Why I love Strobes

I am one of those rare photographers out there that doesn't own photoshop... yet.  I don't have anything against it per say but I didn't pick up a camera just so I could spend hours on a computer photoshopping my pic to make it look better.  To be honest I didn't know if you could get a "good photo" with or without photoshop when I first started shooting.  I just didn't want to spend hours on a computer "fixing" things or compositing one photo into the next.  "A little bit from here, a little bit from there, merge this onto that" so on & so on.  I admire people who have photoshop skills, especially the ones where you can't tell that things have been "photoshopped".  I just had so much to learn about taking photos early on that I didn't want to spend more $$ (or download illegally ;) something that just felt like it was going to make my head explode.  For those of you who have ever opened photoshop before you know what I mean.  The first time you do you feel like that grandma who created an email address for the first time.  You know that there are tons of people out there who know how to do this but for some reason all these buttons & symbols make you feel like a teenager learning to drive stick in a semi truck.  Yet in the back of your head you know that people have been making great images for almost a century before we had photoshop.  Then I remember the first time I saw someone use a flash... off camera that is.  What?  You can take that thing off your camera?  That was weird enough.  But actually controlling the light and shaping it blew my mind.  The crazy thing was that this guy was doing it in minutes and getting crazy dramatic images right out of camera.  No editing required.  That man was Joe McNally.  If you don't know who he is check out his site here.  At that moment I knew I had to get my hands on a flash.  I know there are photographers out there who are only "natural light" photographers, and to a lot of them it fits their style.  But I also believe there are a lot of photographers out there that are just flat out afraid of flash or don't know how to use it.  However there are a lot of photos out there that you simply cannot do with only natural light.  I knew this flash thing was a whole new world but  I needed to plunge in head first.  For example, the other night my roommate Neil came home in this black shirt and black suit jacket.  I was standing outside on our balcony and had this idea for a picture minutes after I saw him walk in.  Now my place isn't very big & it certainly isn't a studio but I new with a small flash and my softbox at the right angle I could get the picture I was looking for.  Neil was tired from a long day at work & it was getting late, but I just needed 10 minutes.  What resulted were the pictures below that I took in our living room that night.  I still use natural light a lot, but there are times, I believe, that a flash (or two) is the right tool for the job.