: on content Daivd said it all.

I was laughing out loud as I read this. Even when making very serious points, your humour is absolutely pricelss David, absolutely glorious. But your humour always amplifies your message never detracts from it. A rare thing.

Also: love Dave Black's photos and blog: so thank you for the heads up on that.

December 10, 2010 12:28 PM  
Blogger owen said...

im always seeing video responses that are way over the top, as if to say "how dare you interrupt me in my chair by providing me with this free content that i clicked on!? this isnt even the best thing i've ever seen. i am outraged!"

the impersonal nature of the internet seems to bring out a lot of negativity and misplaced frustration. the comments section is like a therapy session, for which many readers, arguably, owe you a check for listening.

possibly me included.

December 10, 2010 2:04 PM  
Blogger Pierre said...

Hi David,
First many thanks for all the time and efforts you put in this blog to make this a better "lighted" world...
Regarding our comments maybe you could publish a list of not acceptable/negative words and have some kind of automation reading the posts and deleting the ones that do not respect this, and let you concentrate on the ones bringing something ...
Peace on earth and have a great 2012
Pierre Wachholder
ps saw you at your Paris seminar a couple of years ago and hope this will happen again

December 10, 2010 2:54 PM  
Blogger Sharna said...

WOW! Free publicity for Dale! LOL
David, It's all good. You are a much bigger and better person than I. Me? I would have ripped him a new one for sure! I am so glad that you are here and that you invite other photographers to post on your blog. Talented Photographers that show excellent works. Thank You!


December 10, 2010 3:39 PM  
Blogger Bruko said...

what's weird to me is that there are so few cut-throating flames in your blog.
Photographers and nerds are two of the most violent kind of people in the world and this place is like photonerds heaven!

December 10, 2010 4:08 PM  
Blogger Jon Brooke said...

David, I agree with everything in your analysis of the comment. I just don't agree with your decision to post it.

Seems to me a bit off to talk about how wrong it is to make personal attacks and then make one yourself, particularly as you have such a huge following on your blog.

Just look at all the invective you've released from others who've decided not just to agree with your criticism, but to add to it.

Come on people, we all make mistakes, particularly when we can bang out some stream of consciousness then press send.

Can we stop now?

December 10, 2010 4:41 PM  
Blogger glenn said...

@ Ellis, thank you for your answer.

December 10, 2010 4:42 PM  
Blogger Noah said...

I am thoroughly enjoying this... Does that make me a bad person? A sadist?

December 10, 2010 4:45 PM  
Blogger LouJanelle said...

Time to move on ...

December 10, 2010 7:25 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I like the way this was handled. It's a gentle lesson regarding the etiquette that shall be observed on this blog. Remember that Dale submitted his comments to David's blog, and Dale's comments were neither educational nor particularly entertaining. Hopefully this doesn't spark off an arms race of commenter-trolls trying to be the next subject of DH's negative attention.

December 10, 2010 7:47 PM  
OpenID kevin said...

Though I watched the video when it was posted, I took no notice of how amazing such experimentation was until you clarified to the readers what frontier has opened up from Mr. Blacks inventiveness. This post of yours (David) shows the seriousness of the envelop Mr. Black presses, and the seriousness of change within photography (science of photography.) This blog topic might be a reality check for one poster, but I am amazed by the experimentation used by Mr. Black.
-Kevin Morrison

December 10, 2010 8:48 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

David -
Your blog is what I wish more of the internet was like.
Intelligent, civil, and informative.
Surprisingly, it never occurred to me just how much work it is for you to have to moderate the comments.
I was blown away with the effort involved on the " front end", and now I stand humbled.
Thank you.

December 10, 2010 11:02 PM  
Blogger Martin said...

Senator, your no Jack Kennedy.
And he's no David Hobby...
I looked at his page. He had Two really well lit images, but... I didn't count all the umm so-so images which were many.

December 11, 2010 12:02 AM  
Blogger David Middlecamp said...

There are lots of unfiltered free fire zones of opinion on the net. They wear thin on me. I prefer blogs like this one that strive for a sense of community.

December 11, 2010 12:56 AM  
Blogger THURO said...

HA! damn flamers. So, let's say I rent 24 of these SB900's and buy all the other stuff... can I shoot this with my D90 and a 70-300 f3.5-5.6? The OB pier is like 10 mins from my house, It'd be worth a "shot", right?

December 11, 2010 2:00 AM  
Blogger john said...

Your job is to be the adult in the room. That job includes monitoring the comments and removing the ones which are inappropriate for whatever reasons you see fit.
That said, it does not seem particularly fair to single out one person as you have done in this post and open him up to so much criticism. The post would have been just as effective without having named the author.
If the point of the post is for people to be kinder and gentler to others in the Stobist community, then we look to you to lead by example.

December 11, 2010 3:22 AM  
Blogger Mark Stumpf Photography said...

I actually think every article where I learn something, is a good article. I did learn that there is a pretty cool setup out there that allow someone with 4 (or in this case 8) remote speedlites to shoot at shutter speeds that exceed that of the camera's flash sync speed. I love the oldskool formula for making pictures, but those pictures that Dave Black created are amazing output. The same way I felt the first time I took a look at some of Hobby's photos, except, Black is doing it with subjects that are moving at much higher speeds.

There are so many photographers out there and if we all are doing the same thing, then nobody will be successful in this business (or hobby). I am constantly learning something about photography every time I shoot. I feel the two most important areas to grow your creativity is with light and that order.

Some may argue that Dave Black is not being creative with the light because he is plugging some sponsored equipment, but as a fan of photography, you have to admit that those pictures are sick.

- Mark Stumpf

December 11, 2010 8:48 AM  
Blogger HKM said...

Hunter S Thompson referred to this "style" as Gonzo journalism. Maybe Dale is the new Gonzo blogger/poster!

Now where's my copy of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"??

December 11, 2010 9:16 AM  
Blogger Edward Carlile Photography said...



December 11, 2010 1:43 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Moderation is a thankless job at times. David, it is your blog, not ours. Do with it as you must. Readers of your blog can choose to read it or not, their choice.

The issue that I have is that Dale should have directed his commentary to Mr. Black directly and not here is my thought.

December 11, 2010 3:13 PM  
Blogger Doug Sundseth said...

@Jon Brooks: "Seems to me a bit off to talk about how wrong it is to make personal attacks and then make one yourself, particularly as you have such a huge following on your blog."

There is a qualitative difference between attacking and responding to an attack. The tone was chosen by Dale Harper, not by David Hobby. And fisking is entirely in the grand tradition of blogging.

December 11, 2010 7:29 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Laughing... Forget Godwin's law, I'm ready for the establishment of the WWYMT? Rule. What would your mother think, Dale?

December 12, 2010 3:43 AM  
OpenID Zack said...

@ john:
I've actually been extremely impressed over the time I've been reading this blog how well-contained Mr. Hobby has been. I can only assume that most of the posters that thought he acted inappropriately cannot be longtime readers. I'd refer to David's response as 'justified', legally speaking. It wasn't the best thing to do, but your average person would have done the same thing or worse in that situation. Seeing as Mr. Hobby is Just a Guy, and not a priest, politician, or the like, I hardly think it's fair to expect him to be some sort of moral bastion just because his site gets tons of hits. After all, Ken Rockwell is a "respected" blogger, and he rips people and products a new one all the time - and not usually with a good reason for that matter.

@ HKM:
The difference between 'gonzo journalism' and the offending post is that Hunter S. Thompson was a good writer. Comparing the two is like saying Picasso and Van Gogh are just as good at painting as schoolchildren because they're all sloppy. It's technically true, but it totally misses the point.

December 12, 2010 9:59 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

There is one thing that I can say that applies to both the Dave Black shoot and the Strobist Annotations - That was epic, brah!!

December 12, 2010 11:09 AM  
OpenID mathieu said...

@john: David Hobby being "the adult in the room"? :) You must be a new reader.

December 12, 2010 11:27 PM  
Blogger shayne gray learns photography %$#! said...

...amazing...but unfortunately not uncommon. Youtube is probably the worst for that kind of brutality, but even still some people don't use their usual manners-filter the way they should.

I'd been thinking about it for some time, but finally summed up a very similar sentiment against ruthless attacks on HDR photography (regardless of whether any of us love it or hate it).

Some of these comments are perhaps worthy of the same prize just handed to Dale (see closer to the bottom where I "shayne" have my say on exactly these sorts of things...). And even funnier: check out the very next poetic (and highly ironic) comment to follow....

December 13, 2010 1:58 AM  
Blogger Ren said...

I will never, EVER, understand why people get so narky when people who have bought great gear use said gear and make a good go at a career using great gear.

It also makes me laugh (in a funny, snorting, derisive kind of way) that people get on soap boxes about others using sponsored gear.

It boggles my mind.

So what? The point is they're making pictures and you're not because you're sitting there dissing some random person over selling out or over-gearing.

The world is having it's period. Seriously.

December 14, 2010 4:52 AM  

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