The Good Stuff.


It's a moveable feast. A portable picnic.

HEY.  Looking for the blog?  It's Saturday and I've started a brand new tradition with Michael Johnston, the grand curator and wizard at THE ONLINE PHOTOGRAPHER.  I'm doing a blog on the last Saturday of each month on his site.

Go here if you want to read it:

Then bookmark Michael's site if you haven't already.  My suspicion is you're going to like his stuff at least as much as you like mine.  And it's usually a different take.

Thanks for being a reader.  We'll be back tomorrow.

Best, Kirk

P.S. someone reminded me of this ancient article,  vintage camera now:


  1. Kirk - I've been a loyal reader of VSL and member of the "Silent Majority" for some time now. I began to write this comment when I read that you were ending the blog, but for whatever reason was not able to get it published to your blog. I wanted to say something brilliant and cathartic and tell you that the naysayers and haters weren't worth their words. But that's easy for me to say. If I were in your shoes I don't think I would have handled it as well.

    I just want to say that I am so glad to hear you have discovered that you have a much wider and more appreciative audience than you thought and that you do have a loyal following who is genuinely interested in the thoughts and ideas that you choose to write about. I usually do not comment on blogs and forums, but I will now as I realize the importance of hearing from your readers after the comments you made in your article on TOP today.

    Thank you Kirk, for what you do and for the considerable wisdom and insight you've imparted to us over the years. I hope that this minor sentiment, in aggregate with all the others from your REAL audience, helps you to know that you are indeed heard out here in the ether and that we appreciate what you do.

    Best Regards,
    Dallas, TX

  2. Thanks Phil,

    The feedback makes it good for me. If I didn't think people were reading what I write I would not have come back. If I was just talking to myself I could walk around on the streets and do that. We have a rich tradition of people talking to themselves in Austin.....

    I appreciate what you wrote.

  3. I too am part of the silent majority - only a snapshot photographer, however. What I love is the look into another life (yours) which you share with us. The photography comments don't hurt either. At 80, I'll never be a great photographer, but the documentation of my life is priceless to me, and you help.

  4. Caught you on TOP. Welome back! Read your blog every day. Thanks.

  5. Good stuff. I enjoyed your blog for a while. Today, went back to it on a whim to read your old stuff and see if you had posted anything new.

    (I was one guy who advised you to turn comments off.)

    One of the things you convey in your writing is how much you enjoy taking pictures. It is worth reading just for that.

  6. Glad you're back. I enjoy your blog. I've been taking pictures for about 50 years. You help shed some light on my wonderings about my motivation. I really appreciate it. Thanks!

  7. Hi Kirk, I'am one more for the silent majority. I found you on Twitter which led me to become a faithful and appreciative reader of VSL. What I like about your articles is the personal spin you put on them, even when you are reviewing gear. I even wrote an email once, to DPReview, and told them that they should start reviewing their gear the way you do as it's much more useful than the barrage of 'tests' they carry out which these days doesn't really help in distinguishing one camera from the next.

    While I enjoy making photographs at an amateur level I am fascinated with the question of 'why' when it comes to human creativity and artistic expression. Too few people question their reasons for doing things and fewer still have the ability to express it. You are one of those few.

    Anyway, I understand the difference receiving comments and feedback makes having had my own blog so I will endeavour to be less silent if only to ensure that you continue sharing with us since I have little of value to contribute myself.

    All the best and many thanks,
    Cedric (@wottheduk on Twitter)

  8. Great to see you on TOP and fantastic to see you back in the groove here. It is much appreciated.

  9. Kirk,

    Welcome back. I am a long time lurker and this is my first comment. My first exposure to your writing was the M6 article in 2001. I have read it dozens of times - it has been bookmarked in every computer and laptop I have had since then. I am drawn to it because of your writing, of course, but mostly because of the photos. The work is magnificent and inspirational. The comments are very special also.
    I just went to read it again. The Ann Richard's photo is absolute joy. Belongs in National Geographic!(Oh wait..)



  10. Kirk,

    I just read your TOP article.
    I feel bad.
    I'm another 'silent majority'.

    I happened to notice your site right as it came on-line ( I had your book ). I think I've read every article you've posted.

    I think your stuff is great. I really like that you are consistently putting stuff out there and that it has a perspective.

    Most people shouting on the net are just desperate to prove they are more right than the rest of the world. It is so tiring.

    Or they are writing opinions as if they are experts and don't know what they are talking about.

    Your site is much more "buddhist".

    I guess I always thought it was obvious that idiots arguing over bs on the net was just an ego game.

    It is obvious to me that you are writing stuff from a deep, connected, experience of photography and life.

    Because, what is photography if you don't have a subject?

    And honestly, relative to most of us, you've probably forgot more about photography than we know.
    It is very hard to learn about photography in the modern age.
    The net and the world are polluted with rules of thumb, techniques and equipment that are no longer the best way to tackle photographic subjects. But nobody goes back and deletes the old stuff or updates the process. And very few people talk about "why" instead of "what". Without "why", you can't figure out for yourself the new "what" if things change.

    For example one thing you fixed for me is understanding the origin of studio lights. You mentioned something about needing big strobes for medium format film because mf needs a larger aperture for adequate depth of field. It was one of those "I could have had a V8" moments. Duh.

    That's what's interesting to me.

    My unconscious mind trusts your unconscious mind.

    And in a weird dynamic, listening to your perspectives in continuous small doses really makes feel like you are a very close friend.

    I really like your tangents. Your post-quit articles are great. I remember getting a kick out of your article that just had a few shots of you goofing off to lighten up some clients. Great stuff.

    You might want to create an email list for the 'silent majority' for more direct access to us. I would have no problem with you sending me emails.

    Best Wishes and Thank You,

  11. Hil, Ten years together. Man, that's so cool. Thanks.

  12. I didn't realize that feedback was so important or maybe I would have commented more often (than once, maybe twice). I suspect my grammar sucks and you being a bit of a word smith, well, you know.

    We did trade some repartee on a Strobist post on Flickr a while back and you were kind enough to leave a comment on one of my photos. I think it was light hearted repartee but one never knows how things are perceived over internet posts. If you thought I was being a jerk, well, it was meant to be jovial.

    Photography is simply a hobby for me. In fact, I read about it more than I take shots. So the equipment reviews and the blogs related to the business side are of much less interest than your other offerings. However, I've read nearly all your posts in the last year, year and a half. Despite not having proper lighting gear, I did buy one of your books. It seemed like the right thing to do.

    All of that is to say that I am glad that you are back at it. It is part of my routine. And I think I can blame you for my Kindle and Steven Pressfield too.



  13. And . . .

    I linked to at least a couple of your blogs where I thought your opinion suited the topic. One was the street photography permission approach and the other was the UV filter opinion (one of your more humorous imo). Maybe you noticed are resulting jump in page counts. :-)

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  15. I've only just discovered VSL via your piece in TOP, but I think I'm going to like it. And yes, you are quite right about the silent majority. Civilised writing deserves civilised commentary.

    One small thing: I think the link you have given to TOP can be shortened from


  16. I've been looking forward to you writing in TOP. Are you consciously going to try and make it a different flavour than VSL or more of the same ?

  17. Correction to my post (as I can't now delete or edit it), the correct TOP URL is (I think):

    Sorry about this confusion.

  18. Hurrah!

    That is all. For now. :)

  19. That's one of my all time favorite posts, I love it when I read the "behind-the-scenes" and the thinking process.

    I try to do the same in my posts, glad to have you back, with more vigor. :-)

  20. A very interesting read and look into your thoughts. I am glad you're back to writing on the VSL.

  21. I found this site when The Online Photographer posted a link to your farewell post. So it was a wonderful surprise when you came back! And I had no idea it was you who wrote that article on It was great information back when I was contemplating getting one. Since then, I got one and am very very happy with it. So a very belated thank you for a great write up!


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