Sunday, December 31, 2006


RACING round the plastic tarmac blacktop this afternoon, at brother-in-law Dave's house this afternoon, I was suddenly inspired. Perhaps it would be possible to apply photographic techniques I once used at Brand's Hatch. Firstly setting the camera on Iso 3200 I tried a slow shutter speed to create a light trail using the Scalectrix car's headlamps. Secondly tried panning the car at 1/30th with a burst of flash to create some motion blur. Forgot to set the flash on rear curtain sync and panning with your elbows on the floor is no mean feat. More "motor-racing" pics to come.......

Friday, December 29, 2006

Re: Technopolis (Saturday 25/11/06)

Reply from Editor, Financial Times: How to Spend it magazine
Dear Mr Davey,

I have passed your comments to Jonathan Margolis, who is surprised that your example of the Ricoh Caplio R5 was not as fast at consecutive flash pictures as his test model.
He points out that other reviewers have noted the same feature - one such can be found at, but has forwarded your account of your experience to Ricoh.

Regarding the recommended suppliers for the Ricoh, the magazine goes to press several weeks before publication and, as you say, Jessops have only stocked this model in the past fortnight. We cannot anyway publish an exhaustive list of suppliers in Technopolis, as this would be impractical for reasons of space.

Yours sincerely,
Gillian de Bono
How to Spend it
Associate Editor,
Financial Times
One Southwark
BridgeLondon SE1 9HLTel: 0044 (0)20 7873 3203Fax: 0044 (0)20 7873 4372

Technopolis (Saturday 25/11/06)

Letter to the Editor, Financial Times Weekend edition 25/11/2006 How TO Spend It magazine

Dear Sir,

"The Ricoh Caplio R5 (digital camera) is also especially party-friendly because you can take consecutive flash shots without having to wait for the flash to recharge. "

Jonathan Margolis must have had a pre-production model. I went to the cabinet at work (camera shop) grabbed the camera, turned on - pretty quick for a digital - took a picture and immediately tried to take another, NO DICE. Two seconds later it fired. This was either due to the camera struggling to save my first 7.1mega pixel shot or some sort of processor delay.

I didn't even bother to check his claim that the camera will allow " least a couple of hundred flash shots in succession... " due to its "...relatively huge battery life..." as my Nikon has double the electrical capacity in milliamp/hours and only takes about 70 flash shots before I need to change batteries. Like many current cameras the Ricoh does have Iso 800 which would speed things up as the flash would need less power. But instant recharge like my 30-year-old Vivitar flashgun does not happen.

Finally he states it is available from web vendors, it has also been on the high street in our Jessops branch in Edinburgh for at least a fortnight. We might even do you a deal or recommend another less brick like model.
Yours faithfully
Mark Davey

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A Daughter's D40

MOST of my major photographic purchases are secondhand. Even my first digital SLR the Nikon D100 was bought used and possibly abused for £175, with four batteries and a grip. Later I found it was well used when magnets which control the aperture setting stopped working. Luckily it was fixed for free.
So it was pure pleasure to watch my 15-year-old step-daughter unwrap her first camera on Christmas morning. A silver bodied and lensed Nikon D40. I made the decision to buy as I woke on the 23rd. How much better it looks than a silver Canon Eos with a black lens.
Compared to a vastly inferior pocket compact, which many seemed to be buying their children, it represents good value. She was a bit surprised to get it, but not as amazed as her 19-year-old brother. He seems to have forgotten the Sony digital camcorder received at the same age.
Sophie was able to snap great pictures straight out of the box and has so far proved to be a rather ruthless editor. Taking plenty then happily trimming back to save her best.
Like the dad who buys a Scalectrix (spell) there is that element of a new boy's toy but as I already have the D100, it's not quite the same. Although I might test out its monochrome filters and 1/500th flash sync. Last time I used 1/500th in anger on an SLR it resulted in a prize-winning swimming image from an F90.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

What Ewe Chewin?

Glensax sheep near Peebles enjoy tasty hay on Boxing Day. While back in Edinburgh skaters enjoy the outdoor rink in Prince's Gardens.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

PICASA - Photo-editing with Google

GOOGLE'S Picasa photo-editing PC program makes handling images a doddle, and it's FREE!
Anyone who's bought a camera from me or been on one of my courses will have been given a recommendation to download Picasa.
It does not replace Adobe Photoshop Element's simple sophistication and is not a patch on Photoshop CS2. It does give a great entry for beginners to adjusting images.
Picasa also makes e-mailing images and burning CD/DVDs into a simple operation. Click on the button in my sidebar to try it for yourself.
A client said to me this week that installing Picasa was great as it had "tracked" down a lot of photos I thought I'd lost.

Note most of the images in these posts have been "in" Picasa at some stage.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Edinburgh Road Festive Fun

A baby reindeer chews hay on the rose-bed in this house's Edinburgh Road, Peebles, Christmas display. More coming soon including Eddleston Hall and the Old parish Church.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Merry Christmas from Peebles 2006

RED nosed reindeer, shining stars, snowmen and even cats with hats are all part of the fun in Peebles' illuminations. A cluster of houses with some completely over-the-top outdoor Christmas decorations are putting the town's high street to shame.
Most are improvements on previous year's displays, at the house above even a counter is included in this show with eight days Christmas.
Some keep it simple with a window display only others cover the roof as well.
All pictures taken with Nikon D100, Iso 800, tripod mounted, f8 with speeds ranging from 1/2 second to 2 seconds, image quality fine. No flash.

Finally here is a contact sheet of all houses to be found below, if yours is not included e-mail me for a shoot - It's Free!

Christmas Decorations Peebles 2006 (2)

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Christmas Decorations 3

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Friday, December 15, 2006


Since 2004 when this Peebles house was captured on
celluloid its decs have increased. Watch this space to see
the 2006 incarnation and others like it...........

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

An evening in

Created with Picasa.
Pictures shot as single frames on the Nikon D100 + Tamron 90mm f2.5 manual focus lens. Camera tripod mounted, Iso 800, white balance set for tungsten except for final frames when Vivitar 283 flash + vari-power adapter used. Most exposures set with spot meter ranging from 1/20th at f2.5 to 1/80th f2.5. Final frames of drinker 1/30th f8 (With flashgun). Camera resolution set at 1.5 Mega Pixels, too much really for this application. First video created with Codec produced an 84.5mb file. So changed to Indeo Video 5.10 which gave a 29mb file of the 17 images finally selected.

Nikon D40 Neat, not too light 6 Mega Pixel

A few frames of the new D40 Camera

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Dog Bites Camera Card

A DEXTROUS doberman caused camera card misery for his owner today. We are regularly requested for help in retrieving data from digital memory cards which have been corrupted.
Usually due to user error such as letting a friend fiddle with the camera: "He seemed to know what he was doing, pressing lots of buttons, then I saw the camera said: "Busy"," one woman customer told me last week. She was distraught when I said that the helpful friend had formatted her card deleting all the images taken on a recent far east trip. I gave her Fuji's address and suggested she send the card in as it is possible to "find" the images.
We have to be careful about trying to retrieve images ourselves as it is not a service we offer. Often it causes even more grief when a customer's card is mislaid in the office!
Today's enquiry took the (dog) biscuit: "Is there any way you can get my images off this card," said a customer presenting his Sony memory stick which looked like it had been shot. In fact his doberman had somehow extracted it from his camera and given it a good chewing.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Picasa - Google's own Photo Editing Software

GOOGLE'S Picasa photo-editing PC program makes handling images a doddle, and it's FREE!
Anyone who's bought a camera from me or been on one of my courses will have been given a recommendation to download Picasa.
It does not replace Adobe Photoshop Element's simple sophistication. It does give a great entry for beginners to adjusting images.
Picasa also makes e-mailing images and burning CD/DVDs into a simple operation. Click on the button in my sidebar to try it for yourself.
Note most of the images in these posts have been "in" Picasa at some stage.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Sunshine and showers today led to some magnificent rainbows above Peebles, Scotland.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Edinburgh - In gear for Christmas

Edinburgh's very own big wheel is picking up speed as the city gears itself up for Christmas. Not as glitzy as New York nor tawdry as London, Scotland's capital fizzes for festive fun.
Its Hogmanay celebrations are nearly as famous as the summer festival.

Nikon - D40 - Update

An AFS lens is essential equipment for Nikon's new D40. Why? It is the first autofocus Nikon without a body control to switch between auto and manual focus. Only lenses with an A/M switch on the lens are useable.
This means any AF lens used will have to be manually focused. So my great 180mm/2.8 is reduced in performance.
To a new user buying their first DSLR this will not be a problem except owners of large collections of non-AFS lenses and surely they would be looking at the D200.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Nikon D40

A NEAT new Nikon arrived at the shop under the big blue banner today. The D40 brings creative digital photography closer to the masses or at least it will when its price dips below £400.
Borrowing from its bigger brother the D80 it has that camera's retouch menu, allowing in-camera cropping and filtered black & white among new features.
The makers claim it will "...allow users to take breathtaking pictures without the need to learn photography." Should an owner feel the urge simply slip into manual and creative snapping is right there. Nikon have stuck to the tried and tested six mega pixel CCD which is really all you need make stunning 12x18s. Although not as light (540g) as the new Olympus E400 at 375g, equally it will not easily fall out of your hand thanks to Nikon's chunky grip.
One slight flaw might be the move away from the ENel3 battery to a new 1,000mah EN-EL9. Thus it will take fewer frames between charges than a D50. This battery though does have 370mah more capacity than Canon's NB2l in the 400d and 350d, which has always seemed too small, at 630mah for a digital SLR.
A new 18-55 AfS DX lens has been developed for the camera with a manual/autofocus switch on the lens. It remains to be seen if it offers better performance than its woeful sibling on the D50. Why not bring out a digital SLR with a fixed 35mmf2 which would equate to a 50mm in old money? Perhaps Nikon could get back together with Ricoh for an e-series lens for the 21st century.
As a Nikon user, I'd definitely recommend it possibly even to Geraldine, who does not really like the heavier models.