This Blog is at a Crossroads


The Peak District in mist. Fuji X-T2, 16-55 Lens, ISO200, f/11.0, 2″

Happy New Year.

Like most at New Year, I sat back and assess a few things. One of these was the success of this blog. When I started almost 6 years ago I had a clear vision. I wanted to help people create better photography using lightweight cameras, equipment and image editing. After 627 posts (this is 628), I’m not sure the blog is achieving its purpose. It certainly doesn’t get much traffic and costs me much more to run than it generates (not that money is everything).

When I started the blog, I switched from using a full frame Canon outfit to Micro 43 as my main camera. I was achieving good results using Micro 43 and was keen to help others do the same. Whilst I still have a couple of Micro 43 cameras, I now do most of my photography using a Fuji X-T2. It’s lightweight compared to some but it’s still quite a big outfit.

Now add to this a change in my personal circumstances.

Until now I have been trying to run two businesses. One was as a freelance Project/Programme Manager and the other running Lenscraft Photography. The demands of trying to do two full time jobs was starting to take a heavy toll on me. I had to make a change and decided now was the time to build Lenscraft Photography. Part of this means doing more “how to” tutorials and videos on the Lenscraft website.

The question this raises is what to do with The Lightweight Photographer blog.

  • I could close the blog down. But then I like sharing my images here.
  • I could use the platform to share my thoughts, news and image experimentation. This is my favourite, but I’m not sure people would read it.
  • Possibly many other things that I haven’t thought about.

I’m at a crossroads and don’t know which way to turn next. All ideas gratefully received.

96 thoughts on “This Blog is at a Crossroads”

  1. I have enjoyed your pictures very much but if I were you I would put your energy into Lenscraft website and place the pictures as they become available as part of maybe the tutorials or just a little section in your website. Please don’t wear yourself down by just showing a picture every now and then you fulfill the other part that you like to do so much. Best of luck in all of what you decide to do.

  2. I like your blog and read it as often as I can. I use an Olympus OMD 5 Mark II (I also have a Pen F and 5 lenses) since I do a lot of street photography. The camera works well and is small and lightweight with a 15 mm lens. I usually print 12 x 18 so I don’t think I need a full frame…although I’ve been tempted since I do some landscape work. At the time I bought the Olympus system Fuji cameras were slow focusing. I like your point of view and comments. If possible keep it up since it helps me be a better photographer (I consider myself a photo enthusiast…strictly amateur.

  3. 1. I really like your ‘hills’ (OK, your view of some really lovely hills).
    2. It’s clear to me you know what you’re doing.
    3. How to link the two and derive an income stream?

    Some thoughts.
    1. Discuss some (one?) aspect of a photo, relate to a teaching point, either wholly or in part.
    2. Over time, build on these to develop teaching materials using your blogged photos and notes.

    for variety, pick up oddities? Macro on stuff you’ve found in the hills etc.

    HTH

  4. Hi, I’m a recent addition to your followers (about 6 months).
    I love your pictures as they’re great images and local to me but I must admit I haven’t used any of your content. I wasn’t aware of lenscraft(maybe I should have read the blog😉) but I will look for it now as I do find it easier to learn watching someone else do it.
    Hope this helps.
    Mark

  5. Hi Robin,

    I really enjoy your blog and your ‘lightweight’ mantra helped me transition from a Nikon outfit to an X-T1 – having not yet found my pockets to be deep enough to move to the X-T2. Moreover, I think your books are excellent, being accessible and very readable.

    Yes, I’d like to see your blog continue. Good luck; I’ve always had difficulties in times of change.

    David

  6. Robin – first of all a bit of feedback – a while back I was looking for a reasonable quality general purpose lens for my Panasonic and contacted you. Given that your articles and images at the time were pretty much all m43 you were able to recommend an Olympus 12-40, best piece of advice I’d received for ages, thanks !.

    That your style suits me is reflected in the fact that I have bought 6 of your books – worthwhile investments all.

    So to the nub, to continue this blog or focus on Lenscraft Photography – why not combine the blog into Lenscraft – you could put a re-direct on this url to it for a while until people get used to it.

    As to possible approaches – what is abundantly clear to me is that most advice offered by ‘educational’ sites has just been cut and pasted from other other sites for the past goodness knows how many years and generally reflects attitudes and approaches which were well suited to pre-digital times and I do remember them ! An updated approach and attitude is needed – that is equally true for post processing, not everyone wants / can use / understands Photoshop / Lightroom, but there are alternatives which can meet the needs of manyif given simple and easy advice to follow.

    Additionally, it really is time that someone focused on how and what can be achieved with mirrorless cameras – from what I see on several facebook pages, I’m convinced there is a goodly population looking to make a tentative move into the mirrorless world who are in need of good advice and not just recommendations to go out and spend spend spend.

  7. Hi Robin, I was initially attracted to your site as I transitioned from DSLR equipment to mirrorless- Olympus and now Fuji and back to DSLR. I found that mirrorless did not have an advantage on lens selection (nor in equipment size) when it came to wildlife photography so here I am back to DSLR (Nikon) and Fuji X-T2 for landscapes. Nikon actually has a 300 mm lens (AF-P) that weighs out at 26.5 ounces plus a few ounces for a T/C which beats any other system out there that I know of.
    Anyway, I have always enjoyed your photography and your blog which is open and honest. Comments about the Fuji X-T2 are especially helpful. I rarely comment, which may be the same for others, so your blog may get more traffic than you know. I hope that you can find a way to keep your blog going even if not published as often. I wish I had some creative suggestions to make that happen but others are far more qualified to help with that.
    Here’s to the NY- may we continue to follow you.

  8. Robin, I don’t have any ideas for you, but I want you to know that I follow your blog regularly. I appreciate your photographs and your advice and would be sad to see you go.

  9. Hi Robin,
    And a happy new year to you.
    I joined your blog for the light gear you were using such as the little lx5 and micro four thirds but lost a bit of interest when you were using bigger and more expensive equipment!
    I find it more difficult finding photographers on say YouTube that share a passion for photography and not wander in to the camera and equipment links etc .
    Sorry if this seems selfish but that’s why I lost a bit of interest.
    Regards Craig

    1. I understand. I must admit that I shoot less and less with compact cameras. There are some OK offerings on the market now but they are all very expensive for what they offer. If I saw a great compact camera that was reasonably priced I would probably do more in that area. Appreciate the feedback.

  10. I enjoy your images and comments. Although I shoot a full frame Nikon, there may be a time when it becomes too heavy. Please continue the blog, even if it is not on a weekly basis. I think I have all your books and am always looking forward to what ever you publish. Now that DxO is going to come out with an updated Nik collection, there may be new items for you to write about.

    Best for the future and Happy New Year.

    Frank

    Frank Leith fleith@cox.net

  11. I have enjoyed the site, and read it regularly. It helped introduce me to a number of your ebooks etc. I hope the blog continues in some form, and wish you the best in your new direction.

  12. Robin
    Your blog helped me bridge from Canon gear to micro 4/3. Also your focus on getting the most out of a lightweight kit for landscapes, not to mention your sharing of wonderful photographs, was unique in the blogosphere.
    For example, if you read Thom Hogan’s mirrorless blog his focus is on the features of the gear itself, and he ends up carrying two bodies and three or four lenses AND he transitions to the latest body every 12 months or so.
    So I think your focus on getting the best landscape photos out of the most minimal kit whether it be micro 4/3 or Fuji mirrorless is unique.
    In terms of content you could combine the two platforms behind one splash or home page and continue the blog. Maybe there is a way to do that and still maintain the “lightweight” branding on the home page.

  13. I think you already answered that question yourself: your favourite.
    I would read it, as I am sure many others would as well. Don’t let us down 😉

  14. Hi Robin I have been reading your blogs since your uses of various m43 and even LX cameras. I enjoy your writings and pictures tremendously. I know to maintain a blog active requires a lot of work and attention. May be you do not need to post weekly and only post when you have the time to share with your readers. I will read your previous blogs if you do not have new ones. There are 600+ entries for us to enjoy!

    I wish you the best in the New Year. Thank you so much for your work!

  15. And a Happy New Year to you and yours. Please don’t close the blog. It’s always good to hear what you are getting up to and the information you share is always appreciated, so please choose option 2. I really enjoy your blog and seeing your images, so thanks for all you’ve shared so far. Best regards, Christina.

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

  16. I enjoy looking at the images and sometimes, tangentially, they give me ideas for my own photography. However, I don’t engage with them much beyond that because landscape isn’t primarily what I do. I have some of your books and have found them really useful. Perhaps there’s a way of making the blog support Lenscraft as well as being less work?

  17. Dear Robin,
    Yes, you do have a dilemma.
    Whilst I enjoy receiving the blog updates I would be happy to use your website platform to access your ‘thoughts, news and image experimentation’ material.
    Happy New Year and all the best for 2018.
    Warm Regards,
    Denis Glennon AO

  18. I really enjoy your blog. My vote goes for posting whatever you can when ever you can. Blogging can become a burden since everything takes time and at some point money. Both must be weighed against all the other things in your life.
    In any case….A Very Happy New Year to you!

  19. My sense is similar to those already posted. I enjoy your Friday photos and commentary that come via email. I admit not to have visited blog spontaneously (i.e., with prompting). I am not using a “small camera” but rather either a Nikon D810 or D5500 (when I want to travel light). So, while interesting, your reviews of Micro 43 etc are not pertinent to me. Still, they are informative. If I were you, I would continue to email photos on a regular basis, if not too much of burden…maybe every other week or once a month. Then I would devote my efforts to your “other job.” Your tutorials and books are outstanding. I have learned much from them.

  20. I enjoy your blogs and read them regularly – I am a member of your Lenscraft site but TBH I find it a bit difficult and messy to interact with, there are articles and now there are videos and I don’t have patience for videos – I can quickly skim an article to see if its of interest, pass by or settle down to read.

    Plus I could never figure out why you make the Lenscraft “members only” but you dont charge for it? The hassle of having to log in to access that content is a PITA – remembering passwords used very infrequently across different devices is annoying.

    My honest opinion, is think hard about your audience and what they want, and how can you make it EASY for them to engage with you? It looks like a lot of people read and enjoy this blog – I wonder if its because it is more readily available than your other content? BTW I don’t object to paying for quality content but make it easier for users. I think you should still blog, but combine all your different outputs under one cohesive umbrella – its easy for people who read the blog to be completely oblivious to the fact that you offer other stuff – and its a stumbling block to have to register to access it.

    I have also purchased several of your books – your one on Printing with LR was a revelation and SO USEFUL.

    1. Thank you. There is some good feedback in here which gives food for thought. I will be redesigning Lenscraft in the future and will take these comments on board. BTW, the reason I locked down some of my content is that is was being republished without permission and sometimes for sale. It has though been playing on my mind that I don’t like the current way everything is set up.

  21. Robin, I have enjoyed your blog. Determine what YOU want. Then figure out what you need and/or want to do to get what YOU want. You have a remarkable love for helping others. I truly appreciate this in you. You have not been doing two jobs, you have been doing three. The blog, Lenscraft and freelancing. That is a very tall order for any person, and taller still for one as dedicated as you. My advice is to peel the onion back a bit. Keep peeling until your eyes stop hurting. Then savor what’s left. Lou.

  22. Hi Robin.
    I’ve been following along for a few years. I think I have copies of most of your Photoshop and NIK software e-books. You’ve been very gracious in how you share your information.
    Also, I like your photos. Hope you figure out what works best for you. Good luck in whatever direction you go.

  23. I read your blog via the emails, and enjoy both your focus, tips and insights on the smaller cameras and also photographs you post. As long as I get an email notice about what new content has been posted, it would not matter whether it is a blog, or a website, or youtube channel. Wishing you all the best in 2018!

  24. Hello Robin,
    I, certainly, enjoy seeing your image/blog pop up in my email each week and, your publications are of excellent quality comprising both technical know how and clarity of explanation.
    I think that your original concept “Lightweight” perhaps needs a shift as, I think, that the “arguments” for and against are largely redundant.
    Personally, I went with the change and turned to Fuji (XT1) but found that the style I wanted with my landscape photography wasn’t fulfilled to my satisfaction so I have a Nikon D800 plus Zeiss lenses for those occasions when I don’t have to travel far by foot and the XT1 for other “Shoots”
    So, getting back to you. Perhaps keep your blog going but not under pressure to fulfil a weekly submission. Then, when you do submit, perhaps a little series of say three images or so.
    Thank you for all your efforts and good wishes for the time ahead.

  25. I do read your weekly blog entries. I don’t go to your website unless you point something out that is of interest. If it were not for the blog, I would not know what you are doing and when you have a new book out, for example. I also enjoy the beauty of your photos and look forward to seeing them. But, I understand the pull of competing things that gets harder to manage as age creeps up on us, and I appreciate that you may have to make major changes. Best of luck!

  26. Hello Robin

    My initial thoughts are as follows:

    Both the Blog and the Lenscraft website are very good and, I imagine, well appreciated. If you are (rightly, in my view) concentrating on the Lenscraft website then why not just do an occasional blog. This would reduce your workload but still help to promote the website.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.

    Best wishes,

    Gordon

  27. Hi Robin
    Good question and difficult to answer. In my role as a “customer” to various sites some findings to my “self-behaviour”:
    1) More than one site rather confuses me, when the division of themes is not clearly cut. (I count Facebook etc. as separate site.). Bythom links to his various sites quite well, others do not.
    2) My own demand changes, consequently the frequency of my visits to those various sites changes too (daily demand = e.g. now I search everything about stitching, later about blending, etc.). If others behave like me, you will “loose” old customers and “win” new customers all the time.
    3) Above being said, I tend to visit same sites, stumbling on new ones only when googling a (technical) theme. I guess I feel well if there is something about the site in question, which makes it stand out and touches something in me. Examples: I like the ever ongoing search for perfection of Ming Thein, old technical one-on-ones of Bythom, nicely formed musings of Mike Johnston, etc.
    4) Language: Where I live they say “Tone makes music”: Personally I like your tone very much. I do not feel wrong here, although I do not use 4/3. No bashing of particular brands or formats here, camouflaged as “analysis” or “support”. Again Bythom as an example of rather strong and opinionated language.
    5) Weekly images are nice for me, but I would understand, if they would not be posted every week. I like, when you talk a bit about the image – why taken, how processed. Weekly means pressure.
    So, before it gets too long and winded… Do decide as your stomach tells you to.
    And a somewhat belated Happy New Year!

  28. Robin,

    A difficult choice indeed, but an important one.

    I personally would be sad to see the blog disappear as there is so much useful information you share. Of the three options you list I think the second – your favoured choice – is the best, so that’s where my vote goes.

    An occasional post without any pressure to post regularly would be I think much better than closing the blog completely.

    Cheers,

    Pete

  29. hi Robin, a difficult dilemma for you! As a recipient and reader of your blogs I have found them refreshing and informative and inspirational so my viewpoint is rather selfish. It was these that started me thinking about making the change from heavy FF to lightweight M43, which I have just completed, and introduced me to your very user friendly tutorials and books on processing images, so I suppose that these Blogs could still have a role in acting as an introduction and then a conduit to bring a larger audience to your Lenscraft Photography. I would be sad to see them disappear altogether so maybe reducing the frequency might be a help.

  30. Hi Robin – I read your blog and find it enjoyable and informative. I have just changed all my Canon gear for Olympus micro 4/3 and the information on your site and blog was very helpful in making my choice – it was very good to have informed non-sponsored information from a genuine user. I hope you will find a way to keep the blog and regular pictures going.
    Best wishes for 2018

  31. Always a difficult choice – my days in Project and Programme Management ended with redundancy thereby making the choice for me rather easy! As others have said, you really have to go with your heart on this one, providing it pays the bills.
    Personally I enjoy your blog, but most of all it’s the extremely useful tools and tutorials that bring me back. I like your pictures and the way that you describe the processing of same, I don’t tend to follow the herd with the latest equipment as the camera isn’t important to me – I’ve found the one that’s right for me (X100T) and I only use filters on my analogue equipment these days, but as I’d loosely describe my usual style as ‘Landscape’ photography, your tips and especially the post processing techniques are very much appreciated. But moving forward, whatever you decide to do, make sure that it’s something that you want to do and not something that you feel you have to do to make others happy. Enjoy, and many thanks for all of your work so far.

    1. Thanks Gordon. I appreciate your thoughts. I have also noticed quite a few users of the X100T recently. I’m really tempted myself to get one or the X100F. They look like lovely cameras. Sort of reminds me of the Panasonic GF1 I used to have and loved (but with a fixed lens).

  32. I also have dumped my heavier gear for an Oly system with the Pro lenses. So your experiences with this smaller format have been very useful to me.
    I’d say do first what puts bread on the table, then if you have time and interest left over, continue with the Blog.

  33. Your blog is certainly enjoyable but if it’s not useful to you or not fun anymore then I can understand why you might want to stop.

    However, and as others have said, it’s a good route into your website (though the link could be much clearer), and if you posted when you had something specific to say or show rather than religiously weekly then that would probably work for you and us.

    1. I do think Peter (and others) make a valid point, your blog shows no clear link to your website that I remember?
      If you want to drive traffic that way perhaps a header / footer and much more frequent links to it?

  34. I’d like to echo what Pete Bryan has said, amongst others. Don’t be enslaved by the process of a regular, frequent blog (having said that, its been one of those I have regularly read and enjoyed, whereas others are dropped after a while). Instead, use it as has been suggested by PB.

    I switched from Canon to Fuji as I became less able to hold the Canon. Unfortunately, whilst I had a reasonable experience with the XT1 (despite those post-processing frustrations with their different system), I then had a sequence of horrors with the XT2. Too many faults and poor quality performance meant that I was on camera number three when I gave up and switched to the Oly EM1 mkii.

    I’ve read all of your books on photo processing as I like the style and the value; I found that they underpinned and extended my knowledge and ability . I won’t repeat whats already been said in others’ comments, but I’m hoping that you’ll perform again when DxO make progress with the Nik collection.

    Best of luck to you!

  35. Hi and a HNY to you too. Thanks for your blogs. I and my wife always read and enjoy them and find them interesting and helpful . We hope that you can make time to continue them and favour the second of your 3 choices, ie your favourite. Perhaps a monthly edition would save some of your time? I do not think you can properly gauge the success of your blog entirely by the amount of response you get. I have not written to you before but value it greatly. I am 80 and use my EOS 80D and EOS M6 cameras. Regards Eric Sheffield Sent from my iPad

    >

  36. I was drawn to this site at its inception mainly in concert with the whole idea of using very light cameras and lenses versus heavy mirrored ones. Having used heavy medium format cameras, I never really thought 35mm single lens reflexes were that heavy and felt the same for their digital replacements. But as I aged with some nagging neck and back problems, I began to really believe in the M43 system which I invested in beginning with the E1, E300, and E330. I then found that Olympus’ micro four thirds had equal, and then improved, resolution and did so by eliminating the mirror box and making the camera(s) very small and light. It was around this time that I was drawn to the “Lightweight Photographer” site and identifying with the perceived goals of getting great photos with small high quality cameras as were being used by Robin. Over the years, however there seemed to be some vacillation in Robin’s philosophy of “small and light” as he began delving into heavy Nikon DSLR’s and the Sony mirrorless with heavy Canon glass. While he has now abandoned the heavy stuff in favor of lighter Fuji systems, this site still seems like an enigma relating to the premise of the Lightweight Photographer”. It feels more like a site that is eternally searching for the ultimate camera that has great resolution/color/ergonomics and, rather importantly, great software that can process the images from it. I no longer lust for the latest digital miracle camera, but would really like to be able to find how photographers are getting great images from their cameras that they will use for several years. In this regard, and in the viewpoint of the printed image, I don’t really care if a Fuji XT-2 is better than an XT-1 or a Sony Mark Whatever. I also don’t feel excessive resolution makes great art as I often soften or “simplify” resolution to create a more painted look in printed photos. I suppose that this site could be incorporated into “Lenscraft”, but I still like the idea of getting great photos from small light cameras and turning their images into printed ones with emphasis on impression and art. I always do appreciate Robin’s candor and professionalism, and can empathize with “too much on the plate” syndrome. I hope all these comments offer some good thoughts on how he may resolve his issues.

    1. Thank you for your feedback John. You’re right, I do “lust” after a camera with great resolution, colour and ergonomics and if it comes in a lightweight body and with small lenses, all the better. BUT your also right that I like the process of image making more. I also like experimenting to improve. It’s these values that I want to align to for the future of the blog.

  37. Hi Robin, I have been a keen photographer for a number of years and I have decided that 2018 is the year I will learn about photography and become a better photographer. Which four of your books would you recommend I buy as I start my journey of learning and discovery?

    Many thanks

    Kevin

    PS. I do enjoy reading your blog and hope you will decide to keep it going.

    1. Why four? Get them all.
      No seriously, start with the Photographers Coach. After that it depends on your editing applications. If you email me via Lenscraft with a little more information about your equipment, software and objectives I can give you more pointers.

  38. If you can afford the time, please keep the blog going. I read it regularly and also subscribe to Lenscraft – I’m currently works by through your excellent course on Photoshop layers. You are a very good teacher! And your photos, thoughts, observations, examples and lessons are equally applicable to full frame users – not just “lightweight photographers “…

  39. Keep the blog but drop the “Friday” as it sounds like the pressure of getting a weekly post out is part of the issue. Blog is great and has been very helpful as I have taken a similar route to you (Nikon to oly to x-t1) although thinking of loving back to oly.

  40. Hi Robin. I’ve enjoyed your blog for a few years now and would be sad to see it go. However, if the original purpose of the blog (i.e. the “Lightweight” philosophy) is no longer your driving motivation then perhaps you should consider a re-branding to go with option 2 on your list – perhaps the Lenscraft blog or the Robin Whalley blog depending on purpose. Is the blog is going to be a personal outlet or a marketing adjunct of the Lenscraft web site? If you are trying to develop the Lenscraft site as a business then an interesting blog could be a good marketing tool – I’m thinking of Michael Frye’s and Bruce Percy’s blogs as examples. If it is going to be purely personal then it has to be fun and we all need to find time for some fun. But, if you are sitting in front of the computer thinking that you’d rather be out on a hill with a camera or are completely over-stretched with work commitments then the decision should be relatively simple…

    As previous replies have suggested, reducing the frequency of postings might help to reduce your time investment but I don’t suppose that would reduce running costs so it seems to me that deciding on which of these two cost factors, time or money, is most important to you at this point in time is the other critical aspect of your decision.

    Whatever you eventually decide to do, Good Luck in 2018 and thanks for the insights you’ve provided over the years.

  41. Hello Robin- As someone who uses Fuji gear to shoot primarily landscape, architecture & travel photos, also using Lightroom & Photoshop, along with NIK plugins to edit my images, & does my own printing on a wide format inkjet printer, I have benefited greatly from all of your work in your blog, Lenscraft & the many ebooks you have published. But I also understand & appreciate the economic realities that you must confront. So like many above, I hope that you will find a way at least, as you put it, to “use the platform to share thoughts, news and image experimentation”. And perhaps in so doing you may find ways to better integrate your efforts into a more cohesive & manageable format, possibly using Lenscraft as the basis for it. However, the knowledge that you share with your ebooks is extremely useful to serious hobbyist guys like me, & hopefully time will permit you to continue these efforts. My very best wishes to you in sorting all of this out & good luck in doing so. Cheers, Jed

  42. Hello Robin,

    Sorry about the delay in replying but feel I should comment. I’ve only discovered your blog and other work in the last year and in that time I’ve been persuaded in that time to move over to Fiji XT2 and have used your ebooks and Lenscraft courses. To put it mildly, I think you’re doing a great job and I’m learning a lot.

    I appreciate your dilemma, though, since I had a heart attack last year caused, I’m sure, by stress. So, I think it’s important that if work is stressing you too much and you’re not enjoying your work as much as you used to, then it’s time to pull back and concentrate on what you want to.

    Having said that, I like your weekly blog – as much as anything it acts as a prick to my conscience to get out and take more photos!! But if it’s a choice between the blog and Lencraft courses, I’d rather have the courses because there’s so much to learn!

    How about keeping the blog but doing it monthly or just occasionally?

    Whatever you decide, Thank you very much for the help you’ve given me so far.

    Best wishes,

    Roy Pearson

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