London and Baltimore: Going Out With a Bang

The good news: I just landed what will almost certainly turn out to be the coolest gig of my career. It's a dream project, and I could not be happier nor more excited about it.

The bad news: It will be very time-intensive, so it will have an impact on my life going forward. Which my upcoming seminars in London and Baltimore/Washington are probably gonna be my last. If not ever, then certainly for a long time.

So let's sweeten the pot a little bit for the last go-round...

Just as when I left my job at The Baltimore Sun in 2007, the main reason for cutting back from teaching is to keep hold of my family time. The 6- and 9-yr-olds I wrote about back then are both teenagers now. Time is going really fast.

But you guys have grown to feel like a family, too. So there's no way I am quitting Strobist. However, there will be some changes coming next year. I am still working through that plan, but they will likely involve decreasing frequency and increasing quality.

I think that's a win-win. Zack Arias is right. God knows there is enough noise already. I am willing to sacrifice some noise in the quest for better signal.

No matter what the final choices with regard to Strobist, it is clear to me now is that these will likely be my last two seminars. That's because teaching involves the double-whammy of time plus time-away-from-family. And besides, the new gig is travel-heavy. So backing off from teaching was an obvious choice.

So for these last two classes, I am going to do something I haven't done before.

London, September 28th and 29th

I am so glad I got to be a part of this London photo weekend before the meter ran out on my time. Gulf Photo Plus is a wonderful organization and it is exciting to be able to help to bring it to London.

The early-bird discount seats are long taken at this point. But at $449, the Gulf Photo Plus' Pop-Up London weekend is a fantastic opportunity nonetheless. It's sorta like FlashBus squared, but better. If you are in striking distance of London in late September, I can say with absolute certainty at this point that you'll never get this opportunity again. Best go for it while you can.

You won't be disappointed. I have spent significant time in the audience of Mssrs. McNally, Arias and Heisler, and have never regretting a moment of it. I love learning from these guys, who collective have so much to offer. And as for my own segment, I honestly believe that what we'll be talking about is far more important than anything I could teach about lighting.

Yes, Strobist is about lighting. But my bigger passion over the last seven years has been to study the ecosystems connected to photography and to learn how to create, exploit and leverage them. As I sit and write this, I realize that this is the knowledge that specifically led me to my next photo gig. Especially when you consider that project will not involve the use of a flash at all.

So for my last photo-related seminar, my hope is to leave some folks in London with the best advice I could possible give them. For the people who are truly successful in photography, the photo-taking part is actually a very small part of the overall skills. This stuff matters.

And to sweeten the pot a little bit, I will have on my person 25 copies of Lighting in Layers. Not on DVDs which, granted, wonderfully repurpose as a set of coasters. But rather on something more useful: an SD card.

The first 25 people who walk up to me and say this code phrase will get a copy of Lighting in Layers on SD card:

"No offense, but I am here to see Heisler."

That's the phrase. Say it and you will get the card. Say anything else and you will get a dumb look. Because I have no idea what you are talking about and, what SD card? Huh?

And if you are too late to get one of the 25 SD-card LIL's, I'll have with me a thumb drive for you to borrow and move the content to your laptop. So bring a laptop with you that has 3GB of free space, just in case.

And please, be discreet. Ask it out of earshot of other people. This shit is compartmentalized security. And mind you, I'll be wandering the streets of London for a few days before the GPP weekend. So if you see a devastatingly handsome middle-aged white dude wearing shorts and a T-shirt, well, you know what to do.

More info on the GPP_PopUP weekend: My Earlier Post | GPP London Webpage

Baltimore/Washington, October 21st

This October, my final planned seminar will be on blogging and social media. That's actually a bit of a confusing title. It's really about how to use the web and social media to amp whatever it is that you are doing, but that proved to be too long of a title.

There will be a little crossover with London. But this is more of a 50,000-foot view, and it should be useful whether you are a photographer or small businessperson or a cog-in-the-machine or just someone with an idea in the back of their head who wants to learn how to digitally incubate it.

When I realized I was going to leave The Baltimore Sun to go to the web, I brought to bear a journalist's skills, focus and passion to learning all I could about the way the social web worked. And I have never stopped doing that over the last 7½ years.

This ecosystem affects everything. It's like a river. You can sit there and just watch it go by, or you can recognize that it carries energy that you can harness and shape and use to power things in the way that you want.

It's like everyone has a house right next to the river, but relatively few people spend much time figuring out how to harness the free power. We're gonna build some water wheels.

It was originally scheduled for June, but due to a sudden tragedy in the local blogging community we decided out of respect to reschedule it for October. This is a smaller in-house gig, and thus I am able to keep the costs down. The price for the day is $159, or $99 for nonprofits/students with ID.

But given it's the last dance, I want to amp this one a little bit, too. And since I have a little more control, I am going to do it in two ways.

I think this is valuable stuff, hard-won through experience. But afterwards if you disagree and think it was a mistake of your time and money, just say so and we'll refund every penny. I can't offer you better than that.

Except to add this: as in London, I'll also have 15 copies of Lighting in Layers on SD cards. You can grab one the same way, with the same password phrase as above. Again, please be discreet. Besides, given the context it would likely confuse the hell out of any muggle non-lighting bystander within earshot. Also, when/if I run out I'll have a loaner thumb drive, too.

More info on 10/21 seminar: My Earlier Post | Sign-up Page

So there. I'm sad that these will be my last two seminars. But so very excited about my future plans (more on that as it develops). And it goes without saying that I am grateful for the many virtual friendships I've built over the years through this site and the many of you I have met in person at various events over the years.

I hope to meet a few more of you in September and October.



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Blogger Jay said...

I'm so glad you got the gig. The way you wrote about it… Well, your excitement and hopefulness was obvious. :-)

Without question we will miss the frequency of quality content on Strobist. I don't think there's any question to the quality, but if it is going to get even better, well, excellent.

I think you have done for us as much as you can do, in huge gulps of information. Not that what you have had to say for the last while hasn't been invaluable, but your beautifully structured, free, courses on this site have taught thousands of people how to light. I personally thank you so very much!

We will all be looking forward to hearing and enjoying what you share about this new road you are embarking on.

Congratulations, again!

August 22, 2013 9:56 PM  
Blogger Jinggo Montenejo said...

Best of luck on your new gig David. I had a photo taken with you 2 years ago at the Flash Bus in San Jose. Was an engineer before but now doing full time commercial work here in the Philippines. Can definitely say that I learned a lot from that few hours (despite that power outage)listening to you and McNally . And please don't drop strobist! Still my go to site when i need a technical and creative jolt. Jinggo

August 22, 2013 9:59 PM  
Blogger lv pg said...

Glad to see the blogging seminar back. I signed up for the last one and was disappointed it was cancelled. Having photographed a lot of sports yourself, I'm sure you are aware of just how busy this time of year can be. I will do everything I can to make this date.

Wise move choosing quality over frequency. Goodness knows there is enough stuff on your blog [currently] to satisfy anyone to needs a "Hobby-blast" in the interim between posts.

Side note...Do you know if Fuji has any plans on making an adapter lens to increase the focal length of the stock x100s lens like the one they have to decrease the length?

August 22, 2013 11:06 PM  
Blogger mary henderson said...

So so SO curious to hear about the available light ?? dream gig you've got cooking, SO CURIOUS! Have I mentioned that?

Beside your lighting techno knowledge you are truly inspiring for your focus and vision, neither in a photographic way (well, that to.)

To those of slogging through the freelance photogaphy life, looking for the next little gig, your ability to see and affect the big picture is kind of astounding. I think it's something you're born with, a native skill.

Carry on!

August 22, 2013 11:12 PM  
Blogger Dave_Reed said...

Congratulations on the new gig David. I was just thinking today about how much The Strobist has influenced my photography and how now, after watching both DVD series' numerous times and attending The FlashBus tour, I'm really starting to understand this lighting thing. And then I read your news today. As long as you keep the site up, there will be something for me to learn. Thanks again for the education.

August 22, 2013 11:20 PM  
Blogger Richard Davis said...

I can identify with your comments on your family needs. Watching my 12 year-old and 9-year old growing up I've no regrets on dropping out from my road-warrior career to a more local based career.

Congratulations on the new gig. You sound really excited which has to portend well - something you want to do rather than have to do or a 'meh' job.

I'm glad I got to meet you and talk with you when the flash bus stopped in Houston. I'm still working on my flash techniques when the opportunity presents itself. I'm also relieved the Strobist resource will still be be here even if the frequency of new material drops off. There's just so much great and useful content here.

Best whishes for your new chapter!

August 23, 2013 12:46 AM  
Blogger M said...

David, first off, a huge thanks for all the time, knowledge, insight you have spent over the years to embolden this community. While it is sad to see the end of one era, it is exciting to see a new door open up for you.

Second, you can't post that kind of thing and not even let loose a teaser of what cool project you have coming up! =)

Take care, good luck and I hope you enjoy the ride!


August 23, 2013 12:54 AM  
Blogger MJS said...

David, many thanks for all of the inspiration via Strobist -- featuring the work of other photogs, ideas, admonitions, gear pron -- as well as your teaching. (Saw you in Birmingham, and the lighting side of my brain is still spinning.)

I hope this message presages your move to a position that's equally public-facing. And keeping Strobist going in any form would be fantastic. All the best.

August 23, 2013 6:22 AM  
Blogger Michael Summers said...


Congratulations on the new gig! I, like many others, have learned a ton from reading Strobist the last several years and wanted to take a moment to say thank you for everything you have taught us.

Is there any chance the October seminar could be taped for those of us who can't make it? Since its a fundraiser, HocoBlogs could charge a fee for access to the video and gain additional revenue from the presentation.

August 23, 2013 7:51 AM  
Blogger David Phasey said...

I certainly second the comments about quality. Without a doubt, this site has taught me more and inspired me more than any other photography resource and I have recommended it to every new photographer I have met. Thank you for the last few years of lighting magic and I look forward reading the less frequent posts and seeing you in London....presumably it is ok that I am pretty excited about seeing Heisler right?

August 23, 2013 7:56 AM  
Blogger Russell Pitcher said...

Congratulation on the new gig - looking forward to hearing about it. So glad my wonderful wife insisted I book a place a GPP London! Looking forward to seeing you in September.

August 23, 2013 8:19 AM  
Blogger mary henderson said...

yes, again, what M said: you can't let loose a teaser like that...


c'mon, David, come onnnnnn

August 23, 2013 8:43 AM  
Blogger Simon said...

Just droping by to let you know that I never saw any noise on here.

From gear review to OA posts, nothing was a waste of time.

Thanks for everything (past and to come!)

August 23, 2013 9:19 AM  
Blogger adamsorber said...

+1 on Mr. Summers' inquiry. I'd be up to Baltimore in a heartbeat if I wasn't going to be out of town that day, so any opportunity to procure that content after the fact would be fantastic!

Best wishes with your new gig!

August 23, 2013 11:16 AM  
Blogger J Raitz said...

Tried to post earlier, if this is a repost I'm sorry.

Thanks for all the posts David. This has been an invaluable resource.

Let's see, dream job, time intensive, available light, no time to blog.... You're taking over Pete Souza's gig!!!

If I guessed right, may I have a super special SD card? "No offense, but I am here to see Obama."

If this is it, I'm super excited for you! This is a dream job and I know you'll do well. The White House has been a little underexposed lately, maybe you can bring in some of that strobist magic to shed some light on the scene. Have fun!

August 23, 2013 11:18 AM  
Blogger Richard Wintle said...

With fabulous timing, I have just returned from London. And that monochrome of Tower Bridge at the top of your post is about a million times better than anything I shot while I was there... naturally.

Will just echo everyone else's best wishes - I came to Strobist quite recently but have been enjoying the current posts and digging into the archives... what a resource. So thanks again, and looking forward to whatever the new gig is... I note you said it wouldn't involve a flash... but you didn't say it wouldn't involve lights. Actually you didn't even say it would involve a camera, but we're all just assuming that, I think.

August 23, 2013 12:19 PM  
Blogger Benjamin Geiger said...

"No offense, but I am here to see Heisler."

(It's worth a try; I can't afford to travel to London!)

August 23, 2013 12:33 PM  
Blogger BdgBill said...

Hmmm, what "Dream Jobs" are left in photography? National Geographic? Running Gulf Photo Plus? A full time "ambasador" type gig for Canon/Nikon/Fuji? One of thse guys that takes photos of people eating dinner on cruise ships?

Very curious.

Thanks for everything you have put out there to date David. I got far more out of this site than I ever did from the thousands of dollars worth of photography magazines I bought over the years.

August 23, 2013 12:42 PM  
Blogger jim "shu" carroll said...

so grateful for all that i have learned here and the number of times i have walked away saying "i gotta try that". for every one of us you know, there are a hundred you never will, and we are just as grateful.

congratulations and best of luck on whatever is next. you surely deserve it. cheers!

August 23, 2013 1:10 PM  
Blogger Alfred said...

Congratulations David, you deserve every bit of your success!

August 23, 2013 1:14 PM  
Blogger actorms said...

Congrats man, you'll definitely be missed. Fortunately we have your plethora of knowledge on the site to keep us company hen you're away. Thanks again for everything you've done for the community.

August 23, 2013 2:13 PM  
Blogger R. J. Kern said...

David, I admire your efforts striving to maintaining that delicate balance (and I'm not just talking about the ambient/flash ratio).

I'd totally be there but it is too short notice (I would have turned down a destination wedding to sit front row, seriously).

And that new gig... kudos on the fine work! You deserve it.

+2 about Mr. Summers' request... I'd be even happy doubling the donation to support the cause.

August 23, 2013 6:07 PM  
Blogger Steve Fett said...

David. Your posts have been an absolute photographic game changer for me over the last 3 years. From reading lighting 101 almost in its entirety thru the night to getting my first ebay triggers. It has benn an awesome ride. Looking forward to find out what is in store in the future even if it is at a reduced frequency.

August 23, 2013 9:07 PM  
Blogger PaulaG said...

Love you! Don't go away!

August 24, 2013 1:23 AM  
Blogger Heipel said...

Congrats. I read nothing as consistently on the web (other than news sites) than I do Strobist. I use lights (flash and 'sell my mother expensive' Profoto) in photography for a single reason -- I found your site somewhere between my D70 and D3. Thanks much David.

August 24, 2013 1:39 AM  
Blogger Jose Angel said...

Awesome GOOD NEWS are always good! The light be with you!


August 24, 2013 5:02 AM  
Blogger John said...

Congratulations David!!! Hope the project works out for you and I'll be interested to see what you're getting in to. By your enthusiasm, it sounds like its something you've been wanting to do for a long time. I'm sure you will nail it! (Natural light though???) ;)

I have to say, I'm just a little sad at the thought that you might not be manning the Strobist wheel as much as you have in the past. This site, for me at least, has been one of the single greatest learning tools I have ever utilized and I continue to learn things here. As always, I will be looking forward to future posts however many there will be.

I got to attend your Flash Bus tour in Nashville and it was one of the best classes I have ever taken, I'm sure these last two will be awesome and I would kill to attend!

Thanks for everything you have done and I sincerely hope your future holds awesome things for you!! Good luck and may the flash be with you!

August 24, 2013 11:19 AM  
Blogger alexdpx said...

I am truly happy for you and wishing you all the best on your next career move. Congratulations! Please keep us posted.

I guess we'll be missing you in Dubai next year? That makes me feel sad. GPP will never be the same. Having said that, I am thankful that I got to meet you in person one of the biggest influences in my photography. And thanks for signing my shoot thru umbrella - it's value will begin to rise now :)


August 25, 2013 1:19 AM  
Blogger Bogdan said...

My wild guess about your new gig, is that you're going to work for Joe Mcnally as his new assistant.... Am I close or not even close? :0)

August 25, 2013 11:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Any info on that building in the skyline of the Tower bridge photo, I just checked google earth and there's no sign of it. Could all this news be some how related to this?

August 25, 2013 7:12 PM  
Blogger Andrew B said...

Heh. The building is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, of course. GPP Popup in London. Get it?

August 25, 2013 8:42 PM  
Blogger ליאב said...

Good luck on your new way!
Hope to meet you in London...

August 26, 2013 1:07 PM  
Blogger Larry said...

Very exciting times ahead for you it sounds like! You've helped me so much, and I go back and review your previous posts frequently. There's so much information in there that I didn't/couldn't grasp the first time around —there's still a lot of meat on that bone!

Knowing you, your "new era" will be a new era for your readers as well. Thanks for everything so far!

August 27, 2013 4:34 AM  
Blogger Wonderwall said...

I am glad I saw you in GPP this year but no offense, I was there to see Heisler. Grateful for life's little blessings though!

Good luck!!

August 28, 2013 9:34 AM  
Blogger creampuff said...

Going off topic but still in London, have you heard about the "Walkie Talkie" building? It is like a giant strobist set up? The sunlight is reflecting off the curved building surface and melting everything in it's path.... parked Jaguars, bicycles, paint....

September 05, 2013 5:54 PM  
Blogger Rusty Redinbo said...

You're taking the one way trip to Mars?

September 13, 2013 4:58 PM  
Blogger Hix said...

Man. I am sooo peeved. I've just read this post. on 01 Oct. I live just outside of London and have misse dthis opportunity by 2/3 days. Sod's law!!!

October 01, 2013 11:25 AM  
Blogger MvD said...

David I was thrilled by your workshop in London!
thanks again for the inspiration and the things to really think about...

I am glad I did get to see you before you throttle down a bit...

My comments for this last weekend of GPP to my buddys and friends... " I came from Joe, I loved Heisler but I was blown away by David. thanks again for all the food for thought... you are an inspiration thanks!!

October 03, 2013 12:28 PM  

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