Is there anyone out there? Anyone listening?

I think it’s time to, once again, kick the tires and light the fires here at Smogranch. Now, let me be very clear. I NEVER thought I would post here again. Yep, I was done, over it, moved on, mentally in another place, and in many ways I STILL am. However, I can’t bear the idea of starting over again and building a new site. My Tumblr site is interesting, but MAN, if my attention span was horrifying before five months on Tumblr it’s FAR worse now, and that is something I REALLY can’t live with. I know the target audience of Tumblr is 16-30ish, which is great, fine, awesome and filled with some hyper-talented folks but I’m OLD and SLOW. I’m a guy that likes the smell of glue. I think social media is bullshit and I think collectively we are regressing as communicators even with all these these new outlets of “connection.” There, I said it.

My advice is DO NOT read this blog. DO NOT follow this blog. Go outside and do something, or make something or just sit there and learn to be still, mentally and physically. You will be FAR better off in the long run than you would be if you read the garbage I am about to unload on the world. I am not doing this blog for you. I’m not. I’m doing this entirely for me. I need an outlet for words. If you want to follow along I’m glad to have you, and I’ll continue to correspond with you, but I am sucking the marrow from Internet because of selfish reasons.

Speaking of posting. This is not, and will not be a blog about photography. First, I don’t have much interest in professional photography. I haven’t picked up a camera in anger (on assignment) in THREE YEARS, and not one percent of one percent of my body or mind misses ANYTHING to do with being a photographer. You can interpret that anyway you deem fit. Plus, most photography sites are a little predictable, especially ones that are attempting to gain audience because you know what you have to do to gain audience…

Over the past few months I’ve begun making illustrations, mostly ink on paper, and I’ve begun painting. I’m feeling around in the dark with my only training being reading half a book about drawing, and it appears I don’t seem to have much talent for either of these things, but the learning process has been humiliating and incredible at the same time. I’ve also changed my life in other ways. I no longer carry a camera on a daily basis and I haven’t really made any new documentary images in five months, nor do I have any real desire to make any in the immediate future. I have reconnected with my “old life” which is rife with things like hiking, paddling, fly fishing, cycling (even more than before) and a general foundation in all things nature and the outdoors. Remember, I grew up in the country and have now completely hit the wall with all things city, city-living and modern, first world. If I could somehow swing moving to Alaska in the summers and remote New Mexico in the winter I would be gutting, skinning and cooking a wild beast of some sort. Oh, scratch that. I’ve also been vegetarian since returning from Australia, so I would be gathering plants of some kind and probably freezing my ass off due to the lack of pelts.

I want to start over here people. That is easier said than done. You will probably see posts that look and feel familiar, Blurb type things for example, and others that will probably have you headed for the “Unsubscribe” button, if in fact I still have a “subscribe” button. You have been warned.

It’s been a while since we have had a chance to talk, and I feel like I’ve learned a thing or two. What I was doing before, what I was thinking before isn’t good enough. I need to be better. I need to take more creative risks and we all need to embrace creative failure as much as we do success. Again, easy to flap the gums and talk zen, but the proof is in the creative pudding.

Most importantly, by returning to this blog I DO NOT have to buy new leather bags and a new journal cover, or change the homepage image because my bags and cover were imprinted with “Smogranch.” However, if you do change your life, and your imprint, you can find the official bags here. Talk to Arthur. There are four sizes. I’m working on him to create a backpack next. He said “I’m not making a backpack,” but I will be such a pest I’m hoping he makes one just to get me to leave him alone.

So, if you are new here, welcome. And if you are a returning friend or contact, welcome back.

This is a new series. Sixty-second films with voiceover of journal entry from when I shot the footage. This first one is actually only 38 seconds, so you will get off easy. Think cheesy art school film.

49 responses to “HELLO”

  1. Harold says:

    …kicking tires, making coffee etc… Since going outside involves me moving furniture, I will weigh in on the creative re-ignition. Reading smogranch over the previous months was not so much the literal takeaways but the triggers that helped me to see things in ways I had not previously thought. It’s good to have our bias challenged once in a while. So we benefit from reading your process because it helps our own in ways we didn’t expect.

    … vegetarian was a short experiment for me but protein deprivation drove me back to the animals… doing better involves more play time aka creativity. What works for others…. we are unique and we all find out own way. Paint, draw, fish.. all of it is important. Oh, and tumblr 16-30 no wonder no one follows me there or anywhere else for that matter. Ha!

    I’ll be following along…

  2. Missy says:

    Love you and have missed you and excited your back no matter what you post about! Remember I told you once to paint. Can’t wait to hear about your new endeavors.

  3. Missy says:

    Love you and have missed you and excited you are back no matter what you post about! Remember I told you once to paint. Can’t wait to hear about your new endeavors.

  4. Josée says:

    Thrilled! Discovered this blog after reading a Q&A piece (featuring you, obviously) on the Leica blog. Smogranch is a plethora of information, insight, and inspiration. Glad you’re back, and as others have said, I’m following no matter what you post.

  5. Tom says:

    Hey welcome back! Great to read about the changes in your artistic focus and I like what I read there. Strange coincidence I also recently started painting however it still involves an amalgamation of painting, photography, found photographs, and written text all in one. Looking forward to more posts from you whatever they may be about. If I can find a single thought or idea that propels me forward then it’s great. Gitty up.

  6. I never left this place. Glad to have you back!

  7. yeshi zangpo says:

    Hello sir,
    Are you giving-up the photography? or you are putting down the camera for while. Your photography is the prove, that you are very creative artist and I am sure you will do absolutely well in your next journey and be successful. All the best sir.

    • Smogranch says:

      Hey Yeshi,
      Well, I stopped working as a photographer three years ago, but I’ve continued to work on projects. My projects are now focusing on things outside of photography, or where photography is a small part of the overall project but no longer the single focus. Trying to learn a few new things.

  8. Hannah Kozak says:

    I knew you’d be back especially once you debuted your Tumblr site. Not enough space there for your words. I am in agreement and think sitting with ourselves in meditation is much better than reading blogs but I always liked your blog! I have always loved your writing and I’m happy to have you back. Yea, social media is bullshit, like you say, but we keep playing the game. Here’s to creativity in any form be it photography, writing, ink on paper, writing.

    Is this the bag you carry? I want to be sure to rip off your look to the tee.


    • cam says:

      Must say Im surprised but glad to have you back daniel, your measured interpretation of your journey inspired me to think more closely about mine! Now you are back, i can be vicariously thoughtful again 😉
      Also, as one of those 16-30ishs, I tried to follow you to tumblr, but to me that whole site is a dogs breakfast.

    • Smogranch says:

      Hey Cam,
      Yes, it’s a bit TOO much of everything. It’s like a visual Twitter, really impossible to keep up with or focus on, at least for me.

  9. Brendan says:

    Good to see you back and writing again, hope the walkabout was “enlightening”.
    I took one big thing from your blog: do it for yourself. I’m glad you’re still thinking that way.
    Bet you’ll miss fresh caught trout with bacon though.

    • Smogranch says:


      I should have said “I’m a pescatarian.” I eat fish and seafood. Do it for yourself is a good thing to take away. I’ve said it many times before. Best work people do is typically work they dream up on their own.

  10. Sean says:

    What a nice surprise!

    By the way, did you ever get around to asking Arthur to make you a leather saddle?

  11. You know what, Daniel? I’m glad you’re back at the Smogranch. I don’t care you’re not in it any longer for the photography or for any social media; you made that abundantly clear at the Blurb workshop this past May in Sydney. With that specific mention of time and place, it means your words and ideas had much value with long-lasting impact; I’m confident others in the two full-to-capacity workshops that Sunday in May feel the same way. So, keep writing, and keep talking about what inspires you; you do it because you have to, just as you would encourage us all to do.

  12. Randy says:

    Dude, did you get the bike yet ?

  13. Chris Fuller says:

    I tried the “I’m-going-to-write-a-clever-blog-about-photography” routine about one year ago. I lasted one entry before I felt I had exhausted everything I had to say. I never read Smogranch for the photography. It was the exploration of creativity that made it so refreshingly different from everything else. I also found it at the right time: after I could not take the photography magazines and web sites any more and I had realized how stale my creativity had become. I am glad that you are back.

  14. Sid Pai says:

    Good to have you back Dan! Every once in a while we all need to change it up a bit. Sometimes it feels better go with the unknown than to live with the predictability of the known. I have always liked your work and its nice you’re back!

  15. Neil Holmes says:

    Hi Dan,

    Good to see your blog post pop up.

    I enjoy your musings here, I do like the way the net allows us to learn about and interact with others, it’s like a chat over a coffee albeit over a great distance.

    Cheers Neil

  16. scott says:

    Thank goodness….we almost ran out of food and water here. (welcome back)

  17. jason says:

    i feel like i had something to do with you becoming a vegetarian…

    • Smogranch says:

      Actually, I KNOW you had something to do with it….I saw some carnitas last night but went with the vegan sausage instead….it was HORRIBLE.

  18. Eric Jeschke says:

    Good to hear your voice, Daniel. I am glad you are sharing your creative vision, whatever form that takes. I agree with others here that *that* is the main gift you are bringing.

    I haven’t posted to my blog in months–feeling a similar existential crisis about photography. The world has changed and now the very idea of the photograph itself (no matter how you made it) has been so devastatingly devalued by the sheer quantity of (mostly banal) images flooding the internet. I guess it has been a long time coming, but the perfect storm of smart phone cameras, always available internet and social media has finally put the last nail in the coffin. I keep waiting for this feeling to “pass”, but it just is not happening.

    And, BTW, no one (and I mean absolutely no one) writes a serious blog for anyone but themselves (first and foremost). Nothing wrong with that.

  19. Jason Timmis says:

    Wow! You don’t know what a relief that was to find out Tumblr is for the 16-30 crowd. Now at least I have some sort of rationale for my feelings of distress, agitation and a general sense of WTF when I attempt to view ‘it’. But hey, at least I was out there doing something I didn’t know how to do that day right?

    And now today, I’m stirring my drink like no one’s business. Didn’t know how to do that yesterday…..I’m out there baby and I’m loooov’in every minute of it!

    Oh,,, welcome back …and sorry the Aussies put you off meat. I’m boycotting saying ‘shrimp on the barby’ and ‘crikey’ until this whole mess is straightened out.


  20. stephanie says:

    So pleased to see the blog has a new lease of life. Your posts were missed. Looking forward to following this new creative chapter.

  21. Matt says:

    Hey Dan, it’s Matt from Brisbane. Stoked to see you’re back and even more thrilled to here you’ve started sketching! Looking forward to follow a little your new journey.

  22. Jarvis Jones says:

    What a nice surprise. I stopped checking for new posts a couple weeks ago when it really set it you weren’t coming back.
    It must be clear to you from looking at all the comments on this post what a captivated audience this blog once had. Your departure actually prompted me to start a blog of my own to fill the void you’d left, but due to my short attention span that didn’t turn out so well.
    I did in fact follow you on tumblr for a little while but as the others have said it’s a bit of a dogs dinner on there.
    I’m glad you’ve decided to undergo some kind of change in your life and are learning how to draw/ paint. (Have you read ‘The Keys to Drawing’ by Bert Dodson? – a great read.) When I left university a few months ago I took the opportunity to learn new skills and venture a little into the unknown, so in many ways I can draw parallels between your experience and my own.
    Write what you want on here. Nobody’s forcing you to write about photography. In fact I think the best photographers are the ones who have interests outside of the art world, who immerse themselves in other hobbies. This new direction will disappoint alot of people but for what it’s worth, I’m glad you’re back. Keep on writing.

    • Smogranch says:

      Hey JJ,

      Very kind of you, thank you. I’ve got a mixed bag coming up but I think there is some good stuff in there. Stay tuned. Now…go make something!

  23. Aileen says:

    only been on tumblr occasionally over the past month but when there, have noticed your absence and i’ve been wondering where oh where is daniel. alas, you are here. wherever, i shall read what you write. 🙂 paint on.

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