Recommended reading

You know the drill.

Downtown Plymouth
Canon PowerShot S95, 2018.

💻 Polly Balitro made some stunning photographs while on honeymoon in Portugal. Have a look! Read 03-16.11.2018 — Portugal

💻 Few outside the US military have consumed a Meals Ready to Eat (MRE). Ashley Pomeroy eats one — the chicken-and-noodles version — and reviews it so you don’t have to. Read MRE Menu 3: Chicken, Noodles, and Vegetables, in Sauce

📷 I miss Kodak Plus-X. So I was excited when Alex Luyckx tested a film that looks very much like it to me. Turns out it’s Svema 100. Read Film Review Blog No. 29 – Svema Foto 100

📷 I’m keen on reviews of small 35mm cameras as I look to find the perfect pocketable camera. Gaston W., writing for 35mmc, reviews the tiny Minox 35 GT. Read A Minox 35 GT review – a true pocket camera


Recommended reading

Woohoo, here’s the new year’s first set of the best blog posts I read all week!

💻 Thinking about publishing your own photographic blog or Web site? EM from Emulsive has solid advice for you this week. Read How to Build a photography web site in 2019…what you need to know

Snowy pine
Nikon F2AS, 50mm f/2.8 AI Nikkor, Agfa APX 100 (x-7/98), 2018.

💻 I enjoy the financial advice of Mr. Money Mustache and was saddened to read in his post last week that his marriage didn’t make it. But he shares a model for how divorce doesn’t have to be financially devastating. It does depend on your soon-to-be-ex cooperating with you, which isn’t always possible. Read The Economics of Divorce

💻 I’ve started to look at photographs by accomplished photographers to see what I can learn from them. Andrew Tonn agrees: the best way to learn is to study the masters. Read How to Be a Better Photographer: Study Greatness

📷 Mark O’Brien offers a history of Fuji’s early SLRs and a solid review of a Fuji SLR from the late 1970s. Read The Fujica STX-1 SLR

📷 Peggy Anne bought a Canon IV SB2, had it CLA’d, and fell in love. Read Canon IV SB2


2018’s greatest hits

Every year at this time I look back at how this blog performed: raw stats and popular posts.

Down the Road stats as of a few days ago

Visits to my blog were down by 10-15% compared to last year. My October blog sabbatical hurt: visits dropped by a third, and recovered only weakly after I returned to blogging.

The biggest loss was in search-driven visits, which are down a quarter to a third. A handful of my posts answer common questions for film-photography newbies. Tens of thousands of visits each year used to come from people Googling for those answers. Competing articles have appeared on other better-known sites, and disappointingly Google quickly ranked them ahead of my posts. Search-driven visits fell further after I updated and republished those posts this year. Google surely downranked my older posts because the newer ones were too similar.

I’d rather have your engagement with my stories and photographs than fat pageviews from people who never comment, never click Like, never share on social media. That’s why I republished those useful evergreen posts, and plan to do so annually henceforth. It’s also why I’ve been focusing more on great new posts lately. It’s made a difference: new posts get two or three times more views in the first few days than they did just two years ago. That hasn’t made up for the loss of search-driven visits, but it’s helped. I hope this growth trend continues.

My efforts to build a more vibrant community here are paying off: comments were up 30% in 2017, and another 5% this year.

My five personal favorite posts in 2018:

Five most visited posts of 2018:

Five most commented posts of 2018:

Five most Liked posts of 2018:

I look forward to an even more engaged community in 2019!


Recommended reading

On this last Saturday of the year, enjoy these blog posts I liked best from the last full week of the year.

💻 I’m a fairly anxious person by nature. Several years ago I realized that I often labeled excitement as anxiety, and it was blocking me from enjoying genuine excitement! This blogger, who doesn’t give her name, wrote about her own realization of the same thing — and how she pushed through it. Read Anxiety, Excitement, and Looking For My Knickers

Jet Tail
Yashica-D, Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros, 2013.

📷 Stephen Dowling reviews the Lomo Lubitel 166U, a twin-lens reflex camera. It’s probably the least expensive way to get into TLR photography — and the camera takes crackerjack photos. Read Lomo Lubitel 166U review

💻 I’ve been thinking lately about how few of us are truly remarkable, standing out in some way from everyone else — but how we all wish somehow that we could be. Johanna Rothman challenges you to think of how you might already be remarkable, and offers some surprising thoughts about how you can show the rest of the world. Read What Makes You Remarkable


Recommended reading

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat
Please put a penny in the old man’s hat
…and look through the week’s best blog posts

💻 Often in matters of faith two competing truths have to be held in tension to have the best, deepest understanding. Steven O’Keefe explains, using two truths from the Bible to illustrate: that humans are God’s treasure, and that humans are broken and predisposed to evil. Read The Dueling Truths of Human Nature

Wabash Ave.
Nikon F3, 35/2.8 AI Nikkor, Kodak T-Max P3200, 2018.

💻 Jason Kottke shares some footage he found of Paris, shot between 1896 and 1900. It is beautifully restored. Read Remastered Film Footage of 1890s Paris

📷 Joe Irvin walks you through how to select a good starter Super 8 movie camera. Read Super 8 cameras for beginners

📷 John Smith sings the praises of his Nikon FE2. Could it be the perfect Nikon SLR? Read Coming Around Again

📷 Remember Kodak’s Verichrome Pan black-and-white film? Alex Luyckx shoots a bunch of it, all expired, and processes it in several different developers so you can see how it looks. He made the stuff really sing in a couple of those developers! Read Classic Film Review — Kodak Verichrome Pan


Recommended reading

Happy Saturday, Roadies, and welcome to my weekly best-blog roundup.

💻 Denny Gibson showed me a real kindness by writing a good review of my book, Textures of Ireland. Get your copy of the book here. Read Book Review Textures of Ireland Jim Grey

Waterman Hardware in Five Points
Kodak EasyShare Z730 Zoom, 2008

💻 Knowing how to do geeky stuff is often useful in surprising ways. rachelbythebay tells a story of knowing how to control a modem at the command line rid her of an annoying co-worker. Read ATDT relief

💻 When I worked in radio the worst thing that could happen in a day was to go off the air. All of your listeners would flee to stations that were still operating, and they were hard to get back! Ken Levine tells the story of a time when a station where he worked kept going off the air — and of a clever program director who figured out how to keep his listeners from changing the station. Read Maybe the most ingenious radio contest ever

💻 If you want to be better than you are, sometimes you need an outside perspective on what is holding you back. That means receiving feedback, and for most of us we’d rather have our fingernails pulled out. Chelsea Troy writes an enormously useful post about how to receive and act on feedback — and how to recognize when you’re not in a good place to hear it. Written for people managers, but I’m sure all of us can find value here. Read Leveling Up Skill #15: Receiving Feedback