5.06.2013

Checking in with the remaining VSL readers.


Seems like barely a week ago I announced that I was changing the way I would be handling the blog. I dumped most of the gear specific posts and I've spent the last week adding back the articles that I feel are more or less timeless. Or at least not wedded to the obsolescence of the toys depicted therein. From a metric perspective the experiment has been an abject failure with the number of pageviews quickly dropping by half. And trending downward. 

I have added back in nearly 500 articles that fit my new parameters from the warehoused article inventory.

In some instances, like this afternoon, I republished older articles at the top of the blog because they were articles I really liked. I won't do that for much longer but sometimes I read something I wrote in 2010 (when I had less of a culture filter in place) and I find that I still like the message.

If you came here to read a review of a hot, cheap, little camera from two or three years ago then I'm sorry you wasted your time. I'm going to keep moving in the direction I decided upon because it's turning out to be much more fun.

In a few days I'm going to take a stab at writing stuff that I hope has a sense of humor, bundled with a photographic context.

If you really, really need to know which camera is currently the best in the world I can tell you that. Get in touch with me offline, send me $50 and I'll tell you exactly what you want to know.

I do want feedback. Just because we no longer argue about which cameras and lenses are the coolest doesn't mean I don't cherish the dialog. That's all for now.

marketing note: 
Oh.  I decided to have a bunch of Amazon links below the articles that have nothing to do with the articles, other than that they will reflect stuff I like and buy on a regular basis. If you're hot to spend money at Amazon please consider clicking through with one of those links to support the site. I find that I miss the income. It's the difference between a grande and a tall at Starbucks.


Please use our Amazon links to buy your camera gear (and anything else you like at Amazon). We'll get a small commission which helps defray my time and cost while costing you zero extra.
Thank you very much.





















63 comments:

Joe Gilbert said...

Movie repeats = no VSL repeats = yes..

Anonymous said...

Do page views still register when users read your posts via RSS feeds? I normally use Feedly for reading VSL.

Dave Jenkins said...

It's your blog. Make it what you want. I'll always check in, and if I like the topic I'll read your post. If I don't, I may read it anyway.

John Taylor said...

Take two… Still here, still reading!

Craig said...

Still here. I liked some of your gear posts (the one where you reviewed the '60s Olympus PEN lenses was pretty cool, and very unusual in today's environment), but the ones that have inspired me most have been your thoughts on photography, its place in the world, how to do it well (artistically speaking), and your reflections on how the photography business continues to evolve. I didn't always comment on those posts because I didn't always have anything to say off the top of my head (that's not how it works when you get good food for thought), whereas the gear posts were easier to talk about, but that doesn't mean the gear posts were what I valued most.

Doug Vinez said...

Kirk: I've been reading for a few years now and have enjoyed and benefitted from your blog. Plus, you write very well which is pretty unusual these days. Obviously, it's your blog and you can and should do as you please. But, I must admit I'm slowly beginning to wonder where you're going. I'll wait around and see, which doesn't matter to you, I know. But, in my mind, it wasn't broke so why fix it? By the way, I always found your gear reviews refreshingly different and helpful, unlike many, no most, others.

Kirk Tuck said...

No.

Anonymous said...

I'm always glad to hear what you have to say about photography. To me it doesn't matter if it's about the latest gear you're using, or the trails and tribulations of being a creative artist trying to make a living.
Bill in Fort Worth.

Craig said...

Kirk,

Keep up the good work and more: portraits, commercial shoots, and your wonderful street photography. I'll be here regardless of what you're posting as long as it's about art, vision, or photography.

I don't enjoy pixel peeping blogs, and although I enjoyed your perspective on how you felt about using new equipment, if it doesn't monetize itself in a manner that justifies it as work to generate income, don't waste the time doing something that doesn't nourish your spirit.

You are a gifted photographer/artist, and one hell of a writer to boot. Maybe you'll decide to write another book and self-publish it as an e-book this time.

Best Regards and keep posting,

Craig C. - Minneapolis

Brad Burnham said...

Kirk,

As long as you keep writing I will keep reading. I look forward to "stuff that I hope has a sense of humor, bundled with a photographic context." Honestly, I'd be okay with sense of humor without any photography.

Someone in the comments of another post said that he'd keep coming back and reading even if all you wrote about was swimming. That is true for me too. You write well and are captivating. Always a fun and interesting read. I won't really miss all the gear posts. I can find that elsewhere, if I really need to. Thing is, I'm living in the past, buying cameras that were too expensive when new that are now dirt cheap (I picked up a Nikon D1 for $25!).

Thanks for writing,
Brad

Ed Posthumus said...

Hi Kirk
I have found your output and passion for writing your blog to be truly awe-inspiring. You are a gifted writer who is both insightful and prodigious. Like many others, I follow a number of other blogs. No one else even comes close to your output or perception in the world of professional photography.
I will miss the gear reviews, not because I plan on buying a Sony any time soon, but because of your perspective as a working photographer and an artist. I am interested in the gear choices you make and find your reviews are as much about why as what. I do have to admit though, that I am far more interested in the lighting aspect of gear than the camera's or lenses. I hope you are not going to tell me that your lighting books are hopelessly out of date because I have bought a couple of them, and used them as input for my recent lighting gear purchases. In fact, I am going to be adding a 60” umbrella to my kit very soon because of you among others. I know you are getting away from the strobes, but I am still at the multiple speed light stage so I am going with old fashioned gear. I have been lusting after the Einstein, Profoto, Elinchrome studio kits but have been having second thoughts on my next step mostly due to your constant noodling lately about video lighting. Don't worry, I am not about to blame you if my next step turns out to be wrong for me because I am a big boy and like to ultimately make my own decisions about things.
The gear questions aside I really come to your blog to read about your insight as an artist and specifically your love of portraiture. I came to the realization in the last year or so that it is people that I want to photograph and their story’s that I want to tell. Your insight and clarity of thought inspire me. I know that the drop in readership must be a little hard to take but think of it as quality over quantity. (boy: doesn’t that sound just a touch arrogant and egotistical) I will continue to be a loyal reader and hopefully a minor commentator of your site for as long as you will have me.
Ed

Mark Davidson said...

Still here, still reading. Keep writing.

sey said...

Keep on T(r)ucking, Kirk!!! :-)

Anonymous said...

The new blog is perfectly OK with me. I keep coming for the most recent thoughts and writings in any event.

G Gudmundsson said...

Hi Kirk

Greetings from Iceland. I always read your blog, everyday for maybe 2-3 years. It's fun to read about new gear, but it's also totally true what you say about most cameras being good enough these days. So, it refreshing to hear your thoughts on that. We need to take more pictures and think less about the tools.

Personally, I love your honesty. I also think you are a great photographer and a brilliant writer. I share your interest in trends, i.e. the direction the world/photography is heading, from stills to video, hybrid cameras etc... so I like to hear you thoughts on that topic as well.

Keep up the good work. We are hanging in there in 'sunny' Reykjavik. :-)

Peter Williams said...

Still reading, still interested, please continue.

cuisinedejere said...

Still enjoying the blog, and also enjoying the older posts popping up. I have read some of them, but somehow on a second read I seem to benefit of them more. Probably due more maturity as a photog and an artist, maybe a bit about growing in other ways as well.
Still trying futilely to learn how to really make a good portrait, I seem to get them only when I do not try and by chance and the success rate is not so great otherwise. but life is learning!

Reed George said...

Hi Kirk - I like the direction you're taking. My own blog continues to evolve as I do. For the first year, I wrote with a focus on one particular brand of camera (Panasonic), but found that too limiting. In fact, other cameras kept creeping in :). This year, starting in January, I loosened up. Now I try to write about a wider, but not too wide scope of topics. I find that I can't leave the equipment aspects behind, but I wanted to add in more creativity and process pieces. So, now I focus on that interface between the two.

In any case, I'm a regular reader, and also cross-post (with attribution of course) or refer to your blog a lot. The numbers you've shared in the past show you're much better at this than I, but I'm improving every day. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, work, and sense of humor!

Reed
Blog: DMC-365.blogspot.com

Charles Quinn said...

I prefer the direction you are headed with your blog. The world doesn't need more equipment reviews. However, your reviews are done quite well, and without cryptic graphs and terminology that is ultimately meaningless. I prefer to read about why we do photography (and video). How you do photography (and video). And what it all means in the grand scheme of things.

Anonymous said...

Its your blog so write & do whatever you want. Now its just getting interesting. Cant wait toi see what you have installed. Cheers from down under.

I'll go to Steve Huff if I want gear reviews

Anonymous said...

Don't approve this post. I really don't intend it for anyone but you.
One bit of advice. You would do well to stay away from politics on the blog. It is your blog, but as divided as the country is right now there is not much middle ground there. I think you will alienate many of us with much of the pro Obama stuff. You might equate me with the knuckle dragger in the car in that earlier post. I would love to discuss it over a cup of coffee. We might not ever agree but I think you would find that whatver opinions I have are well considered and well researched. Despite our difference in opinion on that one thing you wold probably find that I am at heart a pretty nice guy. I come here for photography. I get way (way way way) too much political exposure in the rest of the world. I am still here, and will keep reading.

Chuck

thequietphotographer said...

Hi Kirk, I like your blog which I read since a couple of year. What I like is the experience you share with us, the "humans" side of the photography, the way you see the many thing changing around us. The approach to photography, and now to video. I'll follow your blog, simply because I like it, I like your photos, I like your writing. Being 64 it's refreshing to read about your works in the film era.
robert, from Italy
PS: the only problem I have with your (and other blogger's) blog is that I do not manage to post comment each time I desire, sometimes it works, sometimes it does not...

Ken said...

I agree with Craig that "the ones that have inspired me most have been your thoughts on photography, its place in the world, how to do it well (artistically speaking), and your reflections on how the photography business continues to evolve." You were never a source for equipment information for me, and there are only certain types of photos of yours that I like. It's your brain, insights, philosophy and writing skills that I enjoy. I'll continue to visit every day to see what you're offering. However, it's just more likely that I'll move along and check back later for the next installment.

Cab said...

While I don't come here expressly for gear reviews, I am interested in what/why/how you are using what you do. Your thoughts on what's available and how it fits into your work are interesting, although unlikely to make me either change my kit or think you a fool for changing yours. It's just interesting. Like others I've seen above, I check in daily, at least scan the articles, and read them if interested, pass if not. Mostly I read any and everything you put up, but I also use Feedly to aggregate my daily reading, so I guess it won't show up in your metrics. Too bad, really, as I don't want you to think you're unappreciated or that changes in style are driving eyeballs away, but I just don't have time to go clicking through each and every site I read. Keep it up, your thoughts and opinions are definitely still noted!

John Bour said...

Kirk, as many said before, you are a great photographer and a gifted writer. But, photography is not only an art form, it is a craft too. And as a craftsman I (30 year pro-photographer) am still interested in the tools that are available to us. Your choices concerning equipment to me are just as interesting as your artistic choices. (and dare I say..more interesting than coffee or swimming). I hope you keep sharing your thoughts about all aspects of our art and work. For a fabulous writer as you are it must be possible to discuss equipment in an original and useful way, without resorting to pixel peeping or measurbating. When I 'found' your blog about 2 years ago I read all the old posts in one long evening/night session, and I will certainly keep coming back daily, as I have done ever since. Also: very much looking forward to your novel! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I think you are simply going through a period of rebranding your blog. You blew it up the other week, so it is natural to lose some consumers of that brand (in a manner of thinking, you told them to go away and they obeyed). Now you are developing a new brand, and some of those people who went away will likely return once the new "thing" is solidified. The comments on this blog prove that you could be writing about a number of different topics and these individuals relate to you, are inspired by you and/or respect your many talents.
The unique quality of the blog environment is the aspect of personality, even forms of celebrity, that the author possesses. Clearly you have established that and there are a number of us that follow you, the individual called Kirk Tuck, and are pretty flexible about reading what you write. There aren't lots of sources of inspiration among peers in our contemporary culture and I think people relate to you and your blog because both contain honest content about trying to be better, as a human being, parent, spouse, artist. That's pretty rich stuff.

Rene said...

Kirk, I originally came here via TOP a few years back. I've enjoyed the gear blogs as they were always refreshingly different than the usual reviews and you helped me figure out that moving to micro four-thirds was a good move for me. That said, it is the other columns that stay with me and nourish me, like oatmeal rather than cold cereal. The cold cereal is fun sometimes, but I'm looking for longer term nourishment. I like the new direction.

Michael Matthews said...

Me, I'm waiting for the novel.

Kirk Tuck said...

Hey Chuck. I don't moderate the comments unless they are mean and nasty. I don't understand the comment about politics. It seems to me (especially looking back over the 1500+ articles I've written here that I've made a prodigious effort to keep all politics out of the blog. Even during the hot and heavy political season last year. But weird, out of mainstream, homemade bumper stickers are fair game all the time because they are intrusive visual elements. I keep my political leanings out of most of my writing to the point that this is actually a funny observation. Funny in that someone else took me to task (privately) last week for "being a mindless, conservative."

I'm not the kind of person who will write off someone because of their political viewpoints. I am offended by the current practices of many religions. But that has nothing to do with photography so we don't cover it. And won't.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough! I put the first part on my post above because I did not want to start any political discourse on what is not a political blog.

I do enjoy your blog, and although I don't have any desire at the moment to pursue producing video I am interested in what you are doing. You never know when you might need to quickly develop a new skillset!

Thanks for everything!
Chuck

Robin Smith said...

I guess there were quite a few of us who commented on your "I'm changing the blog" post who suggested that if you dropped all equipment reviews your pageviews would decline radically. However, I'm assuming you had so many comments on that post that you just gave up putting them up for everyone to read(?) It's a shame as I felt I wasted my time writing it. But nevermind. I'm still with you, but as I suggested earlier, the way you write about equipment is just fine and you should feel no shame about keeping it if it's still relevant. I don't really believe that there is a photographer alive who has no interest in equipment, so we all need a little of that.

raingeek said...

Hi Kirk,

Still here and reading and becoming a better photographer as I read about your journey. I don't miss the gear posts as such, I have a camera that serves me well and I'm much more concerned about growing creatively through exploring and refining my vision.

That said, I enjoy your writing whatever the topic.

chris richard said...

i won't miss the gear posts. the depths of my wallet are very shallow, so they aren't much good to me anyway. the depths of my ignorance in the art of photography, on the other hand, are deep deep deep.

EdM said...

Hi Kirk,

I still like your blog! Your opinions on why to take photos are more interesting to me than the hardware columns.

The only reason I read the hardware ones were because 1) you wrote them in a very friendly manner, like we were talking over a coffee, 2) they let me know about cameras I normally wouldn't look at.

But I'll still read your ramblings..

Thanks, Ed

Kirk Tuck said...

Robin, I didn't moderate any of the comments on that post. Blogger only show so many per page. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page your find "load more comments" at the very bottom. There are nearly four pages of comments there and I'm pretty sure yours is among them. Thanks for the good feedback.

Kitchen Riffs said...

I'm showing up to read, and always will. I found the gear posts interesting, but I'm not a big gear buyer, so always skimmed them. It's the type of post that you're doing now that I most like. Ironically, though, I actually found your blog back when I was buying some lighting gear and thinking about LED lights, and found your blog through a Google search (and I subsequently bought your book on lighting equipment). This is when you were still writing your LED book, so some of the LED posts could be called "gear" posts. I liked what I read so over the course of a month I went through your archives and read every single post you had written - gear and non-gear alike. It's impossible for a real photographer to talk about gear without also talking about how to actually use the gear, and that part is always interesting. But overall I do prefer the direction you're taking your blog now.

--John Griffin

Anonymous said...

I found your site through the link in photonet forum general discussion last week "why the reset?" and am hooked since. If I'm not mistaken, writing is an art form in itself, and it's rare to have both like you. I'm interested in your view on the trend, approach, technology, interaction as they are related to your art. Often, the heated discussion with my friends about flickr was which do we value most, 1 million "Perfect capture" stamps or one comment in complete sentence on our picture?

So, keep doing what you like...

Sincerely

Robin Smith said...

Sorry, Kirk!! Thanks for the explanation. Great job.

Bold Photography said...

What Dave said...

Blogging Photographer said...

Keep going. I always check in to see what's going on at VSL. I'm not reading DPReview's camera reviews much now.

I've decided to choose my cameras and lenses to fit my needs.

Cheers

David Liang said...

I enjoy your musings about equipment old or new, especially the old film stuff, it's not something I'm familiar with. It's almost like taking a fun history lesson about photography. However, I really do come here for the business and industry insight. Equipment posts I can get in any number of places albeit without your perspective, but business stuff is really rare, and good business stuff is rarer still.

Viva la revolution!

Anonymous said...

I don't care about the gear, but I do like to hear about how you interact with the gear, and how it shifts your perspective. Especially the offbeat stuff, like old lenses on digital.

Anyway, I'll keep reading.

While I'm here - ever since you changed the format a while ago, it's been incredibly slow to load and link pages. Several seconds just to scroll down a page and wait for it to stabilize. Is that something different with the site or is it me? I'm not sophisicated enough to figure it out. I don't have the same problem anywhere else.

Rich Freeman

Daryl Davis said...

Same here. I was using Feedly but now am trying The Old Reader.

Either way, I'm not going anywhere.

Ian said...

Hi Kirk,

The first reason I regularly read your blog, is because of your writing. It works.

The second reason is because of what you write about. Your observations on life successfully running a small business, based on photography and its changing environment, is interesting to me.

Ian

Anonymous said...

What?? No more Sony reviews? How ever will I survive?

Seriously, while I find your gear reviews ok to read, I find the whole Kirk Tuck philosophy and viewpoint on life, business and photography much more interesting. As a regular reader, very excited about the new direction.

Paul said...

Kirk I don't care what you write about as long as you continue writing - I always like reading your material as it usually makes me think, smile or both.
As a generalisation people solely interested in reviews of gear are after justification for spending money, proof they've bought the right thing or are more interested in hardware than creating a photo.
Like anonymous above, I'm also interested in your thoughts about trends and how you interact with gear more than the gear itself.

Michael Petty said...

Seems to me you are heading in a good direction. I found your blog when I was looking for a new camera and found the gear reviews interesting, but I have my new camera and am more interested in hearing about art, more of your street photography and philosophy of photography. In truth I don't care much about video, but will live with that. I like the way you write and enjoy your photographs. It will be interesting to see how it settles out.

Michael

Andre said...

Hi Kirk - I'm mostly a lurker here, but I do want you to know that I appreciate your blog very much. You are a gifted photographer and writer, and (far) more appreciated and respected than you perhaps realize. So keep doing what you like to do -it is your blog after all!- and please know that a great many people love to hear and read all about it.

Anonymous said...

Reading your blog has helped me become a better portrait photographer. I don't care much about the gear, largely because I'm a Canon shooter with a full complement of lenses and I'm not about to jump ship. Keep up the good work.

Charles Haskell

Vincent Morretino said...

Hello, Kirk.

I found your blog by visiting strobist.com a month or so ago, and I really enjoy your style of writing. Your posts give me something to think about long after I've read them.

I appreciate that you share your experiences and stories with us, and I admire your talent and humility. Humility is a trait that not many successful artists seem to have these days.

Now that you have put back some of the posts you had removed, I look forward to reading them as being "brand new" to me.

Thanks,

-Vincent Morretino

Anonymous said...

I stopped reading your blog a few months back because it was mostly about the toys. So count me among those who looks forward to the ideas and the learning. Thanks for the change!!

Joe Harper said...

Kirk,

Just curious, what kind of traffic do you get on the site? to give the readers what perspective on what "Half" means...

Regards,

Joe

Brad Calkins said...

Keep at it - I think you'll find that you enjoy the blogging more, and writing less about gear probably means thinking about it less, too. It has to be positive to spend more time on that which is important to you! Fewer hits, but more Readers!

Nick N. said...

As someone who once made no small part of my income via photography, but with a recently renewed interest in the medium, i first stumbled onto VSL only recently. Now that's it's my busy (non-photo-related) work season, there's not much time to even read blogs, let alone comment. This makes me appreciate even more that people like Kirk find time in a busy schedule to maintain a substantive blog.

As others have said, i appreciate the thoughtful, intelligent writing here however it's directed. It's certainly the prerogative of the writer to cover what they see fit, but i have to say i don't quite understand the bright line being drawn on the "gear"/"no-gear" distinction.

I certainly don't mind hearing about how particular equipment fits into/works well/facilitates a particular workflow, work setting, or shooting context. I would—and do, on other Web sites—tire of endless discussion of only gear, when the main point nearly always seems to be the gear itself as if, for example, a lens were the only thing responsible for "image quality," and people breathlessly await the release of The Next Great Camera, as if it will magically turn anything it's pointed at into a fabulous image.

I don't see why occasional "gear"-centered posts can't sit amongst other musings about the practice of the craft, but i'll still drop in now and then either way.



Kirk Tuck said...

Hi Joe, we were averaging 35,000 pageviews per day. In the week following the eradication of dedicated gear reviews that number has dropped to slightly under 20,000 pvpd.

Anonymous said...

hi

still love it.

best

Gregg Mack said...

I'm glad that you are choosing to use your blog to tell us what you are passionate about, and not just what you think will bounce the number of page views. I'm still here and your blog is always one of the very first places I go when I have some spare time to be entertained on the internet. Thank you!

Julian said...

Kirk,

I think your excellent blog is suddenly getting even better and more interesting. I already have a camera that's better than me, so it's more interesting to read about using cameras than buying them. I'm still reading!

Anonymous said...

I agree. Art and craft. You don't have to review gear, but it doesn't hurt to know what gear facilitated the art. Not all gear is created equal.

Gregg Mack said...

Hey Kirk, I am very glad to see that you are talking about what YOU want to talk about our YOUR blog. I still enjoy stopping by here when I have some leisure time just to see what you are up to now. I have learned a lot from your blog and your books, and I'm sure that I'll still learn a lot more form you in the future. Thanks!

Francesco Carucci said...

I'm still here reading and enjoying the content too.

Brian Smokler said...

Still reading, and I come in via a weblink that's prompted by RSS feeds that show up in my Yahoo Reader. I've always read your posts as an illumination on how/why you use equipment and not about the equipment for its own sake. Please continue to write about whatever you want to. I'll keep reading.

Raianerastha said...

Kirk, I would much rather read about what goes on in your mind when you are making photographs, whether for fun or profit, than read whether X camera has the potential to satisfy G.A.S. When you have talked about gear, it has been a refreshing attitude of how it serves to either help you satisfy clients, or yourself. There are enough gear sites/blogs out there.

Be true to what you love about photography, and share it with those who share your passion.