Anniversary time: into the terrible threes

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This rather appropriate cake was organised by my wife – at my own birthday last year…

Another year passes. Another productive, interactive, challenging twelve months. Time flies, doesn’t it? It seems not so long ago I was writing the two year anniversary post; the site is now three years old. It has reached a mature steady state; there’s a great regular audience, a large back catalog, and I’m pretty set on direction for the immediate future. We have about (my best guess) 2.1 million words and 4,000+ images in 970 posts; that’s about 15 paperback novels. I’ve worn out two keyboards in the production of the content – no joke. I believe the best is still to come – I know my point of view certainly changes with experience and time, and there’s some great stuff still in the pipeline. I also know that I want to bring things back to being about the images, about the photography, about the philosophy. After all, we’re all here to make images, right?

Without the readers (and their 51,000 comments!), without the community, without my partners, I’d be playing not very much to an empty house. So, that leaves me -us- to say a big thank you, and here’s to hopefully another great year! Cheers! MT


  1. Happy Birthday and thanks for guiding sincerely.

  2. Thank you for this website. Your photos, words, and video have inspired me to *think* about my photography. I discovered your website when “The demise of the DSLR” hit the front page of Hacker News and have since been a frequent reader (mainly via your iPad app). You continue to educate and inspire me. Please keep writing, making photos and sharing.

    Toronto, Canada.

  3. Peter Boender says:

    A wonderfully short but happy and positive post. So good to read! Two of your comments stick out to me:
    1. “I believe the best is still to come” Only 3 years yet, and already a lifetime of knowledge. What is still to come is unfathomable!
    2. “I also know that I want to bring things back to being about the images, about the photography, about the philosophy” You proved that point very well with the crappy cam post and its reveal. Bang on!

    So congratulations are in order! It’s been a tremendous ride so far, and for that I admire you dearly. Here’s to riding shotgun for many years to come!

  4. Happy birthday, my excellent consultant in photography, terriBLE no ! terriFIC thirties, all is there to move higher, good luck

  5. Thank you for all of the time, thought and energy you’ve put into your blog over the past three years. It would be impossible to quantify how much I’ve learned from you (or how much your images have inspired me) — but you’ve made a big difference for this photographer! Congratulations on your big milestone, Ming.

  6. Rudolf Friederich says:

    Congratulations! Keep the good thing going, please. You are an Inspiration to so many of us.

  7. Megatron says:

    Congratulations! Resolutions (pun intended?) for the next 12 months?

  8. Just a big thank you for teaching the world how to produce better images! My composition, technique, culling, and processing have noticeably improved from reading all of your valuable posts! And I also have a much better comprehension on formats and even camera tech from your articles. All of it ties wonderfully together. Your blog is the best photographic site available. And equally as important, I find your images inspirational. You mention HCB and Salgado as some photographers who’ve influenced you. We’ll your images have influenced me. Thank you and I look forward to each future post,

  9. From the wealth of information that I have found here, it seems like it has been much longer, 😀, but of course I was “following” your watch photography on another site before I found this one.
    Many, many thanks for everything that you have written, and all the help and inspiration that you have given to your readers. And to me. Long may ye’ run.
    Happy Anniversary Ming. ✨🌠😃

  10. Congratulations, and I’ll add my voice to the people who praise this website as a source of perceptive, practical information on great photography. In addition to enjoying the photoessays you post here and getting inspiration, I think your video workshops have really helped my understand what I need to work on in order to improve my photography. I also enjoy reading this site because I believe that you, unlike the majority of photo sites out there, don’t have a hidden agenda in pushing referral fees as high as possible by recommending unnecessary gear.

    PS: I don’t think I could have brought myself to destroy such a beautiful cake by eating it 🙂

  11. DynaSynergy says:

    Wishing you the best to come & an awesome new year !
    thanks !

  12. Kudos MT!!!!
    Keep rockin’!


  13. vinh truong says:

    Congratulation and thank you Ming. Your blog is one of my favorite everyday read.

  14. Lucy March says:

    Congratulations, Ming! I’m so happy to hear that the blog will continue on. My many thanks for all that you do!

  15. Congratulations and happy birthday, Ming.

  16. Super stuff Ming & thanks!!

  17. Congratulation’s I so look forward to your articles. Thank you for all your hard work HAPPY BIRTHDAY and many many more!!!

  18. Congrats and Cheers from Austin, Texas. Hope to welcome you here some day.

  19. Daniel Boyd says:

    Happy Birthday site! Here’s hoping you will produce the camera thingy that you mentioned in your last post. I will certainly stay in line to obtain one. Be well and keep us educated.

  20. Happy Birthday, Ming! You’re still writing some of the best editorial in the photography space! Hope you enjoy a fantastic Birthday weekend!

  21. Anatoly Loshmanov says:

    Happy Birthday!
    I wish the best for you and your family!
    Big achievement in past and even more in future.

  22. plevyadophy says:

    Happy Birthday. Wow, it seems longer; perhaps that’s due to the extensive content making it feel like I have been getting an education for a VERY LONG time.

    Congratulations, and thank you.

  23. Congrats, Ming.

    Keep up the awesome work (and sacrifices of time and energy). We’re all better for it. Thanks you!

  24. Ron Scubadiver says:


  25. You have a great blog Ming keep up the good work. And Happy Birthday!

  26. Love the comments here…ditto to all
    ” life is but a shadow…”
    You have truly enriched us Ming!!!!

  27. Congrats, Ming. Your success is well-deserved. Look forward to what you have to share with us in the coming year.

  28. It’s all about the journey Ming and it’s still continuing. All you can do is enjoy it for as long as it lasts….

  29. ‘Oh the Places You Will Go!’ Thank you for taking us with you!!

  30. Congratulations Ming! Here’s to the best psychology/philosophy/photography blog in existence 🙂
    (In my opinion, you really take the holistic approach to photography to the next level.)

  31. You have without question one of the best photography related sites on the web, you are a fantastic photographer, and your generosity in sharing your enthusiasm and knowledge is quite astounding. And you’ve only just turned 30, likely younger than most of us who are commenting here. I personally have slightly over a decade on you, so believe me when I say that your thirties are a good time. You still have the power of youth, but you’re starting to “mature” as well. It’s sort of the best of both worlds.

    Hope that the coming years bring you great personal and professional satisfaction and success. You deserve them!

  32. Looking forward to another year of inspiring photos and writing. Your site and your videos have been a primary guiding force in my photographic aspirations—many thanks and congratulations on your continuing success!

  33. Ian Richter says:

    Well done and thanks Ming for your work.

  34. Thank you Ming for your always profound insights. Being physicist and owning a P645Z it seems to have found a “fellow sufferer”.

  35. Congratulations Ming!

  36. Congratulations to you and your supporting family, this is probably the best place where to read, write, learn and enjoy the medium. The best wishes from Italy! Really, you are too far away from here, because you really deserve a great shake of hand! 🙂

  37. congrats, sifu.
    you are absolutely right, its an empty house without the support.
    but you are the lighthouse that keeps us coming back.
    imho, you’re simply the best, both in theory and execution.
    hope to save enough $$$ to attend one of your workshops some day.

  38. Happy sort-of-birthday!

  39. I bet that lens was tasty. 😉

  40. I thought four was the ominous number in many Asian cultures… anyway, I wish you the best going forward and plenty of success to come! May the light shine upon you 🙂

  41. Congratulations Ming! Big thank you for bringing priceless inspiration and wisdom to the photographic society by showing not only incredible photography, but certainly and indeed have let us know how you came to making such stunning images.
    This is the only place where the central turnaround point still is the image.

    I can nothing but wish that the future will allow you to let the site grow for the sake of making it fun to walk the extra mile to get that image you always wished you have taken yourself.

    I think it is appropriate to quote what a great photographer and a very good friend of mine once wrote about you when asked to define your photography:

    **Photography promises to capture a single moment in time, preserving every
    nuance and detail of that ephemeral instant forever. And like a scene in the
    real world, a photograph should reveal more of itself over time, with a near
    infinite wealth of detail.

    Ming Thein believes that photographs should not give up all of their secrets
    in the first or even tenth viewing. After all, why should we display a
    large photograph prominently only to become quickly bored of it, because
    the photograph has run out of things for us to see?

    Ming composes, captures, and prints his photographs with a nearly inexhaustible
    level of detail so that you can view them as many times as you like. Ming combs
    the world to find subject matter suitable for this level of detailed capture.
    His thought-provoking compositional perspectives are infused with an almost
    surreal richness of detail, inviting you to contemplate, explore, and transport
    yourself to another place.

    At first, your eye might be caught by Ming’s unique style of balancing forms
    in his compositions, or perhaps the beautiful and dramatic quality of light
    that Ming is known for. But then the finely drawn detail made possible
    by a high resolution capture workflow and proprietary printing process
    draws you further in. More of the photograph reveals itself as you dive
    deeper into the print. The print becomes a world of its own for you to
    endlessly explore.**

    • Gerner – thank you, and I recognise those words 🙂

      See you very soon in Prague! We shall raise a glass and a cigar to celebrate.

      I was wrong about the image though: it’s the people 😉

  42. Rudy Mareel says:

    Congrats Ming. On and upwards! Looking forward to many years to come! Rudy.

  43. Happy Birthday Ming, you still have the PENTAX 645Z ????

    • Sadly only a cake and in image form – that’s actually an old photo from my real birthday last year; my wife organised a cake that looked just like it (mine hadn’t even been delivered at that point).

      • Steve Jones says:

        Had me fooled, I thought it was a real camera. Thought you always used that format for birthday snaps.
        Congratulations Ming, hope you never get tired of working on this site, because where else am I supposed to go? Ken Rockwell?
        Any chance of some watch photography popping up here in 2015? JLC tribute model for example??? Wrist shot maybe? 🙂 🙂 🙂

  44. Has it been that long? Time does sure fly. It wasnt long ago that I was searching for scraps of real knowledge and insight to invigorate my own photography journey. Then I found you…and everything changed. Real objective, meaningful coverage of things that you actually use along with the ability to teach photography through your words and especially through your pictures (which are outstanding!). Other blogs shill for the camera makers but you tell us what you think and how you really feel. Bravo Sir! Job well done and many more anniversaries to come

  45. Congratulations Ming. You have created what is now one of the greatest online resources on the subject of photography, what for many might have amounted to a lifetime’s effort. Well done!

    • Thanks Linden! Much more to come. I find just when I wonder what to write next and worry about the pipeline…I’ll have a couple of productive days and write a handful of my most satisfying pieces yet.

  46. Caesar Merlin says:


  47. Congratulations, and all the best for the future – every single aspect of it! This is still is the best – and in many regards, the only – photoblog I read regularily, and I’m looking forward to everything you’re going to share with us. Just one little thing: The terrible threes are in fact quite bearable – it’s the later numbers that are harder to endure 😉 So in all seriousness, and regardless of the fantastic achievements we have seen, in a very real sense, we ain’t seen nothing yet, I’m sure!

  48. Richard Papp says:

    Congratulations and continued success Ming! Thank you for generously sharing your knowledge, experience and wonderful photos.

  49. Congrats Ming Thein! I’m glad we inhabit the same universe!

  50. Happy Anniversary Ming! This is the only photography related site that I’ve ever bothered to go back to the start and read every article from. Totally enjoyed and learnt a lot from them. Thanks for churning out the insights and education, and looking forward to see more from you!

  51. John bresnen says:

    You have a great site Ming..My wife and I wish you the very best.

  52. Congratulations Ming!!! I really enjoy the site, photos and writing. I have learned so very much and enjoyed so much each post. Best Wishes – Eric

  53. Happy birthday! I’ve been following the blog since almost the beginning, and while I frequently disagree with opinion, the quality of both the writing and photography that you share is amongst the best on the interwebs.

  54. Congrats Ming, time for little Ming lol 😉

  55. Warmest contratulations Ming! I continue to enjoy your work. Thank you!

  56. Congratulations Ming! This blog, for me at least, has set the benchmark for all other sites, look forward to what you have in store for this year!

  57. David Ralph says:

    Ming, congratulations. More than that, thank you. I checked my own archives, and I logged on in 3/2012, not quite your first post. I am not sure how I stumbled on to your posts. I think it was when I was trying to figure out whether D800s were mortally wounded or whether I could move on from 12 MPixel Nikon bodies, or not. I found a lot more than that. It has also been very interesting to follow your own changes in attitude from the experience. I can only say, especially on this day, “Live long, and prosper.”

    • Thanks David – you’ve pretty much been here since day one; I think certainly since I had any sort of visibility thanks to the D800 review (no surprises there!). Glad you’ve stayed with us.

      And yes, a sad day for all Star Trek fans everywhere…what isn’t so well known is that Nimoy was actually a very accomplished photographer, too.

  58. Daniel Stern says:

    Always look forward to reading your insights- Thank you for your sincere passion!…. Daniel.

  59. What you’ve done in the first three years is nothing short of amazing. If there were a way to multiply the sheer tonnage of your blog output by the quality and value of its content the resulting number would be too large to state. And that’s the extent to which your readers are in your debt. Thank you!

  60. Your wise beyond your years. Welcome to the club 😀 Happy Birthday!

  61. Congratulations – Keep calm & carry on!

  62. Congratulations Ming! I know I have enjoyed it for the last few months and have benefited from the information in the site and the video lessons and your perspective on things which I particularly enjoy! Cheers!

  63. Happy Anniversary Ming! I think the terrible twos are worse than threes but then mine are in their teens which I think is even worse when you’ve just turned 60.

  64. Consistently the most entertaining and informative photography related blog; and your instruction videos are the best. Thanks for all the work you put in to provide all this great content.

  65. Congrats +1 & Cheers!

  66. Time flies when you’re having fun. Congratulations, I’ve learned much from you.

  67. Congrats, Ming!

  68. happy birthday have a great day Ming

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