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Tuesday, 01 January 2019


I am a huge consumer of TOP and greatly appreciate what is offered here. It is still the ONLY blog that I visit each and every day that I am online. I like the angle of the content and the expertise that is behind its delivery. I also like the eclecticness, if that's a word, of the content. It broadens my horizons a bit.

I developed a habit years ago that I only ever access Amazon or B&H by going through TOP. I sincerely hope that this habit, along with a very modest monthly Patreon contribution, contributes to the necessary funding to keep TOP up and running.

Good luck Mike and I hope this latest calling shores up the financial side of TOP. Happy New Year to all of the TOP readers out there.

John Gillooly

I agree absolutely. Sony has been the only real innovator for the last decade. For the record I use a Fuji X-T2. However there is often a price to be paid for being a leader. The competition can take their time and then pounce when the leader has already made most of the mistakes and spent a lot on development. This is essentially what happened to Minolta who were often the innovators in the days of film.

"...a certain way with words....".

Don't need to be modest. You have an excellent way with the words, which makes the reading of your texts a pleasant experience.
In these web times, paraphrasing Umberto Eco, when "Social media gives legions of idiots the right to speak when they once only spoke at a bar after a glass of wine..." a well written blog survives.
Unless we are facing darken eras...


I, for one, don't think this TMI as I appreciate being kept in the loop about the health of TOP. Over the past year or more I've been curtailing amazon purchases in favour of supporting local businesses. I still buy things through your portal, but knowing the extent to which a broader decline affects your bottom line is important information. Since I consider TOP my 'local' photo site, I've upped by Patreon contribution. Thanks again for all you do to keep this little corner of the internet going. It remains a gem.

I’ve shared this on Facebook.

"Every little bit helps" so I doubled my Patreon contribution to TOP.

Mike, I am pleased to be one of your Patrons on Patreon, though I can't afford to pay a lot. I've been a reader of The Online Photographer since at least 2009, and no other blog or website has kept my interest and support as long as this one.

Long may you continue. If it wasn't for your example, I might not have had a go at this blogging lark for myself.

Regarding your recovery after the eye operation, this, like all things, will pass. I've had the gas bubble in the eye for a detached retina which meant lying with the head in a certain position as much as possible for quite a few days (Yep, I Googled your op) and later, a cataract op on the same eye; a cataract is the usual result of the gas bubble operation.

And I nearly forgot; happy New Year!

I've increased my Patreon contribution for the new year, to better reflect the enjoyment and use that I get from TOP. Thanks for keeping it going.

(And, as far as I'm concerned, there's no need for extras for Patreon contributors.)

Not TMI. Plus it reminded me I meant to up my support this year.

I’m glad I recently doubled my Patreon contribution; after reviewing what I was reading over the year I realized I was paying fair market price!:)

Also- Podcasting ad rates seem to be a bit better- is that a medium you’re interested in?

It's sort of like the Public Radio model, isn't it? Receive the "product," then pay afterwards - or not.

I like the "sustaining member" concept. Besides my local NPR-affiliates, I also have a monthly amount going to "causes" I support, whether it's food insecurity, or fact-based journalism. I have one credit card dedicated to that purpose.

Having switched to Patreon when you first announced it, I'd like to encourage other regular readers, if not already sustaining TOP, to please help keep it going. I stumbled onto both TOP and VSL in 2012, and both blogs have been part of my day ever since, just like my local NPR station.

I've been meaning to do this for quite some time but have never gotten around to it. Thanks for the reminder. Didn't really read the intro essay on Patreon--hope things don't get too dire.

I'm sending $3 per month which is what I was paying for the magazine back in the day ($36 per year for 6 issues). I got as much or more out of TOP than I got out of the magazine, so I think it's a bargain. Happy 2019 to all!

Finally got around to signing up for that...sorry I’ve been freeloading (sort of - I use the amazon links quite a bit) your content since the old site...probably 11 years? I remember I was able at that time to scroll back to the beginning. Anyway, best of luck in 2019 and dealing with that pesky “housekeeping”. I might say one more thing while I’m poking my phone screen...though some folks might grumble about your audiophile posts and ramblings I always quite enjoy them...they’ve led me to many good purchases (perhaps it’s best you don’t post after all).

Dear Mike. I have been visiting your site since ..., well, forever. It is a unique source of reflection and inspiration to me. The one site that I really don't want to lose. But I wasn't making any financial contributions. That was not right, and one of the last things I did in 2018 was to go to Patreon and subscribe to your site with a monthly contribution. Thank you, Mike, for creating TOP.

I am sorry Mike, but I do not know what most of your acronyms mean. I find a lot different one's on various websites and they just do not make any sense to me. It is probably my age (79) but the meanings just pass me by. It must be something brought over from the cell phone junkies. My best guess.

Happy New Year

[I've been trying to be better about this Skip. I'll keep trying. "TMI" means "too much information," said when someone over-shares or reveals their personal business, of a crude nature or a financial nature.

The decline of well-written blogs as a financially viable art form (because, really, that's what they are) makes me sad. They've gifted me keen insights, pithy observations, and new ways of looking at things I thought I already knew pretty well.
YouTube videos are most certainly *not* a suitable replacement. It's like the difference between a novel and a movie. Written text provides scope for great depth of thought, nuance, exploration. Video provides immediacy and emotional resonance...but often only an inch deep. Just not the same.

I have to make a bigger effort to use your Amazon link. What has done it in is the Amazon App will auto load most time, skipping you.
Hope all works out this year.

How do you feel about me mailing you a check vs. subscribing via Patreon?

Weeks ago I started using the services of The Book Depository via your link, and now I've upped my humble Patreon pledge. It isn't much but every bit counts! It's a pity you aren't affiliated to Amazon Spain because I spend serious money there every year.

Anyway, Mike, I warmly hope this year will be good for your eye, health and pocket.

Just tripled my monthly kibble donation. Keep going, Mike!

I want TOP and you both to stay healthy, so I've upped my Patreon subscription. Also, I always do Amazon and B&H purchases through your links. TOP is one of the very few sane, informative, and interesting photo blogs available, and I'd miss it sorely if it disappeared.

Thanks for reminding, Mike. I have read your blog for ten years or so, and now I have finally started to contribute. Just a little, I am afraid, but I intend to keep giving as long as I read the blog - hopefully for at least ten more years.

My first browser was MacSurf, so I've been on the 'net for a while—however Mike uses some rather obscure acronyms. Here are some of TMIs I found using DuckDuckGo. Three Mile Island, Texas Military Institute, Total Market Index (Dow Jones STOXX), Trainable Mentally Impaired and my favorite Too Much Internet. About the only acronyms I use are BTW, FTW, POS and WTF (BTW is the only one that can be used in DPReview comments).

I would like to increase my contribution but I can't see how to do that on the Patreon website. Any suggestions?

Happy New Year.

Unless I forget I do the Amazon/B&H thing routinely. I would not mind giving more but, and it is a big butt, I minimize who keeps my credit card numbers to minimize my hassle. Whine: I have had to change my card numbers at least 6 times in the last 8 years, once a few days before a big (photography) trip. And then there was the receiver purchased in Baton Rouge with my CC number at Best Buy closing time in Baton Rouge where I've never been. Not fun.
All this is to ask that maybe you can have a one time donation place. Merchants are not allowed to keep CC numbers in one time purchases. Patreon might do this but I've not gone beyond looking at the monthly donation choice. Is Patreon more trustworthy than Home Depot or Adobe or Equifax??? Or do I misunderstand monthly charge mechanisms?

Mike said: "Monetizing a website is an ever-changing challenge." From my Point Of View you need to Keep up with the times. Change in the same way as the rest of society is changing i.e. curtailing print and embracing video.

Eric Kim http://erickimphotography.com/blog/ does a YouTube video of many of his blog posts. He also makes YouTube video-slide-shows with music. Often, when he is out on the street shooting, he has a GoPro on his cameras hot shoe.

Unlike a real-dog, it can be hard to teach a photo-dawg new tricks. Get a GoPro Fetch dog-mount https://bit.ly/2GPinWY and teach Butters to make videos of you ;-) Seriously, there are many camera-phone-toting YouTube-watching people, who are fans of photo-art. Maybe they would buy prints, if they knew of your print sales.

[Mitch Hedberg has a joke...the first one here:


I'm a cook, but I do not farm. --Mike]

I'm a cook, but I do not farm. --Mike

I wish you a lot of luck --Chuck

Me, I choose to live in the future. And I choose to change careers, even at this late date.

[I never said I wouldn't change careers. I will if I have to. I've done it before. I was once Senior Editor of Model Railroader magazine, of all things.

But I'm not going to be vlogging about video any time soon. It's not my area of a) expertise or b) interest. Another quote: "I yam what I yam." Popeye, of course. --Mike]

With all due respect, Mike, I'm with c. d. embry on this one. You do need to keep up with the times if you want TOP to remain viable, both content-wise and most importantly revenue-wise.

Its fine that TOP primarily remains a blog, but I would recommend that you look with some depth into what Hugh Brownstone has done with Three Blind Men and an Elephant. Yes, he does some gear reviews on YouTube, but that is simply a means to fund much more important projects like his What Were You Thinking? series, which he kicked off ast summer at the International Center for Photography on H-C Bresson, interviewing both Agnez Sire and Marc Lubell, along with none other than Elliot Erwitt. He also has another series, Good World Gone Bad and a lot of other content about photography. What Hugh is doing with 3BM&E is, IMHO, producing state of the art content on the importance of photography as an important force in Society, via mix of written and video content that is fresh, inspiring, and relevant. His Patreon page has a a lively and active discussion forum and he makes video content to his Patreon members accessible early and ad-free.

I know you don't do vlogging about video, but you really should think about creation of both video and also audio content via Podcast. There are a lot of interesting people out there you know that you you could interview. By way of example, I would encourage you to listen to Frederick Van Johnson's This Week in Photo.

That's what I call a value add, Mike. I'm giving ya some tough love here, and I recommend you really think about this; otherwise it will be harder and harder for TOP to remain viable as a daily stop for many of us, and for you as a business.

Best regards,

I do what I can as this is and has been my favorite photography site for years. Even when it is not about photography, it is always interesting. Well, the billiards stuff....Hopefully the new monitor calibrator purchase from B&H is credited to you since I bought it when still in the US last weekend. I don't think using your link to Amazon US then switching to Amazon Japan (it will automatically suggest I go there) gives you credit for my purchases. So I throw a few coins your way on Patreon.

Changing to vlogging? Well, as you know that is an entirely different thing that you'd have to relearn from scratch with no guarantee that your popularity would transfer. Plus if you had no interest in that line of work, the passion would disappear.

Hope you can continue at least through 2023. What will I do first thing in the morning if you can't? Social media? Shoot me first, please.

"But I'm not going to be vlogging about video any time soon. It's not my area of a) expertise or b) interest ..." --Mike

Most Vlogs are not "about" video—they just use video to convey the message. Some are about food while others are about whatever. Yours could be about Butters one day, Mennonite farm-fresh-food the next and the art-of-photography the day after. Print your words and post your photos, for the blog. Read your words and use video-slide-shows and/or photos on you Vlog. Maybe not easy-peasy ...but close to it.

...For myself, I have to move on. Life is too short to live in the past. There is a lot to be done. --Henry Rollins

Not TMI in my opinion, but rather courage to allow for a bit of vulnerability.

I for one am a reader and am happy with the format of TOP. I also really appreciate that you edit the reader comments which sustains a level of comity (courtesy and considerate behavior toward others) not always found on other discussion boards.

Thank you for keeping it rolling, the kibble for old photo dawgs.

As others are doing, I have doubled my monthly Patreon gift.

Thanks again for TOP.

Hi Mike from Hydeaway Bay in Tropical Australia. Thanks for the TMI and I’ve just doubled my Patreon contribution. I don’t know quite what it is about your blog, maybe the combination of knowledge and personal connection, but i love it and visit every day. My partner does not read the blog but is well aware of you and your life because i’m always telling her something you’ve shared! I was horrified to hear that in the land of freedom and opportunity you pay 36% tax. We are self employed here in Australia, a partnership doing marine biological consulting, and probably pay around 15% tax on total income. I hope you can keep things going for as long as possible; i’d feel like I’d lost a friend if you stopped TOP!


I don't feel that it was TMI - probably a timely note to us consumers of your blog that we need to contribute in order for you to create the content we read.

This is one of the few blogs where I am entertained by the writing. I like the half-hearted sales attempts - it makes me look at kit without being too tempted.

I make my Amazon purchases via the TOP link. And have upped my Patreon subscription.

All the best, Andy

Upped with 50% - now about twice as muchh as my Guardian support per month :-) - but you are worth it! Lots of nice text and a happy and fruitfull year to you and yours Mike!

All the best!
Anders H.

I've bought (lovely!) prints through TOP and send you, through Patreon, some of the money I make ON Patreon and I'm happy I can do both. Happy because I get so much from this website, I'm happy I can give you some in return. See, even sending you money makes me happy ;) Talk about win-win!
And when it comes to video, that takes a lot of time and energy, so I'm not sure that would be the right choice for you, no matter how much sense it might seem to make from a marketing point of view. But I'm pretty sure I'd be happy either way. I'm convinced so long as you keep on doing what you like, I'll have reasons to stay. I haven't liked everything you've written about but I have read every single post here (and quite a few articles before that) and don't regret doing so.
You know what they say: "keep up the good work"

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