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Sunday, 20 January 2008

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Thank you for that Mike. It's the depth of "The Online Photographer" that makes it appealing to me. Everything from great art photography and photographers to cultural trends and impacts to equipment deliberations is treated with a satisfying depth of consciousness and breadth of understanding.

Glad you spun off the "borg" instead of diluting the Online Photographer. I'm sure the borg will attract its own audience that should serve a real need and be appealing to advertisers.

I think posing a few questions and answers about the basics of buying your first camera would be good. I get a lot of those questions from friends looking for a good camera on a budget.

Yay! A very nice idea. Especially if you're going to expand it into a site with more practical technique tips. Like, do not take photos of a venomous snake's scales with a 35mm macro. :-) Or something like Brendan Delaney did about street photography on his site.

As to the "talking to kids" comment, I see where you're coming from. But there are also people who understand step-by-step explanations to be "talking to kids".

Nice idea! It also answered a question that I (an allegedly advanced amateur) had. I'm in the Madison area, and for most of the winter I wear these relatively thin Lowepro gloves with upraised white dots. Most of the time it's not bad enough to be a problem, since we don't have too many extended cold spells any more and I'm usually not out with a camera in the cold for more than an hour or two at a time anyway. But on days like today and yesterday, well, I really regret not having better gloves.

This site looks great. the design is sweet ;)
Now seriously, it is a great idea. many beginners have "simple" questions that are "flagged off" in the more pro forums, now they've found a new home.
This is a great new site for 2008.
Best of luck,
udi

I think something along the lines of your post on how to pick a digicam should get in there. I've actually been passing on that advice ever since (I get a load of people ask me the same question as if I ever know anything).

Hopefully many new to this game will get assimilated.

Nice initiative! I've tried to comment, however, but the option was available only for other Google bloggers. Maybe you should check the commenting configurations?

Mike,
it remembers me a letter published by C&D in 1992. In that letter, Tom Fuller wrote about the difficult photographers had to understand even basic texts, and he had extended the assertive to entire society.

Helcio

That sounds like fun, but I hope it doesn't take you away from TOP too much. There's no shortage of info for beginners out there, but the kinds of topics and discussions we find here are in far shorter supply.

But if you get tired and need a break, you can always check into the Borg's motel for a few days. ;-)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/blork/7942020/

Blogger commenting is broken these days. I wonder if it's really far too late to recommend WordPress.com? You are only just started after all.

If you could also consider the possibility of subscrition by email, that would be helpful too. My new photographer nephew gets limited time on the internets.

Great resource, thanks!

Shouldn't a link to Photoborg.org be prominently displayed on TOP?

Sorry in advance. I'm a little dim.

Do you mean "too deep" as in "too philosophical" or "too deep" as in "too in depth"?

Basically, discussing the merits/demerits of using AdobeRGB versus sRGB should be in which blog?

Thanks.
Jeff

Jeff,
I don't think many beginners would know what a "color space" is....

Mike J.

Mike, this is a great idea for anyone hungry for no-nonsense info on photography basics.

Rather than adding to "things that casual photographers might like to know", I'm going to comment on the publication process itself.

I think what could be valuable is to think some more about out how to make this blog different from 1001 other almost-useful blogs. In other words, have you got the time and interest to really break the mould and create something unique?

First, communication. Here is an interesting example.

A friend asked me for some links on photography basics. I searched ... and searched. Nearly everything I saw seemed like slap dash communication. Websites with photography tips were often crammed with 100s of other boxes, ads, sidebars and links to "related" items. Blogs entries often lost focus quickly and forgot who they were talking to.

How many forum discussions did I see re: "Getting started ... some advice?" where you could almost hear the noise of the crowd as the thread progressed, with long lists of things to take into consideration, forum members out-doing one another with helpful tips. Often this would be simply overwhelming for the original poster (who may not have posted again out of sheer embarrassment).

It was annoying to find that simple, well presented guides on photography were so lacking on the www. I mean "fabulous!" stuff. Not just "interesting".

Instead I lent my friend an old copy of John Hegdecoe's "The Photographer's Handbook" (1977 ed). I pointed out that while this book was technically out of date, it presented many of the essential things you'd need to know about working with a camera in a very clear and concise way. She loved it. She liked the diagrams. She found it easy to absorb and it gave her a new sense of confidence (even using a digital camera).

Back to the blog. The first thing that comes to mind is an utterly concise step by step approach. As we know, a lot of people who mess with photography for fun will switch off quickly as soon as they see long paragraphs discussing the pros and cons of shotting RAW vs jpeg (or any other topic de jour). Or they may not have much time. The hard part is guessing what might be that switch-off point, while offering follow up links for fast learners.

If I was doing this, these would be the three things I'd do:

1) Strong visuals. Diagrams showing how and why. Could you use pictograms and other symbols? Visual story boards? Slideshare?

2) Make it easy on the eye without it looking generic. An attractive large(r) font, simple elegant page design, very easy to navigate. Tweak the template to make it elegant to the point of being unusually so.

3) Build themes. Weekly tutorials. Take them on a journey. Show the connections.

I'm really highlighting the challenge of making the design and presentation simple, inspired and really engaging for an audience who are enthused but perhaps uncertain about trying new things out.

After all, you have an excellent blog already (this one) which has a strong "voice" - a quality that seems all too elusive for a great many bloggers. The challenge is picking out the essentials and translating many words into well chosen images, comments and suggestions.

However you do it, make it unique! I'm sure it will be a good one!

Hey, I second the Wordpress motion. No, really. Blogger is dreadful, and that's putting it lightly. In seven years of blogging, I've used Blogger, Typepad, and Wordpress, and Wordpress is miles better than the others (with Blogger being so far behind it's downright embarrassing.)

The site looks great. How about a "Tip of the Day" feature? That alone would keep tons of people checking regularly. I'm not a beginner to photography, but I am a beginner to shooting film. Been taken with it though lately, sticking with my OM-2n and OM 40/2 while my digital gear sits around. I'm sure I'll have some basic film-related questions for the Borg soon, as embarrassed as I may be to ask them. Better yet, if you ever think to start yet another site, I hope you'll consider an analog blog. Regards, Amin

I agree with Andrew and think your idea a sound one Mike. From a marketing standpoint in terms of strengthening your place and presence online as a fountain of knowledge, an excellent writer and a great place to run across new things on the web, I have one question.

Why on earth do a second separate blog? It seems a step backwards and is yet another bookmark. It seems maybe you are worried about diluting the "depth" of TOP with the direction this will go. Answering novice questions and dispensing advice is just one more way of making the TOP an even more robust website.

If your happy with TypePad why not just create a separate "blog" within it?

The more info coming from TOP and filtering out through the web the better, I just don't think this is the best way to do it.

Fondly,

Charlie

Resistance is futile: you will be assimilated!

Nice name for a photography website :-)
BTW I haven't stayed in Borg's Motel that was mentioned in Helcio Tagliolatto's comment but I've driven past it :-)

ArB

Like the clean design. Nice catch registering photob.org too.

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