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Tuesday, 24 December 2013


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And a very Merry Christmas, too, to the pick-up driver whose desire to park where he did added a level of narrative and posed some unanswered questions to your front porch tableau.

Thanks once again for another cracker year of TOP, Mike, and may you and yours have not only a wonderful Christmas, but also a prosperous, healthy and happy 2014.

Cheers from Sydney where Santa has already been and gone.

"Isn't there always a pickup truck?"

As many will point out, that's why we have Photoshop.

There was a partial eclipse of the sun visible from here in November. I drove out to the beach so I could get a picture of the mis-shapen sun as it rose over the ocean. I just happened to put a second camera in the bag at the last minute. Turns out that was a good idea, because the the camera that's ALWAYS packed and ready to go did NOT have a card. There were no spares in the bag, either.

May you always have a spare card and battery in 2014.

Merry Christmas to you and your family, Mike, and a very happy New Year!

Thank you for TOP. It's a wonderful site.



Thank you for another year of entertainment and education Mike - Joyeux Noël to you.
Very pleased you decided to share one of your photos with us, do you realise how magical a snow scene looks to those of us who rarely get the white stuff?

Cheers, Robin

Merry Christmas to you too, and happy holidays as well, and happy solstice, and happy everything else. I like your "everything is in flux" observation. I used to be more in a hurry when it came to photography, rushing to a scene before the light changed. Now I either leave earlier or don't worry about it. I miss more shots but have more fun.

Cool tale and all too true. Went to check the mail the other day and then ran back inside after my camera. Fortunately the battery was charged, the card installed and even the right lens was mounted. The resulting image pushed my Oly E-PL1's sensor to it's high ISO limit, but I'm fond of it anyway. Easily my best image of the year and one I wish I'd had when your "quiet color" contributions were being accepted.

December Twilight: https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/VrNPH9owcVyjegXo4QIDdEa10K-TqnPWZ4d5AbQeQFc=w691-h518-no

And a very merry Christmas & a happy new year to you, sir.

Hear, hear! on you Christmas comments. I'm not an - anything - I just don't believe. However, I believe in the human spirit and wising someone "Merry Christmas" is just an expression of humanist joy to me.
Photographically, waiting for the right moment for the perfect shot has plagued me all my life. In National Parks (and in London where I'm vacationing at the moment)the crowds are so thick, even many miles of hiking away from the mainstream attractions people still (for me) spoil the view and trying to get that pristine shot is virtually impossible. One could camp out for days in remote areas waiting for that perfect moment, but that's just not practical for the vast majority. Regarding equipment, many is the time that the moment was perfect and my camera was not set up optimally. Arrrrgh! This has recently become more complicated since I started using both the Canon 5D MKII and the Nikon D800E. The controls are essentially backwards and my brain has senior moments trying to convert. Oh well, I muddle through and get a "wall hanger" once or twice a year. Merry Christmas!

A Glorious & Blessed Christmas to you and your family! We "religionists" cant use merry Christmas anymore because its too common! :)

Mike thats a great title for a photo techniques book. Love it.
Thanks to TOP for a place to go to amidst all the garbage on the net.
Merry Christmas!

If I ever write a book of photo technique, which I never will, I think I should call it "Damn, Now There's A Pickup Truck."

My book title is going to be "Damn, Another Power Line"

And Merry Christmas to you, Mike. Your blog has added richness and heart to the world. Appreciately,

Mike & Xander & Lulu,

A very Happy Christmas to you.
And a very Happy Christmas to all readers of TOP.

Here in Oz, the Land of the Long Weekend, some mean-spirited types try to tell us we shouldn't celebrate Christmas. Instead, let's celebrate all the festivals of which we're aware. Let's be inclusive. The positive spirit represented on these occasions can be appreciated by all.


And a (politically incorrect) Merry Christmas back at you.
May 2014 Be a better year for ALL of us.
Bill Mitchell (Sarasota)

That pickup truck problem happens all the time:


Happy Solstice.

Lee Friedlander once said he always found pickup trucks to be interesting photographic subjects. Automobiles show up pretty often in his photos and many of them are pickup trucks. I never noticed the trucks in his photos before reading his comment despite the fact that I've driven pickup trucks for the last 32 years. Yeah, I'm a photographer and I'm observant...duh.

Merry Christmas to all.

Our Holiday Message.


Merry Christmas from Northern Ireland, Mike. Santa hasn't visited here yet, but perhaps he may get here soon if only the younger residents of the house would only go to sleep! Thanks for another year of photographic distraction from the daily grind.

Merry Christmas Mike to you and your loved ones. Thanks for another year of TOP and every success with your projects in 2014.

Happy Christmas Mike, to you and yours and all to TOP community around the world.

It's been great having your daily visit at our house to share stories and sometimes introduce us to new friends and share conversations about photography and other things that catch your fancy.

I'm too old to feel comfortable with the term "blogger" (it sounds too much like "braggart" or "blackguard"). To me you seem simply a far-off friend.

I wish you and TOP a prosperous New Year.

Merry Christmas to you too, Mike, and thanks for another stellar year at TOP. I look forward to it every day.

Great post, MIke, and nice photo, too.

I had something similar happen yesterday. Was driving from the Bay Area up to my sister's place in Paradise, CA for the annual family Christmas get-together. Just as we got into Butte County, there was a gorgeous sky and sunset. But, I was on the wrong side of the freeway to get a nice shot with the buttes in foreground.

But, I was going to take a photo come hell or high water, and just off Hwy 191, there was a place to pull over as the lighting was going...fast!

This is the scene...then, dang! There's a powerline tower in the shot!

It is what it is, but...it really was a beautiful sky.

I took the shot anyway.


Sometimes, as you say, we're reading that book Damn, Now There's a Pickup Truck!

Or a powerline tower....either way, we take the shot.

I am glad I did.

A very Merry Christmas!


I can't tell you how many times, I've gone back to take a picture of something I had already photographed. It never seems to work out. I think it was Winogrand who said it: "First thought, best thought."

Mike, your message to remember our less fortunate friends is humbling and thought provoking - thank you for that. It's already Christmas here in the UK, so thank you also for reminding me that even though this year hasn't been my best, I should be counting myself amongst the lucky. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

PS - I would buy that book.

Just reading the Guardian analysis of difference between American and Brits.


Brave of you!

Seasonal greetings was (or is?) the term used over here from 1960s onwards. Some brave soul use Merry Xmas but what is X in Xmas when I am a boy. Who is X? Well, not brief enough -- chicken out and just be merry.

Seasonal Greetings from Hong Kong!

Merry Christmas to you from sunny and warm Adelaide, South Australia.
Thank you for another informative and interesting year plus the opportunity to buy prints and books via your site.

Maupay nga Pasko! Mike, Ctein and to all TOP readers.

A parol (Christmas lantern) hanging from a lamppost in Zamora St, Tacloban.

Sarge (in Manila)

Merry Christmas, Mike. I would send some dog cookies if I knew where to send them to.

Sincerely, Darr

Merry Christmas Mike, and all.

I like the pickup.


Merry Christmas TOP! Here's to a great New Year also!

I had a similar experience at work today. This morning I noticed the half moon still in the sky with a nice blue sky, and just enough clouds to give some interest. Thought to myself that there was a photograph there. Went back inside to check on a couple of things. Less than an hour later I had that same "I'm an idiot" reaction, then got up from my desk, went out to my car, and got my D800. The card and batteries were in it thankfully. However, the moon was gone. Still there was some photographs of work stuff available that I made, then went back to what I "needed" to do.

I've been lucky though with this new job. They actually like for me to get out and take photographs of the place. It is still under construction, and they like the documentary aspect of it. Wish I could share them with the rest of the world though. They have even purchased some of my photographs for prints in the permanent office building when it is finally ready to be occupied. Kind of nice to work in a place that appreciates my hobby.

Merry Christmas to you too, Mike. Thanks for another great year of TOP. I appreciate your efforts.

By the way, great photo!

Thanks again Mike. Yes it's a challenge this year, in ways wholly unexpected and unrelated, for me. Looking back, I already had those challenges and didn't know it because they hadn't yet manifest (but, festered ...)

All of which is to say, I agree it does feel good to help others either less fortunate or rather, "differently" unfortunate.

And to all, Cheers!

It is beautifully crafted writing like this and the maturity of thought that make TOP stand head and shoulders above all of the other photography blogs I know of. Thank you, Mike.

Hope you have a Very Happy Christmas and a productive New Year Mike

In the immortal words of Stephen Malkmus, "Heaven is a truck…"

Happy holidays and thanks for a great site.

Merry Christmas to you, Mike!

Thanks for a year of thoughtful writing about photography - and this current post is well worth to behold.

Have joyful quiet days and a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas to you and your family Mike. Very nice writing about the meaning of Christmas, which is what many of us feel it is. Thanks for running TOP, for many of us part of our everyday life, like a newspaper or the TV news, but with that special enjoyment that brings the subject we all love.

Best regards

Happy Christmas, and many thanks for another great year from TOP - long may you prosper!

I especially want to thank you for flagging up Pentti Sammallahti's Here, Far Away. I bought two copies as soon as the second edition was published - one for my wife and one for my mother in law - and gave them both as Christmas presents. It was very hard to wait until now to look through the book, but wow, it was worth the wait!

The pickup truck adds an element of realism that saves the picture from being merely a sunset.

It's too late to save Christmas from politics, and, given its politicization, saying "Merry Christmas" in potentially mixed company is a very political statement.


In the continent where I live there's always a white delivery minivan. No matter how medieval or victorian the street is. It's always there, sometimes I wonder if it is always the same minivan, following me wherever I go...

Merry Christmas to you Mike (from a conservative who actually transcended arrested development in his lifetime even though he thought he never would; in other words, I’m old now) ;-).

A very happy Christmas to you, Mike, and all the best wishes for 2014.

Merry Christmas to you, and to all the TOP family!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Thanks for all the good work.

A very Merry Christmas to you! At least you got to see the sun. We had 3" of snow just to the east and no sunset. Funny, at first glance I never noticed the pickup...until you mentioned it. Oh well.

For whatever it's worth, I like the pickup truck. Makes the photo more interesting (to me anyway).
A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours.

And a very merry Christmas to you as well Mike. All the best to you and your son. It's been a great TOP year and I look forward to another great year to come.

I live and work in Shanghai and while there are no pick-up trucks there are white vans... and there's always a bloody white van.

Mahalo nui loa for all your words, photos, and thoughts. Your gifts are much appreciated.

Merry Christmas to you Mike! You are a gift for all of us!
Thank you for underlining and reminding us of what is most important for us all, everywhere, kindness and love. With my friendship and thanks.

I'm not a pickup truck kind of guy, but the truck helps make the picture.

It's a great shot.

To those of us who grew up with Daylight Ektachrome with a film speed of 32, today's digital cameras, with their auto white balance, great low-light capability, and stabilization systems are amazing.

But it is the artist, not the brush, that makes the painting.

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