Sunday, December 16, 2012

So, Where Am I Going With This Blog?

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I am nearing the one year mark with DMC-365. That was my initial commitment to blogging - 365 days. I've done very well at keeping up with daily posts. I'm proud of that. Now I find myself asking whether to continue on into the new year.
I enjoy blogging very much, and feel that it helps keep me up to date with what's going on in my chosen hobby. It's hard to imagine not continuing. However, sometimes, I feel like I need to give myself a break. Every single morning, I have an assignment - to write a blog entry, and to write three pages in a journal, all before most of us get to work.
I've been journaling much longer than blogging, and really can't imagine living without writing. It's been three and a half years, and I've written nearly every day in that period - with the only exceptions being a few days of extreme illness or other disruptive situations.
So, I enjoy writing and blogging. But am I achieving my personal goals with it? What were my goals again? I suppose that I wanted to continue to develop my expertise and knowledge in photography. I also wanted to develop my own creativity. At this point, I feel that I've put far more effort into understanding the latest equipment, software, and techniques than I have into developing creatively. That's not all bad. My ebook about how to set up the Lumix DMC-G3 camera helped me to be more prepared when using that camera; it is also by far the most popular thing I've produced, with thousands of downloads. However, I know that equipment and technology are the opposite side of the coin from creativity. Creativity is harder. It doesn't come every day.
And on that subject, the blog does have to come every day. If not, readers have no reason to keep checking back. And a blog without readers is just another journal - I already do that.
Another factor is that my blog has lost a little of its initial focus. According to the Blogger's Boot Camp, a book that helped immensely in getting my blog up and running (see Amazon link below), a blog should be razor-focused. Never, ever, start a photography blog - pick an area of photography, then go at least one step narrower, is the advice. That's what initially led me to run a blog about Panasonic Lumix gear. I have found that focus too narrow, as you will have seen. I enjoy using many different cameras and systems, and won't limit that just to match my blog.
So, where to go from here, if anywhere? As you may have guessed, this is a question for myself. What I'm thinking right now is that I may find a way to focus more on creativity, but will not likely lose some equipment and technology emphasis; they are nearly inseparable.
Some ideas that I've had include:
  • Spending more time on my active photography projects (principally Live Music, and to a smaller extent, the Civil War Sesquicentenial)
  • Creative writing, specifically related to my photographs
  • Regular periodic columns - for example, description of and results from cameras in my collection. Maybe a monthly classic camera profile, which will necessarily include using the camera and sharing results. I have a lot of nice old cameras that I love to use.
  • Photo challenges - we did one, and I think it turned out pretty well. I now know how to facilitate a little competition here, and it's fun.
  • Exploration of creative techniques in photography. I did post a presentation of my own exploration of "Contemplative Photography," which I think helped develop my own skills, and hopefully was useful to others.
  • I have a vague idea of a theme of "What's Gear Got to Do With It?" By this, I mean that technology and gear are largely inseparable from photographic pursuits, and I know a lot about gear. I could write about how and why I use specific gear for specific tasks, and experiment with new solutions.
  • Along these lines, I also really love limiting my equipment options for specific shooting sessions, and seeing what I can produce. I imagine I could connect this exercise with some challenges, getting some of you to submit images as well.
So, how does this fit into the concept of a narrowly-focused subject? I'm not sure I know yet. If I was convinced that I could frequently find information on developing more creativity in my photography, that is where I'd focus. Maybe the interaction of technology and creativity in photography is focused enough.
Anyway, thanks for following my musings. If you have opinions, I'm quite open to them as always.
I do think I'll keep blogging. But, I may try some different approaches this coming year.