Welcome to 2013
Hello, everyone. Welcome to 2013. I'm back from my holiday hiatus of blogging, but I actually spent quite a bit of time working on the blog. I decided that a new year deserves a new beginning in more ways than one.
What's New with Me
Back in November of 2011, I had the misfortune of being laid-off from my day job working in IT for one of the big players in the Defense industry. I had a bit of severance pay and some money in the bank, so I decided to once again return to self-employment. In some ways, I enjoyed it very much. In others, I missed working with others. Although I was able to build a living for myself, I have to admit that it was a bit of a lonely life. It's nice to avoid the commute and office politics, but having conversations with dogs every day just isn't quite satisfying. Besides, they never helped in the business.
Starting tomorrow, I'll once again go back to work for another business as Director of Information Technology. It's a field that I enjoy very much. In fact, computers and IT are what swayed me away from my high school plans of going to photography school and becoming a full-time photographer. I've been able to enjoy both of these passions and profit from each in more ways than financial.
I'll be working in the education industry. Since we have schools over a large part of the state, I'll be spending some time on the road. That's one of the issues I'm facing that's giving me reason to consider changes to my blogging schedule.
The other issue came from a review of my posts over the past year. I like to measure things to see what works and what doesn't. What I found was something that should be pretty obvious.
Articles like this one – Three Ways to Make Your HDR Photos Really Suck – garnered much more attention and feedback than posts where I simply shared a photo and a story to go with it. My intent when I started this blog was simply to share my own photographic journey. Visit a nice place, work with an interesting model, take a photo and share the story. I've enjoyed doing that for the past few years. Along the way, I've learned quite a few things, too.
That's why I've decided on a change in strategy for this blog. It's better to share what I know than to share what I've done.
As part of my effort to share what I know, I'm going to take a bit more time to create my posts. I readily admit that I spent far too many evenings working on a photo and writing a story to post for the next day just before I went to bed. Some of those posts were less than awesome, too.
I don't want to continue trying to meet a self-imposed weekday schedule that generates hit-or-miss content. One of the things I've learned about blogging is that you don't have to write a post every day to build an audience or generate traffic. Instead, you have to provide quality content that is interesting or useful. I'm much more fond of the idea of being useful and sharing something that may help folks instead of just striving to create five posts a week.
Building a Blogging Empire
There's another reason for cutting back on the posts here. It's because I'll be sharing more on some other blogs. That holiday hiatus over the last couple of weeks kept me busy building other blogs and giving them a new sense of purpose, too. Here are the other sites where I'll spend my time.
WBEEM – There are some folks who follow my photography only for the photos. They don't really care about the technical issues behind it. With the changes I have in mind for this site, I don't want to leave them dissatisfied. That's why I'm going to share my photos, and perhaps a story, on this site. It's a place to post my photos and occasional thoughts without delving behind the scenes.
Aperture vs Lightroom – I started this site as a spin-off from this blog because a great deal of the traffic I received here came from people searching for “aperture vs lightroom” in Google (or some variant of that phrase). In fact, it's still one of the biggest draws of traffic I get from Google. A funny thing started to happen recently. I'm generating more traffic on that site than I am here. The spin-off is eclipsing my “main” site. Not surprising, though. People find the articles useful and it's growing in popularity. That's part of the motivation for my changes here, both in content and in schedule. I only post there once or twice per week, but visits to the site are growing at an enormous pace. I may have to bring on some Guest Authors to keep up with the demand.
Unknown Blogger – What can I say? It's a blog about blogging. Running this site and the others, I've learned as much about blogging as I have about photography. My original idea was to use it as a content repository for the blogging classes I occasionally teach for the Harmon School of Photography, since there's often more content to go into than we can fit in the allotted class time. Then I decided there was no reason to limit it to just that group of folks. It's a new site and only has a couple of posts right now, but I have plenty of information and experiences to share. Like every other blog in the world, you have to start building it one post at a time. If you're interested in WordPress blogging, I invite you to join me there.
Orlando Local – This is one that's been a misfit for me, but I'm not giving up yet. I started it with much the same purpose I had here. It was a place to write about my experience, just on a local level. Turns out that isn't very interesting, though. As with the other sites, my goal is to make it more useful to people who live in or visit the Orlando area. It won't be a news or event site. There are plenty of those. I'll figure it out, though.
The IT Blog – I haven't launched this one quite yet, but I'm also building a blog for people who work in the Information Technology field. Don't confuse that with a technology/gadget blog, though. It's a site for best practices in the IT business. Many of my colleagues who work in IT are confused about their purpose. They think that IT is about technology. It's not. IT is about business – creating business opportunities, expanding business markets and protecting business resources. The problem isn't that so many in the IT business don't know what they're doing. The problem is that they don't truly know why their doing it.
Most of these sites have a common appearance, and that's by design. Although most of these sites have a different niche topic, they have a common purpose. They're here to help. By the end of the year, I'll know if I succeeded in my objective.
A Few Other Changes
I've made a few other changes to the site. Some more changes may be on the way. The Disqus commenting system may be on its way out the door. I've added an SSL certificate for some future download plans and perhaps some subscription-based content. I revamped the template for my e-mail subscribers because the old one was just so wretchedly ugly.
Speaking of e-mail subscribers, I've done something rather rash. I added a pop-up to encourage subscriptions. Although there are blog visitors who absolutely detest these things, I've selected one that I hope will be the least obtrusive kind. It doesn't (or shouldn't) appear until you've reached the bottom of a post. Even then, it should only appear once (per machine you use) and then not re-appear for 90 days. If you subscribe, then it should't appear again at all.
Why have I created this monster? Because the truth is that there are more people who like to have content delivered to their e-mail inbox than those who visit the site or subscribe via RSS. I'm trying to provide a few different avenues to let folks read what I have to share.
The Obligatory Photo
I can't go cold-turkey and create a post on a photography blog without a photo or at least something about photography. That just won't do.
This handsome little puppy is Milo, my labrador retriever. Don't be fooled by his appearance. He's not this calm or sullen. In fact, he's becoming a real pain in my ass. Even so, I love the furry little beastie. I also though he'd be a good subject to test my Nikon D800.
I used a single SB-900 on camera-left using a Lastolite EzyBox with a grid. Not just any Lastolite EzyBox, but a Joe McNally signature EzyBox with the white interior, because it's creamier. That sounds either delicious or disgusting, so don't dwell on it for too long. Two white foam boards on camera-right provided fill.