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Sunday, 30 August 2009


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Mike, if it helps ....

Speaking as someone whose third book has its author's seventeenth-favourite choice for a title (thanks to a serious, heavyweight publisher's sense of what's sellable and what isn't), and which, consequently, means almost next to nothing in terms of what I was trying to say thereby, you sail into stormy waters with my very best, and sincere, wishes.

I have no intention of buying a Sony A850, by the way. Wish I could. But any bits n'bobs I source through Amazon UK will be via your site (even if it's only the definitive Blu-Ray re-mastering of that timeless art-house classic, 'Schoolgirl Capers').

Mike, I love books on the "why" so much better than books on the "how". I've followed your columns since the magazine days. Your book should be a natural. I hope you sit down and start writing without waiting for a publisher. I think they just have a hard time visualizing stuff.

I'm good for a bunch of copies and I'll be sure to use the TOP links to buy em!

Many thanks, James. Actually, the *numbers* of items we sell matter too, because it puts us into a higher "bracket," as it were. So even inexpensive items help a lot, more than you'd think. So keep buying those DVDs...and thanks.


I've wanted to piece together a photography book from some of the more, um, interesting posts from the DP Review forums. I was thinking it could be called "Photography by Dummies". I'm pretty sure no one would agree to hand over rights but I think it would be wildly entertaining.

BTW, do MP3 sales count towards your 64 items? Cause I've a couple songs going through my head that I need to purchase.

I *think* so, but I'm not really sure. I need to ask about that.



OK, I just did my part to help out...I ordered Alain Briot's new book and a Melody Gardot CD, "Worrisome Heart" (so now you only need 62 more purchases in the next two days...does each item count or each purchase? I did it as two different transactions, just in case). I had already bought her CD "My One and Only Thrill" on your recommendation a few months ago and have enjoyed it very much; I heard it being played on the overhead music system at a Best Buy store a few weeks ago. I highly recommend it too. And good luck with getting unchained from the computer today; I need to get off here and go take my noble beast for a walk too. Keep up the great work, and of course I'll buy your book when it's available.

Rod G.

Well, sign me up as a day-1 buyer of the book.

And, I'm with kirk - "why" books are much more fun to read than "how" books.

And I wanted to add that one reason to see you get over that 64 "hump" is so that you have no excuses NOT to get that new Sony 850! Then we can all enjoy your observations/experiences with your latest camera, so it's kind of a selfish motive on my part anyway......

Rod G.

I'm going to buy "Snow Leopard," and I could do it from Amazon. But should we buy it in August, when you think a step-up is unlikely, or in September, when you might step-up? Let us know soon...

"A Why-To Book" would not be a bad subtitle.

That leaves the problem of the main title, and titles are absolutely critical. Given that you read Krugman, perhaps the main title could be "Liberal Photography." Or "Keynesian Post-Processing."

How about "The Offline Photographer -- A Why-To Book." (Or, "The Photographer Offline -- A Why-To Book.) This could be supplemented by embarrassing, but fulsome, praise, on the back of the book, with a reference to this blog. Get advance quotes from all your photographer friends. I could actually write this for you, off the top of my head, and then you'd just have to call up your friends and ask, "Is it okay if I said you said this?"

"Mike Johnston is the rising sun in my life -- I'm constantly dazzled by his knowledge of photography, its history, its techniques, its practitioners, all expressed with the characteristic wry Johnstonian humor, so beloved by readers of his 'The Online Photographer.' -- Ctein."

For my first novel, written almost 20 years ago, the publisher sought, and got, a quote from Stephen King. We still use it, as if it applies to the current book. Also, I happen to know that the NY Post gets its bestseller list (or, at least, it used to) from one bookstore in New York City. If you could contrive to have a half-dozen copies of your books placed in that store, and then have a friend buy them, you'd probably make the list. "A New York Post Bestselling Author."

If you sell your book through Amazon, shouldn't it count on your Amazon monthly sales total? A double hit?

I really hope you persist with this. You have too much information in your head not to.


Wondering if you intend to toss in a fair amount of philosophical thought concerning the craft --- kind of how Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance isn't really about the bike mentioned in it everywhere.

Biggest challenge I perceive with photog books (or most photog blogs, for that matter) is that it can be a challenge to grok where the author "is coming from" and thereby determine if any of the text is relevant/helpful to the reader.

And it's my opinion that they indirectly feed into our collective pre-occupation as gadget freaks and place too much emphasis on this or that brand or upgrade.

But the alternative seems a trap too --- somebody picks up a book where all the examples use "last year's" camera or megapixel discussion and that thought is, "hmm, I think I'll look for something up to date."

Regarding your links not getting used as you'd wish. The Snow Leopard example is a great one. I'd have never thought to use one here (or on any other blog, even if I hadn't procured my copy via their $10 fulfillment program enabled by my recent MBP purchase.)

I noticed the point isn't emphasized that the links are also suitable for non-photo stuff until after one navigates PAST the initial link. You might prepend "Buying anything from Amazon? to the verbiage "Please Help Support This Site ..." on this page.

In a perfect world, regular readers would bookmark the relevant Quick Link and rename it "Amazon" so that they wouldn't have to go to TOP first, etc. Yes?

As to the broader (camera purchase) issue, I don't have insight there except to note the obvious -- there are myriad ways to get to any particular domain, and readers' good intentions will not always dictate their actions.

Aw damn, this morning I ordered 65 A850s to use as clay pigeons at the local firing range and completely forgot to go through your links!

(I know you didn't believe that.) If people would change their bookmarks for Amazon, B&H, etc. to the TOP'd address, they wouldn't need to remember. I did that a long time ago, but sadly, it was also a long time ago that I last bought anything from Amazon or B&H. Recession, job-loss, rent-paying, etc.

That said, I would definitely buy a book about Photography from you—especially if it contained everything you knew about the subject. That would free up my mornings as I wouldn't have to spend time reading TOP anymore (unless you're planning on learning something new, Mike). ;-)

I recently attended a discussion with Robert Frank and Sarah Greenough at the National Gallery of Art. He told the story of getting The Americans published for the first time. The French publisher insisted on a format (including text with images)
Frank loathed. Frank relented, but eventually did it his way with the US publication. So, you're in good company wanting to thumb your nose at the serious people.

Mike, why should you go to a publisher? Can't you self-publish through Blurb, or such? You get to keep more of the sales receipts.

"On Being a Photographer" is a success story for the type of book you are writing, don't you think?

- Ram

Here's the good news: I will definitely buy your book. Now you can retire! =D

I also buy all of my Amazon and BH purchases through this site. The easiest way to not "forget" is to go to Amazon via the TOP link, and then bookmark that as one's personal link. When I get the urge to buy a book (whatever) and I click on my own Amazon link it automatically gets credited to TOP. See? Easy as pie!

I still occasionally buy something from Adorama if BH and Amazon don't have it in stock. I believe you have an Adorama link buried in TOP somewhere, and I use that. I don't know if you still get any credit from them.

I'm going to place two Amazon orders in the next 24 hours (albeit small ones), one in my wife's name and one in my own.

I thought it was unfortunate that those posters forgot to order their big-ticket items through your site -- and downright mean for them to have told you so gleefully about their oversight -- but you managed to turn it into a nice teaching moment.

Mike -- you should *definitely* buy an A850. Through your own links no less! :)

Mike, I never realized that my single camera purchase and brain-dead direct to the B&H website TOP omission would truly be a cause of consternation. Now I feel even worse, but it is a lesson that will stay with me into the future.

About the book: I would stick to my guns too if I was you. You can take comfort in your fantastic writing gift and prodigious photographic knowledge to make you the victor in the end. I'm looking forward to reading it!

I promise I will not hold it against you, in the slightest. Really.

All best,


I wanted to ask for a while for links to the items on amazon.de if it's possible. I bought two books through your recommendations this year, but since i'm in germany i rather prefer not to pay for their delivery from uk or usa.

It's better to agree with everyone else, and do things the way everyone else does them.

Green Day - Minority.

Good luck with the book, Mike, I look forward to purchasing a copy (ah,em, everybody) as there is a distinct lack of non-formulaic photography books around. One of my favourite 'technique' type books is Eddie Ephraums 'Darkroom to Digital', a great piece of why and how which I found more inspirational than a shelf full of 'How to learn advanced/pro lighting black and white sausages landscape portraiture using digital and traditional sausages darkroom photoshop editing techniques' books that, in other words, are so much sausage filling. Bring on the steak.
Kind regards.

There ya go. One more little purchase on Amazon, via your links.

Only 63 to go... ;)

Thanks again for creating my favourite photo blog.

True, how-to books seem to sell faster but I've noticed that why books seem to have longevity. Just a non-scientific observation drawn from books I own.

I, for one, am looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of your book. I might even remember to purchase it via a link on your site. Unfortunately, I tend to be a creature of habit and go directly to Amazon's site for purchases, only to remember your site after the purchase. As a confession, I did it again today. (drats!) Please accept my apologies--though cold hard cash would have been better I'm sure--as I repeat the mantra "buy through Mike's site, buy through Mike's site, ..."

"The easiest way to not "forget" is to go to Amazon via the TOP link, and then bookmark that as one's personal link. When I get the urge to buy a book (whatever) and I click on my own Amazon link it automatically gets credited to TOP. See? Easy as pie!"

That works as long as you see this URL in your address bar when you get there:


It does NOT work for B&H--for them, you have to go directly from TOP each time.



The link to Amazon.de is:


You should be able to bookmark this. As long as you see the above URL in your address bar after you click your link, the link is working.

If you lose this you can find it again by clicking on the Amazon links button in the right-hand sidebar column.



FWIW, I remembered to use your B&H link for the last camera I bought. The bad news: It wasn't an 850, only a GoPro Hero, and the cheap kit at that.

But if I win the lottery I'll remember you when I go for the 850.

"I really hope you persist with this. You have too much information in your head not to."

Thank John. Your encouragement means a lot.


I saw that go by, actually! Good on ya. And thanks!


Hey, I'll buy your book...I love TOP, how could the book not be great?

As to the 850, I'm surprised at how the high ISO performance appears to suffer against it's peers (based on A900 reviews and DXOMark comparisions). What's up with that? I thought one main reason to get a FF dSLR was for the high ISO performance.

"As to the 850, I'm surprised at how the high ISO performance appears to suffer against it's peers (based on A900 reviews and DXOMark comparisions). What's up with that? I thought one main reason to get a FF dSLR was for the high ISO performance."

Tom P,
Two things are up with that. First, many sites compare out-of-camera JPEGs, and the A900/A850 JPEG engine is not up to snuff. You'll get appreciably better results if you shoot raw and convert the files in your favorite converter.

Still, the A900/A850 lags behind the best competition by a stop or two in terms of subjective noise. That's the price you pay for class-leading resolution. (Look to Photo Club Alpha for better high-ISO noise information.)

Personally I'd like a sensor with about 16-18 MP and a stop or more better high ISO performance, but that's just my personal preference.

It's really most helpful to think of the A900/A850 as a medium-format back in a 35mm-style body. It's not quite that, exactly, of course, but that's the general gestalt of the thing.

And the real reason to use the A900/A850 is for the handling and the feature set. I happen to really like body-integral IS, especially as Sony (and Konica-Minolta before them) implement it. And the viewfinder is just outstanding, as is often mentioned.

Whether you need (or should want) the Sony will depend on the kind of photography you do. No accident that Michael Reichmann of The Luminous Landscape has taken to it so enthusiastically: he's a printer, and he prints big, and he shoots static or semi-static subjects and is not aftraid to get the tripod out when it's needed. The D700 is a better choice for editorial and news photography, for instance--better low-light AF, better high-ISO noise, and no need for anything bigger than a double-truck in print.


You'll be happy to know I just dropped a few tanners in your sporran with a Mac Box Set Family Pack purchase through your link to Amazon.ca. Hope this helps stimulate your phagocytes. Wha hae.

Mike, did you find enough money for an new refrigerator?

Now as to the links, we in Canada get screwed big time ordering any product from a foreign country. And at least count the USA was quite foreign to Canada.

As you know have my own way of contributing; send you a postal money order for whatever surplus I have at the time, paying the monetary exchange rate at the time.

You get real greenbacks in your hot little hand and, you can smell the money and actually feel it as opposed to a line on a bank statement.

And ordering from large retailers in a foreign country doesn't get me a warranty on goods either! Prefer to purchase locally, and receive a box labeled in the language of Canada and a warranty valid here.

Hi Mike -

I just ordered 4 books from Amazon through your link. Looking forward to ordering yours.

Speaking of books, I remember you wrote a while back that you were working on an updated version of The Empirical Photographer and asking those interested in buying a copy to hold off for the next edition. Any status updates for that book?

I also think your why-to book is an excellent idea, and I will surely buy a copy.

OK, did my bit (filter, dvd and book).

As a matter of interest, do amazon give you the details of purchases, or just the figures ?

Good luck with the book, but of course you'll know not to rely on sales from Scotland. On top of the well known frugality there's the "Ah kent yer faither" syndrome, which ensures that Scots are never revered by their ain.
But as Fraser has pointed out there's always the public library. Still, since we only account for 5M of the world's population, there's still lots to play for.
Good luck - I'll be looking out for it.

Yes indeedy, you are one of TOP's biggest boosters. However, for the benefit of others, there is a link to Amazon.ca as well. It is:


Thanks again,


"As a matter of interest, do amazon give you the details of purchases, or just the figures ?"

I get a report of the items bought, how much was paid, and how much my little kickback is. But not the groupings (i.e., I don't see your whole order together, just each individual item in a big list) and, of course, not the name or locale of who ordered what.


"I remember you wrote a while back that you were working on an updated version of The Empirical Photographer and asking those interested in buying a copy to hold off for the next edition. Any status updates for that book?"

I really should buckle down and get that done. Lulu.com changed its methods on me, and I've never gotten to grips with its new system. I did make up a new manuscript, however, with lots more illustrations and six new articles. I'll try to look into that again this week and try to get a read on how much work it would take to get that done.


On September 12 (close to your September 10) my wife and I celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary.
And I'm signed up for my first PhotoWalk. Can't wait.

In my part of the world, very few people in my pay grade buy online. Good thing that doesn't keep me from enjoying TOP everyday.

Hope somebody I know will buy your coming book and will lend it to me.

Speaking of Snow Leopard, and at the risk of repeating something that may have been mentioned here on TOP before, I was extremely dismayed to learn that Adobe would not be officially supporting CS3 or earlier under Snow Leopard.

As a programmer myself, and I know the burden that support can be, especially as a company's portfolio of software versions increases and when that is multiplied by the number of available operating system versions.

That said, I have found CS4 to be slow, bloated, and generally another step toward the Ultimate Kitchen Sink software that I think Adobe recently decided it should be. I have therefore put all of my loyalties behind CS3 at least until Adobe can work out some of the efficiency issues in CS4, and I feel betrayed that they are telling me I can't have both CS3 and Snow Leopard and expect them to work properly.

Especially in light of the fact that Microsoft yet again pushed off their sunset on support for Internet Explorer 6 (SIX!) due to the enormous number of corporations still using it, it seems tremendously petty for Adobe to make a similar decision for what works out to be a much more expensive and mostly useless upgrade. I say mostly useless because CS4's list of new features include things that I wonder if *anyone* actually uses.

This whole thing has been bugging me for a while and when I saw "Snow Leopard" in the title of this post I thought this would be a decent place to air out my dirty laundry.

That said, my apologies for any inappropriate repetition.


The occasional reminder is a good thing. I just ordered my daughter's books from Amazon, and without your timely post, I would likely have forgotten to route through your blog. It's only seven items, but that's something, I suppose. And I did remember to bookmark my Amazon link so now it always goes through your thingamajig.


That's really great news about the book—sounds very promising.

I have quit buying books on photography because I am bored with the technical stuff. Now I just look at pictures for inspiration and skip the techno commentary.

So your book will be welcome, have not seen anything along those lines in years, I will buy it and I hope it sells well. I see you have an Amazon.ca link for those of us north of you ...I have used that a couple of times to pick up books you have brought to my attention.

Hi Mike,
When your book's finished, I'm going to buy it just because you refused to organize it the way publishers think it ought to be. Contraryianism may not be a word, but I like it. On another note, I will soon be buying a new Canon DSLR, and you can bet it'll be through a link on your site. I enjoy your site immensely and intend to help when I can.
Have a great Sunday evening,
Jim Allen

3 more (little gifts for my sister).

Incidentally, I planed 1 order for 3 items, but I could easily place 3 orders next time, if there's any advantage for you.


Well, I was going to buy Snow Leopard anyway, so I got it with the click-through... oh geez, I had private browsing enabled, sorry! (j/k, I bought it on the click-though though.)

I do enjoy reading your blog. I don't read any others, about anything, so that says something.

Mike, any way to get you a kickback if the order is done by phone rather than online?



I confess that I have not been very good about using your links in the past. (To my credit, I *have* subscribed). I'm turning a new corner, though, and just bought Briot's new book through your links. Here's hoping you get 64 other orders in the next few days.


"I could easily place 3 orders next time, if there's any advantage for you."

Thanks Ricardo, but no. It's all the same, an item is an item, a sale is a sale, doesn't matter how you place the order as long as you come from TOP one way or the other.


"Mike, any way to get you a kickback if the order is done by phone rather than online?"

No, I don't think so.


I'll buy any new book you publish, Mike, in a hot second.

And I always go to Amazon through my TOP affiliate link. Please do let us know whether MP3s count towards your limits -- I buy a lot of those.

Best regards,

For the past year or so, my motivation to go out and take photos has dried up. I still come here to read the articles though. I would be very interested in your book. If you are interested in suggestions for titles, the one that popped into my head was "It's Just A Camera, A Why-To Book". Even though the camera plays a role in the craft, it is the person behind the camera that makes it art. This is what I got out of your web blog.

While waiting on your book, any good why-to books suggestions?

my photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bac_clin/

The subtitle for your new book could be: "The book the publishers didn't want you to see."

Mike, your post prompted me to order the Carly Simon album "Boys in the Trees" through your Amazon link and I found another four from Carly to add to it. Best regards, Rod S.

Do you have a link for amazon.co.jp?

"Do you have a link for amazon.co.jp?"

No, not any more. I used to, but the emails and web pages are too hard for me to make out in Japanese. I can figure out the German site and use auto-translation to help, but I just couldn't find my way around in the Japanese site.

Oh, and we don't have a link to Amazon France, either--I applied three times but I got turned down each time! I have no idea why.

I wish they'd get Amazon.oz up and running.



I hail from Singapore in the Far East and am a regular (i.e, daily) reader of your blog. Bought a bunch of photography books through your Amazon link just recently. Much cheaper than buying locally and I get to support my favourite photo site. Look forward to your book. Cheers


We don't wish for an Amazon site in Australia. There is so much tax on books here in Oz that it would negate using it. We like Amazon in the US

Hey Mike,

Write the book, and let the devil take the hindmost. Since you're immune or at least allergic to "Serious Person Syndrome" I think you ought to call it "The Out-of-Line Photographer."


Just weighing in with all the other readers supporting your new book ... I will definitely be buying after having thoroughly enjoyed the Empirical Photographer. Amazon doesn't sell electronics to us Aussies so I hope the kickbacks from BH are as profitable as I'm planning a camera outfit purchase this month.


The MP3 purchase is in. For $3.99 I didn't see the point in waiting for a confirmation and possibly forgetting before August is up.

I do hope that MP3s count for you. They really are a super-easy, super-cheap way to contribute to your "number of ittems" metric if they count. As the buyer you aren't burdened with the $25 rule to take care of shipping, you get instant gratification, and you aren't encumbered by any kind of DRM since they are just plain-Jane MP3 files.


Just ordered series 1 of Spiral through your Amazon UK link. If I might put in a small, non-photographic plug here: anyone who enjoyed The Wire and doesn't mind sub-titles (they're a bore, but hey, with Spiral you get to see Paris instead of west Baltimore), treat your eyes and brain to this. Via TOP, of course.

The first millisecond that book is released I'll be all over it. This is very exciting news Mike.

Just another one waiting for your books (the reprinted 'Empirical' and the new 'Offline Potographer'). I promise to buy them from the TOP link to amazon.co.uk (double gain!)

I'm really going to try use your Amazon links - this is a great site, and hell, I'm a Johnston too! (English branch)

On the ad-space: Would it be an idea to use the spare ad-space for some rotating links (randomly generated link or image each time the page is loaded) to photographers' websites? Could be an option for subscribers, or a special type of subscription. Or maybe the last X `Random Excellence' subjects (though that wouldn't generate income) Just a thought, seeing how you always try to get exposure for (good) photographers.

On the new book: Will it also contain all (or some) of what you know about darkroom work? Or would that be a Knuth-like endeavour on itself?


Scottish joke:

A fellow in Glasgow walks into a library and asks the librarian if they have any books on suicide. She says, "Sure."

He asks, "Can I borrow on?" and she replies, "No."

"Why not?", he asks, and she says, "You'll no bring it back."

I do use your Amazon links. Living in Finland I sometimes use the UK site and sometimes the USA site. Do orders from all Amazon sites contribute to the same count, or are they counted separately? If I buy a couple of books from UK site would it help towards the 64 missing items?
I do have TOP links to Amazon in my Firefox toolbar, so whenever I browse Amazon I enter the site through the TOP link, just in case I buy something on first impulse...


Ironically, my (and other people's) forgetfulness could be having quite the opposite effect on your Amazon commissions!? Maybe that is wishful thinking but it has certainly come to the attention of everyone here!

BTW Mike, how come you no longer have an Amazon logo as the link?

OK, I'll admit Fraser's comment is the funniest I've read in a long time but it only made me aware that my local library would never carry your book and therefore I would have to buy it :)

Getting an A850 or not...
If the camera (A850) is not everything you would like in a new camera (you mention that you would prefer another stop of exposure speed), why not wait another generation. Contrary to all of the doom and gloom, the world isn't going to end anytime soon. If you current camera does most of what you want, why get another right now (...and no, it isn't going to stimulate the economy, you would have used the money on something else anyway...).

With respect to writing a new book...
What about writing something that is more of a "historical" accounting of the amatueur/hobbiest photography world?

One of the important things that you could cover is the era of the home darkroom. As time goes by, I think the knowledge of that time period is going to be lost. You could include the various snippets by people here on top describing their home "darkrooms".

You could also spend significant parts of the book (using TOP submissions) to discuss the motivations for amatuer photography. What drives all of these people to spend inordinate sums on equipment and hours walking around with that equipment to get an image? How have the amatueur photographers ideas changed over time?

For B&H orders, do you get credit if I have my personal bookmark set to the same link that you have on the TOP front page (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/?BI=2144&KBID=2882)? I assume that you would, even though nothing special shows up after I click on it.

Mike, used the link to purchase a OWC external hard drive, but Amazon makes you click over to the Other World Computing website to complete the transaction. Hopefully you will get credit.

A little self promotion goes a long way.

"For B&H orders, do you get credit if I have my personal bookmark set to the same link that you have on the TOP front page (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/?BI=2144&KBID=2882)? I assume that you would, even though nothing special shows up after I click on it."

NO. You have to manually put that URL into your address bar for it to work. Or just use the big B&H ad on the website page.

The Amazon URL can be bookmarked, the B&H link can't be.

But thanks for trying! (And caring....)


"used the link to purchase a OWC external hard drive, but Amazon makes you click over to the Other World Computing website to complete the transaction. Hopefully you will get credit."

Yes, everything you buy at or through Amazon is credited to TOP as long as you go there from our links, no matter what you buy or who you buy it from.




Looking forward to your why-to book, done your way!

Have you considered adding a link for purchases from Freestyle Photographic Supplies? Then those of us who buy their hard-to-find film and film-related products can also support you that way.


everyone can use a picture hook at 35 cents:

or better yet, a pen for a penny:


Mike is amazingly kind at not holding grudges towards people who forget to use the links and then let slip they've been buying stuff. I suspect it's because he's a basically nice man; though I suppose he could be capable of seething quietly and not letting it color his writing (he is after all a professional wordsmith-type person).

I don't HAVE private links to Amazon or B&H that I can replace with Mike's links (and apparently that doesn't work for B&H anyway?); I just type the address (or a small part of it, and Firefox fills in the rest). I'm a fast typist, and switching to the mouse from the keyboard slows things down a LOT; far more than typing a few dozen characters. So I am dependent on memory. Haven't bought anything expensive since I last confessed to Mike, and nothing at all recently.

I don't badly need more detailed tech books either (but then I'm a techie from way back with 40 years in photography). I expect I'll find things of use to me in Mike's book, should he actually write it.

Probably the most useful photo book I've ever read is Ansel Adams' Examples, which I'm confident is very different from what Mike is aiming for. I don't think another 40 photographs worth from Adams would add that much, though. (I'd love versions of Examples from 4 other very different photographers, though.)

Generally speaking a "real" publisher is a much much better deal than self-publishing. One of the known exceptions to that is non-fiction books in a specialized area that the author has Very high visibility in; then they can sometimes self-publish and sell direct and do much better than a real publisher could. Mike's in an intermediate position; the book he's describing has MUCH broader audience than people here. However, people here form a good core audience.

Thanks for the $10 thousand and be assured that the D3x will be put to good use:)



I'm glad your book is on "why" and not "how." Not enough books written that way. If everyone followed the same "how," then we'd have very few new ideas, styles or art. Along the same lines I'm glad you're not listening to the publisher tell you "how" to write your book. If you wrote it the same way other books are written, then how would it stand out?

I very much look forward to the book. I have the utmost respect for you and your opinions since you have the experience and reasoning to back them up.


The only problem is the shipping on items like that.

I still think that if you just want to have some kind of impulse buy to hit some arbitrary "number of items" minimum that Amazon dictates, MP3s are the best, now that we know that they count in Mike's favor. Plus they have a lot of older out-of-mainstream albums for just $5, and a lot of current-ish ones for < $10.

I understand if some people have a philosophical objection to paying for a "lossy" (MP3) file, but honestly they're 256k VBR, do any of you really have such amazing golden ears (and audio setups) that you're going to be able to tell the difference between that and a CD?


I don't know about others, but I wouldn't mind a reminder to use the links on say, the last FRIDAY of the month. Almost missed it this month due to it being on the weekend when I try to stay away from the computer...

Dear Aaron,

"I feel betrayed that they [Adobe] are telling me I can't have both CS3 and Snow Leopard and expect them to work properly."

Yeah, somewhat off-topic, indeed, but since you've raised the non-issue...

There's no evidence extant for anything but the most obscure and minor problems running CS3 under Snow Leopard. To the contrary, numerous reliable testers are reporting no problem doing this, and some (like OWC) are even reporting a modest performance boost.

All Adobe has said is that they won't support this combo, meaning that they won't resolve problems that might arise. That doesn't mean they know of problems!

Do you???

A bigger concern should be 3rd-party plug-ins. Some of those WILL break under Snow Leopard. You'll need to check the plug-ins' websites.

pax / Ctein


Count me in for many future purchases on Amazon via your link. No skin off my skinflint semi-Johnston* node. 8)

Also, is there somewhere I can lay down my cash right now to pre-order your book?

*My mother's a Johnston and you and I might well be related because I know for a fact that I have Johnston relatives in your neck of the woods. I believe one of them wrote the endearing "Gentle Johnstons" to which my grandfather was a contributor IIRC. Said grandfather was so cheap that none of his cameras functioned properly because they all came from garage sales. He was known to chase garbage trucks into which my grandmother had thrown things that he wouldn't part with. So I think you've got it right on the Scottish gene.

Nice to meet you, Cousin.


Well, good on you for the book. I like JC's title, the first, and with him offering advice on the "photographers procedurals" and Ctein offering his teeth rattling science, wow. My own humble offering is "A Cabinetmakers Notebook" by James Krenov, the original "why the hell are we doing this, when we could make far more money doing any thing else" author.

An afternote, Mike, ignore the blather of us all, you are an exceptional writer, with a strong sense of "something to say", good luck, and I'm looking forward to the book.


Mike, I just noticed that the Amazon link on my Firefox bookmarks bar is your link. I must have put it there a while ago. I buy lots of stuff from Amazon, so I hope my purchases have helped you out as much as your site has helped me out and entertained me over the past 4 years.


In my opinion, this blog is evidence that "unconventionally right" will work for this audience, but like the finishing statements of the Leica as a Teacher thread before; I fear that to satisfy the masses some compromise will be necessary.

I think however, in acknowledging that this problem exists; that is enough for you to address it inherently.

Good luck!


Good luck, dudeski. It's been a while since I wrote a book, but it's an outstanding experience.
And we've seen many times that sometimes unconventional products do become successful, despite all the traditional reasons they shouldn't.

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