This is a photography blog

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve transitioned my blog to be about photography.

A portrait of the artist
Me and my Nikon F3

Photography and blogging have become my main hobbies. And it’s been staring me in the face for years: if you read my blog, you either share photography as a hobby or at least have some interest in it. When I review my stats, with few exceptions photography-related posts are the most popular.

So much has been written about photography already, though. I don’t want to say the same things everybody else has already said. The Internet is chock full of Photoshop tutorials, reasons why Tri-X is the best b/w film ever, step-by-step instructions for developing film, and why the iPhone is a great camera. I see no point in covering that ground here.

And it’s not like I’m a deeply experienced photographer who has guru-level wisdom to share about the art. I’m just a hobbyist. I’ve learned a lot over the ten years or so I’ve been serious about my work, and I’m happy to share of what I know. But many of you reading this are more accomplished photographers than me. Your photos and writings frequently teach me things.

What I think I offer that’s different and interesting is my perspective on life, which comes from a combination of how I’m wired and some enormously difficult times I’ve lived through. When I say things from those places as I write about photography, I offer you something different and interesting — and, hopefully, valuable to you. So that’s what I’m going to try to do. It’s what I’ve been trying to do for several months now.

Those kinds of posts take a lot of time to write, though. So I’ll keep writing gear reviews and share photographs from the places I go. I will also still tell the occasional personal story because I won’t be able to help myself.

But here’s the thing: this is harder than what I used to do, which was write about whatever I wanted. And I picked a great year to do this: the year I got married. I do like to pile it on. It’s been both interesting and challenging to keep the blog going this summer.

I like a challenge. I think that’s why I’m doing this. And you’re responding. You’re leaving more comments, and new posts are getting somewhere between double and triple the views as before.

This blog has always been a personal experiment to try things and see what happens. Well, I’m trying this now. Let’s see what happens!

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46 thoughts on “This is a photography blog

  1. Jim, I have appreciated your blog for so many reasons, not the least of which was photography. Your transparency has made me feel like a trusted friend rather than a casual reader. Your “road” photos and commentaries, your struggles with life’s difficulties, and nostalgia have drawn me to your blog every day. It’s the first thing I read. I appreciate the variety of stories and hope you continue to drop them in frequently. I’d even buy you a cup of coffee. Congratulations on your marriage. Dick Davis

    • Thank you so much for saying so, Dick. I do intend to continue to write about the road and the things I find on it, as those posts are heavy on photography. I feel like I’ve processed through the difficulties from my past, and there shouldn’t be any more stories that look back. But there are, I’m sure, difficulties to come. I plan to find ways to write about them, too, but stick to the core purpose of the blog at the same time.

  2. Andy Umbo says:

    …I hope there’s still plenty of “wandering around and taking pictures” stuff on the site…it was the perfect mash-up of vintage photography and history!

  3. Christopher Smith says:

    Hi Jim just keep doing what you are doing as you do it so well. I like to read your take on old film cameras and interesting post on photography It’s a universal hobby that translates to where ever in the world you live.

  4. I feel like throwing in a comment as well, Jim. I really like your blog for a number of reasons. Your pictures, great and personal reviews on old cameras, road stuff and last but not least your words and looks on life in general.
    Keep the great work up, mate, and I look forward to every single post to come in the future.

  5. I will confess to a bit of disappointment. I am not a photographer, and while I find the photography posts interesting, my favorite pieces were always “the other stuff”.

    That said, I certainly understand that change brings change. I had wondered how married life was going to affect your writing output, given that your “alone time” would be drastically curtailed going forward.

    I intend to keep reading, and will savor those days when you break from the format. And maybe you will eventually turn me into a photographer.

    • The past year and a half have seen me come out the other end of a long recovery from abuse, addiction, and divorce. I started this blog in 2007 as a way of distracting myself from that recovery. And then as recovery started to really take hold I found myself needing to write about things tangential to it. And then I pulled the veil most of the way off, mostly in 2014-15, as my recovery journey reached its apex. And now I’m looking to my future, my past all sorted.

      I can see I don’t need to write the deep personal stuff now, at least not as a way of processing it. I might tell stories about those years down the line; there are more to tell. But it will be from a different vantage point, one of “this happened, so glad my life is so much better now.”

      One topic is absolutely going away on this blog: vintage television. Another topic will be more muted: my faith. I used to write a lot more directly about it, and about living a life of faith, but I feel less called to write about it now and instead to express it through my service in my church. But I can imagine writing about faith from time to time, more indirectly, through a camera lens.

      The reality is, photography will be the backdrop for almost everything I write about here — because I can write about almost anything I want and frame it lightly as a photography post. Stories from my life, old roads, architecture, history — I can tell it all still, just from a different angle.

  6. Richard Armstrong says:

    Great Jim, have enjoyed reading your blogs and I’m looking forward to reading the slight change in direction so bring it on. Photography has been my prime passion since 1964 and I never stop learning, I’m a bit of a gear head as well as an avid collector and really enjoy actual photography process film or digital. It’s interesting to read anothers view on camera’s that a have used or have in my collection.

    • 1964! Three years before I was born! See, this is what I mean when I say that I’m no guru, I’m just a fellow traveler. I think I have something interesting to say, but I want to learn from people like you, too.

  7. DougD says:

    I like film cameras, although it’s more for the same reasons I like sewing machines and steam locomotives. But I must admit I’m a relatively poor photographer and seamster (if that’s a word) and despite being an engineer I’ve never operated a locomotive.

    I’ll keep reading, and maybe you’ll inspire me to put a roll in the ol’ Yashica FX3.

  8. Richard Scholl says:

    You may recall that I was first attracted to your blog by a Dandy Trail posting you made a number of years ago. Your interest in photography and old roads is a major overlap with my own interests. I also have enjoyed your local Indianapolis photography ( I lived in Indianapolis until my graduation from college in 1966, when I moved to northern California).. My interest in photography as a hobby started in the fifth grade. My interest in back roads and old roads was firmly established by the time I left college, stimulated largely by searching out different routes to visit relatives scattered around Indiana and Illinois.
    Regardless, I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog, and suspect I will continue to do so indefinitely.
    Congratulations on your marriage and what appears to be a new-found happiness and anchor in your life.

    • It’s funny, my searching out different routes to get home from college (Terre Haute to South Bend) in the 1980s is what sparked my interest in the old roads!

      I’m glad you’re here, and thanks for sticking with my blog.

  9. Scott Bennett says:

    I don’t comment much, but I’m still here, binge reading every three months or so. Whatever you write about is fine with me!

  10. I love doing photography. You get to show the world your perspective without the need of words. A single picture can tell your whole story, regardless if you are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ (which is purely subjective). I believe enjoying sharing your experiences outweigh the quality of the image, the preferred reading derived from deep semiotics and entwined with your own emotion will always shine through!

  11. Hi Jim,

    I’m just stepping into photography.. and I was looking for blogs that could help me learn more about it. I agree with you that there’s already a ton of tutorials out there, so the raw concept of just taking pictures and sharing your words is great!

    I look forward to exploring more of your blog. :)

  12. Jim, I totally agree there is only certain things you can say without being accused of using plagiarism. Hopefully other people who read this post are more reasonable to the situation.

  13. peggy says:

    As a lapsed film photographer getting back in to the hobby (digital and I never clicked), finding your blog is a treat. You said it well in a response to an earlier comment; you are a learner sharing your journey. Your excellent writing skills make for an engaging story and I look forward to riding along.

  14. As like you, I too love blogging and photography. I am a beginner and your valuable experiences are always a learning platform for me. keep sharing.

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