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Friday, 10 April 2009


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"I'm also telling my son the same stories over and over. That's more annoying to him than it is to me, but it's annoying enough to me. When I was younger I told myself I wasn't going to do that."

Didn't you tell us that already?

Anyways, if you aren't bouncing around on your prostate like it is a hoppity hop you should stop whining.

"I could probably make the camera pay for itself in a year or two."

That's the key phrase there - if it's going to more than pay for itself before it's worthless, than you should order it today.

I'm ok with buying equipment that's business related, such as a 2.8 telephoto zoom which I'll never use just for the fun of it. When it comes to personal purchase (I'm really lusting after either a LX3 or G10, just for day to day shots) I'll struggle, whine and delay about spending a few hundred bucks.

If you are going for the sony do it now, everyday that passes is another day closer to the next upgraded model and a day you won't enjoy using it, and it's admirable resolution.
I find that if I get any high end electronic (computers or dslr's) when they just come out I feel less bothered when the next model comes out. And in your case you will probably have the camera pay for itself, unlike me and many other enthusiasts. Go for it, I would like to hear your comments on using a very high resolution camera as your regular camera.
But then again it is your money. But I think if you really cared about money you wouldn't be photographer.

You're turning into a regular Andy Rooney. Except he was born in ... 1919??!

I'm likewise too cheap -- er, frugal -- to buy a Kindle 2, but that's because I have an original Kindle. It was my birthday gift to myself last year and despite some initial reservations, I can honestly say that after 11 months of almost daily use, I have come to love it.

Not only do I read more because I can (I carry it in my messenger bag, so it goes with me everywhere, making it easy to snatch a few minutes of reading here and there throughout the day), I no longer have to deal with piles of read and unread books around the house and the cost savings from buying electronic versions of books instead of dead-trees versions paid for it after just ten months.

Unfortunately, it does a lousy job with photos (although I understand the Kindle 2 improves upon this) and the internet access feature isn't as useful as I'd hoped. Also, while 260,000+ titles are now available, it seems that a lot of books I would like to read aren't available in Kindle versions (yet).

Still, if you like to read and travel a lot, as I do, then IMO it's a must-have device. Highly recommended!

Good to know that, at 44, I'm not yet across the threshold...

"Hey you kids! Get off my lawn!"

You're getting old. Get over it & move on. Stop whingeing.
Buy the bloody A900 & tell yourself it'll be the last camera you buy, ever.
Feel better now? Good.

Curmudgeonly Pohm

That Kindle thing looks absolutely horrible!
I like books because they don't need batteries and they're pretty hard to break. I like to browse through my stacks of books and just pick one off the shelf to read a particular paragraph or passage. I like my friends to skim over the titles and ask me questions about them. This can lead to interesting discussions and book exchanges.
I don't see this happening with Kindle. It looks like another piece of technology that could draw us further into ourselves, like Blackberries and cell phones.
I am 35 years old.

These are the words that jumped out at me:

I'm becoming a bit of a pack-rat
same stories over and over
That's such a cliché

Sounds like you're pretty bored. My solution - sublet an apartment for a month somewhere different. Spend a month in New York or Iowa or Tokyo or Alabama. Anyplace that shakes up what you've been doing. Clear all that crap out of your head and house. Get a few new stories. Stop watching yourself circle the drain and get out and do something you've been meaning to do forever.

Now that you're up from the nap Mike get out, buy the camera,use it and enjoy yourself.The permanent nap is coming soon enough. I'm on the edge of old fartness you 52 year old punk.The older guys that I know who are enjoying life just laugh at me when I start that I'm getting old routine.I think I've met more than enough young people who are cliches in their own lives to worry about becoming one.Another thing you're lucky enough to have a son who will actually listen to you.I envy you.

I know what you mean about the age thing. I still think young but there are those annoying reminders. I kept the last AARP card they sent me. Maybe I'll send them some money next week if I remember.

And it doesn't get any better, either. I guess it still beat the alternative, though.

Mike, the photography dry spell is common enough, but we're in a between-season spell in the midwest. Too warm for snow and ice, too cold yet for wildflowers and stuff. So this one's is probably a temporary thing.

The miserly thing is more likely due to the economy than your newly acquired middelagedness. Cycles being what they are, this too will probably be a temporary thing.

Growing older, one the other hand, is not a temporary thing, and we should all hope that it remains untemporary for as long as possible.

Mike, HRT (hormone replacement therapy) and weightlifting, or other exercise, is the solution. I'm 53 and it works for me. A doctor could prescribe a small dosage of testosterone, or you could purchase it online and self-administer after careful research. The body produces less testosterone as you age, so you need to supplement it if you want to retain youthfulness and good spirits into midlife and beyond.

I bought a SONY Reader which has many advantages over a Kindle. Get it instead of an A900, killing two birds with one stone...

Yawn. I agree.

If it makes you feel any better, my fiance is 35 and he naps.

Of course, this is because he stays up until 3am...

I do have to laugh about the pack-rat thing; I was raised by pack-rats myself, and began acquiring possessions, especially books, at a rapid rate soon after college. It's only now, after having helped deal with the possessions of deceased pack-rat relatives and gone through several moves of my own, that I'm seriously contemplating a purge.

On the other hand, the incidence rate of me grumping about how things were different when I was a kid has gone up considerably in the last five years or so!

Take an Easter break, like those of us with "real" jobs and maybe you'll feel better....
Oh, and go buy that Sony A900 - it would be nice to read about the experience I can expect once S/H ones come down to my price.

Cheers, Robin

I am 28 and I like naps. We can not start young enough to learn from people like Churchill: "At 5:00 p.m., after another weak whisky and soda, he went to bed for an hour and a half. He said this siesta, a habit gained in Cuba, allowed him to work 1 1/2 days in every 24 hours." (http://dailyroutines.typepad.com/daily_routines/2009/02/winston-churchill.html)

Oh, and don´t forget the whisky soda, please. Probably even a better investment than the A900?!

Hi Mike,

This post certainly brought a reminiscent grin to my face; I'm 56. May I offer the following comments:

1. With regard to the Kindle 2, I myself MUCH prefer hardbound books; preferably handbound and stitched leather books (but who does this anymore or could afford it if they did!). There is something sensually satisfying about holding an actual book in your hands. I like their smell! My reasons for preferring real books is probably why I don't like reading stuff on a computer, except for shorter blog posts like on your site.

2. With regard to a Sony A900 or others of its ilk, I, too, have lusted after full-frame digital for years, but have yet to "pull the buy plug" even though there are a few "reasonable" choices now. Have you played around in PS with converted files from the latest 20+ megapixel offerings? When it opens up at 120MB, adding a few adjustments can quickly strain your computing resources. I run a Mac G5 tower with 4.5GB of RAM, and even with no other apps running while in PS it's still a strain. Once you hit upwards of 3/4 of a terabyte you'll know the meaning of slow!

And, what about the cameras I already own that I've so very much enjoyed over the years; the Hasselblad, my Leica M6 (which I'll never part with), my trusty old 8x10 Deardorff that I used exclusively over a decade? Yes, they take film. Yes, related products for these cameras are getting more and more difficult to obtain these days. But, how does one describe holding a Leica M in your hands? I've been shooting digital since 2000, but still use most of my old film cameras.

3. Lastly...wait until you get your first senior discount! :) Happened to me at an iMax theater about a year ago......

Think of yourself like wine...with age you're just getting better!


Growing old is when you are still chasing the girls, but can't remember why. Or when the wheel is still spinning, but the hamster is dead. I remember you from the old Camera and Darkroom days!-at least, you are still going strong with this website, certainly a favourite of mine...Happy Easter, Mike!

Hey Mike. I have the photography dry spell problem too from time to time. I have since vowed only to shoot what i like shooting and feel no obligation to shoot at all.
Last week, I saw a great show on composer Philip Glass on PBS. He said music is about listening, poetry is about speaking and drawing is about seeing.
I thought that was cool.
So perhaps you could relax, put the camera down and just look at stuff and only shoot things that you see.

Being just a few years ahead of you, now squarely middle aged, I uncomfortably identified with several of the "cranky old man" traits you described (and have several others, too). So don't think you're special.

But back to you, here's my prescription. Skip the new camera and computer. Channel that money towards getting a change of scenery for at least a week, preferably more. And I don't mean a trip to Fond du Lac. I mean to a place where you need a passport. Something of an adventure. Take the camera you already own; perhaps it's been waiting its entire life to be pointed at something new and exciting. Attend one of your sponsor's Italian photo workshops. Go see Alain. Anything.

Having traveled very heavily for many years on business I welcomed the time when I could just stay home. I don't like to travel. But it has its rewards and, in moderation, is as essential as diet and exercise for maintaining health. I guarantee that you'll get far more rejuvenation from that investment in yourself than from a camera.

Get up and go!

This was great reading, Mike.

50, father of two big boys & becoming a cliché himself!

A word of counsel: Buy the A900 and whatever lens you most want for it. Then take a trip. Do your blog on the run. Go to vancouver or New York, or Utah or Mexico. Or Cuba. spritz the cobwebs out of the recesses of your mind. My two sense.

I hear you, brother. I find myself buying clothing at Costco ("Shiny old man pants!" says my wife.) And what do your feet look like? Pretty gnarly? Now where did I put my dingdang Rolleiflex?

Pack up and get outta town! Go somewhere, anywhere, and catch an eyeful... while it's still there. I don't care if it's Tuscany or Jersey (the New one), whatever you like and can afford. Best thing to rejuvenate the juices. I envy those who can repeatedly make their home environs seem new in their viewfinders- I'm deeply flawed and need the external stimulus. Expensive? Can be. But I rather spend the few bucks I have when I have 'em on someplace to see and experience, than some new machine to see it with.

As for getting older, I got a year on ya, the best thing about it (the only good thing about it) is that when ya say you don't give a damn about something- you really don't!

It's not a manifestation of age to be prudent with cash when the world is teetering on the brink of a major realignment of its financial underpinnings.
Mike, that's called prudence. Or intelligence. Or impulse control. Or think of it another way. Call it planning for survival, saving for a rainy day. Some part of your brain is screaming "stop, think!"
I always listen to that inner voice... until a really nice new lens pops up unexpectedly.

My cousin works as a flight attendant here in Europe. And he told me that a Boeing airplane can give verbal directions to the pilot e.g. in case of emergeny - simply speaking the airplane speaks to the pilot if needed. And one of the most frightening but also very funny command the airplane can say is that: "Don't think. Pull up!"

May I suggest you as simply and humbly as an airplane: Don't think. Buy it!

I'm 42 (though this morning I forgot and allowed the police clerk to list me as 33!), not yet middle-aged by your criteria... but... I take long afternoon naps most days (I don't have a proper job, I can sleep when I want), I'm a pack rat (books and papers scattered over 5 rooms), I too can't make up my mind which hobby gear to buy... etc etc. In short, Mr., you're not suffering old age delusions yet. Or maybe you are, and I'm just precociously senile? Perish the thought.

Hah! I say, embrace your inner curmudgeon. Take him to heart. Enjoy the right to be irascible that comes with maturity. "When I was your age, dammit..."; gosh, it just feels good to say that to the kids now and then. Makes up for them rolling their eyes when dad starts telling that story again. My grandfather used to sit in a rocking chair on his porch with a small bucket of rocks next to him. He'd chuck a few at the neighborhood kids if they got too close to his lawn on their bikes, God bless 'im. And he enjoyed the sport of it. I'm way younger than Mike; I'm only 51; but I'm kind of looking forward to being a cranky old guy.

When I'm having a dry spell and can't seem to take a picture worth printing, I take solace from the fact that many really excellent photographers did their best work in their maturity. I mean, Elliot Erwitt and Irving Penn are still turning out great stuff, right? David Muench still does exquisite large format landscape photography in his 70's. So I figure I might have a couple of good years left.

It's a big club - welcome aboard!

As someone that is still middle aged, for another week and a half!, and also unable to pull the trigger on the A900 though I do shoot with an A700, I have one question.

Your "but not the one I want most" reference to a lens, which one?

Bob McAnally

Hang in there buddy. Anytime I go through a period where my work seems to be lacking or it seems that I have a "dry spell" I look for something new to do. Break free from the ordinary and try something new. Look at things in a new perspective and give your work some new directions. It is bound to happen to us at least once in our lives. I wouldnt classify 52 as "old man" Old man is when youre 89 and you cant do your own work any more. But none the less, stay positive...

Sadly, I am right behind you Mike. I am forty nine, going for the big FIVE OHHHH this year. Even my dogs are tired of hearing the same stories over and over. :)

Actually, the worst part of it is in writing my column. Some times I just throw up my hands in frustration, as I am getting to the point where I realize that few people actually learn anything from what I write---people have to work it out for themselves most of the time.

And then there is the work. How many kidney jarring roads must I travel before I find a shot. It use to be easy. Go out in the world, have a look, and shots everywhere. Not any more. All I see is the SAME shot as before, repeat endlessly.

But consider the alternative and its not so grim. I am already burying friends at my age, and that sure sinks everything home. What I do, I do for them---their memories. Life is short---buy the bloody camera already Amigo!



Mike, I'm 54, and this post really hit home. I haven't succumbed to taking naps yet, but otherwise, rib-slapping funny, and oh, so true. 20, 30, and 40 somethings may not get it.

Thank God we haven't run into each other in a good pub somewhere. As Dean Martin once said, "you're not drunk until you can't hold onto the floor". Holding onto the floor is getting harder to do these days.

Keep up the great work. I'm going to pull the trigger on your subscription "donation" today. I could use a few more subscribers myself.

Best wishes,

Mike: I got a Kindle 2 about two weeks ago. I ordered up a few books and the LA Times. I'm on my third novel and am blissed-out to get the paper (I don't live in LA but it is SO good). This thing could have been designed by Apple--the design is simple and elegant. I'm 52 as well and I boosted up the print by one size and now I don't have to use my reading glasses. The screen is, to me, better than a book. I can read for longer periods without fatigue. I'm not rich either, and this is a splurge, but I couldn't be happier.

I stopped putting my already-read books in a bookcase for public display a long time ago--I just want to read books. As they say in their ads, it really does "disappear" as a thing while you are reading. I've been meaning to get off the boob tube at night for a long time. With my K-2, I've done it. I go places now with my K-2 and my camera and a pad of paper for writing. It's all I want in life--

I say go for it!

Hi Mike. Got the Kindle 2 the day it came out for my wife. She gave me her Kindle 1. I am afraid to say she is addicted to the damn thing. Even gets the New York Times. They don't deliver to the beach here. But after a couple of weeks I'm actually enjoying the latest books for a better price and think of all the trees we're saving!
Regards, John

I have the a900 and it is the best camera that I have ever owned or used. I do have a question which Minolta lens are you referring to, that SOny has not ported to the new line.

Geez man, you're making me feel old! I'm a pack rat, can't convince myself to buy a camera (I need one!), and I need a nap right now and I am not even middle aged. I guess I'll impulsively buy a camera now... that's a sign of being young rigt?

I can hear the snoring!

Everything is relative: I'm 65, and I'd give my left nut to be 52.

(Er, wait...did I use that one for the Noctilux?)


I believe in taking lots of short naps and eating lots of small meals. My mom has always done this and shes thin and healthy at 60.

I am 34 and too fear telling stories repeatedly, I try to modify stories every time I tell them or tell them from a different perspective to keep it fresh.


You’re not old, you are normal.

I, too, have gone along for 52 years. Some time ago, after long years of imagining, evaluating and evolving, I took a major step in a different direction. I wanted my photography and art background to be in the foreground. I also wanted my world to be greatly simpler – to be less pushed around by the hyper-media, everything one should be (but are not) – demand for attention to something/somewhere else.

The biggest challenge, every day, it to not be driven completely by a culture that says I need to have the next BIG THING. I have to concentrate on what is important in front of, and has value, to me. Some days are frustrating, with constant questions from the culture around me:”I am not doing it like everyone else?” “Is my nascent photography work realistic?” Or, “Who am I kidding?” "I spent HOW much?"...

But then I say: “Wait a minute, Look what I did. If just one image is the best one I could ever do, there is NO ONE who will ever be able to make it again or dispute its importance. That one photo can “hold the wall” with the best of them, and no one has done any better.

Yeah, I have grown enough to determine (sometimes) what is right for me – right now, right here. I hope so.

Do I need a better camera? I don’t need one right now, but, Mike, You DO need that A900! It will help you grow. You know sure enough the difference between wanting something for a purpose, rather than just because it will reach some other itch that you can’t scratch.

Sure, I have made frugality into a life-long Holy Grail. How else could I live in one of the most expensive U.S. cities, successfully, on a shoe-string. (And there are many others who do the same everywhere.)

Other people are at different places, with different focus and internal horse-power. So don’t compare. Everyone knows and sees things that others do not. I, for one, know where there is a restroom (for immediate relief!) anywhere in San Francisco. That way, I can stay out all day with a decent camera, go home to a good but dying printer, and have a few other photographer-fiends to tell it all to. That is enough, and that’s when I am most happy.

Best regards,


Hi Mike,

At 58, I find that the worse part is finding yourself in the middle of doing something you laughed at your dad for doing.......

With regard to miserly, I still haven't bought the D700 I promised myself in january because I waited too long think the price would go down again not up. the reals value of my D200 DID go down again though. Maybe in May and I'll just keep the D200 for back up like I kept my D70 for backup until it was worth absolutely nothing.....

Feel better now? I'm older and far less competent than you.


I, on the other hand, take naps. Young adults don't take naps.

I strongly disagree with this statement, Mike—I have been taking naps since I was 25. In fact, my ideal job is one where I have my own office and a hammock to hang in it. What the job requires of me is irrelevant, as long as the above office + hammock criteria are met.

Regarding good shots, lately every click I make is worthy of a Pulitzer; seriously. And that's before I apply any levels and curves to the RAW file. The only reason I'm not posting them on the internet or publishing them in papers is because I'm afraid of Shepard Fairey stealing them for his own purposes.

On another note, I am way, waaaayyyyy younger than you are (I was going to say "less old", but stopped myself just in time) and have recently found myself not wanting to pull the trigger on many things, including photography equipment. I'm not even looking for lenses on Ebay anymore... So, you're not alone, and it's not necessarily an age thing.

Now please excuse me while I go tell the neighbour's kids to get off my lawn.

'Got you beat by 11 years. I came to the conclusion in the last three years that if I did not pull a few triggers, then I would not be sharp enough to actually utilize the gear. The truth is that life is short, and the days spent without taking the pictures you want to with that SONY will never occur again. Two of my cousins have dropped dead in their 50's. So, I pilfered my retirement funds. The joke, on me I suppose, is that by doing so before the promoters of all those commoditized real estate mortgage aggregations and credit default swapers screwed the entire securities market, I got the gear with inflated bubble dollars. Consider smelling, or photographing, the flowers while you can is my suggestion.

Ouch! I resemble this post.

In my first comment I mentioned your 52 year old punkdom.My wife tells me that might have been a bad choice of a word so I thought you should know that it was used in a friendly way.Much in the same way some of the older guys who I ride with[cycling] call me a punk and I'm in my mid 60's.Life is short Mike so get the camera you don't want the regret of old age Disraeli writes about in one of his books.I know a bit about that already.

I just sold a twin lens reflex camera I recently bought after only shooting one roll of film because my 54 year old eyes could not actually see anything in the waist level finder. Photography and aging is not a good combination. I am going back to my nap now.

Yea I sorta know all about priorities of age........Happy to travel overseas on a dime's notice but to go to a party down the street forget it too much bother.

...39 bucks to go to the zoo! Forget it..... the cheapskate I am. 1400 bucks ( gotta fly from Oz) for an airfare yea that's ok go figure

Cranky Old Man? Hey I'm 62, physically I've been placed at 50 and mentally, well, I'm about 19. I figure I'll make it to 21 when I turn 65. The only thing I get cranky about these days is when my family won't let me do the things I used to do - basketball, softball, bowling, etc. - because they think I'll hurt myself; back and arthuritis problems. Now that is something to be cranky about. Man, I'm too young to be this damn old :-)

Cranky is just a state of mind. It, too, shall pass. Now, lets see, where is that lens. It's here somewhere - Honey?

Phew -- I just turned 40; good news for me.

Perhaps I detect a little good ole Midwestern frugalness in your post, and/or a revulsion for fads or at least appearing trendy (disclosure: I'm a midwesterner now living east, but every day out here reinforces how much I'm still culturally from there .)

Anyway, POVs regarding "stuff" that I've found to work for me:
• if you have stuff you don't use, someone else could be using it; so heave-ho!
• move your office or studio, and then do it again: five moves is the equivalent of a good fire
• get the tech equipment you want, so that -- if nothing else -- you can stop "researching" and thinking about getting the tech equipment you want (I saved hours of "research" by simply getting the K20D when it came out, rather than pondering "upgrade?" for months)
• begin to divorce sentimentality and personally from stuff (equipment) and transfer it to stuff (creations)

As for the Kindle, I think it's a solution in search of a problem, but that probably says more about me than about it.

Anyway, off to my nap.

Hi Mike,

I'm about six years older than you but I have always been reticent about spending money on luxury items (cameras, lenses, computer gear).

After much thought and deliberation I have bought myself a Sigma 150-500mm zoom for bird and wildlife photography. If I didn't get it now I might have waited until too late when I become to old to get out and about also the weight of a 500mm might be to much for me when I'm older so the plan is to enjoy it now while I'm able.

At least now I will not have any regrets in old age that I never took the opportunity to do something I enjoy.

Regards ............. Aubrey

Good news! You don't have to spend $3K to get an A900. The price is now just a low, low $2,699.99.

Buy it, a used 35/2 (I assume that is what you are missing) and get outside.

Being at the tender young age of 45, I have already experienced the cliched (but horribly true) worst experience a human can suffer: seriously regretting the things that I didn't do much more than the things that I did but shouldn't have.

45 here and loving the Kindle 2. It has replaced book reading in just 6 weeks.



Well I'll just add my vote for the Kindle2. I've only had it for a couple weeks, but like one other poster, I've read a book, am in the middle of another and read my NYT on it. It's got it's pluses and minuses. I too, like others here, like the tactile sensation one gets with books. But if you travel much, there's nothing like having any number of books in a 3/8ths inch thick device that will even read to you if you get tired reading. And not having half read newspapers all over the place does cut back on clutter! My guess is you'll really like it.


Buy a banjo & learn to play it.


React quickly or change the name of your site to theonlinefart

I'm 53 and thought I was close to old age. Now I see I'm just past middle, middle age.

Check out my book at http://www.amazon.com/Quick-Secrets-Create-Winning-Photographs/dp/1598639021

It will give you some new ideas for photographs.

It's probably because it's been a long cold winter in the Midwest this year. I'm feeling it too.

Try making a funny stupid video or something like that. I did a couple. They totally suck, but they're fun and spark creativity, plus camera manufactures seem to think we need video, so it's time to accept that and move on...

Obviously the Pentax K20D you have doesn't float your boat either. (You still have don't you?) Wonder why that is?
Listen you grumpy old bugger... take a break!
If you make it to Oz, I'll put you up for free - but I'll be watching for any of those 'twice told stories!' Dennis F.


Dude. How many blogs get 50+ comments like these? Warm, personable ... and several of them hilarious to boot. All reflecting back to you what you put out every day.

You're a rich man, by any reasonable standard. So go buy the friggin' Sony, already!

RE: Realizing that you have become a curmudgeon: Yep, me too. I yell at the television set and lecture rude company representatives on the phone about their rudeness. I think it's a matter of losing patience with some things. Hopefully, this stage will also pass, and you and I will attain wisdom!

RE: Kindle 2. I have a Kindle 2 and had a Kindle before that. Advantages: If you travel a lot like I do you can carry a bunch of books around with you in a compact little package (in fact you could carry a thousand books with you if you were crazy enough or planned on living on a desert island). If you are sitting anywhere in North America you can give into your impulses and download a book without leaving your chair. And, yes, it might theoretically help you with your clutter (NOT!!). Also, if you read a lot of books while they are still in hardcover or trade paper, it is cheaper to buy them on the Kindle. It is not cheaper than buying books used or taking them out of the library.

Disadvantages: You cannot pass the book on to a friend or family member after you are done with it, unless they, too, have a Kindle. Illustrations, diagrams, and photographs display very poorly, so the books must stand on their own from text alone, not illustrations or graphics. And....(here is the reason why I know that you will not like it, Mike) if you are a person who loves books as objects unto themselves--if you enjoy holding them, turning their pages, the feel of the paper, the smell of them, the quality of the binding and reproductions, the positive emotional associations that books and great bookstores trigger, the overall physical/intellectual/emotional/(and yes) sensual pleasures of interacting with the book itself regardless of its content--then you will hate the Kindle. This is probably a generational thing, I doubt my kids will feel the same way. Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with mine. I mainly use it for travel.

HCB said in the Charlie Rose interview a few years ago "Younger? I don't understand younger, either you are alive or your not."
I repeated that quote to friend of mine about 90 minutes ago. He is a concert Pianist from your neighborhood. His symphony debut was with Serge Koussevitsky and the Boston Symphony in 1939 His Carnegie debut in the 40's His NBC TV Show on Classical music in the early '50s while he was Artist in residence at Eastman.
Tonight's event was a performance of Schubert's 4 Impromptus Opus 142
Beethoven's #101 Sonata in A Major
Schuman's Kinderszenen OPus 15
and Chopin's Polonaise in F#minor op 44
Impromptu in A flat Major Op 29
Nocturne in C minor Opus 48 #1
Etude in C minor Opus 25 #12.
He wrapped up with Fur Elise as an encore.
I wish I could say he was remarkable for a man of 94, but honestly his performance was remarkable for a man of 35. The only difference in his performances from his late '80s is that he now uses sheet music to be safe.
So I guess we just whine too much dontcha think? I don't know if they remember him in Greater Milwaukee, but we have been happy to have him here in Maine for the last 25 years or so. his name is Frank Glazer. check him out. Not a lot of recordings because he feels that its all about his relationship with his live audience and that when the moment is passed it should be let go.


Hi Mike:
Just woke up in time to read this before dinner...took a while to remember where I put my glasses. Thanks for this . My boy is going to love this and still be laughing the 4th time I share it with him!
At 55, I am closer to the Grim Reaper than ever, so my advice is: buy it while you can still have time t use it. Think of the enjoyment that will come from rereading the manual, because you keep forgetting what the buttons do. Every handling will be like the first time. And think of the money you will save on a Kindle 2.

This hits painfully close to home. It's articles like this that keep TOP a must read.

I'm 29, and...

I can be a packrat,
and I definitely take naps in the day.

Should I be worried?

Haven't we heard this before? :)

I just turned 54, and so much new stuff is happening in my life it'd make your head spin. It does mine. No time for worrying about getting old. No time for anything but getting on with it.

I think that actually makes it easier.

Mike, get busy! If you're not taking the photos you want, you're probably not taking enough photos (pardon my presumptuousness). Give yourself a project and shoot a photo book ... and don't give up until it's done! Write a book!

Buy that A900 and come over and visit me in Japan! Actually you might want to come over and visit me in Japan, and then buy the A900 while you're here (not sure how the exchange rate would affect that transaction).

That might even give you some *new* stories to tell over and over!

Come on! Hup-ho! Get with it!

I'll be happy to discuss your trip as soon as I've finished my nap.


I am a year older than you. About 3 years ago I started to suffer from the same symptoms but falling in love with a lovely young woman really stopped that. I work less, I buy cameras and lenses when I feel like it, I care less about money (or not having it) but I a having fun!
I also still nap because I love my naps. I live on an island in the Mediterranean and naps are part of the culture.

I woke up this morning to the thought that I have done nothing worthwhile all my life. Forced myself out of bed and went out to the garden. My tomatoes and bitter gourd (it's a Chinese thing) look particularly happy in the morning light. Feeling a little better, I came back in, fired up the PC I built, checked your post and now I am ecstatic. How do you guys put it..."misery likes company"?

Buy the D700 instead. It shoots faster, leaving you more time to feel bad about not being a good enough photographer:)

One of life's little joys is the postprandial nap. Mine's usually about 1300-1500. This treat is reserved for the very young and the aged. The very young don't appreciate it, but us older folk can get into the spirit of the thing. How pleasing it is to lie on the swing couch on the terrace and listen to the birds while resting and digesting. I'm glad I'm still "middle aged" (61). That label applies unless I die suddenly and then I would have been "old aged", I guess.

"Never give up

"Never slow down

"Never grow old

"Never, ever die young."

--James Taylor



At 52 you are TOO YOUNG to be a curmudgeon! You have to be at least 60 to qualify as a true curmudgeon.

If someone accuses you of repeating yourself just tell them you are prototyping your senility and thanks for participating.

As for the Sony - its OK. They have pills for it now - just take two and buy the damned thing.

Ain't middle age fun.

Mike, to get over photo fatigue go to the next drugstore and simply get a disposible camera with decent film (Fuji Quicksnap or similar). You will be rediscovering the joys of Zen-style shooting... Or get that old Olympus Trip 35 out of the closet (it even has your favourite focal length!).

I went back to film from digital about a year ago. I discovered that I can have a roll of film developed and scanned (2000x3000) for just 4,50$. That means you can turn your Trip into a 18M-equivalent (no Bayer filter) full frame digital ...

>I've been flailing around like a tyro. I have to do something...get out more, work harder. Something.

Being in the same situation right now I tried to put up some of my shots on Flickr couple of days ago although I promised myself I would never do that (http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/).
Well, I can tell you it feels rather bad - and I think I should remove them. My reasons for staying away from the net as a place to present pictures were right I think.
So I think if you've had good reasons to not buy a A900 or a Kindle or or, you should rather stick with you decision.



After reading this thread and John Camp's post, I'm getting a subscription!

I turned 50 last year, and I can tell you that the best thing I did last year was take my old drebel on a trip to southern California for 2 weeks (as part of my job). I was there during a holiday weekend and had plenty of time to get out and shoot. When I'm in tourist mode, I'll shoot subjects that I simply won't at home. Everything is fresh, and if people think I'm nuts, oh well, I'm leaving soon anyways.
Another benefit was that I needed some new stories. My two sons, both in their mid to late twenties, are good enough to listen to my story repeats between yawns. Maybe they're telling me that they'd rather be napping!

You know you are getting old when you start to sound like Andy Rooney. As I was reading your piece I suddenly noticed I could hear Andy's voice. I'm presently looking at getting a digital movie camera. The great thing about getting old(er) is that HD is not such a big deal for me as my eyes are no longer HD. Good bargains can be found on non HD video cameras. This also helps me overcome my cheapness.

You need to enjoy the amusing parts of getting old. I told my wife that when she can´t find something to blame it on the German (Alzheimer). She now wanders around muttering "damn frenchman". She still remembers parts of things.

Re: the Kindle2...I got one on the first day as well....I have to say for my eyes that the lack of backlighting is the biggest disappointment. You really need good ambient or direct light to see the darn thing. This can be a problem, as I frequently eat alone in restaurants, and the lighting is hit and miss.
The great thing about the Kindle is all the free books. I have downloaded (via the Kindle directly, and onto my computer then transferring) many classics that I have never read. There are tons of books that are now public domain, and I am mowing through many that I have always been curious about, but never got around to buying. With the Kindle2, you always have a choice of material to fit your mood.
And, how about a copy of Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians for ~$7 at your fingertips?

60 is the youth of old age and the old age of youth...still shooting at 75!

A900 is only $2699 now. Buy it and find a used Minolta 35 f2, and you'll be in bliss. Best camera Ive ever used. :)

I will be turning 62 this May and can relate to some of the things you are experiencing. The worst for me is forgetting where I put things. I used to be able to go right to something I'd put away years ago and now I will forget where I put some things a few days ago. For some reason small things like packaging and reading small print on contracts is extremely annoying. I've been taking naps for years, even when I was young, but only recently found out that it was due to sleep apnea which I developed at an early age. I now wear a CPAP device to sleep with at night and for the most part it helps. Have a sleep test done to find out if you have apnea. To negate the CPAP device I go through periods of insomnia which is another recent development of advancing age and probably has a lot to do with packaging and small print being annoying. I haven't become a miser because I had a near death experience five years ago and it made me realize how fragile I was and how short my life could have been. After that experience I decided that if I wanted something, and had the money for it, I got it. Most of my friends and family have died and when I looked in their coffins I didn't see their money going with them. That is another problem with aging if your the lucky one to live a long life more than likely it will be a lonely one as you will witness the passing of those you grew up with. I only have a very few friends left now and I hold my breath when they get sick. The upside, for me, was a change in direction for my photography and the outcome has been very rewarding both emotionally and profitably. Today's technology has allowed me to do things, photographically, that I was only dreaming about a few years ago. I try to keep in mind that the aging process is nature's way of making me pay for all the crazy things I did when I was young and that in itself brings a smile to my face when I remember how fun those crazy things were.

I'm 24 and find myself telling the same stories over and over. I also forget where I left my keys, peoples names, birthdays, and just about everything else. I do the exact same things my 85 year old (admittedly EXTREMELY sharp) Grandmother does and yet she attributes them to age and I do not. I truly believe that although these behaviors obviously increase with age, we do them all our lives, and simply ASSIGN age as a reason when it is appropriate. Or maybe I'm just old before my time. Highly possible.

Oh and don't listen to all the supportive comments: it is ridiculous to buy ANYTHING that will depreciate as quickly as a digital camera. Just shoot film on a vintage hasselblad, leica, rollei, deardorff and scan the negs. Those babies will never lose value.

Jesus... I AM an old man...

"I'm 29, and...

I can be a packrat,
and I definitely take naps in the day.

Should I be worried?"

Depends. Does raking leaves make you sore the next day? Can you remember where you put your reading glasses?


I am 56 and I feel young and great. I feel more creative than ever. I gave up drinking. I gave up smoking. I walk 45 minutes a day. I decided that I'd run, not walk, toward what interested young people. I pay attention to what's going on in the design world, where most of the excitement is young, and if you ever start to think the fifties are old, find me an architect at the height of his powers under fifty and i'll take a nap.

Age is relative ... I'm too old for certain things and too young for others. Learn how to use it to your own advantage.

Some years ago I took a temporary position as a speed hump and got run over by a car. Since that day quite a few things have not worked as they used to, but you kind of get used to it. In some ways I'm thankful it happened. I re-appraised my life and decided that I wanted to live on my terms. If I want to do something I do it, if I really want something I get it, and if I don't like something I ditch it.

Get the camera and start shooting with it, you'll be re-invigorated by it. There's nothing like a new item of kit to make you get out and take photos. Set your self a project, have an exhibition, do a photo book. Apply for a grant to do the project, that'll make you finish it as there's nothing quite like being responsible to someone else to make you work. Take a road trip, pack your camera, a couple of books, a note pad and pen and a few clothes and jump in the car. It doesn't matter where you go as long as its somewhere you've not been before.

Remember there's no pockets in a shroud and eternity is a long time.

"Does raking leaves make you sore the next day? Can you remember where you put your reading glasses?"

Mike, the first is just the matter of disused body. If you raked leaves every day, you wouldn't be sore afterwards. Fitness is not just a matter of years...

Second, I've got someone who's years younger than you and who can't remember where she put her car keys five minutes ago. :-)

As to the Kindle, I have been thinking about buying a Sony Reader for a couple of years now and never do anything about it. Yes, you need a computer to download books. But it's a book reader. It doesn't need to be online all the time. Plus, no fee for downloading books from the computer. Besides, Kindle cannot be online if you're not in the States.

The biggest problem with electronic books is, they are shamelessly expensive. What I'd like for the Reader (or Kindle, for that matter) is a bunch of novels. You can buy electronic versions on various places online. And they can cost as much as a brand new hardcover, $24.95. Even the $16/$10 is as much as a brand new paperback.

Why? They don't need to cut down a heap of trees for electronic versions. They don't need to run a line of presses for days. They don't need to package them, transport them and warehouse them. They don't a physical space to display and sell them. And still they don't lower the prices.

Seems to me they are doing the CD scam.

What we need is an iTunes for books. Amazon used to have something like that for short stories, but it died an ignominous and very quiet death—after they didn't do anything to promote the service. (I talked to somebody who was involved on the writing side.) But putting an arbitrary fee for something you should be able to do for free and listening as cents plink away, that they can do.

We all have dry spells, continue to plug away until you find your vision again or take a rest from picture taking for a while.

Please stop your whining & sniffling, open your wallet & go and get the A900. You want one & its the best value FF camera out there & it has the best viewfinder. Stop being tight & treat yourself!

From a fellow Grumpy Old Man, sorry Grumpy Middle Aged Man

Oh well go buy the A900 if that's what your heart tells you. But perhaps your hesitation is telling you that your heart is wrong. Consider (again) the D700. You've said several times (!) that you don't like to crop your photos and you don't like to make enormous prints. So why buy a camera whose best feature is its incredible resolution. The D700 may well have enough of that to meet your needs. But low-light photography (which you've also mentioned on occasion to be a love of yours) will certainly be improved with the uber-sensitive D700. Of course it doesn't have built-in stabilisation. Personally I'd rather have great high-ISO capability than stabilisation, but that's just me. Also, while the 24-105mm Nikkor lens is a weak performer, the Tamron 28-70 f/2.8 isn't.

But if you were married to the idea of stabilisation, just think of the passel of fun equipment you could buy for the Pentax system with the same money you'd be spending on the Sony.

-Cheers from a not-quite-but-almost-middle-aged guy.

Put all the cameras away and don't worry about taking any photos at all until you really feel like it. Just ignore it.

Hah! wonderful reading the posts from the mid-60s crowd. Anybody under 60 is still just a youngster, a babe in arms.....but hey,
's ok, you toddlers probably have full understanding of the "youth is wasted on the young" idea anyway.....
HEREWITH are some thoughts to masticate....
1) you want to really turn your life upside down inside out and forget about age and everything else.....go fall in love...you'll never be the same...
2) we didn't come here with any money, we are not leaving with any money, in the final analysis it's totally symbolic anyway, so just buy the A900, you'll receive understanding with it.
3) the greatest image in the universe cannot be captured if the camera is not in your hands. Keep walking, keep shooting, doesn't matter if your brain can't see anything, the camera and your spirit still do.
4) The key to longevity is a flexible spine and rest, so start touching your toes and embrace your naps.
Best wishes and warmest regards,
your people (us) love you.....

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