Random Thoughts

Winter scenery from the Madison River at sunrise in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

I am in a down mode at the moment. Not mentally or emotionally, just with my photography. There are things to do though. I’m working on my taxes of course, keeping the snow shoveled from the driveway and porch. Working when I can in the office, editing photos but there aren’t a lot of photos left to work on at the moment.

I’m beginning to formulate photography plans for the near future. One thing I’ve been contemplating is making a return trip to Sand Wash Basin for wild horses in May. I can’t seem to pull the trigger on that decision though. I enjoyed last year’s trip there, but in the time since, about half the horses in the basin have been rounded up and I don’t really know that I’ll get a reasonable return on costs with the photos. My alternative thought is to visit Colorado National Monument, and honestly, it’s beginning to feel like a more attractive trip for me. I’m sure I’ll make a decision sooner rather than later.

Writing for the blog is a hit and miss thing for me. I start articles and then never finish them, mostly due to losing interest in the subject matter or deciding they aren’t going to be that interesting anyway. Keeping up with my writing is difficult at times. I try to stay away from gear head stuff and keep the photography subjects to what I will be doing, I’m presently doing or have already done, rather than talk about camera gear. Yet, the camera gear stuff creeps in from time to time, and it’s usually a result of not having anything better to write about or having had an interaction that spurs a thought or two.

I spend quite a bit of time reading the photography press though. Which dilutes my thinking as most of what is written about photography is repetitive and gear head stuff. Still, I like to do research on gear and different technical matters, as my mind is still trained as an engineer so it’s not something I can just turn off.

I’m beginning to lose some interest in my regular reads. DP Review is boring as hell to me these days. I seldom if ever post in their forums, and when I do it usually garners inane argumentative replies. I like reading test reviews on gear, mainly lenses, but I’ve found that most of the websites doing lens testing and reviews have abandoned DSLR lens testing and many of them never fully fleshed out their reviews in the first place. They’ve lost interest too. It’s difficult to find anything written about the art, it’s all pretty much pushing consumerism and the business of making and selling camera gear. I’ve enjoyed reading Thom Hogan’s website over the years, but he too seems to be in a rut, writing mostly about the business aspects of the camera manufacturers and consumer market. I don’t really find it all that interesting to ponder how well Nikon or Canon or Sony is doing financially. To me, photography equipment is more or less tools and reading about the business of making and selling tools just isn’t that compelling. I never sit in a field watching moose wondering if Nikon is going to make a profit or release a new camera any time soon.

I recently came across an article, well video actually, on Fstoppers titled “Why No One Needs To See Your Photography.” The title of this article interested me, in that I have contemplated this general concept in the past and I more or less concluded, relative to myself, that I prefer to show a lot of my images. But before viewing the video, I wondered what the hell it was really saying and it wouldn’t be fair of me to comment on the title without looking at the content. To make a long story short, it’s a guy in England who loves photography and tells us that he likes to show a lot of his images and then he wants to sell us things. It’s click-bait. A sales pitch with a title that gets your attention to draw you in, where he explains why you should share your images like him, but if you are insecure it’s okay not to share them, and buy his images too. The underlying and briefly discussed sub-thought is that it’s okay if sharing your photography makes you insecure. Yeah, okay. If you’re insecure and you make photographs, by all means, don’t show them to anyone, we wouldn’t want you to feel nervous or anything.

One of the the issues I have with a lot of the online photography websites is too much click-bait. Emotionally attractive, substantially void of any deep thought, with advertising featured. Fstoppers is a playground for click-bait. I wrote for them briefly a few years ago and they didn’t like my work because I wouldn’t write click-bait articles. I quit working for them because of that and the fact they never paid me for what they did publish. I don’t work for free, a founding principle of my photography business. Personally, I got into photography as a profession. If I was insecure about what I’m doing I would hold on to my photos and nobody would ever see them. That won’t sell many photos though, so what would be the point of nobody seeing my work? I’m not insecure. I’m not pretentious, I am just a guy who likes to make photographs and show them to people. It’s not a competition, and yes it may be attention seeking behavior, but what artist isn’t seeking attention? It doesn’t define who I am as a person and I don’t let fear of rejection keep me from showing my work. I’ve always believed that we are not the judge of the value of our own work. We can only estimate the quality of our work. Others will tell you how good or not you are. We’ll never know how worthwhile our efforts are if nobody ever sees our efforts. Your mileage may vary on that subject.

I recently had someone ask me why I don’t allow comments on my blog articles. Well, the reason for that is to keep the spam off my website. It also keeps the negative stuff off as well. I don’t really care to discuss things with people beyond what I write on my blog, and as with any online forum, petty arguments and disagreements tend to take over when anyone and everyone chimes in. I’m taking more of a magazine approach to the blog, and if anyone wants to blart out their opinion, they can send me an email, which I’ll probably never answer.

I’ve done some reading on NFT’s (non-fungible token) as a business opportunity. To be honest, I’ve concluded it’s a bunch of hooey and seems to be attracting more scammers than anything else. Maybe someday it will work out to be something of value from a business perspective, but for now, I’m giving it a wide berth.

For now, I’d like to thank you for looking at and enjoying my photography, and for reading my writing. It gives this old man something to do and a little meaning to my life beyond watching the news on television and counting the pills I have to swallow to keep myself functioning normally down the road. Getting old isn’t easy, but as my dad always said. “You don’t have to get old, just die young.” I’m planning on getting much older.

As for me, I love to show my work and I don’t mind selling things, but I won’t click bait you into doing it. I promise.