year-end review

2013 overview

December 30, 2013

2013 end-of-year overview

The slideshow is of my work the past year – a somewhat eclectic mix of photos of people – portraits, weddings, engagement sessions, as well as images shot for various projects and some from the various workshops during the year. As you could perhaps see from that slideshow, the past year has been a wild ride again – and again I have to thank everyone who has followed and supported the Tangents blog (and forum). You helped make this site such a vibrant place.

A number of photos seen in that slideshow is from my next book, 60 Portraits, which should be completed early in 2014. A big thank you to everyone who offered and who participated in this project!

Learn more inside…


again, a big thank you to everyone!

It was a new day yesterday, but it’s an old day now. I’ve always wanted to quote that snippet of lyric by Jethro Tull. It somehow seems applicable on a New Year’s Day in some oblique way. But I could never make sense of it.

And here I am, on the first morning of 2013, and it just seems like it’s the customary opportune time to reflect over the past year. And of course, it’s a good time to re-energize oneself for the new year. In some ways it is arbitrary, I know, but still, January the 1st is as good a time as any.

Aside from the feedback and comments from the followers of the Tangents blog, one of the ways that I constantly see if I am doing the right thing, is the website’s traffic. If it increases year after year, then I must be doing something right.

The screen-capture at the top is the Google Analytics mapping of the visitors to the Tangents blog the past year. Nearly 1.9 million visits from all over the world. It blows my mind! Photographers from Russia, Mongolia and even Greenland and Madagascar have checked out the site.

Compared to 2011, that’s approximately a 10% increase in website traffic. Quite solid. There was a massive 49% jump in traffic from 2010 to 2011, but I think that is mostly because I started posting much more regularly during 2009 and 2010.

One other metric that I use, is the Alexa ranking for the entire neilvn site. It fluctuates over time, depending on how website traffic ebbs and flows over any 3 month period. But I was quite chuffed with the all-time high in November 2012, of being the 131,000 most popular site on the entire internet. I still hope to crack the 100,000 Alexa ranking sometime.

So while all of this seems a little boastful, it is also a way of saying that I really, really appreciate the good word that everyone puts out there about this site. It helps the site, and it helps me … and motivates me in turn to make this site even better. So for all those who have referred others to my site, and linked to my site, it is hugely appreciated. Truly. But please don’t stop now. : )

A recap of the highlights of 2012 …

Learn more inside…


a big thank you to everyone

Seen in retrospect, 2011 was a great year, with a number of exciting things happening.

The one thing that I take great pride in is in how many people read and even follow the Tangents blog. It’s both inspiring and humbling to know that a great number of photographers across the world continue to find this website of so much value. This is where the graphic at the top comes in – the number of visitors to the Tangents blog during the Oct-Dec quarter.  During Oct to Dec 2011, there were 446,640 visits to the site.

In 2010, there were 372,000 visits for the last 3 months of the year.
In 2009 there were 251,000 visits for the final quarter of the year.

Again it’s been a massive jump in traffic to this website for 2011.  (As an aside, the reason why I look at the 4th quarter and not the entire year, is that at the start of 2009, I changed domain names from planetneil and it was simpler to look at only part of the year’s traffic.)

So thank you to everyone who follows the Tangents blog and forum, and participate and ask questions and even reply to questions. You all help make this site what it is.

Learn more inside…


again, thank you!

January 1, 2011

When I posted a thank you note last year with the Google Analytics map, it felt wonderful to know that the Tangents blog reached such a wide audience across the world. Out of curiosity, I had to see how the same three month period for 2010 would compare. Well, in the last quarter of 2009 there were over 251,000 visitors to the Tangents blog …. and for the same period (Oct-Dec) in 2010 there were over 372,000 visitors! That is nearly a 50% increase in the number of visits to the Tangents blog in a year’s time!

I am equally stunned and thrilled and humbled by this. Thank you! Thank you to everyone who commented and helped, and added advice and info and helped turn this blog into something to be very proud of. And thank you to everyone who passed this website on to photographer friends.

This is all wonderful motivation to keep expanding this site, and the range of topics. I look forward to 2011.

As a side-note, I see that last year this time I mentioned the avalanche of emails, and was determined to catch up on them. I never quite did. But now with the forum, there’s actually hope that I can more effectively reply to questions and keep in touch.

Neil vN


a big thank you to everyone

January 1, 2010

I want to thank all the readers of the Tangents blog, and everyone who has contributed to this site – whether in asking questions, or posting their suggestions and help, or adding new material.  A sincere thank you to everyone who has passed the site on to friends and colleagues, and a big thank you to everyone who has linked to my site on the photography forums.

That’s my Google analytics Map Overlay for the past 3 months .. a quarter million visits from across the world!  Russia, Indonesia, Nepal, Finland, Algeria, Iceland, Chile, Morocco, Poland, Germany, Turkey, Italy, Netherlands, UK, Ireland, and of course my home country South Africa, and where I now live, the USA.  176 Countries across the world!

I changed the website into the current blog format in May 2007.  Before that, it was a mish-mash of a few web pages.   Since I changed it to a more easily maintained blog format in 2007, traffic has steadily increased.  In fact, at the start of 2009, Alexa ranked the planetneil site at 220,000 of all the websites in the world.  Right now the planetneil site is hovering around the 150,000 mark.  That’s a big jump in just this past year!

I get many notes from people telling me this website has had a huge impact on their photography, and it always feels good to hear that.  It’s an incredible feeling knowing that I have been able to help someone in understanding something, or improving their photography, whether personally or professionally.

Now, I just need to get my email inbox down to zero!  There are so many emails that I haven’t been able to get to in the past few months with the usual August – November crunch period.  I’ll do my best to get to them all.  Keep checking in!

With all this, my own understanding of photography, and my experience and skills have grown too over this time.  In a way this website has been an unfolding of that as I learn.

So, from me, to everyone across the world, thank you … and here’s to a wonderful 2010 ahead.