91 Novels


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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Some time on Saturday the counter ticked past 220,000 comments posted here on TOP since 2007. About 20,000 of those were added to the posts as "Featured" comments. If you accept an approximated average of 50 words per comment, that would mean I've read and moderated some 11,000,000 words of comments since moving here to TypePad from Blogger—about the same number of words as 91 full-length novels*.

And you know what? I still very much enjoy receiving and reading comments. That should be obvious! I look forward to them every day. When I was "down" during my recent eye operation,

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Film vs. Digital (Not What You Think!)


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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To yesterday's "I Feel Old" post, Steve Jacob wrote:

I bought my first SLR in 1981. I bought my first digital camera in 1999. It's now 2019. I have officially been a digital photographer for longer than I was a film photographer. It just doesn't seem like it because time passes so much faster when you get older.

Interesting thing to look at, I thought.

I caught the photography bug but good in 1980 when my Mom's first cousin's wife asked me to do a portrait of their family (we summered with them so I knew them well), and by

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I Feel Old


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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Blink

What's so funny about this?

Above all, digital still seems recent to me. I mean, it's only been around for 22 years, in my life at least. I sometimes forget that a whole generation has been born and has grown up without experiencing cameras that don't instantly show what a picture looks like.

I was recently idly flipping through one of those web features that make you click "Next" to see a succession of pictures. The category was "Amusing Prom Photos." In a photo of a couple (above), probably from the '70s or '80s, the boy had his eyes

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Honey, We Need to Talk (Sony A7R IV)


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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Sony a7r iv-2

The new 61-MP Sony A7R IV

…Now then: the new Sony costs $3,500.

I know price sensitivity is individual and varies wildly. To those living penuriously on a Social Security check, such a purchase would be like me wanting to buy a private jet. Yet I personally know readers to whom $3,500 is well within the bounds of consequence-free discretionary spending—for some, at the lower end of that category. Not something that would be done absolutely thoughtlessly, maybe, but not a big deal if it was something they really wanted.

If you're the hypothetical "normal" person, however, the chief downside

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Stay Cool


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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An extensive heat wave is forecast over the Eastern US for the coming weekend. If for any reason you or a friend or relative gets overheated, remember that the bathtub is a good way to cool down when there aren’t other options—a long soak in lukewarm or coolish water can give one’s body a break in coping with overheating.

Drink lots of water and remember that only “mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun”!

Mad dogs and englishmen

That’s Noel Coward, who also wrote a song called “Why Do the Wrong People Travel,” some of the lyrics to which go like

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Sony Announces Formidable New Flagship


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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Sony a7rIV-1

Flexing its muscles as the class leader in the newly crowded full-frame mirrorless (FFM) category, Sony has announced a fourth generation—designated IV—of its high-resolution A7 model, the A7R.

The biggest news about the A7R IV is the 61-megapixel backside-illumination (BSI) CMOS sensor, which betters (by the numbers, anyway) several so called "medium format" cameras (which are really large format in digital terms. I know, all very confusing). When it ships in September it will be the highest-resolution 24x36mm camera extant.

…Which makes me recall that my 24-MP Sony A900 was the highest-resolution 24x36mm camera extant when it came out in

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The Happier Photographer


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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Written by Oskar Ojala

I have taken close to 10,000 photographs on my various smartphones, mostly with the most recent ones since they have had the best photographic capabilities. Some time ago I shot and edited an image with a phone every day a year. I even printed few. That taught me a few things, and I now think I'm pretty decent at phone photography.

That said, I'm not taking as many photos with my phone as I used to. The first reason is ergonomics: the speed of the controls and the phone is not satisfactory for action photography, which

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Today’s the Day


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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It's Prime Day—a day of blowout deals from Amazon for people who have Amazon Prime, obviously intended to get more people to sign up for Prime. There are many pages of deals and many hundreds of items on sale.

A few things I can personally recommend:

Dyson Animal Vacuum Cleaner: I've written about this awesome thing in the past, and after a number of years I'm still very satisfied with mine. It's a good buy at $600 in my opinion, but why not pay $350 instead?

A Vitamix: I wish all products were like the Vitamix, a throwback

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Prejudice, Guilt, and Shame


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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I've made a decision: I'm no longer going to be prejudiced about smartphone cameras. Ten years ago, when Janis Krums took a cellphone picture of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River, we still had reason to be amazed that a non-photographer could take a news picture with a phone and it could be, like, meaningful. It seemed like a brave new world then. No longer. Now, smartphone cameras are just another kind of camera. Like any other kind of consumer camera from the Kodak Brownie to the point-and-shoot to the digicam, they can be used for any

Fleurs-small
Leica-III
Ice cream-small
JimH

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Another Day, Another Sixty-Seven Cents


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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At just past noon yesterday, Saturday, my day off, here's what I had done during the day up to that point:

  • Shared a riddle I got from a nine-year-old;
  • Stroked a blind Basset;
  • Bought a bag of fresh-picked mixed salad greens and a bag of freshly-hulled fresh peas;
  • Happened to hear the Beatles, Dylan, and the Stones on the radio in the car, like nothing at all has changed in fifty years;
  • Made a Packers joke to a retired player for the New England Patriots, who did not think I was amusing in the least;
  • Contributed to an Alzheimer's organization;
  • WWdollar

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Anya’s Riddle (OT)


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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Riddles are best if you puzzle them out in your head, so no cheating! Google begone.

It's better than God and worse than the devil; the poor have it, and the rich need it; yet if you eat it, you'll die.

What is it?

This was put to us at the "Picnic in the Park" last night by a nimble-minded nine-year-old named Anya. (I hope I'm spelling that right.) Her soon-to-be-stepdad Alex was the only adult who got it.

Please, no spoilers in the Comments. I'll pass along the answer tomorrow morning.

Mike
(Thanks to Anya)

UPDATE the next

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Update: Wendell’s Golf Story (OT)


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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I managed to find Wendell Webb's original golf story that he sent me 16 or 18 years ago. My recounting of it from memory the other day wasn't too bad, but I got many details wrong. Here's the real version, from the horse's mouth so to speak. This is from Wendell:

I was just thinking about your golf story and thought I would tell you a short story about my short-lived golf career.

In the late '70s I was stationed in Turkey for 18 months. Unfortunately, I was there when the US cut off military aid to Turkey, and the

WWdollar

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Disguises


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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TV cameraman (and, of course, TOP reader) Mike Plews wrote a nice comment to yesterday's post about approaching people in the street—he said that a tip he gives to "new kids" is to lose their sunglasses.

I second that. A few additional tips—keep your hands out of your pockets, and no hoodies! Light clothing helps too, in my opinion, unless you look like the business in dark clothing. Short sleeves in Summer—people won't think you "have something up your sleeve"! Anything that helps you look more like what you're presenting yourself to be can't hurt.

Like a vest. A photo

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Disguises


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




TV cameraman (and, of course, TOP reader) Mike Plews wrote a nice comment to yesterday's post about approaching people in the street—he said that a tip he gives to "new kids" is to lose their sunglasses.

I second that. A few additional tips—keep your hands out of your pockets, keep the camera out in the open, and no hoodies! Light clothing helps too, in my opinion, unless you look like the business in dark clothing. Short sleeves in Summer—people won't think you "have something up your sleeve"! Anything that helps you look more like what you're presenting yourself to be

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Street Portraits


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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If you read Peter's post from yesterday carefully, you can discern a few things. First of all, it started with simple connection on a personal, human level—a look, a smile, a greeting. Then, engagement—an invitation to have coffee. Next, as anyone might do who was beginning a conversation, he listened, learning her name and where she was from and so on. Then they found common ground, in that he had some familiarity with Somalia, where she came from, and he was sympathetic to her feelings of sorrow about it. Finally he asked if he could take her picture, and got

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A Woman Without a Country


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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Words and photo by Peter Turnley

Turnley memorialLuna, a woman without a country
A street portrait by Peter Turnley, Harlem, New York, May 27th, 2019

On a beautiful spring morning over this past Memorial Day weekend, I was sitting at a terrace café in Harlem. A woman walked by, and we looked at each other and said hello. She had a lovely smile. I asked her to sit down to join me for a coffee, and we began to speak.

She said her name was Luna and she was from Somalia. I told her I had been in Somalia as a

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The Magic Happens: the Golf/Tennis/Pool Paradigm in Photography


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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Here's one really flat-out great thing about photography as a hobby. By way of explanation-by-analogy, permit me to open with one of my patented digressions.

A number of years ago, when the best center in basketball was Shaquille O'Neal, I realized with swelling pride and a fair amount of amazement that I was just as good as Shaq.

…At free throws. During one particularly bad game, I read in the papers that Shaq hit two out of ten. Well, I can hit two out of ten free throws, my brothers, my sisters. Seriously I can. Just like Shaq did, I

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Houses of Many Mansions


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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"In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2)

Yesterday JimH wrote:

"In everything I have been involved with, photography, writing, managing businesses, racing, flying, etc. I have concluded that some people are naturals, some try hard and improve and some just need to try something else. I am sure the same thing exists in athletics because I have no relevant abilities no matter how much I tried. Thus I am skeptical that any number of repetitions will make anyone

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Large Format Online, c. 2019


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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Who sez you can't do large format photography online? Earlier I stumbled across The Large Format Photographer Society on Facebook, a Public Group where you'll find posts about everything from how to photograph an angel with a 1952 SuperReflex and Fomapan 400, to a picture of the Gran Sasso Little Horn, to the Tri Tran Signature Fine Art Lens.

The description says "This group is more about images than showing others your equipment," and is strictly limited to 4×5 and up.

Mike

Original contents copyright 2019 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this

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Translating Three Million Words to Photography [REVISED]


This post is by Michael Johnston from The Online Photographer


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[Ed. Note: I think I made a misstep yesterday—I published that post "half baked." This is a retry! Allow me to walk back the lower half of yesterday's post and write a new ending. The first paragraphs are the same; the new section starts with "My gut feeling…."  —Mike the Ed.]

Regarding Saul Bellow's advice that if you want to be a writer you need to write three million words, C.R. Marshall asked:

"Three million words…I wonder what that works out to in photographs. Anyone have any thoughts? (And don't give me

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