Photos and Dogs

It has not been that long since I started to add photos to this blog. You may recall my protracted debates about which camera to get, and the toe-curling decision-making process. Since adding photos, I have been generally happy with the results, and only occasionally disappointed. File size has been discussed, as I am already using 18% of my free blog allowance, in a very short time. I will however be happy to ‘go Premium’, if this ever becomes an issue.

There have been some photos that have pleasantly surprised me with their quality, and in some cases, composition. I may well have chosen the exact camera that suits my needs, after all. On the downside, a few shots have been less than inspiring, and lacking in technical execution.

Not long ago, I fiercely resisted the need to ‘go photo’ with this blog. I stubbornly held to the belief that words alone could tell the story, and good prose would suffice. Some followers confirmed this back then, asserting that my descriptive powers were worth more than images to convey moods, or the sense of a place and time. Others were less concerned with the lengthy descriptions, and craved photographic evidence of the many and varied exploits described.

With some mixed feelings, I purchased the camera, and set about recording my local excursions on memory card. The results, in terms of blog appreciation, were staggering. Every post that contained photos, however poor they might have seemed to me, attracted 100% more views than posts which were not illustrated in this fashion. A similar trend had been noted by me previously, when any post featuring writing about my dog, Ollie, always guaranteed an increase in views by more than 50%.

As I like to think of myself as a writer first, and a photographer of average ability, I am not at all sure if I should be pleased by the sharp climb in viewing figures, or depressed that blog readers prefer to see photos, and to read about dogs. On reflection, I hope that I have got an acceptable balance by this time. There were a lot of people reading my fiction piece last week, and twice as many looking at photos of Norfolk over the last few days. Ollie’s photos, and my writing about his antics, always return a good response. Then again, he is unusual to look at, quite endearing, and his escapades are sometimes amusing.

Am I happy with the outcome of all this? I am not sure. My writing is important to me, more so than postcard-style photos from a digital camera. My vanity makes me want people to think more of my personal journey, than whether or not my dog rolls in mud, or chases a rabbit. Yet it is all part of the same whole, so must be joyful, after all. Expect more of the same, I think.

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38 thoughts on “Photos and Dogs

  1. After reading the comments I have forgotten the post! Mr Kemp makes some good points, but then so do many others. With or without the pics I will always continue to read, it’s your writing that I appreciate and enjoy most.

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    1. Yes, I might get Roland to take over the blog as guest editor, Eddy, see if he can do it better!
      Thanks for your kind words, and as you are around again, I take it harvest season is over? They said on TV here that Poland has already had snow, so I hope you were spared that.
      Love to all the Wino Clan. Pete.

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      1. Still harvesting, walnuts! However a child that never seems to sleep and work on the house, not to mention the animals, this is the first time I have sat at the computer for more than an hour for quite a while πŸ™‚ Snow was here for a day, cold days since, although tomorrow promises to be a little warmer. All the best from the Winkos πŸ™‚

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  2. I have read everywhere that blog posts need to be broken up with images. Few have the time to read lengthy posts. We are a visual world and your pictures show an insight to you and your world that shouldn’t be ignored. Photography is an art form as well as creative writing. I find photos enhance the writing.

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  3. There seems to be a lot of research supporting your view that blogs, posts, ads, Tweets, with images on them do better and people seem to like them more (I even attended a webinar and then a series of videos about the subject). Then there is the matter that in certain social networking sites (like Pinterest) unless you have a picture in the post, it cannot be shared. But I agree I like the variety of your posts, and I enjoy pictures in posts because it allows me to get to know other places and visit or get to know people’s environment. Also, because I have no ability in the visual arts, so I always admire people who do. I’m wondering about going with the paid version of WordPress for other reasons. We’ll see. πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks very much, Olga. It is interesting to hear about your involvement in the seminars, and to see your conclusions. I think that the upgrade is good value, at $99 a year. A big increase in space, video options, and no adverts. For only Β£65, or 18 pence a day, it has to one of the best value pastimes (or promotional aids) available.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  4. A picture is worth 1000 words, but it take more time to read them. I like to think that they compliment each other. The words explaining the picture and visa/versa. No?

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        1. Thanks, V. It is interesting (to me, anyway) to note that the title of this post generated the second-highest views over the whole blog, since the day of your personal reading marathon. I conclude that pets and photography are both very popular searches!

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  5. Photo or no photo, you write so well so that’s really no problem but I love seeing some shots now and then. Don’t be concerned much with the composition, you are doing very well too in that area. I love to see macroshots though of blooms growing in your garden. that would be a bonus.

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    1. Thanks, Arlene. I am afraid that I have no blooms growing in my garden to take macro shots of! Other than some roses that flower early, all of our planting amounts to a few green shrubs and conifers. Maybe next year…
      Best wishes as always, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pete, I enjoy the wide range of subjects covered in your blog, and also appreciate the photos. I value the fiction pieces and travelogues (I have a very long attention span), as well as your descriptions of everyday life in Norfolk, but favor even more highly anything amusing or out of the ordinary that you write (“The Beetley Bat” and “My New Fluffy Gown” immediately come to mind). As President Lincoln once said, β€œYou can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” Keeping that in mind, I suggest you keep on keeping on!

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    1. Many thanks for a considered comment as always, David. I am aware that you are someone happy to read the longer posts, and I always appreciate that. When something like the Beetley Bat, or the New Fluffy Gown presents itself, I also enjoy the opportunity to add humour.
      No doubt I will keep on keeping on. As Wellington remarked at Waterloo, watching the French advance, ‘Here they come, in the same old way.’
      Best wishes from across the Atlantic, Pete.

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  7. This is very personal of course and everyone will have a different opinion but ultimately you have to do what you want to do because you are not necessarily in this to entertain but to offer your charisma as an individual to those who agree to receive it.
    I am amazed that so many are interested in your walks with Ollie . . to me this is very ordinary and repetitive.
    To me, the photos are of little interest because they are not you expressing but simply documenting and you seem too involved in getting them ‘right’ . . unimportant in my book. I’d like to see a new view, a Pete view. I couldn’t give a toss how many pixels are involved or how sharp an image is, I want a new take (fussy old me!).
    Your ambulance stories were quite amazing, very personal and very edgy. Your narratives are getting better at each attempt, and shorter!
    Your travelogues are too long and lack the emotion which always seems to be waiting to pounce. You tend to describe the light and not the shadows, this is where mystery lurks.

    I trust you will not take this critique personally and that you will still talk to me. Really sorry you cannot make November 1st.

    Love R xx

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    1. Ro, I have known you for 46 years, so there are few better placed to criticise than you. I think we have disagreed about issues that are far more important than my musings on a later-life blog, so of course we are ‘still talking.’ With that in mind, I will try to address each point in turn.

      The walks with Ollie are repetitive by nature. Dogs enjoy going to the same places every day, seeing the same dogs there, and traversing the same area. Even when I go to different places, he does much the same thing, in much the same order. People like pets, and they seem to like reading about them. I am with Ollie for most of the day, every day. I write about what we do, without claiming that it is anything out of the ordinary. Those posts are still popular, after more than three years. I don’t know why either. For me, they are a diary of my life in Norfolk. Diaries can often appear dull.

      The photos are in answer to requests from followers who want to see the area where I live, Ollie, and some of the buildings in Norfolk. Less than half of my regular readers live in the UK. Many are in the US, and others from as far away as the Philippines, and Western Samoa. They want to see it as it is, not from unusual angles, or with abstract challenges. As for trying to get it right, to make it look ‘nice’, I plead guilty to that. I strive for sharpness, detail, and simple description in these blog photos. When I don’t achieve that, I feel frustrated. The ‘Pete view’ that you mention, is actually what you see. Basic, interested in the area, and cataloguing the things I see around me. If this was a photo-led blog, I might be trying to experiment, and use effects and unusual angles. But it isn’t, so I don’t.

      The travelogues are simple descriptive tales of holidays I have been on, or places I have visited. They are not designed to offer opinions, be controversial, or express any emotion, whether it is ‘waiting to pounce’, or not. They are as much to remind me of foreign trips, as they are intended to inform, or remotely entertain. In truth, there was little ‘shadow’ to be found in them. If they were shorter, they would say things like, ‘Day 3, El Djem, old Roman Amphitheatre.’ I flesh them out for accuracy, not to bore people. If some articles are too long for most to read, then so be it. There are over 4,500 pages in the Harry Potter series of books, but I don’t know of anyone complaining to J.K. Rowling that they were too long. A blog is not a book of course, and attracts a very different audience. But brevity does not always signify quality, anymore than unnecessary length does.

      The Ambulance stories have dried up, because the job is repetitive, and the stories become the same after a while. Unlike walks with Ollie, they do not seem to interest the audience for my blog in the same way, so I have stopped publishing them. In most cases, I don’t need to diarise them, as they are still fresh in my mind, every time I wake up.

      I enjoy comments that challenge, and welcomed these a great deal. I am also sorry that I cannot make the 1st. My fault entirely, for moving too far away, and getting a dog that needs to be looked after. There are many positives about the move here, but missing such occasions is one of the few negatives.
      (This was almost a post- but it wasn’t long enough!)
      Love as always, Pete. x

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  8. To be honest Pete although I like the inclusion of your photos, I wasn’t bothered that you didn’t use them. Yours is probably the only blog I follow that was image-less. I tend to mostly follow photographers or generalists / humorists (?) who write short pieces rather than writers. I can’t read a lot of text on screen, never have been able to. But I do like short pieces and never had a problem reading yours (except the fiction pieces which are longer). I suppose, given I have an idea of the countryside around Beetley I don’t need photos. Your words are descriptive enough to allow me to imagine it.

    If you really want to up your views though then you need to get a cat πŸ˜‰
    [down Ollie…]

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    1. Thanks, Jude. from someone with a photography-led blog, that is a welcome opinion.
      I started to post the photos in response to many requests to do so. They were not meant to inspire, or be amazing, just to document views and scenes that had been described in the blog. I didn’t do it to increase views, as the people that asked were already viewing.
      I made these comments tonight, because I was surprised at the increase in views of posts that have -quite average- photos included. On balance, I would sooner write.

      I have noticed a distinct lack of enthusiasm for the longer articles, and fiction pieces. Many people really don’t seem to want to read more that about 800 words, it seems. Opinions are generally divided by these issues, but I have concluded that I will continue with about the same mix. Thanks again for your comment. Thoughtful, as always.

      Best wishes, Pete.

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      1. I think you should continue to do what you do. We can dip in and out of what interests us and what we have time for. And as we both agree on, comments are far more important that views or follows πŸ˜€

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          1. Ro has always been constructively outspoken, and his points are taken on board without any ill-feeling. We have been friends for a very long time, and he was Best Man at one of my weddings. It is unlikely that we could ever say anything to each other that would result in us not speaking. x

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  9. “and what is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations?’. I think one has to remember that while all writers hope their words can stand alone, a long screed of text on a web page is kind of relentless as opposed to a 300-word page in a book, and thus images help to alleviate that. I have to confess that I’m turned off by posts that are all text, even a subject I’m fascinated by. A quick extra note about image size, don’t forget that large sizes take a while to download which is a nightmare for those of us who have a dodgy connection and limited bandwidth. Night, night!

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    1. I am sorry about the slow download speeds for those with slow Internet speeds, Sarah. After much agonising, I have decided to leave in the large clickable files, as the former photographer in me prefers to be able to look at images in fine detail. Sorry! x

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  10. For what it’s worth, I think the photos complement the writing and vice versa. I wouldn’t follow a blog that was made up entirely of photos, however stunning the photos, because, for me, blogging is about more than that. I like to hear people’s stories and I like a story that is well told. That’s why I started to follow your blog. That said, having become captivated by your story, I think the pictures add something special. It’s like when you visit the place where a favourite novel is set. It comes alive in a new way. You see and appreciate things that no amount of description can convey. So your photos give life to your words in the same way that your words give life to your photos. They complement one another as part of the same story.

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    1. Thanks for your considered comment, Ros. That was why I wrote the last line, as I had come to a similar conclusion. Your thoughts and input are always appreciated and welcomed.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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