#874. Monday Post (08/08/2019) – This is DearSusan, do not readjust your screen.

By pascaljappy | Monday Post

Jul 08

So, that’s it. I broke DS … and this is how it feels.


This may just be a hobby website, it’s still been a big part of my life over the past few years and, up to recently, plain … sailing.

Also, the update process is not what I’d prefer. If this was a pro website, I’d duplicate it, work on it then release the new version once finalized. But I don’t have the time to do this within reasonable delays, and the down time would be a major pain.

So, instead, DS has been stripped to its minimum vital elements and we will rebuild features from this point over the rest of the summer πŸ™‚


What’s the upside ?

There are many.

First of all, thank you for all the kind words of support some of you have sent over the past few days. I have learned that you actually prefer the manual messages rather than the automated ones, so we will continue this way.

You have already asked for specific features (image upload in comments, dynamic maps of the locations, we discuss …) and I will try to incorporate as many as possible in the new version.


You have offered financial support, which is extra kind of you. So I will set up a donate button. But, I feel it would be more interesting to give something in return for any donation, so I’ll try to set up some sort of e-shop for guides, photographs, possibly stuff such as calendars of our best pics … which you can purchase to help us cover costs if you ever wish to.

Several of you asked me to never put advertising on DS. And we won’t. Or crappy advertorials. That’s not who we are or where we want to take the website.

Also, over the years, we have mainly written for advanced photographers and may have lost a less erudite audience, which is a shame. While articles will not be dumbed down, I’d like to publish tutorials, FAQs and how-to articles for those who’d like to climb the ladder faster.


Also positive : since we are rebuilding from bare minimums, this is a good time for you to tell us what you would like to see stop, continue or change on the website. Would you like to see new topics covered? More expensive gear, more cheap gear, more travel, more technique, more humour, more behind the scenes, more challenges, more tutorials, more composition, more printing, more colour theory, more exhibitions and art world news, more interviews, more longform articles, more short form quick posts, a forum, more workshops, more meetups, more quizzes, more flash photography, more alternative processes, more online news summaries, more market analysis, more photo galleries, more discussion …

Also, let me reiterate something : we are always looking for new contributors. DS was a collaborative blog from day 1. And it’s my privilege to discuss with a lot of you outside DS so I know just how much you have to contribute to others. If you feel like posting your own articles, on whatever topic you find most interesting, you are very welcome. Posts can vary range from a few pics with a few lines of text to a long essay on a specific topic such as those written by our regular contributor Adrian. Whatever you fancy πŸ™‚ Variety is what makes life interesting. And lady togs are especially welcome. It would be great to hear feminine points of view in this male dominated world of ours!


I had a dream, and there’s ladies in it πŸ˜‰ That dream is for some of you to ask for information on a specific topic and for others to raise their hands and say “Hey, I’m an expert at that, here’s how it works” (more on this very soon). A collaborative platform for collaborative creative-photography.


So, that’s it.

The tumbling down it done. Time to rebuild upwards. Please share and reach out now to let us know how you’d like us to use this opportunity. Be seeing you πŸ™‚


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  • ROY ADAMS says:

    would it be possible to put the camera & lens used with the exif data with each photo. thanks

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hi Roy, all are made with a Hasselblad X1D and the XCD 45 lens (the sunset uses the XCD 90). Cheers.

      • pascaljappy says:

        Roy, I answered in a hurry earlier. Thanks for the input. We’ll try to publish this information in every post from now on and I will update this one as well. All the best, Pascal

  • Sean says:

    Hi DearSusan,

    What an exciting and rewarding period DearSusan has placed itself in, by undertaking on this ‘I broke DS’.

    It’s a fine example of that ‘innovate or …’. Well, we don’t have to dwell of the negatives, but learn from them, and more importantly, look towards the ‘onwards and upwards’.

    I have no knowledge on how to proffer nor implement a review of a site like this, nor how it is to be done well – contextually, functionally, or otherwise.

    I also offer no raised ‘tut tut’ instructive finger. All I will do is wish this change be a positive marker in the history of DearSusan’s online presence, and that it progresses, from this point, towards meeting, securing, and or exceeding, its intended goals, objectives and targets.

    It’s refreshing to see DearSusan take this innovative step so as to progress and secure ongoing relevancy for its owners, developers, maintainers, contributors and audience.


  • So sorry to read this! Break a leg and Godspeed in building the future.

  • Hans Ernst says:

    Hi Pascal,

    Photography is a kind of the second me, every day I spend various hours on it.
    For years(decades) I’m doing this and it brings me great fulfillment.
    This is just to say I’m serious about this stuff πŸ˜‰

    There are a lot of sites/youtube channels, but after a while, they all start to bore me.
    I’m into landscape photography there are a few exceptions, just a few. 2 with DS 3.
    Dear Susan is the one I’m always looking out for most, and you’re not typical landscape.
    I thank you for bringing me back to manual focusing, for instance, and improving the way
    to see the photos around me where ever I am.
    DS is important to many people for sure.

    I love your dream at the end of this article, please follow it.

    Many thanks

    • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

      Hi Hans Ernst
      Couldn’t agree more – there are heaps of sites sending me emails every day, presumably wanting me to read through them all – but only really two or three that grab me so much that I look forward to them each morning, scan all my emails to see if they’ve sent me anything new, go to their websites looking for updates and for the comments from other readers. DS, Ming Thein and National Geographic would head the ist (in that order).
      And with DS and MT, I often go back to earlier postings – there’s a wealth of information there, and a lot of fun to be had reading through them.
      NG is on the list because their range of topics is so varied – not just the same old thing, all the time. And also because nobody gets a photo published there, unless it’s WAY above the standard of the photos we all see day after day.

  • henry says:

    what a refreshingly clean, uncluttered page! please continue in this direction. while i work as a portrait photographer in a studio setting, i enjoy landscape a travel photos and techniques relevant to them. i also enjoy your views re your x1d and lenses. while i know my x1d isnt perfect, its wonderful for my work even if slower than id like. i grow so tired of the complaints by people who live on edge day to day waiting to buy the latest toy that will utilize every possible technical development. thanks for your positive approach.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thank you very much Henry. I’m really glad you like the uncluttered look. It’s going to be hard to add all the features people have asked for and keep it all as clean, but I will do my very best to.

      The clean/uncluttered layout is probably what draws you and I to the X1D. It has changed my life and brought pleasure back to my photography. It is a bit slow and suffers from too many bugs, but the mk2 must bbe a distinct improvement. Over a few years, Hasselblad will essentially have built a close to perfect camera.

      All the best.

      • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

        ?? – the X1D doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. But like all of Hassy’s offerings, it captures detail in the shadows and – more particularly – in the highlights, that are important in landscape and which lesser mortals (ALL of the cameras from FF down to those pocket jobs) CANNOT deal with.

        To photograph landscape, you don’t need a faster camera. Just a tripod, remote trigger, torch, range of filters, a tablet with the photographer’s ephesus, a few maps or guidebooks, latest weather information, a bit of imagination and a lot of patience.

        And while you’re waiting for the light to improve, you can amuse yourselves by laughing at the way other people spend zillions of dollars in the delusional belief that the latest toy makes them better ‘togs, and capable of producing better photos. Everyone else might think their gear is better – but for the task in hand, Pascal, Henry and you you have the satisfaction of KNOWING yours is!

  • Kristian Wannebo says:

    nice new DS look!
    But *do* prioritize *your* summer – even on rainy days!

    A fine way to let an old wooden boat die, traditional also in Sweden – but lately even plastic boats are occasionally left on a shore, Grrr!

    I wonder what that rectangular patch of water in #2 is?

    All those throwing out old roof tiles for new…
    I remember a builder who said: “Keep the old tiles and add used ones – if they’ve held 50 years they’ll hold another 50, safer than new ones.”
    Suitably refrased something to consider for camera upgraders now in the age of most cameras’ sufficiency… and the risk of first generation firmware bugs.

    Lovely pattern of shutter colours, much better than the Swedish (and German) tendency of conformity!

    • pascaljappy says:

      Great analogy, Kristian. And I have that feeling that the technical race is slowing down and that we might start keeping our gear a little more longer now. At least, I will.

      The rectangular patch of water in photo #2 is used for growing oysters. I don’t know how but these “pools” fill up at high tide and remain full as the tide recedes. In Saint Malo, they have a very large one that is used as a public salt water swimming pool.

      I’m glad you like the new look, thank you. Don’t worry, the hardest part is behind me now. Technically, it’s all very simple and quick. It’s the planning, finding the good themes/components and all the stuff before the action that’s the real difficulty. I’m watching the Tour de France, typing this. Life is good πŸ˜‰


      • Kristian Wannebo says:

        > “..technical race is slowing down..”

        Yes, and when the “big” ones have reimplemented their main cameras in much cheaper to make mirrorless bodies, I’m curious as to how competition will change.

        Oysters, I see (with no tides here it’s done differently), I suppose the barriers are low enough to let the tidal currents stir and change enough of the enclosed water – good idea to combine with a public pool!
        ( Do they need guards to prevent oyster purloining? πŸ™‚ .)

        [ Just a thought, I have the impression that the contrast of text to background has become lower? Perhaps a just slightly bolder or blacker type would be easier to read? (My screens: a 320px wide phone & a 600px wide tablet.)]


        • pascaljappy says:

          There are oysters on the rocks in many beaches. And they are cheap by the dozen, when you go to the producer. I don’t think anyone would risk the guard dog to save the pennies πŸ˜‰

          Yes, the font is a little paler. It’s very modern, I guess πŸ˜€ Let me see whether it’s possible to darken it selectively (ie leave it like that on computers and darken it on mobile devices). It’s a responsive theme, it should be possible. Thanks for the feedback !

          • Kristian Wannebo says:

            I just checked also on my Windows tablet (12″ 1400×2100 Amoled).
            Personally I’d prefer a slightly bolder or darker typeface even there. No worries, its perfectly legible in all three cases. I know what you mean by a modern font, many sites use this lower contrast but the eyes tire more when reading for a longer time. Of course, a too strong contrast can also be tiring, especially in a dark place if you can’t shift to white text on dark.

            Don’t hurry any change Pascal, wait for other views!

            • pascaljappy says:

              No problem, Krisitan. I’ll try subtle changes as we get more feedback. Thanks.

              • NMc says:

                +1 for darker text, and/or bolder font if you want to be thoroughly modern.
                Otherwise looking good, I can now zoom and scale (compared to the old site) and that helps a bit on smaller screens (8” tablet).
                Regards Noel

              • pascaljappy says:

                Hi Noel. I’ve changed the font to a one that’s easier to read, but will experiment with making it larger. Not being a very experienced user of mobile devices, I may not be giving enough thought to them here. Thanks. I’m glad you like the general layout. Cheers.

          • Sean says:

            Hi Pascal,
            Out of interest, posed as a question, nothing more. Whilst the reviewed look of DearSusan is still relatively new. Is there room for taking into consideration making use of a font that’s more friendly to a dyslexic reader?

            As an informative, to this interest, or by way of example, a recent 2019 Spanish study ‘Good Fonts for Dyslexia’ by Luz Rello and Ricardo Baezo-Yates, looks at the use of particular types of dyslexic friendly fonts.
            Here’s the link: http://dyslexiahelp.umich.edu/sites/default/files/good_fonts_for_dyslexia_study.pdf

            In sum, this study found the OpenDyslexic font did not enhance text readability or reading speed for a dyslexic person. Study participants preferred the Verdana or Helvetica fonts in contrast to the OpenDyslexic font. Researchers recommend Helvetica, Courier, Arial, Verdana and Computer Modern, based both on study participants reading performance and subjective preference. Researches cautioned against using the italic font.


            • pascaljappy says:

              Sean, that’s very interesting. None of the fonts mentioned were in the list of available ones so I looked at the article and chose one that seems to have sharp differentiation. Please let me know what you think. It takes only a few minutes to try this, so I’m happy to try a few more if this doesn’t work. All the best, Pascal

              • Seam says:

                Hi Pascal,
                Sorted. Whatever you’ve done there’s been an improvement in readability. I don’t think I have dyslexia, but I do find and or perceive the text is now much easier to read, follow and digest. Visually it’s much easier for me to appreciate what I see, and that may also be due to the ‘sharp differentiation’ you’ve employed, and possibly a judicious squirt of extra contrast. Others may have differing opinions and experiences, but you’ve definitely improved on the first iteration.

              • pascaljappy says:

                Oh, that’s very cool! Thank you for the feedback πŸ™‚

  • Michael Fleischer says:

    Hi Pascal,

    Great to see Dear Susan re-appear into its exciting future…of which we have all been invited to partake!
    Simplicity is becoming a rare bird…this website would look very attractive if not overcrowded.

    Ahead of its own time (article date says 8/8 2019 ;-)) I think your Dream Vision seems very right in its proposition
    allowing for refining/sharing ones insights/skills in a non-competitive environment.

    PS. Those vivid red flower colours are just amazing…!


    • pascaljappy says:

      Hi Michael, it always baffles me how competitive everything gets on the web. Having had my share of comptitive disgust in my sports youth, I know how bad it is for everyone and will always fight it on my turf. The only worthwile competition is against ourself. And even that has to be kept in check. I’ll be posting something about the skill sharing very soon. Thanks for the kind comment. Pascal

  • John Wilson says:

    Pascal – I agree with Henry completely. I LOVE the new uncluttered look, and being able to enlarge the images is a bonus.
    I’m neutral on adding the Exif data … interesting but not really relevant; at least for me.

    I don’t think anyone here is expecting or wants a site full of “glitz, glamour and razzamatazz” … you know what I mean.
    Keep it simple and to the point; just like it is now. Any additions must enhance the simplicity, not add complexity.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thanks John. I’ll stay away from the razzamatazz, I promise, though a bit of glamour here in there could be fun πŸ˜‰

      Adding simplicity, what a concept. Hard to do and so important. Most media websites these days are unbearable. Between the cookie warning thingy, the pop-up free downlads, the web alert subscriptions and the adverts, all you have left to actually read are a few pixels. Ugh …

      We’ll KISS !

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    “I have a dream, and there’s ladies in it.” “It would be great to hear feminine points of view in this male dominated world of ours!”
    Pascal, I grew up in the trainwreck of a broken marriage – my father disappeared when I was only 2 years old and left mum to bring up my two brothers and me – hard times, in post World War 2. Dad did surface years later and paid for all of us to go to college. But trauma is something you can never get out of the system, and there was plenty of that. Looking back now, I can see the damage it did, far more clearly than I could while I was living through it.
    Why bother sharing it? – now? – with people I’ve never met? – with other photographers?
    Two reasons.
    One – while I’ve been surrounded by a male dominated world, and it’s done considerable harm to people close to me, I haven’t really participated in it. Well not fully anyway. It was only the other day that I was talking about this kind of thing, with a lady I met outside my front door. And one of the things that came up was this. Chatting with her, I realised that in my entire life, I’ve only had 5 “real friends” who were male (not counting one of my two brothers – he & I were also very close, kind of like twins, but two years apart in age). But I couldn’t count the number of female friends I’ve had. Till that conversation, I’d never really thought about that – too busy enjoying life, which is easy if you put a bit into it.
    The other – maybe it’s a reflection of that – but I keep finding female photographers – and keep being amazed by what they can do. In broad general terms – well, within the ones I’ve met anyway – they mostly DON’T seem to suffer from GAS, they’re not all “gear heads” like so many male photographers. And they are shining examples of what many pros say about GAS – with fairly basic cameras, a lot of them, and for the most part (among the ones I’ve met) fairly limited equipment, they take astoundingly good photos – interest photos – technically good photos – artistically good photos – imaginative ones – creative ones. But they generally seem to be like me – unsure of themselves, of sharing their stuff with others, and only doing it on a very restricted basis, among people they know. They don’t seem to have as many exhibitions of their work, either. Although they seem to be OK about smuggling one or two shots into an exhibition displaying the work of a lot of photographers – and I’ve found myself staring at their photos as I walked through the exhibition, and suddenly finding myself backtracking when I realised one of the shot that made me stop dead in my tracks reminded me of others I’d seen earlier in the exhibition, and then discovering the ones that were arresting my attention were all taken by the same person – a woman.
    This is not the forum for me to keep going on & on about women, so I’ll wrap it up with one final word.
    Please, please, pretty please – YES! – more photos from female photographers. They see differently from males, and take damned good photographs!

    • pascaljappy says:

      Indeed they do. The Valerie Millet interview by Paul stunned me because the photographs were astoundingly good and she alsmot didn’t have a clue about the brand of her camera. How amazing is that? And refreshing … Nancee Rostad always blows my mind with her challenge photographs and she never mentions gear either. There seems to be a more direct line between (brain) hemisphere in women.

      I’m trying my very best to get more women involved. But the ladies are not easily wooed πŸ˜‰

      • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

        ROTFLMHAO – well not quite, but nearly! I still haven’t stopped laughing, after I read that last sentence. The thought that immediately popped into my mind was a “mantra” someone I once knew had & lived his life by – but possibly not in the same context. The words were – ” could . . . try . . . harder!”
        What a pity the site’s not yet ready for inserting JPEGs in our comments!

        • pascaljappy says:

          Working on it πŸ˜‰

          Also, will try harder. We photographers are like Tolkien’s Ents. We have lost the Entwives ! How tragic πŸ˜€

          • Kristian Wannebo says:

            … but neither we nor even our photos are as longlived.
            And is photography – and other art – akin to Entish?

  • Frank says:

    If one has a website, one has (or surely will) experience the kind of upgrade failure your site has experienced. I believe at least some of the hosting companies focused on WordPress are recognizing that upgrade failures are a reality and are providing services to allow you to off-line upgrade your site and then “flip a switch” to roll your production site to the new release. Twice in the last 10 years I’ve found myself in a “forced rebuild” state. Each was painful but I did end up with a much improved and updated site. Good luck to you.

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