Monthly Archives: February 2014

One Year of Blogging

Trees, Clouds, and Bluff, Near Fort Collins, Colorado

Trees, Clouds, and Bluff, Near Fort Collins, Colorado

When I started this blog last February, I told myself I would keep it going for at least a year and then reevaluate.  Well, that one year is up, so time for some reevaluation.  The natural question to ask is if I should keep this blog going.  To do that, it’s worth reviewing the goals I set for this blog when I started.  This could get a bit introspective, so if that’s not your thing, feel free to skip to the end of this post.

I had two main goals for this blog when I started.  My first goal was to draw visitors to this website.  The theory was that by providing fresh, updated content every week or two, visitors with an interest in my work would be encouraged to return often to see what was new.  I find this theory to work pretty well in my own blog viewing habits.  I have a short list of blogs that I check on an almost daily basis, because the content is interesting and, importantly, frequently updated.  Conversely, there are many blogs that feature content I like, but I don’t really follow them because the content is so infrequently updated.  It’s a bit of a letdown to find a blog you like, and then realize the author only updates every six months or so.

But I digress.  With respect to this blog, I’m sorry to report that my theory doesn’t seem to be working in practice.  While it’s true that visitors to this website have increased over the last year (thank you sincerely to everyone who has visited!), my Google Analytics reports suggest this has less to do with my blog posts themselves, and more to do with cross-posing images to places like Google+ and Craigslist.  In short, it appears that visitors don’t tune in to the website to read the blog, but rather get here by following links posted elsewhere online.

My second goal in starting this blog was to dialogue with people who are interested in photography.  Again, using myself as a reference, I really enjoy reading and viewing good content about photography that others are putting out there, especially the comments that get posted on blog posts.  In these comments, I often have found interesting additional points of view, discovered the work of other photographers that I had not known about, and enjoyed the back and forth that often occurs between the author of the blog and those making comments.

I had hoped to create a similar environment here, but again this doesn’t seem to be working out in practice.  While I have enjoyed the comments that have been posted (again, thank you sincerely to everyone who has commented!), there just aren’t enough to keep this blog going on that basis.  By the way, please don’t read this as trolling for comments (really!), I’m just reviewing the facts as part of this one year evaluation.

So, if neither of the two goals I set for this blog have been achieved, am I going to keep it going?

The answer is yes, because over the course of the last year, my goals for this blog have changed.  More specifically, I’ve come to enjoy the process of writing this blog for reasons that are different than when I started.  Blogging has forced me to think more critically about the aspects of photography I write about, which is a good thing.  It’s a challenge, in a good way, to keep coming up with material every week or two.  It’s rewarding, because at the end of the day, I like my blogging and think I am producing a good product.  In these respects, the blogging is not that different from the photography, in the sense that my main goal is to do it for myself.  Also, I’m stubborn.

So, for anyone tuning in here directly from the first paragraph of this post – yes, this blog will go on.  See you next post.

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Do You Have a Favorite Element of Composition?

Sunlight on Mount Chapin, Colorado

If you’re a photographer, do you have a favorite element of composition that you use over and over again?  If you enjoy looking at photography, is there an element of composition that you find yourself repeatedly drawn to?

Opinions vary a bit in the details, but most lists of the elements of composition generally include line, shape, form, pattern, and texture.  Of course, these elements don’t exist in isolation, and indeed often build on each other:  lines give rise to shape, shapes give rise to form, forms give rise to patterns, and patterns give rise to texture.  Still, photographs often will display one of these elements with more emphasis than the others, and it seems fair to assume that a photographer’s body of work might skew towards the use of one of these elements more than the others.

It’s dangerous to analyze one’s own work, but if I had to take a guess, I would say my eye is drawn to line.  For example, the image in this post, “Sunlight on Mount Chapin,” exhibits a very strong line dividing the relatively darker lower half of the frame from the relatively lighter upper half of the frame.  To me, this line dominates the composition, arcing out of the lower left corner and creating a sense of movement in the composition.  Again, it’s hard to view one’s own work objectively, but I find it nevertheless to be a useful exercise, not only in creating my own work, but in helping me to analyze and understand why I may like or dislike the work of others.

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