Posted by: kerryl29 | November 16, 2015

Following Up tl; dr

I think that a follow-up to the previous post is warranted and, after some consideration, I decided that the easiest, most efficient way of doing so was in this space.  (The promised Day 4 installment of the Canadian Rockes trip will appear, as scheduled, tomorrow.)

First, I want to thank everyone (and I do mean everyone) who commented on the tl;dr post, both here and via private e-mail or other correspondence–I appreciate the time and consideration involved in doing so.

Second, I’d like to fill in a few blanks regarding the decision to post on the subject at all.  As I hinted last time, I’ve spent a fair bit of time noodling over this topic, and have been doing so for more than a year.  The final straw had nothing to do with this blog directly.  Rather, it was the announcement a few weeks ago that ESPN was shuttering the Grantland website.  Grantland, for those of you unfamiliar with the site, had two subject components–sports and popular culture–and mused on both in long-form prose.  While I never read any of the pop culture offerings and only sporadically perused the sports articles, I greatly appreciated the fact that this was one of the only reliable repositories of long-form writing on the Web.  Grantland’s demise gave me the push to write about a subject that had been troubling me for some time.  Hence, the previous post.

Until a few years ago, I didn’t produce detailed recordings of my field experiences on this blog.  That began, organically enough, with a decision to share some of my images from a week-long trip I made to West Virginia in the fall of 2011.  That trip, which covered parts of eight days, spawned only three direct posts (The Mountain State, Part I; The Mountain State, Part II and The Mountain State, Part III).  If you take a look at these entries, you’ll see that there was never an attempt made to produce a thorough chronological description of events; there were simply too many images to put in one post, so I spread them out over three.  This set of postings spawned a lot of activity and, apparently, garnered a lot of new viewers for the blog.  I received a number of e-mails from readers asking for more details about places and in-field photographic decisions.  As a result, I more or less committed to producing a set of posts for future trips, beginning with a journey to Utah and Nevada in the spring of 2012.

This approach proved quite popular, and I continued the theme following a trip to Arizona in the late summer of 2012.  When I announced the decision to back off the copious, daily log structure in the aftermath of a trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the spring of 2013, I received a slew of e-mails asking me to reconsider.  People–those who were expressing their opinions, at any rate–appeared to want the day-by-day detail, and so I reverted to that form beginning with a trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the autumn of 2013, and with all the trips I’ve made subsequently.

To date, I’ve received only one communication that has expressed dissatisfaction with that approach and while it’s certainly possible that this comment expresses the mass opinion of an otherwise silent majority, one of the e-mails I received from readers over the past week views things from another perspective.  I quote:

“One of your blog readers left a comment that [s]he thinks your commentary regarding the background of the photos is “boring and unnecessary.”  I heartily disagree with [her].  I don’t think anyone should assume that any of this is easy.  Getting to the area, scouting the locations, hauling the gear, waiting for the light and, worse, waiting for the pesky people to leave, getting the best composition, adjusting the exposure, checking the focus to make sure you nailed it, and then doing the same over and over…the process is important, and the thoughts that go behind it are interesting and helpful.  And that doesn’t even include all of the post-processing!  The people (and judging by the blog comments, it’s one person who may or may not represent a few more) who don’t want to read and learn and who only want to look at the photos are free to do so. The rest of us appreciate the commentary and the effort that goes into writing it.”

I can’t take issue with anyone who finds the text of my blog posts superfluous; if that’s how you feel, that’s how you feel, and I certainly cannot–and won’t try to–invalidate that opinion.  But it’s clear enough that at least some significant portion of the readership of this blog finds some value in the commentary.  If I had reason to believe that wasn’t the case, I wouldn’t bother writing it in the first place.  I don’t write these entries because I like to, figuratively speaking, hear the sound of my own voice.  It would be much easier and far less time-consuming to post images with little accompaniment.  (And let me be clear–there’s absolutely nothing inherently wrong with such a relatively spartan approach to blogging; depending upon one’s goals it’s not only entirely valid, but utterly preferable.)  But, in writing this blog, my goal is to attempt to pass something constructive and actionable along to readers, whether it be related to technique, location, aesthetics or all of the above.  There’s been enough of a response–over the years and to the previous post specifically–to imply that this goal is being met, to at least a minimal degree.  And, of course, the inclusion of text doesn’t prevent anyone who would prefer to simply view the images to do just that, as the reader quote above so aptly notes.

And so, we trudge on with a return to topical postings tomorrow.



  1. I can’t say that I read every word on each post, and I even missed the previous post “Thoughts on ‘tl;dr'” but the high word content is what makes this blog (and those similar to it) special. It’s not just pretty pictures. As an aspiring travel blogger/photographer I often wonder just how certain shots came about, and if you didn’t tell the tale outright, I know that you’ll tell me if I ask down in the comments section. And for that I laud you, Kerry. Keep up the good work and keep on showcasing the beauty that you see around you, be it in words or in pictures!

    • Thanks for weighing in; I appreciate it.

  2. I must admit, I don’t have much time for reading blogs. Sometimes, I just look at you pictures, but when I have more time, I go back to your posts to read the content. As an amateur photographer I learn a great deal from your posts, so please, keep writing them just like you’ve done so far. People who don’t like reading can just confine themselves to admiring you pictures 🙂
    As for me I would be very happy if you added some technical data to your pictures. Thank you!

    • Thanks for the comment.

      I’ve generally refrained from providing shutter speed, aperture and ISO with the posted images, partly as a time saver but primarily because I prefer to focus my attention on the aesthetic side of photography. Having said that, the technical end of the craft is important and I may, at some point, post another entry that will include technical facets of photographing, including the data you referenced.

      BTW, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that you might find this post, from the better part of three years ago, of some modest value:

  3. One of my recent posts had more than 2800 words to go along with six photos. The 2800+ word text was to put the photos into perspective. If you were only looking at the photos, then the reader had no context for the post. From the stats perspective, it drew only 11 on-site views. If it had a shorter text, maybe it would have drawn more visits. Perhaps. But, I make no apology for post’s length or shortness – it’s my decision.

    As far as I am concerned, just keep doing what you are doing.

    • Thanks for taking the time to weigh in. I appreciate it.

Please feel free to comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: