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SARS CoV2 aka COVID-19: Reader Sentiment about Me Covering It

Prior to the email below received today, I had already decided that I need to stop spending so much time on SARS CoV2—I'm getting in serious trouble on revenue (subscriptions), and I have a family to support and extremely limited financial resources. It’s starting to hurt.

So I have no choice but to greatly reduce my time on the situation, and return to normal programming—analogous I suppose to what millions of people are feeling now, who cannot go on much longer without income. I doubt that I will go silent on this pandemic so harmful to so many, but I cannot afford to spend so much time on it.

These are strange times, and I feel/felt that I was making a contribution when so many people are suffering, and so much of the “news” is so unhelpful and hard to understand.

Some readers have correctly pointed out that some of my statements have been unfair and could be hurtful—I agree. I have great respect for anyone who writes respectfully and points out specific things they find problematic using facts and reasons (not assumptions and accusations). In my defense, I did not explain my views well at all in a few posts (very badly done in a few places), and certain things could easily be taken to form an impression which is not at all what I feel or meant—that’s my fault and I take responsibility for it. To those I offended, I apologize for that sloppy work in a few places—and I have gone back and clarified what my viewpoint is, particularly on the WHO as an organization—in no way do I think that the vast majority of dedicated people in these organizations have bad intentions nor do I think the WHO as a functional organization needs to 'go' (though it needs some serious post-mortem reassessment)—my gripe was/is about the leadership problems that need to be fixed.

Second, I would ask that readers give me a chance to explain my views by asking before assuming. Everyone deserves that in all situations as there is ample room in written communication for misunderstanding, poorly explained or even well explained.

Reader Scott W Baker writes:

With all due respect, though your Photographic related blogs are spot on and very informative, your discussions of the COVID-19 issue are highly off putting. If I want info on this subject I very much will look at other sites.

Your best suited on FOCUSING! On your best skills, and stick to that line of thought, I expect you will lose a lot of readers if you continue with the COVID-19 coverage.

I for one am losing interest in your blog if it continues as written, Just my humble opinion.

DIGLLOYD: I don’t fault anyone for this sentiment, though it seems out of touch based on the the huge majority: aside from 2 irrational hate mails a few weeks ago, this is the only “shut up about CV19” email I have received so far—all the other emails I have received have been grateful for my coverage, or engaged/interested.

Still, this email from reader Scott (not a subscriber that I can determine), expresses a sentiment that could be more widespread than I know. Maybe it is more about disagreement on viewpoint than on coverage (“other sites” are what, exactly?), but that is unstated.

I do feel that in times like this, differing reasoned viewpoints are badly needed, but they must be tempered by empathy for those badly affected (infected or economically). So my internal thinking dials back criticism of other viewpoints, excepting leaders at every level, because they can have enormous good or bad influence which will last for many years. Unfortunately, the practice of mind reading the internal thoughts of others is alive and well.

Emil V writes:

I don't know if you have seen this, but justifies your concerns about people not wearing masks: Don't worry about some hysterical people complaining about your COVID-19 reporting.

I read most of them, and even translated the French doctor's letter and published it on my Facebook page. One more bit of information: I just noted on the top Hungarian news site: a Hungarian medical research team has found that sigma-1 receptors within cells are blocking fibrosis, the main rteason of death of most Covid-19 patients. They seem to have found a way to help the activity of Sigma-1 receptors. They need 100 million forints (some 310.000 USD) for tests with humans which is not a large sum in the pharmaceutical industry. If you are more interested here is the link in case you want a Googla translation.

Keep up your great work. Recently I really enjoyed your tests with Fuji GFX. I just bought the GF 50 lens at your addvice. A gem indeed.

DIGLLOYD: I have faith in the ingenuity of top notch minds to make progress on CV19.

Forrest G writes:

I greatly appreciate your reporting on Covid-19! You were the canary in the coal mine back in January and had more common sense than our “professionals and experts”.

Please keep reporting, however you might want to have a separate tab entitled “Covid-19 Info”. This would allow those who want to stay informed do so, while others will just read the photography blog.

Each time I see photos of the Stanford Church on your web site, I am heartened for personal reasons and history there.

I intend to continue my subscription as I find your testing of equipment invaluable. I try to support local businesses as well.


I do have a quick question, however. I have a D850 and enjoy it, but the weight and bulk of that camera and lenses seem to get heavier as I get older. So the Z7 looks like a possible replacement, but you didn’t seem to like it or the S lenses very much. If this is true what mirrorless camera system would be a better choice? I love the D850, maybe just keep it and buck up? Or maybe comment on which lenses you think are best for hiking vs. in town use.

Thank you and keep up the great work!

DIGLLOYD: much appreciated.

I have been considering some kind of filtering by topic for the blog, but have not implemented it—significant work to do well. In cases like this however, I am not sure it will satisfy those whose main issue seems to be not about the topic per se, but an intellectual intolerance.

As for a mirrorless system, the Nikon Z7 system is fantastic. The lenses are excellent on the whole—beautifully corrected in several ways, so I have few reservations about the Z system for general use, and the Z7 ergonomics are the best in the business IMO. For myself, the wide lens selection and the camera resolution keep the Sony A7R IV system my favorite at this point for what I shoot—for example the superb Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO and siblings.

Claud F writes:

The reader (not a subscriber!) has a problem with your COVID-19 coverage and opinions. Well, the options are to stop reading if the COVID-19 articles are problematic or as the reader says, off putting. Or not subscribe.

No publication (I don’t read every New Yorker cover to cover) is going to be able to be all things to all people all of the time. I would think that most of your subscribers are reading your site for reviews of specific pieces of equipment and tidbits on technique. They trust your judgement and they can relate to the landscape orientation of your reviews

That hasn’t been abandoned and replaced with CV19 comments as far as I can tell.

As a person who travels extensively in the backcountry I find your recent experiences due to CV19, specifically the closure of the Alabama Hills, relevant. Finding ways to manage access and behavior in natural public places is something that needs to be talked about. I for one don’t see a problem using your blog as a way to discuss the CV19 problem for outdoor photographers.

DIGLLOYD: that hits the nail on the head... no one is forced to read my CV19 coverage, indeed, anyone with viewpoint intolerance can bookmark the reverse chronological index and click through to just the photo articles. It seems to be more of a viewpoint intolerance issue.

Outdoor visitation—there is some merit to not endangering oneself and needing emergency help in this current situation, but my observation is that 99.9% of visitors are just camping out and pose no demand on emergency resources. High-risk activities like backcountry climbing, skiing, etc could be prohibited while affecting hardly anyone, though I deem it of nil value.

As to closure of certain public lands, I am violating no rules (I was evicted after a rule change was made, having been there for weeks), and I have been remaining outside all closure zones.

It is unfortunate that developed campgrounds are closed, as these all have substantial social distancing and most travelers are prepared for total separation for days, and some for weeks. I can’t think of a better strategy for high-risk people than to go camp out away from the world. Yes, they have to resupply, but so too do people in cities, where the risks are far higher just going to and fro to do that, and living in close proximity. So in my view, the government is working to infect more people by such closures and doing psychological and economic damage in the process.

As to me, I arrived in this area since Feb 20, and have been here ~8 weeks now (doing two double centuries a bit further south, prior to the shelter-in-place mandate), so I didn’t carry any infection here. My self isolation is surely far more extreme than 99% of the population of the USA, having resupplied only a handful of times. Were I to go home, we’d have dual-way exposure of myself (at risk with asthma and multiple past history of viral pneumonia), my wife (well into the high risk age group) and I have two daughters who will become vectors as things reopen and they return to work. My 3rd daughter is at very high risk due to an auto-immune disease, and she is self isolating in a single unit at college in special circumstances. So it makes no sense to go home and abandon my work (though I’d drive all night and go home if any of my family really needed me).

Tony K writes:

I also found your postings a little heavy and felt a considerable frustration coming through about what specifically is going on in the States. However, I also found your posts and links very thoughtful and factual. Like everything else, photo gear, computers etc., you write about.

Personally, I can only express that "I have a bad feeling about this” ! The whole thing… From the dubious start to the as yet undetermined finish.

Like you, this situation has completely undermined my trust and faith in the caliber of leadership on every front. In people, who voted them into office in the western style democracy… How does the new Emperor in Europe sounds to you?( Hungary has one now! ) If this was not portrayed in a movie before, well, this story would definitely be worth of a screenplay. Not one of these leaders you comment about should be making any decisions ever again, yet there is no way to get rid of them… There is no way to hold them accountable. “We are all in this together” - slogan may sounded reasonable a month ago, but I do not see open grocery stores aiding individuals, families who lost most of their income, with price reductions. The Banks are not showing any mercy either… One of the reasons I stopped to listen to my favourite radio channel is their ongoing advertisement of a collection agency. Yes, people are unable to pay their bills, so hire us…!

Like you, I have real life personal experiences with the heroic front line medical professionals, mostly positive, with an added in question mark here or there, just to make it real! I am blown away by comments of how the CDC and hospitals look upon the suffering of people as an additional cash windfall. Has anybody noticed that it is in the best interest of the hospitals in the US to have as many CV19 diagnosis and near end stage critical treatments? It is horrifying to even ask of how much will it cost to a survivor after getting off the ventilator.

The positive thought that I am ending today is that: As a community on a global scale, we will progress into a "war-time" economy and self sufficiency very painfully perhaps. And because there will not be a New Normal, we all must start to think about the “what ifs” which will make us a better citizen. The ugly underbelly of the past entitlements is well exposed. Who will be willing to listen to the “same” election BS in a few months?

Here fortunately, the guy and a bunch of misfits elected will not be able to carry out their destruction of our economy, schools, teachers, nurses and doctors as they will not be able to hide even more damage under the guise of policies.

Please take care, enjoy the wild wild west, your photos are uplifting and continue with your work in good health. All the best to your family.

DIGLLOYD: not much comment on the above specifically, just a POV.

In general in times of mass stress, I prefer to give everyone extra leeway except leaders who have a direct impact on lives and fail to correct mistakes. Mistakes will be made and that is OK so long as they are corrected and acknowledged. That’s a key aspect of leadership.

The primary risk I take in covering CV19 is mind-reading of my internal thoughts, leading to wildly inaccurate characterizations of what I think. God help me if I phrase a sentence that is read and taken as the opposite of what I said (fairly common)! The 'tell' for such reactions is a failure to ask even a single question, ask for no clarification of my views, always coupled with insults. Disagreement is part of life, but assuming views is a terrible way to interact.

Robin writes:

Consider cognitive dissonance. People are unwilling, indeed, unable to listen to ideas which don’t resonate with their internal values and beliefs. I imagine those who don’t want to read your articles about COVID-19 are likely not to agree with them. I think sometimes you have a tendency to get a bit excited about a topic, but I usually find your views worthy of consideration. Don’t stop on my account just because I don’t happen to agree with every post you write.

DIGLLOYD: absolutely, and we are all subject to it. I work hard to ask myself constantly if I am engaging in cognitive dissonance or confirmation bias. At best I can catch most of it, but surely not all of it. “Excited” (I prefer “active mind”) was my personality from the time I could talk. I am somewhere on the neurospectrum far out of “normal”. I know a number of brilliant people who “suffer” the same “problem”.

Raul writes:

I am not a subscriber but I was one some time ago. I plan to subscribe in the future. I am writing to let you know that I did learn quite a few things from your coverage of COVID-19. I appreciate that you took the time and effort to do so. It is true that many of us come to your site to learn about lenses and cameras but I am not sure why anyone would have an issue with the same person and the same rigor *focusing* on the issue of our times.

DIGLLOYD: thank you. My goal has been to help and inform given the dismal state of the news media on all sides.

Damian S writes:

Lloyd - although i generally agree that you're too heavy in this coverage at the cost of photography context I have to defend you and say: you are so very well researched and thought-out in your material that I find it very useful. I *believe* what you say and that's a lot more than I can say for most other sources available to me.

Your writing reminds me of Jim Collins - a passionate pursuit of the truth. Frankly your data could save my life or the life of a loved one.

My advice: just cut it way back but please know you are adding real value in the time of crisis.

From Collins: "I offer the ideas on this site and in all my work for your thoughtful consideration, not blind acceptance. You‘re the judge and jury. Let the evidence speak. "Jim Collins - Books - It's in the Research

DIGLLOYD: the truth once understood cannot be gotten out of one’s mind. That is why there is such ugly discourse today—a form of self protection. Acknowledging that a viewpoint was incorrect is very hard to do, but my promise to my readers is to do so publicly when and if I do.

For now, readers can always bookmark the reverse chronological index, and pick and choose by blog post title.

Anon writes:

One of the reasons I pay for various subscriptions is because of your valued observations, few of us are gifted enough to sort through all the data to make informed decisions, fortunately you are there and able.

I truly appreciate your take and care on all matters, be it on sleeping bags, face masks, bike lights, shoes, vans and viruses.

Your reader who thinks he can get the quality of COVID-19 info from other sources would have to be very high up the ladder, and we probably would hear nothing of what he knows. Hope this era passes quickly, thank you you for all your sharing.

DIGLLOYD: thank you. As it turns out, the most popular posts of all time in my blog (11 years) have been on health, and on hiking shoes, believe it or not!

Percey S writes:

I have always appreciated your in depth analysis of not only photographic gear but also your willingness to share your observations on clothing, foot wear, the Sprinter Van chronicles and your ongoing CoV2 coverage. One would think that the majority of your readership does as well.

However, It make may sense to separate the CoV2 coverage from the photographic coverage…that may be helpful in terms of finding specific subject matter in one place. The "Gary Snyder of Photography", a phrase that has popped in my awareness a number of times…..there are very few photographers who "live" their art in a similar way that GS lived his poetry. Many of us continue to have the highest respect for your contributions.

DIGLLOYD: thank you for the perspective.

For now, readers can always bookmark the reverse chronological index, and pick and choose by blog post title.

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