Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Death to film, Strobist, and a great book

One of my students, Kyle Newberry, turned me on to this site.  It's written by a group of digital techs/assistants in L.A..

It is very techy but full of useful information (including a few video tutorials)  on digital workflow, back up storage solutions, and digital specific exposure techniques for professional digital photographers.  

This is an absolutely amazing site and I'll admit that it was the inspiration for this blog.  It was started by David Hobby, a staff photographer for the Baltimore Sun, and has grown into an internet phenomenon.

Many years ago, back when the legendary Karl Peterson was still assisting me, we invented some techniques for doing quality lighting "on the fly" using small, battery operated strobes slaved with primitive optical slaves. I was shooting transparency film at the time so this technique required real skill and great communication between the photographer and assistant (who was controlling the remote strobe) .  I didn't know anyone else who was doing it then.  As time went on I perfected the technique with different assistants to achieve a mix of production value, and an available light "look", combined with flexibility in a fast moving situation.

As a photojournalist, David Hobby found his own ways to use the new generation of small portable TTL flash units with wireless triggers and started sharing the techniques online in his Strobist blog.  It's the same idea as what I was doing, but David's tools and techniques, combined with digital capture, make it much easier now.  The Strobist blog now has it's own Flickr group (with 50,000 members!) and a rabid fan base on the web.  There is so much information on this site that it actually constitutes an entire lighting class.  I interviewed David when I was writing my book and plugged it several times in the final version. The site is very deep and inclusive.  David now travels the country doing "Strobist" lighting workshops.

Finally, I have to give a shout out to "Light, Science & Magic", the best book ever written on lighting.  For years I have looked for a textbook I could use in my advanced lighting class and I hated them all.  This is the textbook I wish I had written.

Most books on lighting aren't much more than war stories told by photographers on how they did a shot.  "Light, Science, & Magic" is based on the physics of light and optical principals.  The first chapter is heady reading but after that it really picks up and gets into real world problem solving.  Absolutely indispensable for any budding, or experienced, professional.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mark - glad to see you started this. I linked to it from my blog (poeticsensibility.com). Good luck!