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Blog Notes

I had a stressful and busy day yesterday, and the upshot is that I've lost the use of my car—I guess because, in the opinion of the Universe, I didn't have enough to worry about. You know how it is. I'm forced to return to related obligations this morning, and then this afternoon I'll be getting to the comments on the last two posts. There are at this moment two hundred and fifty three unpublished comments awaiting moderation, about half a day's work. So, no new post today, but, starting at abou...
Tags: Photography, Blog Notes, Michael Johnston, Michael C Johnston


Lowepro and the 'T' Bags

I'm currently looking around for a camera bag again, which is, to a photographer, the equivalent of a nasty fungus in an embarrassing place that flares up from time to time: just part of the burden of our existence. Because everyone knows two things: 1.) most bags will serve, if you'll just relax and adapt and get over it. And 2.) no bag is ever just exactly right. I don't care—shop all you want—devote your life to it—you'll never find it. It's not out there. That's the whole gestalt with camera...
Tags: Photography, Panasonic, Ralph Lauren, Chicago Bears, Gucci, Pentax, Photo Equipment, Leica, Lumix, Ricoh, Michael Johnston, Mike, Michael C Johnston, Veblen, Ronnie O Sullivan, Kelly Moore


Portrait Photographer?

Just a question—if you do portraits in a serious or at least semi-serious way, do you have a favorite portrait lens? Mike Original contents copyright 2018 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site. Harsh reality (To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.) Featured Comments from: No featured comments yet—please check back soon! [Author: Michael John...
Tags: Photography, Lenses, Michael Johnston, Michael C Johnston


Synthesizing

Synthesize, verb: combine ( number of things) into a coherent whole. I was going to write more about this, but I see several people have already mentioned it: when deciding on my top five categories, I noticed that in a few cases I could synthesize several into one. For instance, I had "portraits," "kids," and "women" on my list of 25; so what's wrong with "portraits of women and children" as a category? Actually, there might be something wrong with it. I think I need to look at more of my portr...
Tags: Photography, Jeremy, Michael Johnston, Michael C Johnston, Photographic aesthetics, W H Murray


Warren Buffet's Principle (The Little Game, Part 3 of 3)

[Note: Some of you won't like this, and that's cool—we all own our own photography. It just means this post isn't for you, that's all. Don't sweat it—even excellent treatments can't be good for every patient.] For those of you playing along, in Part 1 you wrote down 25 categories that your photography falls into; in Part 2 you prioritized them or ranked their importance to you. Here's the big idea: You should not only concentrate on your Top Five categories, but also actively avoid the other twe...
Tags: Photography, Omaha, Warren Buffett, Buffett, Flint, Michael Johnston, James Clear, Don, Mike, Michael C Johnston, Scott Dinsmore, Photographic aesthetics, Mike Flint


Open Mike: Evidence-Based Nutrition

[Ed. Note: "Open Mike" is the anything-goes, often off-topic editorial page of TOP, wherein we let Yr. Hmbl. Ed. off the leash and allow him to indulge in tracking behavior*. When all is well and the moon is in the Seventh House, "Open Mike" appears on Wednesdays.] There's lots of putative information on the Web about nutrition, probably 90% of it misinformation. If you're curious, possibly the most reliable site, in my opinion, is NutritionFacts.org. Michael Gregor, a rock star in the WFPB (who...
Tags: Photography, California, America, Fda, Lundberg, Off-topic Posts, Open Mike, Rice, Michael Johnston, Mike, Brown, Michael C Johnston, Gregor, Old South, United Stated, WFPB


The Little Game (Part 2 of 3)

(Here's Part 1.) For Part 2, prioritize your list. Put the things that are most important to you at the top and the ones that are least important at the bottom. Be intuitive about it if need be; be logical about it if that appeals. Think only of yourself, not of an audience. Eschew thoughts of remuneration*. Keep shuffling till you're satisfied. Tomorrow is "Open Mike" off-topic day, and I'm going to write about borosilicate straws and rice. So we'll get to Part 3, the payoff post, on Thursday m...
Tags: Photography, America, Mark Twain, Michael Johnston, Mike, Michael C Johnston, Twain, Photographic aesthetics, Bill Pearce


Suggestions Only

...By the way, just as an aside, any "exercise" I have written about in the past or might write about in the future is purely discretionary. We're all adults here. I'm not saying that everyone "should" do anything, or that anyone needs to do it; I'm not even claiming that everyone who does do it will reap benefits and dividends from the experience and be better off for it. (Because how would I know?) Any of these things are only suggestions. Evaluate them for yourself; if they don't appeal, pass...
Tags: Photography, Blog Notes, Michael Johnston, Michael C Johnston


25 List Done?

Has everybody who wants to play my Little Game completed their list of 25 categories? Because I'll be posting Part 2 (of 3) tomorrow morning. I've finished mine, although I could work on it some more. Part 2  still requires some work, but it should be easier. Part 3, which requires no work, makes the point—and will engender the discussion. The concept of this Game isn't my invention, by the way...it comes from a world-renowned expert in an entirely different field. Who I will name and give credi...
Tags: Photography, Michael Johnston, Michael C Johnston


Sunday Support Group: OC/OL/OY (and Mike's Camera Decision)

From time to time I suggest little exercises—well, okay, sometimes some big ones too—for people to consider. I love learning, and learners naturally teach. One of those exercises was called OC/OL/OY—one camera, one lens, one year. Here's a description of it on PetaPixel*. So...it's January...time for resolutions...which I am notoriously bad at keeping...and I'm thinking...well, that maybe I should take my own advice and do a OC/OL/OY. I've actually done a OC/OL/OY before, several times. Mainly b...
Tags: Amazon, Photography, New, Cameras, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Dslr, Tamron, Zeiss, Michael Johnston, Mike, Michael C Johnston, Minolta, Amazon US, Panasonic Leica


Big Price Drop on Fuji X-H1 Appears to Be Real This Time

It's not $1,199, but it's $1,299 with the power booster vertical grip and two extra batteries. Since the vertical grip alone is normally $269 and the batteries normally each cost $66—and $1,299 is $250 off yesterday's price of $1,549 for the body—that's like a closeout price for this camera. Buy it from B&H, as Amazon only has the body-only for the same $1,299. Your total savings compared to yesterday are $651. That's...good. I don't understand the reasons. Maybe it's just not selling well. I gu...
Tags: Amazon, Photography, New, Cameras, Michael Johnston, Mike, Michael C Johnston, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Amazon UKAmazon Germany, Steve Biro


The Little Game (Part 1 of 3)

I have a little game in mind, one that might be revealing and helpful to you in your work. There are three distinct parts to it. But I think it might be good to do it in order, so I'm only going to give you the first part today, for those who want to do it "in real time." If you don't want to play the game now, you can always go back and read all three steps later. But I think it will be most beneficial to do the first two parts before you know where it's heading—otherwise, I suspect you might b...
Tags: Photography, Hdr, Editing And Portfolios, Michael Johnston, Michael C Johnston, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Photographic aesthetics, Amazon UKAmazon Germany


Go With Your Gifts

I've been having a conversation in the comments (noteworthy in itself as I usually don't even allow conversations in the comments—as I sometimes say, this isn't a forum) with a reader who, despite being of older age, is willing to remain flexible, change with the times, and reinvent himself if need be. That's admirable and I don't want to pretend otherwise. But he's insisting that I, too, should change with the times and become a vlogger (video blogger). Like Scotty Kilmer, for example. Another ...
Tags: Google, Amazon, Chuck, Photography, Microsoft, Youtube, Kodak, Tesla, Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, Sony, Elvis, Lensrentals, Michael Johnston, Kingsman, Mike


In 2018, SONY Moved the Cheese

You know what they say: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery TOP Camera of the Year 2018: SONY a7 III Exhibit 1: In 2018, mighty Canon took its lead from...Sony. Exhibit 2: In 2018, mighty Nikon followed in Sony's footsteps too. Exhibit 3: In 2018, Sony got Panasonic, its largest and fiercest competitor among Japanese electronics giants, to depart from its exclusive dedication to Micro 4/3 and take the plunge into competing with its (Sony's) full-frame mirrorless (FFM) line as well.  I...
Tags: Amazon, Photography, New, Cameras, Sony, Panasonic, Nikon, Canon, Leica, Zeiss, Michael Johnston, Michael C Johnston, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Amazon UKAmazon Germany, Sony Exhibit


New Year, Changing Times

I've just posted a new introductory essay at my Patreon landing page, reflecting harsh realities. I hope it's not TMI! I'm going to making some more changes in the next few weeks, as I take care of some "housekeeping." Mike Original contents copyright 2018 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site. B&H Photo • Amazon US • Amazon UKAmazon Germany • Amazon Canada • Adoram...
Tags: Photography, Blog Notes, Michael Johnston, Michael C Johnston, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Amazon UKAmazon Germany


A Mistake? Fuji X-H1 Super Low Price

I don't know what's going on, but Amazon has a few Fuji X-H1's listed at $1,199 right now. [ UPDATE 1:30 p.m.: The good price is gone now.] Everybody else, even Amazon's other vendors, is listing it for $1,649. Mistake? Bait-and-switch? Gray market? Don't know; proceed with eyes wide open. But maybe you can score a big savings. It happens. It's happened to me before. Years ago, I got a digital camera at $200 under wholesale because a large retail chain promised to "beat every advertised price,"...
Tags: Amazon, Photography, New, Cameras, Michael Johnston, Don, Michael C Johnston, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Amazon UKAmazon Germany


Other People Have Print Sales Too

John Sexton, Geologic Conundrum, Banff National Park, Canada Old friend John Sexton is one of only a very few photographers in the United States capable of making a living off print sales. Seriously, you could probably count such guys on your fingers and toes. ...In case anyone out there is dreaming of making a living on print sales. You'd have a better chance with that dream of making a living on the PGA Tour. On the good side, your chances are slightly better than the one about winning that...
Tags: Photography, United States, Photographers, John, Ansel Adams, Print Offers, John Sexton, Michael Johnston, Michael C Johnston, Amazon US, Ansel, Amazon Canada, Current, Amazon UKAmazon Germany, Dexter Ted Orland Don Worth Alan Ross, Chris Ranier


Camera of the Year?

So what should be our Camera of the Year for 2018? I have a pretty good idea. Looking only at enthusiast cameras, there weren't actually very many all-new cameras. Many, from the Lumix LX100II to the Leica M10P, were derivations of already-existing models. This is a salutary trend in my opinion. Refinement of technological objects is a very important aspect of their creation and development, and I actually like, and approve of (expect, even), the trend towards Mark II, III, etc., iterations. Fuj...
Tags: Photography, Japan, New, Cameras, Sony, Panasonic, Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Michael Johnston, Michael C Johnston, Canon EOS, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Amazon UKAmazon Germany


Calibrate That Monitor!

I used to love these...great way to calibrate that monitor. I don't need them any more because my NEC came with its own colorimeter, but the Datacolor Spyder5PRO is on sale as part of B&H's Mega Deal Zone, which has been extended until Midnight Saturday. The sale price is only $89.99. (Current price at Amazon, where it's an "Amazon's Choice," is $134.36.) Do note that your remaining window to get the sale price is very limited—it's Saturday evening Eastern U.S. Time between 6:00 p.m. (when B&H r...
Tags: Amazon, Photography, NEC, Computers, Photo Equipment, Editing And Portfolios, Michael Johnston, Michael C Johnston, Mega Deal Zone


Kenneth Josephson

I really like this book, but I had to learn how to enjoy it. You know that third helping of dessert when the first helping was ecstatically delicious, or rides at Six Flags, or that friend of yours who's full of new jokes, amazing facts, facile wordplay, excessive bonhomie, and too much energy by half, but who wears you out after three or four hours? You can get too much of a good thing, is my point. What I've learned to do with this book is to sit down, crack it open randomly, and look long, h...
Tags: Books, Photography, America, Chicago, Detroit, Volvo, Michael Johnston, RIT, Ken, Michael C Johnston, MCA, Amazon US, IIT, Kenneth Tanaka, Amazon Canada, School of the Art Institute of Chicago


Cameras Can Be Dangerous

There's a new peril that art museums, curators, and guard staff have to worry about now—people destroying art while attempting to take selfies of themselves with it. ...That being, of course, what art is there for. We already know that people get run over by trains while making portraits and fall off cliffs while taking selfies. Not to mention the tragically dangerous and sometimes fatal things daredevils do in order to get themselves noticed on social media. But now people are inadvertently act...
Tags: Photography, Taliban, Warhol, Moma, Around The Web, Michael Johnston, Mike, Michael C Johnston, Amazon US, Sal Santamaura, Richard Parkin, Amazon Canada, Benjamin Marks, Amazon UKAmazon Germany, Contemporary World, Yonatan K


Deaths in the Family

...If you accept, as I do, the notion that the far-flung society of Photo-Dawgs (those who love photography and are devoted to it) comprises a sprawling extended family. Evelyn and Jim Hughes, 1982. Photo by Bill Jay. I'm extremely sorry to report that our friend Jim Hughes died on the afternoon of the Tuesday before Christmas. Jim was the editor of the original Camera Arts magazine, the best photography magazine I'm familiar with, and he was the biographer of W. Eugene Smith. But those two tw...
Tags: Photography, Kodak, Obituaries, Michael, Michael Johnston, Evelyn, Michael C Johnston, Jim, Paula, Amazon US, Eugene Smith, Edward Weston, Jim Hughes, Camera Arts, Michael A Smith, Amazon Canada


SUV Cameras (Careful There, Snarky Blogger!)

Yesterday, talking about the Panasonic G9, John McMillin wrote: "For an even more instant, 1/4-sec. first impression, I clicked on the B&H link and saw the photo. 'So much camera, so little sensor!' Maybe it's big enough for good IQ, but looking at those broad, square fenders and that needlessly domed pseudo-pentaprism on top, I'm more reminded of an F-150: 'Its small inside, but big outside!'" Okay, but for some of us small sensors are a feature, not a bug. The lenses can be much smaller. My 24...
Tags: Photography, Panasonic, Photo Equipment, Michael Johnston, Michael C Johnston, Amazon US, Acura ILX, Amazon Canada, Amazon UKAmazon Germany, John McMillin


The Panasonic G9 is the Porsche 911 of Cameras

So—big surprise—the G9 is not what I thought it would be. First of all, that idea I had about using the same sensor as the GX8? Out the window. The G9's sensor/processor makes pictures look quite different than pictures from the GX8. In some ways the files are better. And I don't think I like them quite as well—I miss the GX8's special sauce. But they're different. Meanwhile, wow, what a great camera. This is just great fun to use. One can deconvolute all the details to death, and I'm sure I wil...
Tags: Photography, New, Cameras, Porsche, Panasonic, Michael Johnston, Michael C Johnston, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Amazon UKAmazon Germany


Earthrise and Merry Christmas!

Fifty years ago today—50 years ago this morning, at a few minutes after 10:30 Central U.S. time—a former USAF fighter pilot named William A. (Bill) Anders, who is now 85 years old and lives in Anacortes, in the State of Washington on the West coast, took one of the indisputably great photographs of the 20th century. Even if you've seen it before, watch and listen as it happens— I've seen it before but it's inherently moving. Each time I see it I enjoy it. And if that's not just the quintessen...
Tags: Photography, Washington, West Coast, Jack, General Dynamics, Usaf, News And Occasions, Michael Johnston, Mike, Michael C Johnston, Amazon US, Anacortes, Ansel, Amazon Canada, Bill Anders, Shooting techniques


G9 IBIS

It's past bedtime, but I just thought I'd put up one example of the G9's IBIS, which is the first thing I've been playing with— This is a wider view of the whole scene, taken at 32mm FOV equivalent. I tried to match the "subjective brightness" of the scene so you can sorta tell how dark it was. There's just one light on, over the sink at the other side of the room. So, pretty dark. This is not the same file—this is a small center crop of a shot at 64mm-e. Both of these were taken handheld, wit...
Tags: Photography, New, Cameras, Michael Johnston, Michael C Johnston, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Amazon UKAmazon Germany


Entropy Counterattacks

Yesterday, briefly, the sun came out, if you can call it that. See it there, over the ridge? This was taken from my back yard, of the neighbor-to-the-south's side of the gully with the crick in it. Three years here and I've never met that neighbor. Keeps to himself, I guess. We had a brief period on Friday of our kaleidoscope skies...pictures coalesce and dissolve virtually second-by-second. Those are the two giant sycamores on the right. I really believe they're 30 meters tall. Then it got o...
Tags: Photography, Random Snaps, Michael Johnston, Michael C Johnston, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Amazon UKAmazon Germany, Gah Entropy


The Battle With Entropy

I thought I had a pretty good day yesterday in the neverending fight against entropy (defined as "lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder"). Got some housework done, paid some bills, picked up half the pine cones in the driveway. And we finally had some warm and dry weather, so before the last snrains (that's snow + rains—see yesterday's footnotes) I used the leafblower to herd a lot of leaves onto the lawn. Yesterday I raked some more, brought the lawnmower into the house...
Tags: Photography, New, Cameras, Michael Johnston, Michael C Johnston, Northern Hemisphere, Rancho Gordo, Amazon US, Seneca Lake, Amazon Canada, Geneva New York, Amazon UKAmazon Germany


Buried Treasure! (Belles 150A Ref V2)

Belles 150A Reference V2, vintage about 2013(?) So I have two Panasonic G9's on the way. (The first one should be here any minute now.) My friend Izzy from B&H Photo sold me one as a way to lock in the current lowest-ever price—just $1,213—and another is on the way from Lensrentals so I can try it out first. The idea is that I won't open the one from B&H until I've used the rental unit and decided whether to keep the camera. That way if I have to return it I can return the camera in the untouc...
Tags: Photography, US, New, David, Cameras, Porsche, Olympus, Rochester, Panasonic, Lensrentals, Michael Johnston, Don, Mike, Michael C Johnston, Amazon US, Izzy


Open Mike: Find the Time

["Open Mike" is the often off-topic Editorial page of TOP. It appears on...oh, never mind.] This is such an old-guy thing to say I can't believe I'm going to say it. But then, sometimes the old are wiser than the young. If they've been paying attention, and have an affinity for a currently unpopular notion called truth. Here's the weird little-advertised fact: if you drive at 55 MPH instead of 65 MPH your car is much more efficient. Just that little tiny increase in speed will drop your mileage ...
Tags: Photography, England, Texas, Wikipedia, Austin, Terry, San Antonio, Open Mike, Michael Johnston, Mike, Michael C Johnston, Amazon US, Poindexter, John Krumm, Amazon Canada, Alaskan Highway



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