Friday, February 1, 2013

WBTL Rebooted

A Bit of History
In the beginning, I had a grand design for this photo blog. Flush with excitement from the discovery of digital photography after a several year layoff from film, I submerged myself in the Internet. I wanted to learn everything that I could to add to add to my accumulated wisdom from nearly 30 years of film photography. Like most of you, I expect, I started with Ken Rockwell. In those days if you googled “digital photography” his site was on the top of the list. Very soon I was his disciple. If Ken said it, then it must be right. 

After a while, something deep inside of me was finding Ken’s “put it on vivid and P and go for it” approach a bit simplistic. I soon started going further afield and discovered Michael Reichmann’s The Luminous Landscape. What a breath of fresh air! Here was a real photographer. I still read LuLa to this day.

In the meantime I discovered something called a blog, which I learned was short for weblog. It was a while before I understood exactly what this blog thingee was and even more time before I discovered I could do one for free. The final push was my unearthing (based on a friend’s recommendation) of Mike Johnston’s The Online Photographer. Mike is the dean of photo bloggers and was my exemplar and, later, mentor. I was off and running.

I founded my first blog, The Illuminated Universe (now gone), in the spring of 2007. My first success was the publication of an eclipse photograph on Yahoo! News. I was floored. When I asked Mike to take a look at my blog he offered some suggestions and complimented me on my Father’s Day post. Pretty soon, I was actually writing for T.O.P. It was a rush every time he published my work. Before long, I was having email exchanges with well-known photographers and I even had lunch with Ctein. It was all pretty heady stuff and I was flying high.

Then, this past November, the WBTL plane crashed. It started with a series of severe accidents beginning in August of 2007. I was laid up for months at a time and didn’t feel like doing much of anything. There was a lack of exciting news about photography and I soon developed writers block. This was followed by a declining interest in the subject itself. In October of 2011 and 2012 I took trips to the North Shore and never took my camera out of the car. Soon after, I gave up on WBTL and have not posted since November 19, 2012. That brings us to now.

On the night of January 11th, I slipped in my bathroom and dove headfirst into the floor. I fractured a vertebra in the clavicle and am now in a neck brace for the foreseeable future. It could have been much, much worse. As a result, I have had to make some very drastic lifestyle changes, mostly for the good. I am now in the third week of my recovery and getting pretty bored. The other day, I decided to catch up on T.O.P. and read all of the older posts I missed dating from mid-January. By the time I went to bed, I decided that I wanted to start writing again.

WBTL 2.0 
We here at WBTL (i.e. me) take great pleasure in welcoming you to Written By The Light 2.0. Consider this a reboot of the original with minor improvements. Am I serious about this? You bet. So serious that I went back through all 541 posts since August 14, 2007. I removed all off topic posts and cleaned up the last couple of year’s worth with larger typeface. I got rid of old drafts, non-responsive videos and revised the template a bit. I have shut down my fliker gallery so that link is gone. I did all of this to enhance the reader’s experience. I hope that you will explore some of those older posts.

Is the new blog ad free? No, but the ads have been kept to a minimum and are from merchants that I trust. If you have decided on a piece of equipment, please consider using one of my links to make the purchase. It costs you nothing and helps me out. That said, this blog is not about generating income. I learned that lesson quite a while ago.

What’s Next? 
To be clear, this blog is about photography pure and simple. Even with that limitation, I will have lots to write about from books to equipment and from technique to exhibits. I will continue to write about the Civil War, but only insofar as it concerns Civil War photography. I believe that the Civil War witnessed the birth of photojournalism. What Matthew Brady’s team did is nothing short of amazing even by today’s standards. Hence Brady will remain our inspiration. I will also write about travel from the photographer’s angle. Are there photo opportunities? If so, where and when? I will also continue to display selections of my own work as I have in the past. When the opportunity presents itself I will post about astrophotography. I reserve the right to blog about the Olympics and the World Cup, two of the biggest photographic events on planet Earth.  I will not write about football (except indirectly), news, politics, history or astronomy. Off Topic posts will be kept to the absolute minimum and will be clearly labeled as such. Feel free to skip them. 

When I started WBTL I made the mistake of thinking that I could keep up with the full time photo bloggers and post every day. That was a mistake and I felt as though I had to apologize for it. As a result, I burned myself out. I am a derivatives attorney by trade and have been extremely busy of late due to the Dodd-Frank Act which you may have heard of. Still, I am hopeful that I can post every two weeks. That said, it may be on monthly a basis. Thanks, in advance for your understanding.

My next post will cover a summary of what’s been going on since mid-November. Not that any of it will be news to you, but it will get me current. So long for now, and please keep reading.

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