Recommended reading

Before I jump into this week’s best blog posts, let me shamelessly plug my new book again. Textures of Ireland is a tour of several northern and western counties in Ireland, showing the rich depth of its countryside and its towns. It’s available as a bound book and as a PDF. Click here to go to the page where you can buy! Here’s an outtake from the book:

Ardara, Ireland

The PDF is just $4.99 — a super easy price. The bound book is $14.99 plus shipping — still not bad. Click here and get your copy today!

And now, this week’s blog posts:

Jeff Bezos of Amazon lacks character, says Scott Galloway, and the HQ2 con proves it. Yes, con: Bezos has long had homes within a 20-minute drive of the two cities chosen for HQ2. Read HQ2 … and 3

Writing for 35mmc, Frank H. Wu argues that it is simultaneously easier and harder to make photographs today, despite the ubiquity of highly competent cameras. Read Is it Easier or Harder to Take Photographs Now

Noticing changes in French culture, after living there 40 years ago and visiting recently, Peter Barker enjoyed the spontaneity but missed the formality of former years. He shares a terrific candid shot of some Parisians dancing to jazz. A post on the terrific Physical Grain blog. Read Le Bal

A camera review on the wonderful Casual Photophile site is always an event. And they didn’t mess around this time: they went straight to the venerable Nikon F2. Author Josh Solomon even gives a concise history of Nikon’s pro SLRs leading up to its release. Read Nikon F2 Camera Review — Nikon’s Pro SLR Evolves

Paul Lovell shoots the gorgeous Nikon S rangefinder and declares it a joy. Read Nikon S

“There are more things…that frighten us than injure us, and we suffer more in imagination than in reality.” – Seneca


Recommended reading

The feature of my blog that you told me most often that you missed is this one, my weekly roundup of blog posts I liked. That tickles me no end. I love a good blog post, and I love sharing them — and I love seeing you in the comments of blogs I introduced to you.

And now, this week’s blog posts:

A hike through Eagle Creek Park

Pentax K10D, 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 SMC Pentax-DA AL

Playing moneyball might get you more wins. But as Ken Levine laments his beloved Los Angeles Dodgers’ loss in the World Series, he believes it sucks the humanity out of the game and the fan experience. Read Open letter from a Dodger fan

Kodak still makes a lot of kinds of film, and Josh Solomon over at (the terrific) Casual Photophile gives a mini-review of each one. Read A Quick Guide to Kodak Film and When to Shoot Each One

I’m a sucker for old cemeteries, so when Heide shared photos of a lush, sprawling old one in Paris it was a foregone conclusion I’d share it with you. Read Paris’ most famous cemetery

I’ve decided to stop sharing camera reviews here. As old cameras and film photography have become so much more popular in the last couple years, the number of people writing reviews has mushroomed. I can’t keep up! So I’m going to stop trying.

But I’m adding a new feature to this roundup. When I find an especially stellar article in a mainstream publication, I’ll share it here. It won’t happen every week; the bar is pretty high to be included here. But one article cleared that bar this week:

Writing for The New York Times, Orhan Pamuk shares the wonderful photographs Ara Guler made in Istanbul in the 1950s. These black-and-white images of Istanbul’s back streets and everyday people tell a good story of life in that city at that time. Read I Like Your Photographs Because They Are Beautiful


Back after a month away from blogging

A great story of the British Broadcasting Corporation in television’s infancy is that as the war broke out, television operations were suspended. That was on Sept. 1, 1939; a presenter was speaking on camera when word came down and the telecast was cut short.

It wasn’t until June 7, 1946, that the BBC resumed telecasting. The same presenter appeared on camera and began with, “Now, as I was saying when I was so rudely interrupted…”

And with that, my fall interruption is over. I’m back on the blog.


Although I didn’t publish, I did write some blog posts. I had shot several cameras during September and I didn’t want to forget my impressions of them. So when the film came back from the processor I wrote up those reviews right away. Also, I worked on this post little by little all through October, and I wrote a couple other posts because the words came to me and I didn’t want to lose them.

But I did put the time to non-blog use: I completed a new book of my photography, which I’ll announce on Monday. Hint: Éire dubh bán.

I also took up journaling. I’ve had some challenging things to sort out and I do it best when I write out my thoughts and feelings. It put me back in touch with some creative energy I’d been overlooking while I’ve been so busy with Operation Thin the Herd and keeping my publishing schedule going. I’m sure I’ll rework some of those journal entries into posts and share them with you.

But at no time was the blog far from my thoughts. Even on hiatus, I checked my stats, thought of topics I could write about, and made photographs I intend to share with you.

The blog had become a treadmill. It’s a lot of work to post six days a week! I started that schedule several years ago because I wanted to practice daily writing and I knew publishing pressure would help me stick with it. But I kept that schedule well beyond the point daily writing had become a solid habit.

But pageviews went way up with my frequent posting, and that was addicting. A part of me really wants to be Somebody Well Known And Loved, and rising pageviews felt like lottery tickets to stardom.

My pageviews dropped by a third while I wasn’t publishing. It was a shock, as new posts generate far less than a third of this blog’s daily pageviews. New posts must create an energy that brings readers to the archives. Ceasing to post was like abandoning a house — shortly, the gutters start to fall, mice get in, the roof leaks, and after a while it’s easy to see the deterioration from the street.

But like neighbors checking in on that homeowner they haven’t seen for a while, a few of you told me how much you missed the blog. It reminded me that good neighbors are better than celebrity any day.

To try to fill that gap for you, I started sharing old posts on the blog’s Facebook page and on Twitter every day. It put me back in contact with some work I love from long ago, and let many of you read them for the first time. This gave me the idea for another book, which I’ve also been working on during my break — a collection of stories and essays from this blog. I know that many of you didn’t read this blog in its early days; those stories will be new to you and I think you’ll enjoy them. I have much more work to do on this book. If I’m lucky, I’ll publish it before Christmas.

My break reminded me that while I’ll never be famous from blogging, I’ve built something valuable here that I want to keep. I feel so fortunate that anybody at all wants to read what I think and look at my photographs. After all, I’m just an ordinary middle-aged man from Indiana.

But it’s time for me to stop posting things just to fill an open slot. If I don’t have something to say or show that’s I think will be interesting or valuable to you and me, I won’t post.

And with that, I’m back. Posts are queued for the next couple weeks, starting tomorrow with my roundup of blog posts I enjoyed this week, and then Monday with the official debut of my new book.

Click here to get Down the Road in your inbox or reader six days a week!

Recommended reading

Saturday morning and time for my weekly roundup of the blog posts I read and liked most.

Jonas Downey, writing for Signal v. Noise, on how software manipulates you every day. Read How You’re Being Manipulated By Software

VIP Pups Argus A-Four, Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros, 2018.

Whatever state you live in, almost all of your Facebook friends live there too. Unless you are wealthy or live in one of the very most populous cities, in which case your network is a little more dispersed. Either way, this has implications on what information you see and what you think of America today. Aaron Renn summarizes. Read State Boundaries are Real

Jim Cavanaugh shows you how to think like a trial lawyer as you read the news — which will help you recognize open-handed investigative reporting vs. reporting designed to trip up its subject. Read A Trial Lawyer’s Secrets For Critical Reading

Camera reviews and experience reports:


Recommended reading

This week’s best blog posts:

Kurt Garner on how we’re farther apart then ever as a nation, 17 years after 9/11. A divided country is a defeated country, he says. Read 9/11: Winning the fight, losing the war

Central Park bridge

Canon PowerShot S95, 2016

It’s part of the Midwestern ethos: play hard and work hard to succeed. Aaron Renn wonders if it might be holding the Midwest back. He advocates we focus on winning instead. Read Playing by the Rules in Cincinnati

JP Cavanaugh came upon a 1939 Ford that has been in the same family since new, is largely original, and still gets driven occasionally. This is just the way I like my old cars! Read Curbside Classic: 1939 Ford Deluxe Coupe – This One’s a Keeper

Camera reviews and experience reports:


Recommended reading

From the blogosphere this week:

Eric Swanger had to have a tire patched early one morning while in Kansas. There he met some mechanics and a farmer, who waxed surprisingly poetic about the previous night’s moon. Read By the Threshold

Garden toys

Argus A-Four, Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros, 2018.

Is it bad form to link to an article I wrote for another blog? Well, if it is, then it’s too late, because that’s what I’ve done here. I came upon a 1967 Pontiac Grand Prix at an auction a few years ago, and recently the new owner — in Australia — wrote to tell me the story of his car. I retold it at Curbside Classic. Read Auction Classic: 1967 Pontiac Grand Prix

Have you ever thought you might like to work full time from home? Alister Scott says it has surprising challenges, and he’s had to build a number of routines and habits to do it well. Read Three Years of Working From Home

If you scan your own negatives, David Narbecki (writing for 35mmc) says to just skip the film holders for best performance. Read Scanning From the Emulsion: Getting the Most out of a Flatbed Scanner

Camera reviews and experience reports: