Looking into 2014

Looking ahead into 2014

(wherein I discuss future plans and ponder whether I really am a "photographer")

I enjoy the whole “new year” thing.  I find it enjoyable to look back at things that have happened, and to look forward in anticipation of what may come.  There’s something interesting about it.  I guess it’s fun to see how the journey has unfolded.  It never seems to go the way you think it will, and yet it always seems to work out just fine.

I feel the same way about my photography in general, and this blog in particular.  I love this journey that I am on, and it is fun that there is nothing linear about it.  It’s not a straight line from “starting the blog” to “well-known blog”, or whatever you want to put in that last set of quotes.  I’m not really sure what I would put in it, actually.  There’s a lot I want for this blog, apart from it being my creative outlet.

And that is what I am talking about today...  

I have been thinking a lot about this blog lately, and what I would like to do with it, what direction I want to head in, and those sorts of things.  So as I think about all that, I thought it would be fun to just put my thoughts out here and get your feedback, dear reader.  I’ve never done anything like this, so I hope someone shows up and reads it!

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section, if you don’t mind.  I would sure appreciate that!

Ok, so what is all this about?

Here’s the deal.  I have had this blog for 4+ years now, and I love it.  I loving taking photos, and processing photos, and sharing photos.  I love writing up blog posts and adding new things to the blog.  All that is going to continue so don’t worry about that.  I will keep doing that.  But I have been thinking about the bigger picture of what I enjoy, and have realized that I am a little torn about the types of content that I want to continue to add here.

For most of the past 4 years, I have shared a photo here on the blog about 5 times per week, each with a little description of where I was, or something to that effect.  That’s been fun, but it’s starting to feel hollow to me.  It’s a one-trick pony.  It’s basically me saying “I went here and I aimed my camera at this”, 5 times a week.  While I have enjoyed it, it’s not substantive.  

In fact it’s boring, to be very frank about it.  Getting there, being there, taking the photo, processing the photo and sharing the photo is all great - it’s just the short post with a little description gets kinda boring.  Make sense?

I want to add a little more depth to it for my sake, and hopefully for yours as well.

Writing is fun! (but it takes a while)

If you haven’t noticed, more of my recent posts have a bit more writing behind them.  While the writing is generally tied to the shot or the trip I was on when I took the shot, that’s not always the case.  Also, I have done a couple of longer form articles here and they have been well received...and I appreciate that.

They’re also a lot more fun for me.  So in other words, I am starting to write more, and I am enjoying it…and it seems many of you are as well.  I intend to do more of the long form posts….it just won’t be every week, since it takes time to come up with ideas, write them out, and then edit, edit, edit, and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite…..then finally share it (and hope it doesn’t sound dumb, trivial, foolish, or uninformed).

Additionally I have significantly expanded my section on Top Photo Spots in various cities where I have traveled and shot.  I love creating things like that, and expect to do more in the future as I have enough familiarity with a place to create something of value.

Am I a photographer.....really?

When I try and define myself as it relates to this blog, obviously photographer comes to mind first.  That’s the core of the site, that’s what it’s all (mostly) related to, and that will continue.  But there’s a lot more that I want to discuss here and things I enjoy sharing, so I wanted to get your thoughts on it all.

In addition to photography, there’s travel, there’s writing/blogging, there’s my iPhone addiction, and more...the list goes on.  And while I think of myself as a photographer, I also think of myself as more than that.  When I mention to people that I am a photographer, they usually ask me something like “Oh, do you shoot weddings or portraits”?  The short answer is no.  I have no interest in either one of those.

Lots of people do that, and do it well, and love it.  That’s awesome, someone needs to do it, and it’s hard work I am sure.  It’s just not my thing.

As you probably know from visiting here before, I love to shoot HDR photos of places that I visit.  So that usually involves architecture, cityscapes and skylines, train stations, churches and cathedrals, landscapes if I can get to them, and things like that.  In other words, I shoot location-specific things.  That’s what I love to shoot, and that’s what I will keep shooting.  It’s travel photography, basically.  I love to show everyone here what a place looks like.  We have a big beautiful world out there, and my little contribution to the awareness of it is what I enjoy doing.

I am a blogger.

But you know what else I am?  I am a blogger.  There I said it.  I am a blogger.  It almost feels weird to write that down.  I always thought of myself as a photographer with a blog, but in many ways I feel I am a blogger with a camera.  You can get hints of that in some of the other articles I have posted here.

I spend a lot of time on this blog, doing this and that, changing this and that, and writing and posting content.  I spend a lot of time just thinking about the blog, and working on ideas, thoughts swirling in my head.  I have a laundry list of things I want to do with the blog, things I want to add, articles I want to write or am in the process of writing, etc.  So there’s a lot of stuff I am trying to get published here, in addition to the 5x per week photos.

And guess what?  I love all that too, nearly as much as I love my photography...and that’s saying something, because I really love to shoot and process photos.

So as you can tell, I am trying to work through what it is that I am, and where I want to go with this blog, and then figure out how to get there.  It’s a lot to think about. :-)

What I currently do

Here’s a quick list of things that I consider core to this blog (and pretty much in order, I think):

  • HDR/travel photography
  • Travel lists (such as where to shoot in London, or travel photography tips)
  • Blogging/writing related to the above (longer form articles – what I would call an “opinion piece” and what you might deem “rambling”)
  • iPhoneography (I have so many ideas here)
  • HDR Software tutorials / reviews
  • iPhone Software tutorials / reviews
  • Miscellaneous other reviews (my Nikon lenses, for example)
  • Positive quotes and travel quotes (which I really love, and haven’t spent much time on - it should be significantly expanded)

I think that pretty much sums up the current state.  So what’s next?

Here are things I will definitely continue to do here on the blog:

  • Continue the 5x/week posts, but continue to kick up the writing a notch in each post, assuming time permits it each week 
  • Continue to add more lists of where to shoot in certain cities (this is of course travel-dependent, and I have to feel like I can make it comprehensive enough to be worthwhile for my readers)
  • Continue to add other travel and/or photography lists as I think of them (any ideas for me??)
  • Continue to sprinkle in longer form articles every 2-3 weeks (I would love to do this weekly, but that feels like a stretch since I still have so many photos to share here, and the writing just takes me a while to get it to a state of readiness for publishing)

Why do you come to this site, and what are you looking for?

Here are some things I am thinking about…..your thoughts?

  • Do you want workflow/processing tips? (How-To, Before & After, etc)
  • Do you want tutorials? If so, on what topic?
  • Do you want info on why I chose to process a photo a particular way?
  • Do you want general travel info on these places I visit?
  • Would you like a little travel essay now and then?
  • Do you want training on how I use various software products?
  • Do you want ebooks?  If so, what topics are of interest?
  • In other words, what do you find useful?  Why do you come to this site, and what would make you want to keep coming back?

As you can tell, I have a lot of thoughts swirling around in my brain.  I love doing all this stuff, and have a great time at it.  The fact that anyone actually shows up and takes a look is just gravy to me.  If I can help someone, that’s even better.

And you can probably read between the lines and see that I want to write more, and add more substantial content than just a short blurb about a photo that I took.  I also really love travel, and while this isn’t a travel blog in the traditional sense, it is in some respects and I want to explore adding more travel-specific content.

While I cannot promise anything about what I plan to do and what direction this blog will head in, I am certainly open to expanding what is available on my site and sharing it with you all.  I am having a lot of fun with all of this, and I hope you are too.  Even more so, I hope the info that I share is useful, and that you enjoy the photos, the articles and the other content.  Thank you.

Thanks in advance for leaving me your thoughts – I sincerely appreciate it!