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Saturday, 28 November 2015


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I've told people for years that you were an elitist.

Your niece is now ... Published! How old were you when you published your first photograph?

A quote from my favorite writer; E. Hemingway...
"For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can."
You are a pretty lucky guy.
Mi dos pesos.


Happy Birthday TOP, and thank you Mike for a great place to read many super articles.
Many Happy Returns!


Happy birthday.

Thank you for keeping TOP "free"
Thank you for keeping TOP so very good!

If you use your blog to promote your portfolio review business you will last ten more years.

Happy 10th TOP!

I've followed your journey from your Luminous Landscape columns to today.

In a sea of gnashed teeth machismo photography sites, you are an Island of thoughtful tranquility!

Thanks for your hard work and here's to the next 10!

Head up...........into the wind!
there's only today & tomorrow

Congrats on 10 years!

My nephew started a real estate blog some years ago to document his house flipping business and, at the request of readers, wrote a book on his learnings. Then he wrote another. In a short time, both have made it to the top of Amazon in their respective category....in terms of sales and reader rankings. His earnings off this sideline (he has now started other businesses off the invested earnings) is staggering to me.

His blog posts are now few and far between....but in a good way.

Mike, 700 million more may come and they all may go but if so I hope TOP is the last one standing! Well done.

Congratulations Mike. I hope TOP continues for many more years.

Congratulations on being a writer with a mortgage! That's the big thing.

Almost 20 years ago, I had an e-mail exchange with Mick LaSalle, who is now pretty widely known as the lead film critic for the San Francisco Chronicle. I sent him a note about something he'd written and, the internet being a much smaller place back then, he got back to me quickly. We ended up having a chat about how being a film critic (a plum fantasy job for a lot of people) was a lot less important to him than having found a way to making a living being a writer. The fact that he got to write about something he loved (he's also written two hefty books about pre-Code Hollywood) was just a bonus.

Again, congratulations! Now...what have you got for us tomorrow?

Happy Birthday and to commemorate the event Mrs Plews has bookmarked your Amazon link and has asked her friends to do the same.

Thanks for the ride, Mike!

As I recall, I started following along shortly before you switched to typepad. I'm still enjoying it, so keep it up. `\;~)>

Went a little crazy this week, so spiffs should be coming your way from B&H and Amazon.


Congratulations and in an effort to connect today's photographers to their history you could do worse than post about this exhibition, at the Victoria & Albert museum, of Julia Margaret Cameron's photographs. Link here:


Thanks again for your 1.8 posts a day - I always enjoy them


Congratulations. I read T.O.P everyday. From a loyal New Zealand reader. Best wishes.

Happy Birthday TOP !!!!

I've been caught up in a couple Richard Ford novels lately, so I can't help but think of you as perhaps a more happy, successful version of Frank Bascombe, maybe if he had transitioned from a sports magazine to a sports blog instead of selling houses...

Anyway, I hope we see as many years as you need and want. Looking forward to what comes.

Congratulations Mike. I've been reading your writings since at least the LuLa days and hope to do so for quite a few more years still. There are maybe half a dozen blogs I visit regularly and yours is at the TOP of the list (see what I did there). Thank you!

Congratulations on your elite blogger status. I've never made it out of 3rd tier status. I average around 20 hits/day and have never made a dime from mine. I tried briefly but, like you I have trouble with the software. I considered quitting last winter but ended up just mellowing out and posting only when I am in the mood. Hang in there and I'll keep reading.

Best Photography Blog on the Web. Thank you for sharing wisdom and knowledge. I need as much as I can get my hands on so don't stop writing... (ellipsed on purpose...)...

Well done, Mike!

You ARE a writer. You're also a pretty fair photographer, it turns out. But write beautifully.

Sometimes it's the little things, you know. A read many photo blogs, some I like, some I don't, and none of them consistently get "its" versus "it's" correct, except you. Ok, I dare say you botch it now and then, don't we all? But not so I notice. And that counts for a surprising amount.

Happy Birthday!

I only stick around because I'm determined to get those last few PRINTED issues of the 37th Frame you still owe me! ;-)

Congrats Mike!

Tidy things up, if need be, and ask your niece to give us a tour around the house. Great looking kitchen. Excellent photo of it. She certainly knows her way around a tablet.

Here's to the next three million words.

Happy Birthday TOP!

Congratulations, Mike!

I've been reading your work for many years, dating back to your highly erudite columns in the British 'Black and White' magazine, and buried back in my stacks somewhere are a few old Photo Techniques magazines under your editorship. I remain a huge fan of your unique combination of wry wit and deep perspective on all things photographic. The spirit of David Vestal's pleasantly tart columns lives on at TOP.

This is like so awesome, it is literally the best blog ever!

This and the fact that you and your esteemed readership never write like this is why I come to TOP every day.

See you at 20.

Regards and welcome to to the Empire State, dinner is on me when you next get to NYC.


(PS the dinner invite is for Mike only, or Ctein or John Camp (4 novels and counting) or Ken Tanaka; thanks for sharing.

Congratulations Mike, i enjoy reading your blog every day.

"I'm watching Lynda.com tutorials every day, doggedly, trying mightily to come up to speed for our coming virtual house move. Mastering software ain't my best thing."

You moved from Wisconsin to New York State.

What else is there to move?

BTW somebody sent to me the following:
We Canadians had our Thanksgiving turkey the second Monday in October; the residents of the United States the fourth Thursday of November, only had the leftovers from the Canadian turkeys...

I have been reading but donating irregularly to you blog, to a point that I feel embarrassed. Your blog is not only about photography , but more like a life style blog to me. Occasionally you covered coffee, tea, which is a nice break from the digital sensor every day.

Please keep it up, I promoised to tap the donate button more regularly.

Wishing you many happy years ahead.

I know that "photography" is in the title, but I really have to send you some appreciation for that gorgeous kitchen! I just moved as well, and our new kitchen was transformative for cooking Thanksgiving dinner. It's just a little bigger, with a nicer stove, but it made a world of difference.

Your new kitchen looks amazing, and I hope it is just one of many new joys you have in your new World Headquarters. Congratulations, again!

Mike, I raise my glass of good red to congratulate you for a job very nicely done. And hope to do it again in a decade. Remember time moves always faster. Hehe.

I started my blog (https://bullsroar.wordpress.com/) in May 2009 in response to a couple of people who said how much they enjoyed my long and detailed daily emails while I was on a trip to Paris and the UK in late 2008. I enjoy writing, so I decided to combine that with a chance to showcase my photos. I've been photographing since 1967 and getting better at it as I go.

I've done 729 posts so far and I usually write something on average every second day. It's just a diary really, on anything and everything to do with my life. I never feel lost for words. It's mundane stuff (my car got bumped from behind on the road yesterday, so I'll gnash my teeth about that). Occasionally I get a bit more profound and I'm quite proud of a few of my posts.

I always keep posterity in mind, thinking of Samuel Pepys's diary. Who knows whether someone in 500 years time will read my words about what life was like in the 2000s. I'm also an obsessive keeper of lists and notebooks. When I retired in 1999 I started keeping notebooks of every cent I spend. People say, "I don't know where the money goes!" I do. It keeps my mind sharp too, as I mentally retrace my day's activities and where I was and what I spent. I check all my supermarket till slips and many, many times I find scanning errors. I mentally add all the figures to ensure they're correct.

Maybe in 100 years someone will read my notebooks and see what things cost in 2015. I started noting down all the figures every time I fill my car with fuel so I have a complete record of petrol prices since 1978. I wish I could spreadsheet it all, but manually transcribing all those figure would be too big a task.

A very good piece of software is Blogbooker https://www.blogbooker.com/blogger.php It makes an xml file of your blog, either all dates or a range, and turns it into a PDF complete with clickable indexing. I make a yearly "book" of my blog. This PDF can be imported into Flip PDF http://www.flipbuilder.com/ and made into quite attractive on-screen page turning books as well.

I don't know how many readers I have, not many I think. Just occasionally one of my friends will say they saw something on my blog, but very rarely. I admit to being surprised and disappointed that almost no-one ever comments on my writings. I've even had friends react in something like indignation or hostility if I say, "Have a look at my blog to read about such and such." They say things like, "I don't read blogs." It's weird. I get maybe two comments a year. I don't know whether I'm too boring or too ready to take up the cudgels. I admit I do have strong political views and opinions. Oh well, it's really only my on-line diary, written for myself so it matters not. I just feel the need to write.

A significant achievement Mike. I'm grateful for it. Keep it rolling...

Mike, congratulations to you and to TOP, and wishing you many more.

Mike P. (and I'm with Richard in waiting for my final few instalments of The 37th Frame :-) )

Boy, I sure hope you make it another ten years. Reading your posts is among my favorite few minutes of the day. I'd hate to think it might end. Thanks Mike, and congrats on the big anniversary.

It doesn't feel like ten years, so I must be having fun!
Happy Birthday TOP, and congrats Mike.

Congrats for that. My MJ following history goes back to C and D in the 90's and then I lost track of you for a while (late internet migration), but caught up.
I just started my own page and its hard going being number 7,000,000 (held off ordering my sign for the driveway), but if you do it to share and for the fun, then its working already I guess.
Cheers Mike, see you in 10 more years.

So you've written three million words over the past ten years. Congratulations. But you've been able to make a living on those words (without charging a subscription fee) while having a real impact on those who've read them. I'd say a hearty "bravo" and toast of champagne is warranted. I plan to make a purchase from Amazon.com in your honor this very day. Keep up the good work, Mike. You're in it for the long haul and so are we.

Congratulations on the big anniversary, Mike!

That you founded at a difficult time and made this blog thrive in the decade since is to your very considerable credit.

It's been a long journey, from Camera and Darkroom, to Photo Techniques to 10 years of TOP. My sincerest thanks for so many good reads and so much food for thought over so many years.

Live long and prosper.

So many words! Who could ever say sitting at a desk is not work? I'm just grateful, and won't ask how you do it. Thanks.

I love a dog getting "moochy" on Thanksgiving, it's what it's all about...

Mike, Than you and aim for another 10 years a and 3 Mi words.
You are really very good blogger, you have a special eye for photography and is a gift when we see someone that good doing what he likes and be able to accomplish what you did in recent years: changed twice home for the best, feel happier than ever, keep buying toys (photography and others) and fell in love (S. is very lucky).

Happy Birthday to TOP (and Mike)!

TOP advertising display in front of Swe Taw Myat Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar



Feliz cumpleaños! An international day for you.

A propos ...
"Mastering software ain't my best thing."
It seems subtraction ain't either: 630,000,000 would be the right result.

"I've known a lot of very smart and good people who've started blogs, and I would say that of the ones I've known, the average number of posts they manage is...four."

A lot like the number of prints most photograpers would make in the darkroom in the "olden days". Signed and numbered editions for most were misplaced optimism. Reality for most was that even four finished images was more than they would make from most of the negatives.

David Vestal had a good article or two on this and he figured he was lucky to make Five prints from any but his most wildly successful images.

WebLogs, articles, musings or whatever - writing is a craft and an art and most have ideas but little follow through.

Keep at it Mike, you write good stuff.

What a sweetie, that Butters.

Bravo and hats off to this grand feather in your cap, this greater than the sum of it's parts success.
Be careful, you could become famous.

I check your site out every evening before I go to bed. That is not to infer that your writing sends me to sleep. Far from it. At times, it may be a little self-indulgent but as a 10-year-old, you have earned the right. More often than not you do keep me in the photographic loop and in a way that is both informative and entertaining. I thank you and appreciate your efforts.

Here's to the next 10 years of TOP. Long may it continue.

I began reading The Online Photographer shortly after discovering your Sunday Morning Photographer column at photo.net around ten years ago.

Since then your writing has been like a kind companion through the good and bad times in my life.

Thank you, and happy birthday!

Happy 10th Birthday TOP!

Congratulations. And re the subsequent post on diaries, do keep up the off piste posting as well as the purely photographic.

Happy Birthday TOP! I hope Mike got you a cake. It's always better with cake....


Happy Birthday TOP & cheers to you Mike for all the effort past, present and future you put to keep TOP running for all of us. Thanks.

When I learned TOP would be celebrating it's tenth anniversary I checked to see what gift would be appropriate. Under "modern gifts" diamond jewelry was suggested. I just don't see you in diamonds, sorry. So I checked
on "traditional gifts" and there I learned that tin or aluminum were correct. I believe this to be better for you, much cheaper for me, and will be sending you a roll of aluminum tin-foil. You will find many uses for it- wrapping potatoes before baking, as a reflector in lighting portraits, and most importantly to fashion a cap for your head! I worry that ten more years of those internet waves might do you harm, but certainly don't want you to stop writing TOP!
Seriously Mike, congratulations on ten years of great writing!

Happy Holidays Mike and Butters. Butters will most likely love canned pumpkin too, and it's really good for him.

when I was younger we had a dog that my Mom fed a carrot every night. She would say that it was good for his eyes. The irony was that he ended up having detached retinas. We decided to have his eyes taken out rather than putting him down and it turned out to be a defining lesson. His convalescence had no self pity as a human would have and within weeks he was running around as if he still had eyes.
I want to thank you Mike for doing this blog. I get a lot of technical information when needed from many sources but the blog feeds the 'why I got into photography' part of me more than anything else I read.

Congratulations Mike. Yours is the only photo website I check daily. Thanks for all the hard work you put in.

Congratulations, and Happy Birthday to TOP! I'm looking forward to the next ten years.
And, what a lovely kitchen.

Congrats! And all the best.

Pulp-era science fiction writer L.R. Hubbard was once lecturing a writing class at a university. A student asked him how one acquires a style. He answered: "Well, when you've written maybe 200,000 words, you will know if you have a style."
Hubbard in his own mind was being very reasonable indeed, he regularly punched out a novel in two weeks.

After the talk, the professor came to him: "What did you do? What did you do?!? My students write maybe 5,000 words per month. They are in shock! Thank *you* so much!

Oh yes, and happy anniversary. I don't know any other photo blog which comes close to being as persistently intelligent, informative, and entertaining. (Each is an accomplishment, all three is rare as white gold in a souvenier shop.)


Hearty congratulations from Ecuador Mike!

Happy belated birthday!

One of the real joys of reading TOP is that it is a persistent reminder of stuff that matters to the field. You help introduce serious amateurs to the historical context to which their work belongs, and you remind professionals to think beyond markets.

The fact that you've created an accessible, substantive, informative publication, and that it has survived the test of time is a real testament to your effort, and to the consistent quality of your work.

Many thanks to you, your contributors, and the community you've nurtured.

Looking forward to another 10 years!

Thank you for being the best written photography blog on the internet, and one of very few about photographers and their photographs, rather than just gear.

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