So, who the hell is this John Hoke person anyway?
It's all about me! No?
Damn it! Sure kick a guy in the … er … “ego” why dontcha?
I am a photographer, who happens to have a full-time job that gets in the way of me enjoying my photography
addiction hobby more. I’m also an Information Security & Technology professional, coffee addict, curmudgeon, craft beer and whiskey connoisseur and an extremely sarcastic wise-ass (not necessarily in that order).
While I may be fluent in “typo”, I do not speak stupid. Add to this, I am also a 25+ year cancer survivor, which I was initially diagnosed with as a teenager. This has given me a different perspective on life, the universe and everything, as well as a serious case of gallows humor. If you cannot handle these contradictions, I bet you are one of those people who like to “think outside the box”, missing the point that the box itself is your limitation.
Nothing and I mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING that I photograph, post, opine on, make fun of, like, dislike or mention directly, indirectly, or discuss (get my point?) are to be misconstrued as the opinions of my employer, family, dogs, or even the voices in my head. Hell, an hour later they may not be my opinions any longer. People tend to take life way too seriously – lighten up!
If you cannot handle views that bother you, maybe the Internet isn’t the place for you… perhaps I could suggest a jacket with wrap around sleeves, this way you will always have a hug that you undoubtedly require. (Do you now understand I am a wise ass 😇).
Copyright Notice: (a.k.a. Don't Steal My Stuff!)
All photos posted, unless otherwise attributed, are © John P. Hoke 2000-2023.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material, text, images or other media posted on this blog, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner (i.e.: me) is strictly prohibited, rude, and uncool. Excerpts and links to content may be used, with the exception downloading and reposting of images, provided that full and clear credit is given to John P. Hoke and linked to the original photo page on this blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. No rights are granted for other reuse, repurposing, modifications, etc.
If you are interested in using any of the images found on this site, please contact me to discuss. While I may be an amateur photographer, and am not looking to make money of my hobby (although I won’t turn it down either), I do want to retain control on where my images are used, how they are represented, by whom and under what circumstances. I’ve been known to license images for no cost, it’s less about making a profit and more about making sure I retain creative and distribution control of my work. You can also purchase some prints online.
Comments (a.k.a. The Echo Chamber of Hell)
As for personal data, email is used for login if you choose to create an account, and if you wish notifications, but again, I’m just a blogger who isn’t using this info for anything other than to provide this site. I am running analytics from Google but that is life on the big interwebs – this is so I can better understand who is visiting, what they liked, etc.
A bunch of plugins help me to manage security and authentication, and other bits that may have their own use/privacy policies. I cannot say that they won’t do bad things such as log you into my website and set cookies … this is the interwebs – if you don’t want to share information about you or your session/computer/favorite colors/that you like long walks on the beach/personal insanities/etc., use tools that prevent it from happening. Yeah, it is all about that whole personal responsibility thing – people should really try it more often.
If you have no idea what I am talking about – just relax, take a deep breath and surf away – I really am not watching you right now through your device’s built in camera … (although you may want to fear your microwave hahahahaha),
Simpler privacy statement – You are on the Internet, and should have NO expectation of privacy without taking appropriate measures to ensure such. That is it in a nutshell … if you are uncomfortable with all this crap, use appropriate cookie blocking tools, ad blockers, or whatever else makes you happy.
If you really have issues with these functions, cookies and etc., perhaps the Interwebs are not for you, or you need to adjust your tinfoil hat.
What are my inspirations?
Coffee, quadruple shot lattes from my DeLonghi Espresso machine, yes please! Ok, that and anything that catches my eye. When that fails, I’ve been known to enjoy a Balvenie single malt, Teeling Irish Whiskey or two … (or three… yes please!).
When I got seriously back into photography I was inspired to push my photography by Matt Kloskowsky (or simply MattK), Hudson Henry, Trey Ratcliff and others who have pushed the way I see and think about photography from different angles, and I hope that it is starting to ‘sink in’. My brain works ‘oddly’ and photography to me is both a scienceand an art.. I need to understand the ‘how’ of something so I can get to the ‘why’.
Recently, I’ve started to “get back to basics” and somewhat move away from the HDR photography I had been doing for years. I’ve relearned the love of black and white photography – a format that really pushes the photographer to be better and more technical as it is a more difficult medium to pull off well.
Cameras & Lenses
Ok, this section is now cleaned up and updated as of 27 April 2023. I shoot with two bodies, a Sony A7Rii and A7Riv. Lens wise, I use a mix of Sony, Lensbaby, Laowa and Tamron glass depending on what I am out photographing. Whenever I post a photo on the blog, I try to include the EXIF data to provide the lens, camera, settings, etc. Hopefully this helps others understand how the photo was captured, and the equipment choices. Looking at other photographer’s settings and EXIF data was always a huge help when I was learning and hopefully this helps someone else down the road … even if it is what not to do. Currently the lenses I have to select from are:
- Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 Di III RXD (Primary “walk-around” lens)
- Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD
- Sony 24-70mm f/4 Vario-Tessar T FE OSS
- Sony 85mm f/1.8 SEL85F18 Prime
- Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS macro lens
- Sony FE 200-600mm F/5.6-6.3 OSS (aka the bazooka)
- Sony SEL35F18 35mm f/1.8 Prime
- Laowa 15mm f/2 FE Zero-D Prime
- Laowa 15mm f/4 Wide Angle Macro Lens (with Shift)
- Laowa 10-18 f/4.5-5.6 FE
- Lensbaby “Burnside” 35mm f/2.8
Most of the photographs posted prior to switching over to Sony mirrorless cameras were on my Nikon D610 with Nikon 70-300mm 4.5-5.6G IF-ED VR, 50mm 1.4G and 24-85mm 3.5-4.5G ED VR lenses. At some point I added a Tamron 28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 as a walkabout lens, as well as a Sigma 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye Lens and Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 for architectural and ultra-wide angle shots. Unfortunately that camera all but died while on a business trip to Australia and New Zealand – which is where I picked up the Sony A7Rii at a great price 👍🏻.
Tools & Software
I’ve gone through a bit of an evolution in post processing tools. I was originally using Aperture and Lightroom, but first Apple killed Aperture, then I got tired of renting the Adobe tools, so went and switched over to On1 Photo RAW for the majority of my RAW file processing and editing. For HDR processing I used Aurora HDR Pro primarily after seeing what Trey Ratcliff was doing with it. Since then On1 greatly improved its HDR merging processing, and I cut one more step out of my workflow.
In the ever-evolving insanity that is my workflow, in August 2018 I migrated my catalog and DAM (digital asset management) from Lightroom to On1 Photo completely. It took a lot of work to get there and even more to get printing to my Canon Pixma Pro-100 working properly. The upside is that I no longer have to ‘rent’ my software from Adobe, and have perpetual licensing for my workflow solutions.
Now in 2023, I am using a mix of On1 Photo Raw, as well as Lightroom and Photoshop – what goes around comes around…
My Code (a.k.a. Syntax Errors)
(Last Update: 22-Aug-2023):
I recently went through a house cleaning and stripped away the majority of plugins that were either a royal pain in the ass, no longer did what I wanted, or just simply were redundant. This has greatly simplified this site, and its administration (and saved me some money in the process). A Win/Win if I ever saw one!
I have moved my site themes and page builder to Elementor and Elementor Pro, created my own template kits for the pages and galleries and no longer use a third party theme – or gallery plugins. As far as other plugins go, I use Akismet to fight spam, and yo integrate my Facebook and Instagram pages, I use plugins from SmashBalloon (Facebook Plugin, Instagram Plugin) and the paid versions for that matter! It is rare that I pay for premium plugins, usually community editions do what I need, but these two are amazing and the extra functionality was well worth the cost!
In May 2017 I started using ShortPixel to manage the sizes of the photos I post — they can be HUGE and take a while to load. The file size savings (and speed improvements) I’ve been getting from ShortPixel is simply insane. Since 2020 I have been using WP Rocket for caching, and hitting 95+ on Google PageSpeed rankings! WP-Rocket really is an amazing tool to speed up WordPress, which has a lot of bloat in it.
To secure this site I’ve implemented Wordfence Security and use the paid premium subscription. As a security professional, I needed something that would help me manage the metric crap-ton of bad/malicious traffic I was finding in my logs, and WordFence has greatly reduced my aggravation level – the primary success criteria. No security solution is perfect, and WordFence can be bitchy at times, but overall I’ve got it tuned to a signal to noise ratio that I can work with. All of the SEO for the site is managed through Yoast SEO Premium and that is pretty self-explanatory.
I know that I am omitting something plugin wise, but the ones mentioned above are the core of this site’s functionality at the moment – and always subject to change when my ADHD kicks in and I go on a three day code bender.
If you have any questions about this site, how I manage it, what I use, or what the color of orange sounds like as it passes the sound barrier in a vacuum using American Sign Language to describe the smell, drop me a line over on my Contact page.
My website may contain affiliate/marketing links, which means I may get paid commission on sales of those products or services I choose to include in a post – if I am getting paid I will always say so in the post. The reviews or editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. Disclosure is provided in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Long Story Short – Running the site costs money, and I may try to make a couple bucks to offset those costs, but this is not the primary purpose of the site. I use Amazon Affiliate Codes to make a commission if you buy anything through the blog and Google AdSense for example . If you do purchase something via these affiliate links, I thank you … you are helping to support my photography habit … er … hobby.
Alternatively, I accept cold hard (digital) cash donations. If anything here tickled your fancy and you’d like to drop me a couple bucks as a thank you or to buy me a cuppa coffee – use the PayPal donate button below.Also, I am generally a cantankerous son-of-a-bitch. The fact I may post a link to something does not mean I endorse it, nor has it any weight in my opinions of it. Unless of course I expressly say so 😇.
Where's Waldo ... er ... John
Originally from New York City, but now living in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in its South Side Art’s District and loving it. This may be a small town, especially compared to growing up in NYC, but it’s in a great area! I am close enough to Philadelphia and NYC so I can have the best of both worlds… Plus I love shooting the old industrial buildings and steel plants – there is something extraordinary in the dichotomy of Rust and Nature that sets my soul on fire.