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Author Topic: LuLa, what's happening to you?  (Read 20397 times)

narikin

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LuLa, what's happening to you?
« on: December 05, 2013, 04:38:55 pm »

Dear LuLa,  

You have been a source of great information and useful technical advice over the years, and this is hard to say, but... recently you have become a tiresome series of advertisements for your own workshops, video promotions, and endless 'essays on creativity' or 'composition' etc.

You current 'what's new' page has:

1: Antarctic Workshop
2: Antarctic Workshop
3: Antarctic Workshop
4: Video sale Canada to Mexico
5: PODAS Workshop Experience
6: Video sale Ctein(might be interesting, but have to pay to view)

This is all dragging the site down, and I barely come here except for the forums.  Please, please, try to get away from such self-promotion and pushing 'workshops' at us forever.  Announce it once, then leave it.  Stop the pointless 'creativity' essays that are of no use and quite frankly, miss the point.  

It's exciting times, and we are all looking to find our way in this brave new world that is digital photography.   When was there last an article on printers and printing? On custom profiling options? On new papers? Comparing Raw processors? On the new super lenses - Zeiss Otus vs Leica Apo Summicron; On sensor technology - Fuji's 6 matrix vs Foveon vs standard Bayer; on Art sales and editions? On XL printing; on latest dedicated Black and White sensor technology;  on the new generation MF tech camera lenses - the list goes on and on.

Please get back to what you do best, and what has the broadest interest, otherwise you're just becoming another camera club newsletter.  All this is said with much affection and wishes for a long future to you, so  please take it as that!
« Last Edit: December 05, 2013, 04:40:34 pm by narikin »
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michael

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Re: LuLa, what's happening to you?
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2013, 07:01:51 pm »

When most people look at the What's New page they look at just the top one or two items.

The rest is history.

We need to sell our videos and workshops to remain in business. Such is the nature of what we do.

Sorry if it upsets you.

There is no change from the way things have been for about 14 years. We have always advertised our products on What's New.

Michael
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Rory

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Re: LuLa, what's happening to you?
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2013, 07:11:21 pm »

There is no change from the way things have been for about 14 years. We have always advertised our products on What's New.

Michael

Well, I luv LL too, but the tenor seems to have changed in the last year.  I'm not complaining, just commenting.
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Jack Varney

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Re: LuLa, what's happening to you?
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2013, 07:33:15 pm »

Part of the change is because we have become educated digitally. Early on there were many discoveries about the medium and its tools; ETTR, diffraction and its effects, bit depth, dynamic range, HDR and so on. Technical articles followed by related threads in the forums went on for months, even years. In addition many articles were devoted to the details of the tools in CS, LR, C1 and in the various plugins. We have become very familiar now with digital concepts and the techniques employed by the tools.

Never the less, I find something new here every day on my visits to the site. Keep up the good work and keep finding better ideas.
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Christopher Sanderson

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Re: LuLa, what's happening to you?
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2013, 07:52:48 pm »

...recently you have become a tiresome series of advertisements for your own workshops, video promotions, and endless 'essays on creativity' or 'composition' etc.
...This is all dragging the site down, and I barely come here except for the forums.  Please, please, try to get away from such self-promotion and pushing 'workshops' at us forever.  Announce it once, then leave it....Please get back to what you do best, and what has the broadest interest, otherwise you're just becoming another camera club newsletter.  All this is said with much affection and wishes for a long future to you, so  please take it as that!

Yes, it is tough to be weaned off a free lunch but a big 'thank-you' to all those who through their readership, purchases of videos, advertising space and workshops help support us and this site.

Colorado David

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Re: LuLa, what's happening to you?
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2013, 09:21:03 pm »

I'm perfectly happy to shift through things I'm not interested in or not going to purchase in order to have the content here without a subscription fee.  There are a lot of things here to attract me, but chief among them is the knowledge on the forum.  Quality content, no matter how it's delivered, doesn't come without some means of paying the bills.  Website owners either have merchandise of their own for sale, click through partner plans or a combination of both and more.  What really burns my butt is paying for an email service and still getting advertising.

Tony Jay

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Re: LuLa, what's happening to you?
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2013, 09:21:40 pm »

I don't think that we should throw the baby out with the bathwater.

There has been a bit of an hiatus recently with regard to digital stills photography but there have, in fact, been some interesting developments on the video side. LuLa, has actually documented these rather well with several in-depth reviews in the last few months.

Hopefully Canon in particular will break the drought with a new body or two that will break new ground and give us all something to talk about.

I agree that most of the ground has been well covered with regard to sensors and their technology, how to expose, post-processing and the available software, from a technical and conceptual perspective.

How best to employ our tools artistically and aesthetically remains a valid point of debate.

Although the question of the advertising is a separate one the value of the workshops and expeditions themselves should not be underestimated. Personally, I would fight dragons to do a trip to Antarctica with a bunch of enthusiastic fellow shutterbugs.

In summary, I would like to congratulate Michael, Chris, and the rest of the LuLa team for successfully negotiating LuLa through what are proving to be increasingly choppy waters.

Take a bow

Tony Jay
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billmac

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Re: LuLa, what's happening to you?
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2013, 10:00:54 pm »

Long-time lurker; frequent purchaser. I agree with the original post insofar as content is concerned. I don't care about the ads, but something has changed; the site is just less interesting and the focus has changed quite a bit over the years. The jury is still out with respect to whether LULA has "successfully navigated" anything.

On the other hand, if Michael and Chris are correct that nothing has changed (with respect to the site), then maybe some of us have changed. There is a lot of substantive content out there and I find myself increasingly looking elsewhere.

Not intended as a criticism, just one consumer's opinion. But I'll still check in daily!

Bill McClure
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Tony Jay

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Re: LuLa, what's happening to you?
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2013, 10:32:40 pm »

Interesting points Bill.

As clarification LuLa has never been a one-stop shop for me.
As excellent as the content, and the debate, is here other sites cater better for certain, more niche, content.
What cannot be substituted, at any price, is the massive number of experienced photographers who are prepared to lend that experience, either through the forums or via more formalised content.
Again, the fact that many of these submissions leads to robust debate rather than passive acceptance provides a fantastic educational environment.

As to perceived success in these endeavours success should, at the very least, be acknowledged in terms of sheer survival. Many similar websites have perished in recent years due to a combination of factors that together constitute a very savage Darwinian environment.

The fact that certain things have changed as a result are inevitable.
The infrastructure behind this website cannot exist as a charity - real money is required.
Despite the challenges, not least from his own health, Michael has managed to expand operations.
He has done this without becoming anybody's 'bum-boy'.
There is no doubt that Michael had a strong vision years ago when he established LuLa and despite the massive quantum shift that has occurred in the world on many levels in the last few years, IMHO anyway, that vision is as strong as ever.
The personal integrity of Michael and Chris has stood as a bulwark against many potential temptations that would have reduced LuLa to a shadow of its former self.

LuLa has done much better than mere 'survival'.
It has managed to uphold its vision and thrive in a difficult world environment.
So, lets give credit where credit is due.

Tony Jay
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Christoph C. Feldhaim

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Re: LuLa, what's happening to you?
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2013, 03:03:29 am »

I regularly check older articles for interesting stuff to learn.
and  still have not read everything, the site is not yet exhausted for me.
And actually I find the articles about creative topics increasingly interesting.
They are not all what I'd wish, but when mining the site for content, I still find myself digging out gems.

What I like most here is, that many topics discussed to death on the net -often by wannabe experts and people are more loud than competent-
are put into a right perspective and context from people whose experience and judgement I can really trust.

Cheers
~Chris

Paulo Bizarro

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Re: LuLa, what's happening to you?
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2013, 04:05:18 am »

A site like this survives from the sales of its products. so advertising is needed, I have no problems with that. Over the years, the content has shifted a bit from photography to video, which to me is less interesting.

I like very much the essays on the creative and artistic side, from regular contributors. Even though sometimes the content in such essays sounds to me like the authors are using the opportunity to promote their own workshops and events...

On the whole, I have been following this site for more than 10 years, and it is still top quality.

Rob C

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Re: LuLa, what's happening to you?
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2013, 04:11:37 am »

These critical posts crop up now and again, and always surprise me: it's free, for heaven's sake, and everything in life exept mother's love has to be paid for in one manner or another - there is absolutely no obligation to buy anything, and neither is there obligation to read adverts.

Were I in the market for buying trips, I'd rather do them in the company of people whose talents I can see in front of my nose than by a set of cellphone wielders - I can do that by myself quite well.

I am not overly bothered by any 'lack' of equipment reviews either: I have what I need and/or can afford, and the rest of photography, the personal part, what I shoot, is my responsibility; there is no need for others to tell me what I could explore, and if I were that challenged in the imagination area, I'd be best giving up on any visual medium altogether. But perhaps I've preached that before.

Insofar as complaints I may have: nothing to do with the management of LuLa, and everything to do with the contributors; we get what we are, and if we don't have the wit to make the content gripping, then isn't that sort of our failure? Its surprising to me when I think of the high number of readers we get, regular as well as passing trade, that there are so few people posting images. There is so much noise made about the zillions of pix available all over the Internet, yet we still receive ours from a regular minority of viewers. This may be a good thing or it may not; whatever the truth, I have seen a lot of great imagery here and for those who venture into the MF/Pro(ish) zone, some really top-grade material is availble just for the looking. There are talented car photographers, architectural and fashion/advertising guys posting there - what's not to like? And they answer questions and give real advice.

LuLa's a kind of party in someone else's home; it gets as good as the guests make it: the hosts provide venue and a lot of home cheer. We can make it swing or just collect our coats at ten or eleven o'clock and retire home to bed.

Rob C

SunnyUK

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Re: LuLa, what's happening to you?
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2013, 05:59:28 am »

LuLa's a kind of party in someone else's home; it gets as good as the guests make it: the hosts provide venue and a lot of home cheer. We can make it swing or just collect our coats at ten or eleven o'clock and retire home to bed.

EXACTLY!!!

That's why I think it's a shame when polite criticism at the site style is being met with "well, that's the way it is, we've got bills to pay, like it or lump it". People making this critical posts do so because they WANT to make it swing. They DON'T want to collect their coats and go home. But if the host doesn't sometimes listen to his guests, chances are that the party will end sooner rather than later. And with the LuLa party, that would be such a shame!
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Christoph C. Feldhaim

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Re: LuLa, what's happening to you?
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2013, 06:54:38 am »

EXACTLY!!!

That's why I think it's a shame when polite criticism at the site style is being met with "well, that's the way it is, we've got bills to pay, like it or lump it". People making this critical posts do so because they WANT to make it swing. They DON'T want to collect their coats and go home. But if the host doesn't sometimes listen to his guests, chances are that the party will end sooner rather than later. And with the LuLa party, that would be such a shame!

I think it would help a lot, if people would think more about what they contribute to the site than what they get from it, especially since its free.
This does not necessarily have to be an article or something, but behavior on the forums as well.
Its like "Mommy what do we get to eat today?" against "Mommy can I help you with something?".

I think friendly critique is totally okay, and the critique presented here is not over the line I think, but sometimes my impression is we are soooo spoiled here that regression becomes an issue at times. ;)

narikin

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Re: LuLa, what's happening to you?
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2013, 07:40:39 am »

I have no problems with your ads, the links to B&H, etc - understood you have costs and server fees to pay. I can often click the links, as I choose.
Do workshops make money for the actual site, or the leaders simply get a free trip etc?  

Yes indeed it is as good as the contributors make it, us users in the forum (I have been active in there with my 30+ years of knowledge), and you as owners who write, commission and encourage content.

I would love to read about focus stacking, now that digital lenses are optimized at much shallower apertures. About using panoramic stitching software and nodal point work.  Always interested in digital  MF systems, about printing images, etc. I'd love an interview with Sigma about the amazing Foveon sensors, and where they will take that, with the Sony engineers of the 7R. Or a hard questioning interview with Canon and why they have just about given up on still photography.

Furthermore, you have an embarrassment of riches in knowledgeable expert contributors in the forums - there's virtually nowhere else like this - so why not get some to expand on their skills in reviews, articles or features?  
« Last Edit: December 06, 2013, 11:20:38 am by narikin »
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Kevin Raber

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Re: LuLa, what's happening to you?
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2013, 10:07:28 am »

As publisher of this site I hear what you are saying.  We have been quite busy on a number of projects. 

The LuLa team passion is very strong when it comes to photography and staying current.  We have been very fortunate lately to have a number of super contributors who are members of the forum as well as some well known photographers writing some very interesting articles for us.  We recently published Sculpting With Light as well as Introduction To Astro Photography.  We have articles planned in the not so distant future on the current state of HDR and as you ask focus stacking and pano techniques.  Michael has written some great articles lately and Mark Dubovoy's last article was a real discussion opener. We also have some very interesting videos planned and in current production for our video subscribers.  And, we will also be launching over the next few weeks a whole new line up of workshops for 2014 and 2015.  There are some great articles in our queue right now and a number more being created.  Also, any member of this forum is welcome to submit and article for publication.  Information on writing for us can be found Here . . .
All I can say is stay tuned.  I am now 120% focused on Luminous-Landscape.  Being friends with Michael for many years I know we both share the same passion for this site as well as photography and are dedicated to all the readers that visit us each month. And, Chris has been working on a lot of video projects.  Our new subscription video service is quite a deal and you'll be seeing more releases over the coming weeks and months, not to mention a good number currently in the planning stages.

This is a business though and we need to keep this business viable and profitable.  As a three man team we work hard to make sure there is good and different material that you can't find elsewhere.  If you want technical reviews there are plenty of places to go for that.  If you want hands on reviews, that we have been doing for a long time and will continue to do.  Michael has posted some great reviews on the new Olympus, Sony, Panasonic and BlackMagic cameras.  There are others currently in progress. 

We always welcome ideas and feedback.  As we move forward some folks may be saying LuLa is changing.  Well, change is inevitable no matter what.  I hope you see what we do here as a positive evolution.

Kevin Raber
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HSakols

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Re: LuLa, what's happening to you?
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2013, 11:01:10 am »

Yes, the Lula team are great salesman, on this site and in past business ventures. Otherwise they wouldn't be able to play with their toys.  I've been coming to this site since 2000 and have learned quite a bit. I'm enjoying the fact that there has been a pause in technology of DSLRs. We are now forced to talk about more important topics that makes photography meaningful.  My favorite article about products was on Hasselblad's recycled technology for the rich.  I'd love to have a camera with sequins or rhinestones.  Lula provides an interesting livingroom for discussion with people I otherwise would not have contact with. Still it does get a bit out of control when people miss the big picture and start teasing everything apart through pointless bickering, but that is the nature of the beast.  I was a little disappointed that one had to pay $10 just to hear an interview with Ctien but it was good. On the other hand I think Lloyd Chambers site is crazy.  Really pay just to read his reviews? Still plenty are willing to pay.  I figure Michael will invite me to be his cabin boy on next years Antarctica trip.  I'll crash out up on the deck in a fluffy sleeping bag.   
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fike

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Re: LuLa, what's happening to you?
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2013, 11:52:34 am »

Between 2003 and 2008 (approximately) the rate of change and innovation was staggering.  An entire industry was transforming from film to digital.  There was a lot of new technology to understand and there was a rapid explosion in digital capture and processing techniques using these new cameras and software.  Quality and usability improvements were substantial and easily noticed. 

The rate of change has leveled off.  The Digital Imaging Bubble has ended.  Innovations are far more incremental than revolutionary.  The excitement has settled down and left behind those of us who are truly passionate about making images to trudge on as we did before the bubble.  It is the natural progression of things.  There is interesting stuff to read and talk about, but we don't have the great epiphanies like we did before when we explored the depths of ETTR, panoramic stitching, HDR, focus stacking, exposure blending, advanced raw processing, and etc....  This cooling-off is perhaps a good thing. We can settle back and focus on our craft instead of our tools. So it is no surprise to me that the photography articles here and elsewhere are a bit less revolutionary. 

As for monetization of LuLa...MEH, It's Michael's brand to do with as he pleases.  He is gracious to put up with the hassles that come with hosting these forums.  He acknowledges how he benefits from the LuLa community.  The relationship is symbiotic. 

What is the next big thing that will shake-up digital imaging? I don't know.  Maybe this is it. Maybe we have tapped out the technology? Maybe not, but when you figure it out, make sure and tell the rest of us so we can beat it do death for a few months. 
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OldRoy

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Re: LuLa, what's happening to you?
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2013, 12:59:23 pm »

I tend to agree with the OP somewhat, however I'm also quite prepared to ignore the minor discomfort that the change of emphasis - which I perceive too - entails. And I don't particularly like the way I have to navigate the browser window away from the ads to examine the current article content: but many excellent pieces are still free and it's hardly distressing.

I don't know how many users of the site feel an identification with contributors who note that this is their "nineteenth trip to Antarctica" - or something similar - but I'd guess that relatively few of us have the prospect of ever making such a trip: we have to eke out our photographic opportunities from more modest locations. But there's plenty of free content and a distinguished set of contributors to the site. Could be a lot worse... Just don't go all Adobe on us.
Roy
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AFairley

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Re: LuLa, what's happening to you?
« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2013, 01:10:37 pm »

Frankly, though I enjoy reading the articles and purchase the occasional tutorial, the real reason I visit this site daily is the forums.  Personally, I think the site has developed a more "monetized" feel to it, and I prefer the feel of the funkier older days.  That said, a lot of work obviously goes into the site, not to mention establishing it to what it is today, and I can't see any legitimate basis to begrude Michael et al any income they can generate from it.  It's easy enough to bookmark straight to the forums if you don't like the rest of the site.
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