His story has resonated with others who have the same passion for photography.

Lisa Shires, a Baltimore area freelance photographer since August, said when she surrendered to her passion for photography, she leaned on Hobby's blog to find the courage and know-how to make the career switch from her job at the Defense Department.

"Strobist was a great resource for a beginner like me because it not only breaks down how to light, but it comes with a side of technical prowess and wit," Shires said in an email. "Reading David's blogs gave me confidence because I started to understand the rationale behind every decision made on a shoot."

Such feedback from Hobby's core audience — 85 percent are amateur photographers — routinely inundates the site following his posts.

"When I started the blog, I thought I was leaving a trail of bread crumbs for the people coming up behind me, like I was addressing my 20-year-old self," he said. "I didn't like the idea of photography being so tight-fisted. I wanted to see a cross-pollination of photographers with different strengths."

Initially reluctant to leave his job at The Sun to build Strobist.com, Hobby came to realize that staying put was actually the riskier proposition. After ending a yearlong sabbatical to test the waters in 2007, he took a buyout and made the leap to self-employed blogger.

"If you've been shooting daily for 20 years and you don't have enough to share, then you're just a potted plant," he said.

The new gig

Hobby's new gig will be as much about what he doesn't do as what he does.

"I won't be teaching people to be travel photographers. I want to teach [amateur] photographers how to travel with their cameras," he said. "If it's done right, they will be so much more observant of the world.

"First off, they need to back off being full-time photographers on vacation, since most of the time they are traveling with family," he said. "Second, they need to be well-researched and know what the trophy shots are. The course will be 50 percent technology and 50 percent psychology."

Jim Heid, photography content manager at Lynda.com, said he's been a Strobist fan for years, and he believes Hobby will bring "a powerful combination of creativity, practical teaching and an eagerness to share his expertise" to his new position.

Hobby will own the content, "so it will be my risk and my reward," he said.

"I could end up doing pet portraits in three years — you never know," Hobby said. "But this travel thing feels like 'Plan A' right now, and I will put all my energy and eggs in that basket."