It is the first day of the new 2016 year and I would like to wish a very happy New Year to our dear readers and our amazing team of writers at PL! May 2016 be a very prosperous, healthy, joyful and successful year for you and your family. I hope you realize your dreams and discover new goals worth pursuing in the New Year!
Earlier this year, we launched our first photography course, the PL Level 1 Photography Basics. Big thanks to everyone who purchased this course to support our efforts! You have given us tremendous support and now it is time to give some of it back. If you have previously purchased our course, by spending a few minutes to rate it and write some feedback on what you think about it, you will be entered to win a brand new Sony A6000 mirrorless camera!
Please join us in giving a warm welcome to Rick Keller, who is joining our team of talented writers. If you have not yet seen Rick’s work, I highly recommend that you check out his phenomenal articles on Visualization and Film photography. So far he has published three parts to the series, but his very first article on the process of visualization, along with the article on hunting for the light will surely leave you inspired! Although I have only ventured into film photography once and have not had much time to dig in further, reading Rick’s articles makes me want to buy a medium format film camera and experiment with it, as I have so much to learn from him. Rick, along with our respected contributor Vaibhav Tripathi and our team members John Bosley and Laura Murray are my other inspirations for getting into film photography.
Just wanted to let our readers know that I have been battling with server slowdown issues during the past few days and I am working on getting these issues resolved. Big thanks to everyone who emailed me and let me know, particularly about all the slowdowns this morning. During the next couple of days, I will be implementing a new caching and balancing system to help with the server load. Our traffic has been steadily growing and it looks like we need to beef up the system again to accommodate all the load.
Due to rising costs of hosting and other expenses, we decided to add some advertising space to Photography Life, which has always been and always will be a free photography resource. Some of our readers were a bit annoyed by the often intrusive ads (which, unfortunately, we have little to no control of) and they requested that we add an option to support Photography Life with a monthly donation option, which would completely remove all the ads on the site. Others have been asking us to give a good option to subscribe on a monthly basis or simply donate funds to support our work. I am happy to report that this feature has finally been added to our site, and as of today you can become a member and enjoy completely ad-free experience. You can choose your level of support from Basic ($0.99 per month) all the way to Gold ($19.99 per month), depending on how much support you can and want to provide us and all three membership levels give you the same browsing and reading experience.
The last few weeks have been crazy busy for me personally, since we are in the process of creating our first comprehensive video, which is something we are really excited about (more on this later). Because of this and other parallel engagements that I am involved in, I have not had a chance to work on some of the projects I have started a couple of months ago, including the Photo Spots project. I apologize for not being able to post updates on our Photo Spots Contest and I know that many of our readers have been waiting for us to announce the winner. As I started going through submissions, I got a bit overwhelmed by the response – we had over 400 submissions that I had to go through, edit and post. I posted a total of 351 photo spots from all the submissions and tried to be less picky about the photos and the content. So unless you posted a really bad photo or your submission did not meet our requirements (little to no text / description, or just vertical images), most of what you have submitted should have been posted by now.
As you might have noticed, our site is back to the normal commenting system – I got rid of Disqus. After giving Disqus a try for a few months, I realized that it was only creating more hassles than doing anything useful. My intention with the Disqus platform was to reduce server load and to increase engagement, but it created too many issues that I constantly had to battle with. Although Disqus was supposed to be better at keeping spammers away, a lot of spam made it through and I got tired of having to clean it up on a daily basis. In addition, our writers did not get proper notifications when comments were posted unless they subscribed to each article, which was creating even more headaches. And lastly, Disqus went all berserk on the site after I enabled additional caching – some of our readers reported that they were getting logged in under other accounts and all kind of other strange things were happening.
As you may already know, we are currently running a Photo Spot Contest (with a grand prize comprised of the new Fuji X-T10 camera) and we are really happy to see some truly amazing submissions from some of our readers. I have been going through all the submissions and approving them one by one and boy, it has been a great experience! It turns out that many of our readers are amazing photographers – some of the submissions are very inspirational to see. So far, we have published a total of 154 submissions and we are looking forward to seeing even more. I have no doubt that this project will be successful, because it offers tremendous help for people who are considering to visit places and not knowing where to go and what to photograph. Although I have not worked out a proper way to index all the submissions and offer an easy way for our readers to browse through the photo spots, it is definitely on my plate and I will be working on those soon.
Saying “goodbye” to a friend is never an easy thing to do. We have a great team here at Photography Life, made up of some of the most creative, inventive and supportive folks in the photography world. Each of them works incredibly hard to bring our readers some of the best photography articles available anywhere.
We have just announced the Photo Spots Project and we are so excited about it, that we decided to launch a contest for our readers! We want to make the process of submitting Photo Spots not only useful for everyone, but also fun, engaging and rewarding. Yes, the latter is important, because that’s how we get to thank our readers for being so awesome! So for the next 30 days, we will be accepting entries for photo spots from everyone. One person will win a brand spanking new, freshly announced Fuji X-T10 (come on, who can resist the temptation for owning this awesome camera?). If you do not want to Fuji X-T10, feel free to pick any other camera or lens of equivalent value. You can also just claim cash prize (details below).
NOTE: Please note that our submission form had some issues earlier today. Those should be fully fixed now.