This week, I wanted to discuss a dominant and successful photography blog regarding lighting setups. The author of “Strobist,” David Hobby, centers on an artistic genre, more specifically, photography lighting. This informational blog excels because of its detailed descriptions, demonstrations, and examples for particular methods on how to light a scene. David’s calming, yet developed wisdom is exemplary.
Unless learning how to light a photograph shoot captivates you, this blog isn’t really for you. It does have a few entertaining stories, but for instructional purposes, you should have an interest in lighting. Lighting a scene isn’t even a huge aspect of photography, for many photographers have a run-and-gun style.
“Q&A: Lighting Multiple People with Glasses,” “Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite and ST-E3-RT Transmitter: Yep, It’s Radios,” and “How to Avoid Dealing With the Police When Shooting in Public” are a few examples of posts mentioned in “Strobist” (Hobby 1).
In addition to be an excellent source of instruction, the blog does not forget to entertain or simply mention something interesting. In amidst a number of lighting posts, David stops to discuss his encounter with a police officer after someone made an emergency call on him for suspicious activity. David humorously recounts his sarcastic nature to the cop, responding to her inquiries, “‘Well, I am either a photographer taking an innocuous photo of a maple tree,’ [he] said, ‘or I’m al Qaida, casing our critical deciduous infrastructure’” (Hobby 1). This appeal to pathos is apparent by alleviating the somewhat daunting analysis of lighting setups by a break for simple humor.
The style of the posts depicts a sophisticated and expecting manner. The author expects them to know what he is talking about regarding light setups and equipment. Aside from camera terminology, the diction isn’t anything fancy or out of the ordinary. David does throw in a few shorthands such as imo (in my opinion.) However, he firmly asserts himself by keeping a consistent, intellectual form of language, allowing him to fall victim to this playful idiosyncrasy.
Because of David’s simplicity and kindness, the wisdom in his literary voice makes him sound like a humble, retired photographer passing on his knowledge. His critical frame as a veteran photographer is almost identical to most of the traffic flowing through this blog. Yes, there are many photograph amateurs looking for help, but David’s way of explaining gives them an easy way to understand. This allows them to still feel experienced and view the blog the way David intends it to be viewed: with humility and determination. For each post, David has a title, picture, and a brief introductory section. This enables the readers to find what captivates them the most, and to act accordingly by choosing whether or not to read further. There are also links at the top of the blog to David’s portfolio, Google Plus page, personal blog, and “Lighting 101” collection of starter posts regarding lighting.
I like how the author provides diagrams and example photographs with what he is describing. This is very appealing to the ethos aspect of rhetoric. Ethos is the establishment of credibility though the demonstration of knowledge (The Rhetorical Triangle). David is precise and detailed when describing a certain light setup or process, increasing his credibility. The diagrams provide detailed analysis and justifications behind certain choices or methods. After viewing the setup and reading David’s explanation, it makes so much sense to be done that way. David’s process is very effective in teaching the information, as well as proving his trustworthiness. Another aspect of rhetoric is pathos; this incorporates use of figurative language to appeal to emotion (The Rhetorical Triangle). As mentioned earlier, the entertaining posts evoke an emotional release of excitement in the audience, but not to stray from the purpose of the blog. “Strobist” mainly induces calming moments of epiphany. After the effective ethos, pathos flows smoothly in.
“Strobist” ultimately follows the traditional format of a blog: title, a form of media, and short intro, followed by the rest of the post. The author establishes his own voice and credibility through his use of detailed descriptions and diagrams of lighting angles, equipment, and so on. Despite his apparent reliability, David does well bypassing the seemingly complex nature of lighting by distracting readers with entertaining and fascinating posts. He is tremendously effective in establishing a calm, knowledgeable voice when describing a certain setup or explaining how not to get arrested with a camera with diagrams and drawings. The author’s role is that of a grandfather teaching his matured grandson the skills set of lighting, and I feel this approach is perfectly welcoming people into the world of lighting.
Next week we will be discussing Macrophotography!
Hobby, David. “StrobistÂ®.” Strobist. Web. 26 Mar. 2012. <http://strobist.blogspot.com/>.
The Rhetorical Triangle. PDF.