A Discussion on Friday My Town Shoot Out. Please join in.

I was going to respond to the discussion that started after Ginger posted the spotlights.  But by starting a new post, I thought it would include everyone better.  

The discussion is, "Have we become more of a photo blog and lost our roots?' 

Ginger said, "I have been with this group nearly from conception, going through many changes in members and through the changes in the actual purpose of the group.  We say it is about our towns but we have shifted our center.  Where we once had snapshots of our towns and their people, home photos if you will, we have shifted to photography being our purpose; that one great shot taken in our towns but not really about our towns."

Pauline said "By the way, I agree with your observations about changes to the purpose of this blog. I've been delighted to have received such great photography advise which I feel has helped me better depict where I come from. But I now feel it is more of a photography blog and I doubt my credentials to be part of the group. I'm hanging in there though! :)" 

Ginger said, "I also struggle with the Photography focus. but I hate to give up. I have learned a lot through the tutorials and all, but really just want to take snap shots. anyway is a great group of participants."

I did a little research to see where we have been...
We have had all of these things in the first year: Photo Tutorials, Spotlight Photos, Weekly Themes and also had Whose Town is It?, In the Limelight (Click Here for Pauline's), Member's Voice.  Things have dropped and some resumed based on volunteers willing to take on the job.

There seems to have always been a photography focus, even in the Limelight interviews.  So I am not sure why it feels like we have changed.   

My response: I have always liked this blog because it was about our towns, sharing and learning about other places is what attracted me.  I would certainly not want someone to quit participating because they didn't feel their photos measured up!  However, it does become difficult to come up with ideas for themes that always relate to the town.  I also like the group of people in the blog.  We don't link and run like so many other link ups, there is true sharing here. 

In addition, there are a million photo blogs out there already, we certainly don't need to be another one. 

I had this idea a week or two ago...Should we drop the weekly theme and just have sharing something about your town however you like each week?  We might get more participants because it is sometimes hard to shoot the theme each week. 

Share your thoughts, ideas, feelings below...Time to change things up? Are we too photo emphasized for you?  (Please say how.) Should we drop the weekly themes?
PS.  If you suggest adding something new, I will ask you to head it up!  :)


  1. I'd like to see the blog go back to sharing our town. I quit posting because of the weekly themes...I just didn't have time to do them or participate.

  2. I personally prefer the themes, i love the challenge to find some specific motives.

  3. The Themes are the main driving force to me, since they give you a something to work with. Otherwise we would just be sharing our regular blog posts. But having said that, maybe we could have a theme-free Friday once a month, as long as we post something about our towns.

  4. Gosh dang it! Nothing said was a critisim of the way FSO has morphed ... Change is inevitable, change is necessary, change changes... I was administrator for over a year, I know how hard it is to come up with topics, and after more than 4 years of Fridays (4x52= 208) having original topics is near impossible. The topics make you look at your town with more detailed eyes. The way we were... THE way We were lalalaaa.... when the group was first formed can not be reclaimed. It was a particular energy. Pauline has to speak for herself but for me I am not going to quit because I think the focus is more photography..... And the FSO itself may not be but the participants are more photography oriented. I have personally appreciated those tips you give and have at one point or the other used them. Not to worry. Now what we need is more topics.... Those we did in the first year can, in the majority, be revisited. I promise to try and find examples of the topics in Houston.... As far as I know - no more trips in the next 5 months.

  5. Travelforadventure.... Come back".... 90% of my post fotos originate in my archives. You can not always count on finding a good example of the theme.... I watch for several weeks in advance and snap as I see things that might work and when I don't get lucky I twist and turn the topic to suit what I have..... Don't tell anyone.

  6. Mesad we used to have an open week or pick a favorite from the past.... Those were always fun weeks. Look around your home town and give us some challenging topics.

  7. Fish / aquarium FSO creative inturpretation

  8. First, I'd just like to say that I didn't interpret Ginger's opening comments on the Spotlight as critical AND I didn't interpret Rebecca's post as anything but a way to get a feel for what direction the majority of people in this group want to head.

    That said, I've always been ambivalent about FMTSO. I rarely ever got comments from members of this group on my posts so I had no idea if anyone except the Spotlighter visited. Heck, oftentimes, I didn't even get a comment from the Spotlighter. This is a big reason why I stopped participating for a couple of years. When I came back, I had the exact same experience.

    I blog to be part of a community and even when I was a Spotlighter I never felt that sense of community here. I took some time off in June and let the others know I'd be in touch by the end of the month about getting back on the rotation. When I failed to contact anyone, no one reached out to find out if I was going to continue. I had broken my knee cap then blown out my back so didn't start blogging again until late August. At some point, my access to FMTSO was revoked without anyone touching base.

    The only other thing I'd like to comment on is the Spotlight. I wonder how many people would continue to participate if the Spotlight didn't exist? One of the reasons I think people come and go is because those with the highest level of skill with their cameras and photo-editing software are often the ones whose photos are spotlighted week after week. It's become something of a contest and it's not fun to 'lose' every week. Most photo memes don't have 'winners' and that may just be why this group doesn't thrive.

    Good luck with figuring out what you're going to do next. For better or worse, this has become a photography site that has very little to do things we see around town. This week's theme is a perfect example of something I couldn't photograph in my town without paying admission to one of the local historical homes or asking for permission to enter a school.

  9. I don't think weekly themes should be dropped, but at the same time a re-focus on "my town" (/home) might still be a good idea.

    Personally I like FMTSO because it's been about where we live PLUS themes. As I don't travel much, I enjoy challenges that force me to try and see "new things" even though I keep wandering the same streets.

    The spotlight part for me isn't really important - except that it serves as a reminder. I don't see it as a competition, rather as a part of learning (i.e. learning about what others find makes a good picture).

    The tutorials do often go over my head as I use a point-and-shoot kind of camera; but I've probably picked up a few tips along the way anyway.

    I suggest just try and phrase the themes so that they are somewhat "open for interpretation". Not too hard to find close to home whether you live in a big city or in the countryside.

  10. I was a bit horrified when I discovered my and Ginger's comments had sparked this debate. But after thinking about it for a bit I think it is a good discussion to have. And I think it is a reflection of Rebecca's care about this blog. Without you, I doubt we would have a FMTSO, Rebecca. I think of you as our glue.

    I do feel that the focus of the blog has shifted more towards the photography and away from our towns. I think the best way to explain it is it's like I joined a group who took photos of their home towns and the rest of the group got much better at it while I still struggle with the photos. Having said that I know my photography has improved immensely and I'm thankful for the tutorials for that. It's like I'm no longer in the beginner's class but am struggling in the advanced class. That probably makes sense to no-one except me.

    I would like to see the focus shift back to our towns, I really love that aspect and I love the challenge of the weekly topics. I know how that can be difficult, I'm still puzzling over how I will crack this week's topic.

    I don't think of the Spotlights as a competition, I'd be the least qualified to judge any competition, believe me. I think it's great that a few of us share the Spotlighting, we each see things differently.

    And lastly, I think this is a great group, always polite and supportive. I feel I should apologise to Cheryl for not following up when she didn't get back to me saying she was ready to take up the Spotlighting duties again. It's not my style to fuss over people, if I don't hear from someone I leave it at that.

    Thanks for the discussion, Rebecca.

  11. Spotlights were never meant to be about competition.... Course if you are competitive by nature they may feel like that.... But was meant to spotlight our members, and their towns (there is that pesky focus on photography again). We, the original admins, used to try and make sure that we gave everyone the spotlight before circling around again.... That was easier when there was 40 not 15. One thing I have missed is the visits and comments. There are weeks when 15 participate and there are 3 comments. I personally need the instant gratification of a comment - this leads to the feeling of community. And Cheryl I am also sorry I didn't follow through..... Been to self absorbed this past year. Maybe once a month the spotlight could be a couple of paragraphs/with photos from a member about their town..... My town is a small coastal village... My town is a large ugly sprawling mess.... GingeV

  12. Been having computer problems and missed out on this discussion until today. I would sure miss this Friday group and I mean photos and personalities. When I first started out I felt I had no skills to even be able to fit it. My skills are just a little better but I do feel I fit in. Thanks to those personalities I was talking about. Cheryl I missed you did not want to be nosey. I like having a theme. I will look at my spotlighting duty in a different way. More fair maybe in my selections. I am glad we had this discussion.

  13. Interesting comments here.

    My reason for joining this blog is both photography AND the history of my town are important to me. I love using the themes to ferret out unknown qualities of my town then research them. Sometimes I find it disappointing that some of the posts on this site are completely random and don't seem to relate to anything in particular. If the pictures do relate to your town why not drop a couple of lines to explain a little about it? I, for one, want to learn about your town.

    I haven't visited here lately as I'm now living in part of my rural area that has no internet connection but it is an historic ranch which I'd love to share with you.

    As for running out of themes, yes, I see that can be a problem. I will forward a few more ideas as I think of them. How about humour as a topic? Something that tickles the funny bone?

  14. How about rush hour.... Going out and coming back - even Pauline's rural area must have times when a lot of people are out and about and on the move....cars / busses / trains / school busses / children rushing to school / Starbucks line.... I think I could make the list a mile long. yesterday I walked around the Vatican just to see how big it really is..... Took two hours to get around.... The line to get in stretched for a mile..... Rush hour.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. One of the things I love about this blog is the diversity of its participants. A topic that is easy for some of us one week will be difficult the next week, that's how the cookie crumbles - and, for me, that's what makes it fun. I'm having a chuckle to myself thinking how different my rush hour would be to, say, Jama's. And I think that's what would make it a great topic. Despite my rural location I can apply most topics. We have some great topics coming up!

  17. One other thing I'd like to add is that sometimes I find the weekly theme comes around too quickly and I don't post unless I can do a little research first. So I miss a week...no big problem.


Post a Comment

Let us know what you think, in the comments below: