1.19.2015

This is post number 2200.


Well. At this point we've shared 2200 blog posts with each other. We've bantered back and forth with nearly 28,000 comments. The VSL blog has racked up nearly 18,000,000 page views. We've covered trends, cameras, lenses, business of photography and Ben's progress through high school and into college.

I've posted thousands of photographs. Some interesting (at least to me) and some not. Today I lost one follower. I think it may have been someone disgruntled by my recent purchase of a D810.

So I thought I'd take a moment and ask those of you who are left: How are we doing at VSL? What do you see too much of and what would you like to read more of? What do you like here? What annoys you? I rarely do much research but would sincerely like to know what our audience is thinking.

legal disclaimer: The request for information should not be construed as a contract, or bailment, or assurance that any suggestions, or comments, will influence content, cause specific content to be created or discarded, nor is the request a guarantee of a continued flow of written content and/or images. Nor is the request for comments an indication that any employment or offer of employment has been extended to anyone from VSL, their agents or assigns. We reserve the right to write whatever pops into our head at any time and in any font. Should we be subject to alien abduction the blog will be suspended until such a time as when we are returned to the planet and have recovered from our experiences at the hands (should they have them) of the extraterrestrial perpetrators. ©2015 Kirk Tuck

Thanks, Kirk

41 comments:

Hugh said...

People do get upset over minor things...

I bought an OMD EM5 last week (with 17 and 45mm primes), because of how much you liked yours. I am delighted with it. I'd still be delighted with it if you sold yours.

I was going to write in and ask you if I should sell it now as a joke - never thought anyone would seriously feel that way.

Not selling the 5D3 and the 35mm, 85mm and 135mm lenses - but I've now got a fun camera for travelling with that comes very close to the serious camera under the right conditions.

I think the blog is doing great! It's always amusing reading about your adventures with gear. Helped me make a few good choices over the years. I made the bad choices all on my own without your help.

The philosophical stuff is even more interesting...

Howard said...

Kirk,I don't know as you need to consider any changes. Only a drop in reader would not realize you write about the goings on in your current photographic life. Life changes regularly, so why wouldn't your subjects as you pursue your profession and art. There is diverse subject matter, books to read, and courses to take if so inclined. I read 3 photography blogs on a regular basis, because even at my advanced age I like to learn about a subject that interests me. Never will be a professional, but that doesn't mean I can't try to be better. The occasional family, personal anecdote adds interest Long winded when I've made my point in the 1st sentence. Carry on...you seem to be doing pretty well.

Aubrey Silvertooth said...

Hi Kirk,

I have been following your blog since about 2009, a couple of years after I purchased my first digital SLR, an Olympus Evolt E-500. I have since made the switch to a Nikon D90, and, for the most part, am content with its twelve megapixels. I still shoot film with a couple of Pentax SLRs and a couple of Minolta SLRs. I like (or have liked) some aspect of all of the gear I have owned--even the long gone Olympus OM System I used through out most of the 1990s.

I began reading the VSL when I heard you were an Olympus shooter and that you were in Austin. I am down by Galveston but I visit the Austin area regularly to visit family and Precision Camera.

I check the VSL at least once a day. If I happen to not care for what you are discussing, I move on. If I find your discussion interesting, I stay and read the post. Please, continue things the way you have been doing them. This is your blog. I appreciate the fact that you take the time to share with us your knowledge, insight, and opinions on all things photographic.

I tend to pass over the video posts since I tend to not have interest in that aspect of imaging. That said, I still glance over what your opinions are on the subject so I don't sound like a total moron when I am asked about video at the school where I teach.

Thanks again for all that I have learned from this wonderful blog and the books you have authored that I have purchased. I still look for you when I go to Precision Camera. Who knows, I may see you there in February when I am in town for a teacher's conference.

Aubrey

Rusty said...

I find your comments on the business of photography applicable to most any business. Always good advice here, so talk business, it's good

Wally said...

Keep doing what you do the way you want to do it. It's your business and your blog! Nice work.

Old Gray Roy said...

Kirk;

For those few of us who refuse to discontinue reading VSL blog, the variety of subject matter is a plus. If you wrote as so many others do, latching on to one subject and beating it into the ground, I would have quit reading long ago. For myself, I skim video because it is not something I am doing or will do. Other than that I find it interesting to follow your thoughts on the subject of the day.

At times our ideas and opinions coincide but it is more fun and illuminating when they do not. There is so much more to be learned from someone who has a different, and reasoned, viewpoint from ones' own. It would be awful if everyone thought the same. And particularly bad if everyone took exception to an individual who does not think the way they do.

Long story short, don't change.

Noons said...

If I wanted to read about numbers and features of camera and lens gear, I wouldn't be here.
Plenty of measurebators (apologies to Ken Rockwell followers) out there.

The reason I keep coming back is simple: here, I can listen to a pro talking about photography and video from the point of view of one who has to make a living out of the resulting images.
As opposed to talking about gear features and numbers.
And who obviously enjoys doing just that.
So, please: keep on trucking, chief!
:)

sbimson said...

That same person email Motortrend to complain that they bought last year's "Car of the year".

I love the blog and don't think you need to change a thing. I really appreciate how you explain you gear choices and I for one would be surprised if you didn't continually evaluate if you had the best tools to meet the needs of your customers.

As you say there is no one perfect camera for every usage and it's great to see another person's thought process and reasoning for why you've made the choices you have...even if my choices have been Canon / Sony / Fuji for similar but slightly different reasons.

Mike Rosiak said...

Kirk,

I stumbled onto your blog, and TOP, sometime in mid 2012. Also a number of others. Yours and Mike Johnston's are the only ones I check AT LEAST once a day. Many others, I've UN-bookmarked. If you did anything radically different, I might do the same with yours.

Yes, I think that you are that good at what you are doing.

Mike C said...

I enjoy your camera/lens reviews with supporting photos so I can learn how they function in the real world whether it's on the job or on your Sunday walk-arounds downtown. The business aspects of being a professional photographer is also interesting. I say keep on keeping on!

Geof said...

Kirk,
I have no requests for you to write about a particular topic. Your writing is so much fun to read, and interesting and provocative, because you write about what's on your mind at the time. It comes across as fresh and real. Thanks.
A side note: my middle child went to Skidmore 20 years ago (I cannot quite believe it but it's so) and had a wonderful, growing time there.

Ed Posthumus said...

Hi Kirk
You write, I read.
Works for me.

Anonymous said...


I left professional photography in the film days but am still keenly interested in the process, the gear, and the changing business environment.

I love your blog! It's well written, interesting and entertaining. Don't change a thing.

Gato said...

I find your writing on photography and the business of photography compelling. I could do with less gear talk. The way you think about gear is interesting, the specifics sometimes go on a bit long for my taste.

There are plenty of places to read about the mechanics of the gear, but far less good writing about photography.

Chaz L said...

Kirk:

I'll happily keep reading even if you don't change a thing. But since you asked...

I'm always happy to see you write about:

Art
Philosophy
Business
Portraiture
Lighting
Assignments

Wouldn't miss it if you spent less time on:

Gear
Video

But hey, its your blog and I fully enjoy what you do. Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge.

Paul said...

I think you should shut down the blog ASAP and go back to doing real work. I think it's the only way you can sort out my addiction to reading your blog at least daily.

If you ignore my suggestion I'll just have to keep reading and enjoying look at the wonderful portraits you post - and it will be all your fault.

Blogging Photographer said...

Kirk,

I read your blog pretty much everyday. I don't mind what you talk about so long most of the posts are about photography.

I am happy for you to buy what you fancy be it a compact camera to medium format. I value the wide variety.

Keep on going and thanks for taking the trouble to write.

Andy

chrispattison66 said...

Don't change anything. I think you have the balance about right between writing about your family, work, the industry and gear purchases. Also, it's the way you write that keeps me coming back. It's an inspiration for my own humble blog.

Anonymous said...

Okay, lemme see.
During the past 12 or so months alone we've been able to follow your massive mood swings (and full pendulum swing) from a FF multi-brand/system user who sold everything to become a righteous mFT-mullah with no other gear soon tiptoeing back to another brand FF and multi-system user again.
While all that does have entertainment value of some sort and no doubt it keeps the gear heads perked up time and again, it's not the reason why I and I believe many others have chosen to come back here for more than one or two blog entries.
It's something else, something harder to put our finger on. Your changing gear (again) is certainly not good enough a reason to stop reading.

Mild snarkasm aside, the best content I remember reading during the past year or so has been something between the gear acquisition justifications and snapshots of swimming pools and graffiti walls.
Nothing wrong with those, either, though, but the most compelling reading have usually dealt with something more profound than gear. We all talk gear, too, but in the most interesting blog entries the gear has played more or less a supporting role rather than the leading role.

Sometimes (often) it's about business, sometimes it's about something more 'philosophical,' or maybe a general rambling triggered by some event that took place in your life a moment earlier. It may have been talking about recent photo or video shoots, or both, and your findings while doing those. Sometimes with pictures, old or new. Sometimes it may even be a story about a day in your life.
Graffiti walls and justifying why Nikon is the Chosen One of the day are generally less interesting topics, at least from my POV. Maybe that's just me, maybe not.

Apart from 2200 blog entries you also wrote a book and even sold some copies of it, so surely you know how it works. Readers are suckers for good compelling stories.

Larry Cordeiro said...

Change is why I'm here, and change is how I think we all learn. I am inspired to experiment more by what I've read on this blog if only for my own art.

Murray Davidson said...

Kirk,
Echoing the remarks by Mike Rosiak, your's is one of a select very few blogs I check at least once a day. Others are less frequent or occasional. I'm not a professional photographer, but insightful reflection and rumination, especially when also well written, is a pleasure to read and (sometimes) take on board.
Keep at it and we'll keep coming.
Greetings,
Murray

Jim Putka said...

I am a gruntled reader.

Please continue to write of your experiences and of your journey.

I've 2 D810s and they are the last cameras today with which I'd part. As you write, things do change and I applaud and enjoy the advances in camera technology.

I've also come to appreciate the Sony A7S and A7R. They are near ideal travel cameras when not concentrating on action photography.

I value your writing and sharing of experiences.

dario dasar said...

Well Kirk,
I follow your blog quite regularly and always enjoy your writing, also when I disagree.
I started reading VSL just when you decided to switch from m43 to Sony. And I have to say that I followed you.
I am a little puzzled by the many changes of your gear during these years, since I think that this interesting search of the perfect match between hw and task requires a lot of additional work to you. However good for us, since we can read your thoughts about lenses and cameras.
We are waiting for the next 1000 posts.
Best regards

PS. I called my bank and they discouraged my attempts to follow your history of purchases. So I stick with Sony. :-)

Corwin Black said...

Well, to mitigate damage I started following you. :)

(Im reading your blog for long time, just never followed, dunno why)

Otherwise, buying D810 is IMHO very reasonable thing to do today.. For me, its one of best things Nikon produced so far.

Only "better" thing is probably 645Z.

Owen Murphy said...

Your blog is part of my day. I always enjoy your comments about the industry, society, and your family. It's rare, but to feel that you could actually be friends with someone you never met except in this virtual universe, is a wonderful thing.
Keep doing what you do Kirk, you have loyal readers and I suspect that anywhere you would ever travel to, these folks would be happy to meet you or help you if you ever needed it.
I will say I was a bit surprised by the D810 purchase, but in the end it makes perfect sense for your business.

Don Karner said...

Your blog is near the top of my bookmarks. I look forward to reading it. I enjoy the pictures from your local walk abouts and your comments on gear, portraiture, business, the future etc. You are a very good writer and prolific in your interesting thoughts. Keep it going please, and continued success.

billstormont said...

Kirk,

You've made it easy to bookmark VSL and return each day because you share your reasonings for most everything you do—gear, business decisions, lighting, travel, et cetera. And as someone mentioned, we get a feel for Austin; I can imagine sitting down to coffee with you and listening to your latest thoughts/ramblings/predictions.

What would I change? Nothing. What might I ask for? Tell us about the food and drink in Austin, and other Texas towns, in your entertaining style, and maybe...just for the gear heads...put up a post on Precision Camera, complete with photos (a photo tour!). Then we'd know where all the money goes.

Brian Keairns said...

For me the candid articles about the profession tend to be the main draw. Though I have a specific interest in the MFT system because I find it a great solution for video. So articles about the GH4, EM5 and MFT lenses (like the bargain Sigma 60mm) also catch my attention.

Some of your article have boosted my comfort level in selecting MFT gear when Nikon and Canon are so dominate for commercial use in America. For whatever reason I enjoy the MFT system better than I did my Canon FF gear and L series lenses. I feel I actually get better results as well mostly because of improved ergonomics.

When it comes to FF gear I'm sure some people really need what it offers but there's far too much written that seems too focused on sensor technology when that's only one piece of the puzzle. And in any case it's harder to find great blogs that discuss MFT gear.

Though it's a common refrain that lenses matter more than bodies it does seem like interest and discussion online tends to gravitate more and more towards bodies and sensors. I'm more interested in lenses generally and if I want to gold plate my equipment that's where I tend to focus. I have the Olympus 75mm 1.8, the Nocticron 42.5mm 1.2, the Nokton 25m .95 and Panasonic Leica 15mm 1.7 as my prime lineup for MFT. It seems to me that I'm getting top notch IQ with a small, ergonomic, video friendly system.

I'd be curious understand where that system falls short. I'd be interested to see shots side by side that demonstrate what's missing with a GH4 and a Nocticron that could be remedied by a Nikon D810 and whatever lens would be equivalent.

Peter Wright said...

What I want to see more of:
Your best work, especially work you did for customers (post embargo)
Your reviews of what works for you and why.
Life as a professional photographer

What I want less of:
Discussions on video.

Unknown said...

You are one of a few blogs that I check into every morning. The reason is simple. You write from the point of view of someone who loves being a photographer.

Bill

Diogenes Baena said...

I look forward to your blog posts! It is the only one that I know of that looks at a photographic pursuit holistically: where life and photography and fun and sweat intersect. More importantly, your enthusiasm for photography "for fun and profit" is infectious. This by no means denigrates the technical know-how that you unselfishly share with your followers. On a side note, I look forward to the day that you will discover for yourself the world of Sony.
There is nothing I see that needs changing… don't change the evolution in your blogging!

Ann Peterson said...

It is your blog Kirk so your choice of subject. I check in most days and enjoy your writing. I skim some of the gear posts because I am happy with what I have. Love the portraits (and studio dog pix) and the swimming posts. BTW a post on the best goggles would be great, mine always fog up!

Racecar said...

Don't change anything. I know this is not very helpful, but I am never bored by your blogs. They always make perfect sense to me and your writing skills are second to none. I say soldier on Kirk.

Duncan Holthausen said...

I like just about everything you write, and I especially like the variety of topics. If I had to choose a couple of topics, I particularly like your discussions of portraits and lighting and of gear choices for different jobs. I'd say you should pretty much keep things as they are.

steve said...

I've been reading your blog for a few years now and what keeps me coming back is the diversity. Since reading your blog I've bought your photography books and craftsy lessons. I don't normally buy video lessons (prefer books) the only other video lessons I've bought were Frank doorhof's lessons on flash lighting.
Personally is like to see more posts on traditional photography, but know I'm in the minority there so probably not going to happen. I'd just say keep up what your doing the diversity is what keeps me coming back.

David Zivic said...

I don't shoot portraits, I only use available light and I love my Sony A7r even though your review threw it under the bus. I am not a fan of anything Texas. Yet every day I am here reading what you have to say. Sometimes I even get some inspiration. Must be a Je ne said quo thing.
My favorite lenses are short telephotos and I love dogs though..... so I'll give you that.

Andrea said...

You tell good stories. This is fine with me, so please don't change.

JereK said...

Carry on as you have been doing. Been following you so long I actually cant remember when I stumbled upon your blog. I think it was after having gotten your "Minimalist Lighting: Professional Techniques for Location Photography" way back in '09 when I was trying to learn to use flash.

So keep doing what you do. Variety and your thoughts are what has kept me coming back.

Joe Gilbert said...

Kirk,

I'm here because I relate very strongly with your personality. The web is filled with photography blogs, but only one KT.
I don't care if you write about the feel of dog poop squishing between your toes; I'm in.

Joe

Ted Phillips said...

I'm a little late on this response but I wanted to comment. First I enjoy your posts, even the ones about video, although I don't shoot videos. I am not a professional photographer but I use a camera in my work for inspections. I travel a lot for work & pleasure & because of you switched to micro 4/3 from Canon before a trip to France several years ago. I have never regretted the change as for traveling micro 4/3's is the best choice for me. I use two Em5 & OMG still shoot MF film for a change. So the point is what makes you blog the best for me is you are not static but always on the move with ideas. I'm ready for the next book! Thanks Kirk

Jeff said...

Great to read your site about all things photography in a civilized manner. I've been weaning off the new gear specs & camera-jihadists websites, haven't missed them.