I hate flashes. I really do. I hate the antiseptic feel; the hard shadows; the unnatural light. You'll never see me use a flash.

Of course, this is because I have no idea how to use a flash properly.

I think I've popped the little built in flash on my D200 about three times and hated every single moment of it. As a result I think I've got very good at hand holding the camera - sometimes up to half a second. The stabilization in my primary lens doesn't hurt either (neither does my 80mm 1.8f lens).

But I think I might be missing out.

I need to learn how to use a flash properly.

To this end, I've been reading Strobist a lot recently and man are there some great photographs there. And of course it all looks very geeky and fun.

Check out more of the photographer's work - isn't it astounding?

I think I've been too much of a no-flash snob.

So to set things straight I think I'll start with one of these; a few of these; and maybe a few things from here.

Hmmm. My birthday is just around the corner…