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Thursday, 01 March 2018


You do a pretty good impression of Jeff Curto’s Camera Position podcast. And your voice sounds on the younger side to me, maybe not 35, but perhaps 45.

It sounds like a pain to read every post, and we might never see that Baker’s Dozen we are all waiting for. You could offer the occasional podcast as a bonus for Patreon supporters (they have a way to do that).

To the best of my recollection I have never failed to read through a Mike Johnston/TOP post to its conclusion, no matter what the topic.

The probability of my listening to a TOP podcast approaches zero.

The probability of my watching a TOP video is approximately … I'm trying to remember my first-year university statistics class: can probability be expressed as a negative number to indicate that an event is really, really improbable?

Life's short, Mike. Spend the working part of it doing what you do so well: write.

Great job on the podcast. I liked it because it was down to Earth and real. I do though enjoy reading the posts as well. As far as video? Seems too many of those YouTube reviewers end up becoming wannabe stars. I personally am far more interested in the review of the product than the showmanship. (PS I totally relate to the 35 yo trapped in a 60 something body. Actually sometimes I think the age is more like 18!)

OK some hopefully positive comments. Like you Mike I and no doubt everybody else we know of similar age still feel we are age 21 or 25 or 35 (as you have chosen). That will never change. However the reality is most of us are twice that age or more (I am 72 this coming end of May). How we do anything is the result of what we have done over the years from dot zero forwards. The key word here is experience, and there's nothing wrong with experience.

You then went on to do in your own mind, sizing. Specifically size of audience. I have lectured to as few as ten and as many as 2000
and find the inner feelings are about the same, you're afraid to miss or mess something. So what? That's how it is in this world; the water is under the bridge and gone; keep going...

Two items which stand out to me. You voice or the rendition of your voice is soothing and comfortable, soothing that can not be said about many others who choose to use a podcast or similar to convey a message.

And the other item about TOP as a printed form; your reader can always return to somewhere said column is available to read; not so with the verbal talk; it often disappears after it travels to your ears and is absorbed not you being.

Hi Mike,
Audio goes into a loop after ..........

For instance, my personal experience of it is that I have no problem talking to fifteen students in a classroom

[Maybe you should reload your page? It plays for me and seems to be working for other people. Maybe someone else can identify the issue? --Mike]

Well, you sound 35!

Sorry, but I put podcasts in the same bucket as I do videos. I don't listen to them. Don't forget that your post is about photography and you often (I would prefer more) need to show pictures. Podcasts are then worthless. I also read faster than you talk and thus waste less time when I'm not interested all that much in a particular post, or I am only interested in a part of it.

Excellent! If that's the first time you've ever spoken deliberately spoken into a microphone, you're a natural. Any stage fright you might have been experiencing wasn't audible. I just have two production-related questions:

1. When I read your posts, I hear them in my head in my own voice; it helps me identify with the text. How do I get you to sound like me?

2. As you've noted, the commenters (except this one) are very well-informed and often add significantly to the discussion. How do I record my comment to add it to the podcast?

(There's also the technical issue of how to download the podcast so I can listen to it without going to the TOP site first.)

Those minor issues aside, I look forward to seeing - er, hearing - what you produce in future. For me, I'll stick to the written version because I prefer to read this as a refuge from other demands so it gets my CFA (continuous full attention); but I do listen to podcasts so I can see the appeal of having an audio version of TOP. No intro music or catchy sign-off needed.

I get it . . . avoid the Baker's Dozen . . . diversions welcome.

How relevant is a podcast to photography, a visual medium?

No! You don't sound like you sound in my head, at all!

I once downloaded a lot of Brooks Jensen's Lenswork podcasts. I listened to them while driving an hour to work, and an hour and a half home again each day for a week or so. They were OK, but the opening theme music was annoying after the first one, as was the repetitive intro talk by an another person. I don't think podcasts are for me. But I like reading the blog. It's easy-ish to go back and search and find something of interest from the past in the blog. I bet it's much harder to do that with podcasts.

I agree that a video is CPA, but if I really want to find out what it is about I have to watch without distraction. In general I would much rather read - I can read through an article much faster than I can listen (or watch) it. I find in general podcasts don't work for me - my mind is not tuned to just listening to longer articles (I can listen to NPR on the radio though). I first realized this when my wife suggested books on tape (remember that time) for driving long distances out west - I couldn't remember one sentence to the next, and so there was no context for what i was listening to. I found the same just listening to the first part of you podcast. Keep up the good writing!

I also though I would be scared of lecturing to 200 students in an auditorium - but I remember what my PhD advisor once said - you know more about the subject than the people you are teaching (well actual he said it about printing papers at a conference, which most people still find scary). This advice has stuck with me and so I have had now problems lecturing to any size audience.

Who knew that you pronounced your site “top”, and not “t” “o” “p”, or that your “voice” sounded differently in my head when reading. This is why I don’t like audio books.

Interesting experience to hear your voice for the first time, after so many years of reading your blog. Your voice wasn't objectionable at all, just somehow not what I had expected given the "tenor" and "timber" of your written words. Interesting contrast -- that of my expectation versus the actuality of hearing you.

Perhaps I just don't know what a 61 year old sounds like ;-) since I'm now 70. I don't listen to my own voice very much but when I do I find it surprising too.

So not sure where this takes us, but to tell you that I do enjoy listening and watching the work of Brooks Jensen at Lenswork (latest are the PNC videos). He has a real knack for new media and perhaps could provide added inspiration and guidance.

But please don't stop writing. It has become a habit with me and I would miss it terribly.

Say hello to butters for me. Best regards from a patron.

I'm a reader. My computer setup would make it awkward, if not impossible, to listen to a podcast and do simultaneous tasks. CPA would kick in.

Same loop issue here


I've never listened to a podcast in my life. So I just read the blog. As usual. While I love music and I often listen to music as background to numerous activities (except for reading--I can't read and listen to music), I just can't get into the podcast thing.

Keep writing.

Audio quality is perfectly fine through my Altec Lansing 2.1 system connected to my sound card. Of course I can't click on the affiliate marketing links while doing other things while listening which might be important to you in the future. It is easier to concentrate on your written words than listening to your spoken words. Interesting change, I will be watching for future spoken entries.

Hi Mike,

interesting to hear you, and also interesting to hear a Blue Yeti mike - I have a Røde NT-1A (which needs an additional interface, in my case that's one from Focusrite).

A nice idea of yours, tho I personally still prefer to read. Also when people listen *only* then you don't have the choice to give them your affiliate links, except when you ask them to later go to T.O.P. and use them there.

Re: the music. I thought about writing or even recording a short jingle for you, but I don't know if I like the idea much. Too much wasted time, too much "clutter", or - as Zack Arias would say - too much noise vs. signal. But it *could* be done nicely, like Brooks Jensen does it on his http://daily.lenswork.com/ - I've no idea who that young lady is (maybe his daughter, announcing him as the editor, and later pointing to the copyright?), but that surely sounds nice, or even sexy.

So do it if it isn't too much additional work; nice idea. And like always - thanks for everything.

Not bad, Michael. Your voice is not objectionable - and that's not true for everyone. There are some people in broadcasting whose voice I find so hard to listen to that I don't really hear what they are saying.

I like having the choice of listening or reading, though for me I'll choose reading over listening. I like the lack of CPA that affords me. And the photos you often include in your articles would be missed by me in the podcast. However, I can imagine instances where I've not been able to get my daily TOP fix, and I don't have time to sit down and read, and I'd then choose the podcast - maybe. Still, it's a plus to have a choice.

My vote is to keep doing the podcasts. I don't think you'll chase any of your regular readers off with it. And, who knows, perhaps you'll find a new audience with them!

Hi Mike

I have read your written words for a long time but this is the first time I hear your actual voice. You have good clarity of speech and so I could pick up and understood every word. In short, that's a thumbs up for your initial public offering (IPO).

I could go about my other business as I listened. And listening is good enough, so I do not think you could improve on the "radio" bit by adding video.

Dan K.

I'm not a fan of podcasts either. They're either too short, or too long for whatever else it is I'm doing at the same time. Which applies to audiobooks as well.

Part of the difficulty I have with doing anything while driving, is that most driving is a cognitively very demanding task. Sure, out on the highway, cruising along in good weather, fill your boots with audio entertainment. But in the city, in variable weather, with the other drivers on the road paying unpredictably varying amounts of attention, I certainly want to put my full attention on the task at hand.

I enjoyed it. You have a fairly classic, well modulated radio voice, and your delivery was far more fluent than I could manage. You may have missed a calling.

Would love to hear some conversations between you and some of your contributors---John Camp for one example. You sound fine in the podcast, BTW.

Hi Mike,
I like the idea of podcasts, but I had to stop listening to them when my kids were little because the tech and media podcasters swore habitually. I have no real problem with such language, but having my four year old reflexively repeat "you $&#%" as a catchphrase is unacceptable. And so on. If you can describe the boundaries you want to stay in, I can figure out in what settings it is "safe" to listen.

Also, the old methods of TV audio production are worth paying attention to. When TV started, they used the same audio engineering as the radio serials. Even today, you can watch network TV without the screen even being on, and follow 95% of the action. In fact, I discovered early in the HD era that the biggest improvement I could make in watching TV was hooking up a stereo and a merely adequate pair of bookshelf speakers. CSI went from being interesting to fairly alarming instantly. Really, there are some terribly talented people working in that industry. I hope some of them see what you are doing and chime in with advice.

Here's some additional advice, for what it's worth. If you stand while you record, your voice sounds stronger, and it helps to banish tension. (For that reason, some people like little lapel mikes, though you have to watch out for clothing noise.) Consider holding on to a clicker while you work, and whenever you hit a segment you immediately want to re-say, instead of grabbing the mouse and stopping the recording and whatnot, just go 'click-click', and say it again immediately, to stay in the groove. When you go back to edit, the peaks from the clicker will jump out at you on the graph, and you'll know exactly where to cut. Best of luck!

I really enjoyed reading your podcast

I fully support the production of "The Online Photographer Podcast."
I currently have the time to read TOP daily. But, in my previous work life, it was not uncommon to go a week or more without reading it. I did, however, have time to listen to podcasts, audio books and broadcast radio. CAP was an integral part of my daily life and made drudgery more bearable. A podcast may open TOP up to new audiences. And, perhaps, inject a little Geritol into your work life. I am anxious to hear/see you meet new challenges, explore new ways to communicate, and present topics that translate well to audio format.

The OnAir Photographer -- why not?

I love podcasts and listen to them all the time, often while doing other things. The idea of podcasting your written articles is certainly okay. You have a great voice for it, and I would certainly subscribe to this somewhat old-school podcast.

But I am sure you know a lot is happening in the podcast medium at the moment, the standards are rising, there is ad revenue to be had. Most good podcasts nowadays have some sort of conversation or discussion between several insightful people, usually done over Skype. Hmmm... Do we know of anyone who has a circle of friends with great insight about photography?

There also seems to be a lack of podcasts with your kind of middlebrow take on photography. Plenty of podcasts talk about new gear to an audience of working pros or wannabe pros (the various TWIP-podcasts come to mind), some make deep interviews with art photographers about their work (The Candid Frame). Maybe Ted Forbes had something going a few years ago on The Art of Photography talking of photo books and classic cameras, but nowadays he is mostly talking about new gear on Youtube, and I never cared for his presentation style anyway.

So anything from you will be great, but please consider making a bit more of the podcast idea than you seem to be planning.

The podcast was a treat.. Your voice was simultaneously familiar and unexpected; I think as a long time reader I'd got a sort of audio image of how you'd sound in my mind. I love to listen to spoken audio about subjects I have a deep interest in while doing other things or even just to unwind at the end of a long day, so a regular audio version would be much appreciated.

Mike, I am a 66 year old novice photographer and enjoy TOP very much. I took note of your comment on age as perceived from internal and external vantage points, and I have to say that I have come to understand Jack Benny’s trademark birthday gag, in which he insists against all apparent evidence that he is 39. I find myself in a comparable position, as do you. By the time you are my age, you will probably feel about 39. I think the progression must be non linear.

Thanks again for TOP.

I like it, I think. Lets have a few more, just to be sure. :-)

Nicely done! Uh-oh! A future as a voice-over actor??

I don't listen to podcasts, perhaps for the same reasons articulated in the video/print discussions over the past few days. Paraphrasing the Sundance Kid in that hilarious scene where he and Butch were interviewing for jobs as payroll guards: " I gotta be able to move...""

Nice! As soon as I understood the audio content was the same as the written post, I've just played the sound version while doing some photoshop work. I surely could get used to this way of "reading" TOP, even if I would continue to go to the written article to see if there's any photos there.

It loops for me too, at the same place.

Also it says “live podcast”, though it isn’t.

I liked it. You could have spoken a little slower at times but I enjoyed hearing your voice after all these years. The audio worked fine for me.

As for the sign-off, how about a take-off on Charles Osgood's "See you on the radio".

See you on TOP.

I am Italian and English is not my main language, so for me a podcast is too difficult to understand. I suppose that most non English-speaking readers are in the same situation.
Of course most readers speak English so that is not a problem for them.
For what is worth you are a very good speaker and it is rather easy to understand your words. Unfortunately it is stiĺl too hard for me to follow them for a long time.

I like the idea, particulary if it becomes a real podcast I could download to my podcast app on my phone.

Stagefright is indeed weird. I’ve given lectures, and appeared on radio programs with no problems at all, in fact it is tremendous fun. But once I phoned in to a radio program, I almost seized up.

The biggest problem for photography podcasts (that match a blog article) is the absence of pictures.

I can imagine a a blog post involving the discussion of a picture or pictures might be rather comical.

Thanks for that, Mike. An interesting experiment.

Here was my experience, Mike. I read the article first, and then started listening to the podcast from the beginning. For me, a revelation. You have a pleasant educated American accent of a kind that I -- an American resident in England since 1975 -- find comfortable, familiar, and easy to listen to. Calm. Straightforward. You'd never try to sell me the Brooklyn Bridge. I can hear that you're not quite yet easy with talking into the microphone, but you soon will be ... or that's what I hear in your voice.

So yes, go ahead, if it seems the thing to do. I liked it. For my part, though, I'll continue mostly to read rather than to listen, because I turn to TOP late in the evening when I want to contemplate matters photographic, with continuous and not partial attention, and I don't want to do anything else.

BTW, you don't look like you sound (or sound like you look). At least in my mind.

This is the usual radio presenter "problem" that the listener makes up a mental image of the speaker based on ... well ... nothing at all. The user is then surprised when their assumptions are revealed to be untrue.

I've seen this happen a few times on the BBC when a person who has been hidden behind the mike on Radio 3 talking about art is suddenly on the screen in an art documentary. I'm surprised because they really don't look at all how I think they should look.

Despite that you a good speaking voice and a nice presentation style too. I think your podcasts (that don't blog posts about pictures) might actually work.

LOVE IT. Please do original content, too!

P.s. I did listen to this test clip and it sounded just fine on my Mac Pro. Played to completion for me.

welcome to the 21st century... before you know it, you'll be making videos for Youtube ;-)

I prefer reading to listening, much less video watching. Nonetheless, I just listened to your entire pilot podcast.

Although my natural reading pace is very fast (it took far less than half the time to read this post than listen to it), what stuck out was how your spoken version lost most of the pauses inherent in commas, periods and paragraphs. Perhaps you're rushing. In any case, if an audio version garners more TOP followers, that's a good thing.

I'm 75% deaf, so if you could do vodcasts with sign language that would be great. Oh, wait, I haven't learned sign language yet... I guess I'll just stick with reading. Now, where are my glasses?

It was good to hear your voice, since I've only ever known you from the written word. I think, though, that I will stick with the readable blog--as a former journalist and current writing professor, I appreciate folks who can use the written language well. I also think that multitasking is severely overrated.

Mike, always remember, keep your fingertips curled under, and your thumb behind the other four!

A podcast is a very good idea. I'm sure you will expand your audience.

If you do decide to do a podcast then consider improving your room acoustics. Condenser mics generally pick up every stray reflected sound. No offense but you sound like your are in a fishbowl right now.

I think that is a great idea! There is so much I could be doing every morning but they have to wait while I get my TOP fix first. Now I could get my fix and be doing something. And hey, you sound nothing like you look! Sorry to be personal but it is like meeting someone for the first time when you have been in touch for many years. But back to the podcast - an excellent idea and I hope it takes off!

Ah yes, that's what I need, a photography blog sans photos!

From out here in left field, the weakness of TOP is the narrow format and concomitant tininess of images in it.

You write about many interesting things, and readers have interesting things to say, as well, but very little of it has illustrative photos large enough to show much of anything.

I may not be good at CAP*. I started listening to the audio version, flipped over to check other stuff, found it all distracting, stopped the 'cast and (later) read the rest.

Doesn't bother me if you do 'cast versions, as long as the print with illustrations versions are available. Although it would be a shame if futzing with making the 'casts took away from the creation of actual content.

* In fact, according to the research Dr. Meyer Friedman did on behavioral factors in heart disease, that sort of multi-tasking is unhealthy.

I rather enjoyed that and can see some times when I cannot focus on reading, but can listen. I can always go back and re-listen if I need to. Or just read the post. Now that you have that microphone, you have to use it.

Mike, you have a pleasant voice for radio and I quickly warmed to the new venture, but please slow down your delivery by at least 50%. The listener needs to be able to think about what you're saying as you go along.

As someone in their mid-50’s who also thinks they look 35, I like this idea. I typically prefer to read photogear reviews, and only watch video reviews with one eye while watching bad TV (i.e., when nothing good is on). I just hope the quality of your spoken word isn’t less than your prose, or, heaven forbid, you sound like Homer Simpson. In that event I’ll download your podcasts, and listen while driving in my truck, while also enjoying the sound of the 4 barrel opening up to pass some slow poke.

I like it and hope it will be an occasional offering. On a side note, I once subscribed to a well known stock market advisor's, weekly letter. He then experimented with podcasts and they were great. You get to know the person better when you hear them I think. He gave it up after a while and I completely lost interest in paying for his subscription. I loved just sitting back and listening to his conversational description of the market. I think I spend way to much time reading these days-not that I'm planning on changing that. I like books on tape when on road trips, but much prefer reading text even on a Kindle or iPad. Lots of ways to acquire information these days.

The audio as streamed to my iPad hits the same loop back to the beginning at the same point. ‘Tis a glitch, I fear.

All in all, it seems a perfectly sound idea (no pun). One suggestion: let it cool for a day or two, then listen with fresh ears. You may find that from the top all the way through the email segment everything sounds like someone reading aloud. From the moment you hit “That part makes me laugh...” it sounds like someone talking to me. The level of engagement felt when it becomes a one-on-one conversation simply soars.

This is a product of momentum and ease. The fix is simple: when you get to the end, keep reading a second take beginning from the top. Don’t pause as if restarting...just end the last sentence and begin the first. Then edit.

Along the way you may recognize a sentence that works as written copy but goes clank when spoken aloud because the structure is not natural for speech. Think of a simpler, more natural way to say the same thing. Say it. Then edit.

From “That part makes me laugh..” to the point at which the recording loops back to the beginning you’re really sailing along and have my full attention.

This could be the start of something big.


I'm not a huge consumer of podcasts (since my drive time is spent listening to audiobooks), but I liked your delivery of your writing via podcast and it was nice to be able to put a voice to the pictures I've seen of you on occasion on TOP.

I'll be interested to read what other folks have to say about it and whether you decide to deliver some of your content via podcast.

Just don't give up on your writing - there's too few really good bloggers that can bring an article to life like you do.

You are a gifted writer.

For me at least it doesn't hold much interest, and I'll tell you why. You are a GOOD thoughtful writer, so much so that I often re read a sentence, --sometimes because it is a beautiful turn of phrase, interesting use of a word or other times because I'm not sure I got it.
I enjoy reading good writing, and giving it my full attention.
Your pieces are short enough that it never takes much time and is a joy rather than a burden.
You also very often provide thoughtful Links which enhance the post if I follow them and come back.
So too all your illustrations would be lost on a podcast.
The Spoken word is (or should be) different from the written word. We SAY things differently than we write things--for good reason. It needs to be more conversational.
So if you want to do a Podcast, my vote would be that you do it in addition to TOP and on slightly different subjects--ones that would benefit from a conversational style. and lack of links or Illustration.
As for 'listening on your way to work" that happens early in the day for most people, and if it is yesterday's edition I will have already read it.
If you had asked about an occasional video from TOP World Headquarters that made use of your resources like your Library, I would have been very interested.
I literally never miss a day and am a huge fan of your work.
I love reading it, and I love giving it my full attention.
It's a Vitamin. And it is Appreciated for what it IS.

I like the idea of podcasts and, with your speaking voice as polished as your writing voice, think they could be used to provide complimentary content (if you have the inclination and time, of course). There are a number of talented photographers who contribute to the comments--I'm a lurker myself. One idea is to use the podcasts to interview some of them or, perhaps, to interview other photographers or persons of interest that you admire. There are a good many podcasts but not so many good podcasts.

You know what, Mike?
Don't learn about editing. Just do podcasts like you did this one.
When I read your posts, it feels like a conversation with a friend at a coffee shop. Nothing fancy, nothing formal, just casual chatting. That’s what we do when we chat, isn’t it? We choose a different word or phrase, mid word or phrase, we clear our throats, we just... well, chat.
I get this feeling from Robin Wong, and I got it from Gordon Lewis when he wrote his Shutterfinger blog (and his occasional guest post here). I imagine if they did podcasts, they would sound like yours.
Conversations with friends. The world could use more of them.

Superb, outstanding, wonderful, splendid, marvelous idea. I am 66 years old and I'm working as never before. I have a demanding full time job and I have to do many things at home, cook, clean, etc. My wife has a serious hips problem, and although she does the best she can, she does need a lot of help. Every day I have less time to seat and read things unrelated to my work, so podcasting your blog will be superb. Thanks.

You're very good. You speak clearly and most importantly you don't wander. I guess that is the advantage of being a writer.

Keep working at it. It can only get better.

Yes but ...

I've just listened to the podcast. Nicely done. But to get the substance of it I had to listen to the whole thing all the way through.

With the written word I can scan the page in a superficial sort of way, and pretty quickly see if there's something in there that's interesting to me.

I would argue that the printed word is compatible with skimming, whereas a podcast isn't. So you want to skim the printed word and save time? Or iron a shirt while listening to a podcast?

Six of one and half-a-dozen of the other, it seems to me.

Love the idea, Mike. Like Xander, I listen to podcasts in my car (I work for Crutchfield, and thus have aftermarket head unit, speakers, and a powered sub - all for listening to 64K podcast streams, it seems). I think I could listen to you talk about pretty much anything as it pertains to cameras, photography, your experience in the field, and so on.

You have a Mac, a nice little USB mic, and a quiet part of the world to record in. You could bite this off in 20 minute chunks pretty easily. You could record short interviews with readers that visit you. Maybe try one short one a week for a while and see if it takes. If not? You're out a nominal fee for that USB mic.

I am in charge of our in-house video team at Crutchfield. We produce all kinds of content, from product "reviews" for the website to "how-to" videos, even local TV commercials. I was a copywriter when I started there and just kind of fell into the video thing...for a while, we had to kind of fight to prove that it was worth my time to make these videos. Now, we have a producer (me), two full-time videographers, and a couple part-time videographers, and we are always busy.

So I've had to learn the video side of thing by osmosis, because I see the world as a still photographer and always will...but I have gained a healthy respect for video production. It's a real can of worms. The podcasting, that ought to suck up a lot less time.

Good luck! I'll give it a listen. I have a 20-minute commute to work, and other than my dad and my videographers, I never get to talk cameras & photography with anyone. Listening to you talk about it would be a nice stand-in. I'd listen to a 20-minute episode about how to shoot/develop Kodak ASA 3200 film, seriously.

I like that idea. Funny thing, though: I read TOP while CPAing over a beer at a bar, or CPAing netflix, or CPAing some random TV or radio show. So you get my full artention, briefly, and those others only get my partial.

I would probably like a marriage of your posts and your comments section in your podcaat. That is, I could see you having a person or two on, and chatting it up with them.

Truth is you already do a good job of making your blog feel like an ongoing conversation with all of us. But I’m also not in Xander’s demographic.

A podcast is a great idea! YouTube would be good too, though there's more to getting it right, I think.
It will require some experimentation to get comfortable with a format and style, but most definitely worth a try. Go for it, and good luck!

Perhaps Butters can do the sign off.

"Their comments were casual, and relaxed, and confident, but when they tried to write whole posts their writing got stiff, and formal, and rigid."

Yeah, that's me. Unless I HAND-write. Something about composing on the computer, maybe the ease of editing, leads me to a compulsive edit of every sentence. Takes forever, and the result ... meh.

Some years ago, in my corporate computer career, I received a weekly data-center-oriented periodical which featured one columnist's humorous take on whatever struck his fancy, and not limited to computers. He was the Dave Barry of technical publications, funny, engaging, light. But when he wrote about a topic in a straight fashion - bore ya to tears it would.

Anyway, it was good to hear what your voice sounds like. So far, I haven't been a podcast consumer, but maybe you'll change my habits.

Mike, I like the idea of a TOP podcast but give me a reason to listen to it. Currently, I listen to many podcasts several of which are photography related. Give me a little something extra in the podcast to take advantage of the form factor. Maybe an interview on occasion. Or a discussion with one of your guest columnists. Or a debate on a relevant topic with someone who holds a different point of view. Or your in-depth thoughts on a particular photography book/photographer/photography trend. Or personal experiences that can better be related verbally rather than emotionless words. In many instances, the spoken word can convey much more nuanced meaning than the written word. You get my idea. I love to read TOP but give me a reason to listen as well. Time is a factor, too. I don’t think a podcast less than 10 minutes is enough to really get into a topic, nor one that is more than 30 minutes is optimum as most of us don’t have the time to listen to long podcasts without breaking continuity. I, for one, would like you to fully explore this new medium. Good luck!


I know you're an audiophile and would like the podcast to sound as good as possible.

You've got (audible to me) noise on your podcast recording that repeats every kHz from 1 to 20 kHz. There's also a definite room resonance. You might try some padding on the desk and on the wall behind the mic, and perhaps the wall behind you. I can send you a spectrograph image of the repeating tone if you'd like.

If you're not already familiar with it, you might want to look at the proximity effect with microphones.

I know you already have the Blue Yeti, but in order to get away from computer noise, USB noise, etc, and into a quieter, more controlled environment for recording your podcasts, you might want to look at the Zoom H1n, available at B&H. It's an improved version of the H1 that I use, and am very happy with, and the price is a bargain for the performance it offers.


Perfect! Last year, I put just under 36,000 miles on my Subaru and all my friends and students tell me that I should be listening to podcasts when I drive.

The problem: I don't know where to find podcasts and I don't know how to listen to them in my car.

The where is solved for one podcast now. Just gotta figure out how.

[Bryan, many podcasts can be found on iTunes, and in most modern cars you can sync your iPhone to the car's stereo system, or attach it with a wired connection. My son uses an independent app, but he says it's just habit and not necessary.

Hopefully the TOP podcast will be on iTunes too when I get it going. --Mike]

Another way of looking at the written word or a photograph versus a podcast or video is the question of who dictates the speed. I read at my speed. I look at a photo at my speed.

With a podcast or video, the author dictates the speed.

I think that accounts in part for the continuing attraction of still photographs.

Mike: Hey, if you feel that recording audio of your text is what you need to do it’s fine with me. But one thought: your blog is supposed to be primarily a visual subject, isn’t it? “The Online Photographer”? Yes, yes, I know that, in point of fact, there’s very little imagery on TOP. But just sayin’.

Liked the podcast Mike. You have a good voice with good intonation and I found the pacing just right. I appreciate the time that needs to go into a podcast and I hope you do more of them. As I'm a visual person first and an avid audio person second the podcasts would be very welcome. There are plenty of podcast platforms to get your content out to a wider audience too. Thank you.

Hi Mike, I don't mind the podcast, occasional podcast might be fun (once a week ?). But I see few problems for you. One is that podcast is not searchable like text does. And you'd lose links to item sale. Unless, you provide the transcript like this one.

Like Len above I expected a different accent. I'm not sure if I expected Australian like me, or Southern Californian - if there is such a thing - my employer is based in San Diego so I'm on the phone to them every day.

But in actuality your voice is different again - not surprising of course.

Great to be able to match a voice to the "voice" if you know what I mean, but I'll be sticking to the text version of TOP. For me reading beats listening, hands down, every time.

Somehow listening is more exhausting for me - and I also tune out too easily, often having missed vast chunks before I tune back in again. Hence no podcasts and no audio books for me!

[Here's a satire of the Californian accent...



As with video (vlogs), so with podcasts, I seldom listen whole heartedly for more than a minute?
I read your blog regularly and take it in (I think). I know I would not finish your podcast.

Well at least it's not video.

I don't have speakers on my computer, even my laptop is M.O.S. due to some audio kext that - well it is Mac OSX running on an HP so I get what I deserve I suppose - so I haven't had a chance to hear it yet, but from the comments you might want to look into some audio processing software. Audacity is pretty amazing and free, one of the cool features it has is the ability to remove room tone. Of course, it can add fake room tone too, that's easy.

Oh and those Zoom all in one recorders Lee recommended are just amazingly good.

What Øyvind Hansen said. I can read your articles. I want to hear your opinion on whatever you want to talk about. We long time readers feel that we know you, we like you, we respect your opinion. And if having a conversation with someone else is not possible I would like hear more random mussing, because I have the feeling that yiur random mussings will have a lot of substance.
Whatever you decide, I am on board.

I will probably listen again, as long as they're on topic (photography). I found it worked quite well to listen to you while processing photos in lightroom. I could give reasonable attention to both. It will work well for your longer posts.
I probably won't listen in any other situations, just from my laptop while editing photos, so if it's mobile-phone-app only then I'll stick to the written version.

Two quick thoughts from an addicted reader - many visually impaired people use text to voice for a synthetic experience - your real voice would be a wonderful thing for them; and - nothing wrong with a 61 year-old- trying new challenges! At 60 I started a new career as an international teacher which has given me opportunities and experiences I never dreamed possible! You'll never know if you don't give it a go!

You are really depressing me now. First I could not upload photographs to you camera porn posting, now I cannot get your audio file to play. I used to think I was quite technically minded until these two problems arose.
Honestly, just stick to writing, I've never listened to a podcast in my life and you are not going to change that, I just see it as a gimmick (that I cannot play).

Kenneth Tanaka wrote, "Personally I'm not a fan of podcasts. They're background noise. People just blowing air out their...faces."

That may be true for lots or maybe most podcasts. However the originals (This American Life, On the Media and Only A Game for example) are still well produce and interesting -- typically replays or expansions of NPR or CBC broadcasts.

WNYC Studios describes itself thus:

WNYC Studios is the premier producer of on-demand and broadcast audio.

Born from the team that created some of the most critically acclaimed and popular podcasts of the last decade, WNYC Studios is leading the new golden age in audio with high quality storytelling that informs, inspires and delights millions of intellectually curious and highly engaged listeners across digital, mobile and broadcast platforms.


For me Podcasts make otherwise mindless activities (exercise, yardwork, long drives) enjoyable. They're like good radio (remember that?) on my schedule, not theirs.

Mike, much as I loved the surprise of your young sounding voice, and being treated to clearly enunciated words, I must inform you that I read at about 300 words a minutes, and much faster than that, if I'm skimming for content.

I'd say you speak at about 140 words a minutes, or perhaps slower than that.

So I won't always be clicking on "play."

No offense. I'm sure there's a place for the spoken podcast.

Well done! Don't worry too much about editing, it's much easier digitally that doing it old-school with reels of tape, razor blades and a splicing block! As long as you can see and manipulate the audio waveform you're good to go.

I agree that stage fright is a funny thing. Working in radio, I am comfortable in front of a microphone talking, reading news or recording commercials. But I struggle with voice tracking, that is recording a segment that is played as if you are 'live in the studio.' I become obsessed with correcting myself, to the point that it doesn't even sound like me anymore!

I just have to repeat Lem Salen's commentary: what a shock hearing you after reading you for so long! An such an American accent as well! I don't know what I should have expected but think that one never reads [i]with an accent[/i]!!!

It's been great to hear you, nonetheless.

It was nice hearing your voice after all these years. A podcast is a very good idea

I massage my wife whilst listening to some of our favourite podcasts. (anybody who gets 'hello to Jason Isaacs' will know one of them). Some of these podcasts can be a couple of hours long, but for some reason, her indoors doesn't seem to mind. In fact, if you produce a four-hour podcast, you'd gain a new fan!

As others have said, I read faster than anyone I've ever heard can talk coherently.

I also have tinnitus. I barely listen to music any more because of it, so podcasts... nope.

Hi Mike,
I wanted to add that your voice is deeper, younger, and more confident than I had imagined. There's something about it that makes me say this is a musician's voice, very much like a conductor's, in fact. What a nice job you did!

Am I of an age where I can't do CPA? I clicked on play and listened without doing anything else. Just like I listen to spoken word radio - sat in a chair and giving it my full attention. (Music radio is just aural wallpaper.) Very nice to hear your voice after years of reading your words as well. A TOP podcast would add to the TOP user experience.

[I think we get the most out of things by giving them our undivided attention. Know what taught me that? American football games...in the darkroom. If you really pay attention to the games they're quite rich. Give one CPA, though, and it's just not much. --Mike]

Well, this certainly generated a slew of responses, mostly all well thought out & expressed. My reaction is: why make more work for yourself?

There's nothing "new" or "different" about the podcasts, per se, & it's yet one more thing tugging you away from writing.

Isn't it...??

I loved hearing your voice. I would never listen to podcasts, I like to read and podcast would be another annoying noise. I hope the time and effort to do podcasts does not distract you from TOP, it has been a cherished staple of my life for a really long time now. I see you said it would not, but there are only so many hours . . .

Hmm. It seems you already don't have enough time to create as many written posts as you would prefer, so I wonder how you'll find the time to run a podcast alongside your blog?

This is especially true if your process consists of writing a script, rehearsing it a few times, recording the "final" version, and then editing it.

Of course, I'm not much of a podcast fan, so perhaps my bias is showing?

FYI, I prefer written blogs, because I can read a lot faster than I can listen and I can skim through them by just shifting my eyes, whereas skimming a podcast requires much more manual effort and I'll have no idea what I've missed.

Oh, and I'll miss reading the comments, too!

I kind of get the (curmudgeonly?) response to this by some. I suppose there's an analog to the video discussions - why make me listen to a podcast when I can read (skim?) the transcript. But I think that maybe only applies to podcasts that are monologues. I listen to and enjoy lots of podcasts (when driving or on trains, especially) and find the best to be where two or more people, interviewer and guest, say, are sharing their enthusiasm and knowledge, like listening in on somebody else's interesting conversation. Dialogues seem to convey more than a transcript can. From this early step, I might suggest ToP Conversations (with interesting guests from the photo universe) may be a fruitful direction.

Horrible idea. Mike, you don't have enough TIME to do a podcast in addition to TOP. Your frustration shows, and you wind up making more OT posts. Not a darn thing wrong with them, most are very interesting, but the "P" stands for photography.

BDMUSTBECOLOR is an good case in point. How long has it been since the submissions were in?

This CPA stuff drives me nuts, too. Why do folks watch a poorly-done YouTube post for 10 minutes when they could read the information they need in 10 seconds?

Or, see if you can get Xander to do it, using TOP from the past week. He's a pro videocaster, you're a pro writer and photographer.

Mike, don’t get too slick at it. Keep it real. Even a short pause for a sip of coffee would be okay.

I'm not a fan of podcasts generally and I am often listening to music while reading TOP.

For me, the effort spend making podcasts would be better spent on the writing that you do so well.

Gonna differ with Ken Tanaka here. There are plenty of quality Podcasts out there, NPR comes to mind to be sure. Not good to generalize on such thing. There are "hot air" podcasts to be sure, but there's even more crap "written" on the internet and in vastly larger volume. We all need to pick and choose what we wish to read or listen to. My vote is for you to continue with the Podcasts because you will reach a larger audience, but mostly because you are enjoying the process - keep on trucking. Some people like to read, others like to listen. Easy. (And I for one prefer the listening method of the podcast over the video any day of the week - other than videos that are demonstrating things as other folks have described).

Not bad for a first effort! I've done voice overs for tech training videos and it ain't easy. I fell back on what I learned in speech communication classes in college. Prepare your script in larger print (so you're not squinting and searching) and mark it where you're going to breathe. It's not like talking into a telephone receiver either, you have to do a little more "singing." You have to subtext in the back of your mind continuously: "This is so exciting! It's the greatest thing ever!" It will sound unnatural when you're recording it, but the playback will sound right. I'll bet most anti-podcast people here are anti- boring podcasts. Maybe just keep them to 10 or 15 minutes at first, and talk about some serious aspect of photography history or art, with a bit of your own 'personal sauce' thrown in. There are a zillion photography podcasts, but not many with a sense of the past, or how it bears on the now.... I respect your taking up the challenge.

Love the podcast format. I really liked to listen to Brooks Jensen back in the day. I prefer a good podcast over anything they play on the radio, and it makes my daily commute so much more meaningful.

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