I think it's because the newness is off digital photography for most of us. There was a time a few years back where every few months brought some major advancement or new doodad we all had to have. Now the major advancements are few and far between. I'd say D3 last year for it's noise, and 5D2 this year for catching up in noise and offering video. There's very few new lenses that are droolworthy. Lightroom or Aperture is de rigeur now. There's very few places someone can post a picture from that we haven't seen a dozen times before. Practically all new printers produce spectacular prints, so the reviews are all about the bells and whistles. Basically it's all been done, and now we're just doing it incrementally better, and the increments are getting smaller. Toss a recession on to that and I think you'll see things slow even more. Fine with me, and probably most photographers, as it's easier on our wallets.
Couldn't agree more. The latest Photokina was a perfect illustration of this. I exhibited in 2002, 2004, 2006 and only visited in 2008. 2002 was the year when it was becoming clear that digital was killing analog: there was revolution in the air, and everything was new, fascinating and full of potentialities. 2004 was the year a lot of the expections materialized, in 2006 the Canon 5D was already old news and the focus was on the tools we could use to process and manage all the extremely good stuff cameras were delivering. Still somewhat exciting, but the magic was already fading. 2008 was a disaster, imho. The show was significantly smaller, as if manufacturers were forecasting hard times (they had booked space in 2007, when the crisis wasn't yet the global quagmire we have today), no fancy giveaway, very few cool shows. Booth that had spectacular acrobat shows in 2006 had either nothing or a couple of dancers on the floor, etc..., etc... Where people where queing in 2004-2006, we had empty desks. One of the few exceptions was of course the Nikon booth. Many of the very competent people I talked with when I was trying to decide whether I should exhibit in 2008 told me they wouldn't go this time. I talked with scores of visitors after the show and not a single one of them claimed that 2008 was a good year. Interestingly, the print and web media covering the event mostly ignored the gloom and tried to sound as cheerful as before... well, it is also their business after all.
The early 2000s were an era of somewhat crazy enthusiastic people going forward doing exciting things. It was fun. The second part of the decade, at least in this field, seems to be more an age of somewhat boring users endlessly repeating what was done earlier. Also, technically, we are getting closer to the real physical limits in terms of resolution, signal to noise ratio, etc... Processing power can still increase though, maybe we have some potential here.
In this context, the fact that there's less exciting stuff on this website is understandable. Still, is there a clearly better resource elsewhere? If there is, I couldn't find any. <bait mode>Oh, yes, there is that Ken guy...</bait mode> Are there really many questions for which you can't find an answer or at least very good starting points by simply looking here? (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/
). I don't know, this isn't obvious - so much has already been covered in a now mature and stable industry. No wonder Michael may have a hard time finding new topics. As far as the LLVJ stuff is concerned, the Maisel interview was excellent, imho.
I think we need significant new stuff to become excited again.
Of course, there is that famous "convergence" thing. At this point, I wouldn't hold my breath for two reasons: skills and bandwidth. We have had the perfect illustration of those limitations with Laforet's 5D Mark II video imho. How many of us can expect to come even close to what he did? (I am sure quite a few people on this board could do very nice things, but we do have exceptional photographers here). For the majority of advanced photographers, early adopters, power users, etc... the supporting resources (artistic, logistics, production, etc...) are beyond reach. How many photographers can jump into video and be at home? Then there is bandwidth: do something spectacular and hit a wall. Heck, even Canon hit the wall on that one. And let's not forget human bandwidth: we can look at and be moved by an almost arbitrary number of images. How many movies can we stand if they aren't build on a solid scenario and perfectly produced? A single B&W wedding picture of two hands touching can be very powerful. I can't imagine - maybe it's only me - being moved by a thirty second video of a ring exchange unless I have been emotionally prepared, there are a few cuts, ligthing is perfect, the appropriate music is properly synchronized and big red fat uncle Bob isn't cluttering the background.
Hmmm, OK, I digress... Let's leave it at this.
(and is I write this, I stumble on this
- for better or for worse, get ready for the Laforet style)