4.03.2022

Another Black and White Afternoon in Paradise. April 3rd - 2022

A scene repeated all over Austin. Bikes everywhere. Strapped to the backs of big Lexux SUVs
and on tiny Mini-Coopers alike.























I've started to channel remnants of my smart ass youth persona into my photography out on the sidewalks of Austin. I realized that no one takes notice of my quick shots and if they notice no one cares. They are all cared out. Everything is suddenly blooming and green in Austin which makes me want to get outside even more but it also makes me want to check all the air conditioning systems in my life to make sure there's comfort at the end of every adventure. 

According to the weather service forecast on my phone we're heading for a 97° high on Tuesday. Time to break out the short pants and the water bottle. Oh, who am I kidding? Coffee is available everywhere.

Gear note: I bought one more Godox AD200 Pro flash unit and some extra bare bulb reflectors for them. They are great flashes and if you put a round head on one of them and use it as your main portrait light you even get a three step modeling light that stays lit for 30 minutes. Nice. Cheap. Practical. Packable.

And so much cheaper than another lens for the Leicas.... 

Quickly declining engagement with the site is leading me to consider that blogging, at least as I do it, is quickly becoming obsolete. Thinking about options.


 The photo market has changed radically since 2013. Compared to a decade ago, when this site was still young, camera sales have dropped to the point where they are 15% per year of what they were at the peak. We're seeing more and more small product iterations and fewer and fewer big leaps in either technology or in the actual art. Digital imaging is quickly becoming mature so there's less novel stuff to write about. 

Few people want to read about happy, reasonably well adjusted, financially comfortable swimmers who are also photographers. More people seem drawn to the individual trauma and drama of writers that I just find droll. 

By this point I'm pretty sure that every reader here knows how I feel about pretty much everything related to the industry and if they don't know exactly I'm sure they can conjecture pretty accurately. 

The trend in the blog here and in other photo blogs I follow is to either continually "rediscover" all the stuff we've previously gone over ad nauseam and to "mini-tweak" stuff into a new post or to wander off the path of covering all things photographic to instead slip into the day-to-day tedium of other hobbies, interests, foibles, addictions, personal financial peril, jousting at the windmills of change, and other subjects that I find...boring. 

My current analogy comes from child rearing. To wit, you look at your own child's art and find it fresh, fascinating and wonderful. Everyone else's child seems to be struggling. You are required to like your own child but you are not responsible for the rest. That's where blogging is for me right now.

I think, even though I enjoy the process of writing and I enjoy the ego gratification of having an audience, I should at least alter what I put here or cut the cord and retire from blogging entirely. I guess this comes from spending too much time this morning (and on too many other mornings) moderating out several dozen spam comments offering clipping path services, Russian brides, "free" solar panels, and various "guaranteed" money making schemes but not having to moderate a single comment (today) having to do with the actual content of a blog post. 

My personal beliefs about the direction of photography are mostly at odds with many in my current audience who seem anchored into a different value assessment of last century's photography truisms and prejudices than mine. They still value the physical object of the print to excess and have an overinflated idea of the value of much "traditional" photographic work. Still waiting for the "Fred Picker Retrospective" at which we celebrate one photographer's understanding of.....how to operate a camera....

I'm tired of being mostly polite about politics here and even more carefully polite not to call out "emperors in our blogging field who have neglected to dress from time to time." No one really cares about what we studied in college, how we set up our lights in the 1990s and what we're going to do with that huge garbage bag filled with Kodachrome slides that we really haven't looked at in the last quarter century. We just seem, as a generation of image makers to have run out of steam. Or have failed to match our perspectives with the times. But I also feel that print is dead so I might now be the best source for understanding relevance.

All that being said, I feel more strongly than ever that it's much more important, on an individual basis, to spend whatever time remains out photographing for fun than worrying about legacies, histories, archives and the mundane errata of our long transition through various stages of image making. 

I'll leave the blog up in its current form and use it going forward as a nice place to just share my newest images but without the voluminous written component. But, if engagement numbers continue to drop I'll then consider pulling the blog down for good; mostly to mitigate internet security issues that are bound to plague all of us in the future. Too much and too detailed an amount of personal information is dangerous.

I have nothing to sell here, no engagement on the VSL site with clients of any sort, and no real rationale to continue pouring time and attention into writing about stuff that is ever-shrinking in our cultural awareness. Not convinced that there is value in it in either direction.

Heads up though. I am mercurial in the best of  times so if there are articles you enjoyed here and would like to keep I suggest you download them in the next week or so just in case I decide it's better to have a definitive end point for the blog.  You've been warned. 

I've made a lot of good friends here. Thanks. 

Some will try to decide for themselves why I'm metaphorically tossing in the towel now. Or "this time." I'll save you some conjecture time. No one has pissed me off or critiqued me unfairly. I am not destitute. I have not become uninterested in photography. I haven't monetized the blog in years and don't need to do so. I am not having any medical issues. No family issues. I just think photography has homogenized itself past the point where my previous professional insight/knowledge might have been more valuable to readers. 

Stories about my car purchases, my swim practice, my air conditioner replacement, my favorite place to get coffee, etc. should NOT seem so compelling and I may, in fact, be robbing you of small parts of your days which would be better spent engaged in something you really love to do for yourself. 

There's no longer any need for me to be a "buyer's guide" to cameras and lenses or an instructor about lighting or business. That era no longer exists. That's why we now have YouTube and Google. 

There's lots to commend the idea of leaving on a high note. But that would have actually been back in 2014. It's been a long, slow slide since then.