Reflexive Shopping


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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This is cray-cray, but sometimes I do it. I go on "shopping autopilot" and shop even though it makes no sense.

For instance, at the moment, as I've mentioned, I'm shopping for a plain little black bag to keep the G9 in to make it easier to take it with me on drives. I want something black (car interior: black) and nondescript so it doesn't call attention to itself in the car. But then I wrote about Billinghams, and did some research on Billinghams (I actually heard from Martin Billingham, the founder of the company), and before you know it

Johnstonbag
Billingham Hadley Small Pro

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Random Excellence: Ned Bunnell (Blood Moon)


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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BunnellNed Bunnell, Blood Moon

Ned writes: "Here’s the story. Since all my big lenses are in storage while we renovate our new-to-us old ranch house, all I had was my iPhone XS and Ricoh GR. I’m really not into moonscapes, so I just to took a quick snap with the phone.

"As you can imagine, the moon was no more than a spec of dust on my XS display. I knew there’d be thousands of similar images of this tiny moon on Instagram. I love visual challenges, like in the old days when I’d quickly sketch editorial or product concept

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Blog Note


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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Having just moderated 400+ comments over the past few days, I thought I'd mention a few nuts and bolts FYI—

Names: In the "Featured" comments, I reproduce commenter names exactly as written by them in the commenting box. The only rule I have is that I do not reproduce "handles" that are business names or come-ons (for example, "Best Seattle Drone Photog"), or URLs. (Or crude/profane handles, although that almost never happens.) Most often, I solve those problems by not featuring (and sometimes not even publishing) the comment.

Emails: Another issue is that in some cases I

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Billingham Bags


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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I know, I know, what David Paterson said…in the last Featured Comment on the previous post…but I can't help one more comment about bags. And that is to point out that any time you get a lot of use out of something, you win.

I circle back around to writing about Billingham (here's their website, which has the least informative "About Us" page I've ever encountered) every few years.

I put Billingham in the "High-Status Luxury Veblen-Good brands" category in my Guide to Bag Brands. However, Trevor Johnson said in the Comments that he bought his large

Billingham-1
Wingtips

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REVISED Camera Bags Brand Guide


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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(I'm finally caught up with the comment moderation—84 comments on the "Settings" post, 205 comments on the "Camera Bags" post, and 102 comments on the "Portrait Lens" post.

Sorry to be so late getting them all up, but that was exhausting!

Nevertheless, thanks to all who contributed. Some really great comments on all the posts. Please do scroll down one last time and look at least at the "Featured Comments" on all those posts. —Ed.)

Having been somewhat more completely educated now, please allow me to modify…

 

MIKE'S SEAT-O'-THE-PANTS BASIC GUIDE  to
CURRENT CAMERA BAG BRANDS

 

Wotancraft
Think tank logo

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Random Excellence: Frank Stefanko


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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Stefanko

Frank Stefanko, Corvette Winter

From what I read about it, this is one of the most famous pictures of Bruce Springsteen, showing the singer as a young man with the Corvette he bought with the proceeds from Born to Run (and still has). It was taken by his friend Frank Stefanko, and is also one of Frank's best-known photographs. Strangely, I had never seen it before the other day, when I happened across it while researching Southside Johnny's Hearts of Stone. Frank Stefanko took the picture for the cover of that album too, among many others. Frank has had a

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The Biggest Flaw I See in Pictures*


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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In one way it's curious that Henri Cartier-Bresson is known for "the decisive moment," and for things like Joel Meyerowitz's description of him darting and pirouetting through crowds like a hummingbird, wielding his Leica like a hibachi chef's knife, because it downplays the amount of time he must have spent sitting around waiting.

Because as I understand it, one of his picturetaking strategies was to find a nice setting, and then wait around until something happened in it. Who knows how long he had to wait, but he was a committed, uncompromising guy, so I imagine that sometimes it must

Setting
Muus-2
HCB bicycle

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Blog Notes


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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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 that can be.

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 about noon, I'll be adding new comments and

Illo

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Lowepro and the ‘T’ Bags


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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[UPDATE: See the newer, revised Guide to Camera Bag Brands. It supplants the Guide in this post. —Ed.]

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

Tamrac
Lowepro
Plews

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Portrait Photographer?


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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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:

Stephen Voss: "I shoot most of my portraits with the Nikon 50mm ƒ/1.4, but my favorite portrait lens is the Nikon 85mm, especially for environmental portraits.

Rusis

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Synthesizing


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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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 portraits and pictures of women and children

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


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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[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 twenty.

The idea comes from "The Oracle of Omaha," renowned

Lovin spoonful

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Open Mike: Evidence-Based Nutrition


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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[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 Greger, a rock star in the WFPB (whole-food plant-based) community, is not a typical "diet guru"—he started his organization with

Paul Duncan

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The Little Game (Part 2 of 3)


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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(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 morning.

That's all for now,

Mike

*Sorry. My favorite sentence

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Suggestions Only


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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…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 on by. There's no one-size-fits-all way of learning photography.

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25 List Done?


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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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 credit to, of course.

Mike

ADDENDUM: I've been sick today, and

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


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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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 because there have been a number of more-than-one-year periods when I only owned one camera and one lens.

G9

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


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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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. UPDATE: Amazon U.S. now has it too.

Your total savings compared to yesterday are $651. That's…good. Very good.

I don't understand the reasons. Maybe it's just not selling well. I guess it does come

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The Little Game (Part 1 of 3)


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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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,

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Go With Your Gifts


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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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 reader chimed in, saying, among other things, "I would recommend that you look with some

Bluemoonroom-small

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