Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Royal snow ball

Royal snow ball
Originally uploaded by david roessli

A Neat nightime photography taken by Flikr member David Roessli on 12th December.

His Exif data tells us it was taken on a Ricoh GR a rather smart pocket camera. It must have been set on Program mode as the ISO 154 1/3rd sec f2.4.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Flash Meter

Calumet has brought out its own flash and ambient lightmeter(£119.99). A nice electronic job made in Germany it will rival the Sekonic L308 BII. The following is the blurb from the Calumet site:
The DFM 3 Digital Flashmeter measures ambient light and flash readings with precision digital accuracy for perfect exposures. Its digital LCD provides readings in tenth of stops while its analog contrast display provides readings in half stops simultaneously. The DFM 3 is capable of incident and reflective readings and its unique swivel head makes it easy to adapt the meter to both modes. Other features include the ability to take flash readings with and without a sync cord, storage of settings and readings and programmable exposure correction.
The DFM 3’s swivel head can rotate through 180°. This feature allows the photographer to read the values measured in the display, while the measuring head is directed towards the subject or light source.

Nikon D3

Peter Marshall on says:
"I’m not going to rush out and buy either - particularly as the D3 in particular is likely to be in very short supply for a while. Despite the cost and size issues, it’s still the one I’m more inclined to seriously consider. And it would cost. As well as D3 itself costing well over twice as much as the D300, I’d also need a new lens to replace the 18-200 which only covers the DX format, as well as possibly wanting to replace my current Sigma 12-24 (which does cover full frame) with the new Nikon 14-24 f2.8….
It might be easier to just go back to using film!"
I replied:
Sometimes when I'm selling cameras in the day-job at Calumet I say to customers:
"Imagine if digital cameras were invented 150 years ago and then today a person said they had invented a camera which used a tiny roll of acetate to record 36 pictures. When it is finished you send it away and a few days later you get your pictures back. These cameras would be selling like hotcakes!"

Monday, December 10, 2007

Bicycle Accident

There have been no new photo posts since Tuesday 4th December as I am housebound after falling off my bicycle .

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Beinn Ghlas to Ben Lawers

Ben Lawers seen from the Looking back to Beinn Ghlas
north ridge of Beinn Ghlas from Ben Lawers (1214m)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Meall nan Tarmachan


Sparkling smooth snow blanketed Ben Lawers in Tayside today. Yesterday evening I noticed that the Highlands were forcast to get a clear sunny 23rd November. I set the alarm for 6.15am, actually normal getting up time for cycling to work.

Peebles cars were plastered in ice but nothing like the summits in Tayside where in places the snow was 18 inches deep. As I struggled into my boots outside the Ben Lawers visitor centre I realised I'd left the ice axe behind but luckily had my crampons which made descending much easier. Although I hooked a point in one place and slammed knees first onto a thick sheet of ice, Not pleasant especially on my bad knee. I met a diverse range of fellow mountaineers, two guys from Carlisle one of whom assured me he did not have flu but had taken a genuine days holiday when he saw the forecast.
I should have cleaned the Nikon D2X sensor as all my pictures have an irritating spot of dust!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


With 32 shopping days left to Christmas some visited the market for cheap fruit while those on the right hunted for Christmas cards. At the Sense Scotland charity shop (centre) an assistant arranges a window display of puzzles. Although still in November Peebles has its first late shopping this evening.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Submitted another three images to this evening. Perhaps they will be more successful than my first three submission attempts! For last week's attempt I did not shoot the pictures specially which probably explains the failure.
Not sure how many goes I'll get before I'm rejected finally.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sand & Grit

Imagine hiring a car, visiting a beach, filling it with sand and returning it to the rental firm without using the vaccum. Most of us would not do it and if we did we'd lose our deposit. Today two seemingly un-impecunious students returned a pile of Profoto flash equipment they had rented and then used in just such a scenario.
We took just £100 from their £5k deposit to pay for the cleaning needed. As they also did not have enough money in their account to pay the hire charge we also hung on to the deposit. The whole thing beggar's belief.

Holly Berries

Make Your own Christmas Card with my holly berries.
Double click to download.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Muhammed Ali's Fist


Sunday, November 04, 2007

Autumn Colours

Photo One Iso 100, (Side of the Road) 1/250th f8 Nikon D2x
Photo 2 on a bank of the Tweed berries lit by off camera flash Vivitar 283 set to f4, aperture f22 on camera, 1/4 sec Nikon D2x.
Photo3 Iso 800, 1/125 f4 metered off the fire on spot-metering
Photo Four Iso 800 1/30th f5.6

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ghostly Goings On

This is a fairly simple picture to create in a well lit kitchen. Turn the lights down and the problems multiply a bit.

For this picture the camera was on a tripod with Iso set at 50. It was on shutter priority with a shutter speed of 4 seconds and the camera choose f8.
I used the self-timer to allow time to get into the frame and stayed in the frame about 2 seconds.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


I spent the weekend with my sister & niece Anna. Here she is taking a jump on her pony Todd at a show near Mundole.

Exposure information: Iso 400, WB Cloudy, 1/2000th at f2.8 180mm lens (on Nikon D2x)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Dust Aid

For £36.99 Calumet, where I work, has added this new product to aid digital SLR sensor cleaning.
As I have not tried the product I'll not give it a review but one of my colleagues in the States has tried it out.
His review is at:

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Flash freezes water

This exposure was taken on Fuji Iso 800 film at an indoor pool with the Nikon F90 + 180/2.8 lens wide open. The exposure was 1/500th f2.8 with a burst of flash from the SB26, the camera and flash have a special mode allowing synchronisation at all speeds.
It is the flash which has frozen the water streaming off the swimmer's arm.
I have published this picture a few times but it is now hidden in archives.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Shutter Speeds

The shutter speed dial from my old Nikon FE. In the Auto position the camera is in aperture priority mode. It is up to the photographer to select apertures the cameras set the shutter speed for what it thinks will be correct exposure.

In manual mode the speeds which can be chosen are from 1/1000th sec to 1/2 second (The White Numbers). The orange numbers are slow speeds from 1 second to 8 seconds. M90 is a mechanical speed (No electronic shutter) and B is bulb for exposures longer than 8 seconds. In most digital SLRs the speeds are displayed on an LCD and inside the viewfinder on the information bar.

This image from inside the camera's viewfinder display shows:

From left: Metering option of matrix, 60 which represents 1/60th second shutter speed, f2.8 the set aperture.

The scale from + to - with zero in the centre shows slight over-exposure.

The number in brackets is the frames remaining.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Speedy snapper

Cycling snapper Mike Bascombe who works with me overdid it a bit on his bicycle one day this week. Speeding and jumping two redlights resulted in £65 worth of fines from two zealous Edinburgh bobbies.
In Edwardian days the offence was: "Pedalling furiously..." which Mike must have done as his steed is a Specialised Langster single-speed.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Calumet adds Flash value

Just £5.86 buys this wonderful PC adapter for any SLR which does not have a sync cord socket for flash. It undercuts the opposition such as Jessops by at least £3.
It is one of a slew of flash related products which my employers have launched this month. Others include a radio flash trigger for £59.99 nearly 1/4 the price of its nearest competitor.
There's also a radio shutter release and cable shutter releases.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Camera quiz

Beginners on my Wednesday evening course will be
presented with this graphic and a short quiz.


My first ever Border's College SLR course begins on Saturday 22nd September.
Students will be given this graphic and an exercise to produce a picture showing the effect of focusing on a foreground object with the widest aperture set & f8 or f11.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Nikon D3

Veteran AP photographer Ed Betz has posted (dpreview) a user's report on the yet to hit the high st Nikon D3:
I was covering the Mets game tonight and there were 2 D3's there. I was allowed to shoot with one for a bit and I have a few comments.
Tonights experience with the D3 has really changed my mind about Nikon.
The camera "FEELS" great in your hand. The controls are really well placed (as they have been in most Nikon Cameras). The Auto focus was SPOT on and VERY VERY fast (even under night time baseball lighting)
While all of that I expected from the camera, there was something I never expected. The image quality was BY FAR the BEST I HAVE EVER SEEN in a digital camera. The detail in the images was STUNNING.
Just for fun, I turned up the iso to 3200 and to my astonishment, it still looked BETTER then my 800 iso on my Mark II. Both in color and in noise.
The noise is NOT ONLY very low, BUT, the quality of what noise there is (unlike the D2H) was pleasing. The final test came when I opened the images in Photoshop. I must say, if I didn't shoot them myself, I never ever would have believed that they were iso 2000 and 3200. They look like 400 and 640 (only better) then my Canon Mark II.
Finally, the level of detail that the camera captures goes FAR BEYOND anything I have ever experienced in ANY digital camera .
So, my hats off to you NIKON.... I only wish you would have done this sooner, before I spent tens of thousands switching to Canon.......Perhaps there is a Nikon switch in my future. Ed -- Ed Betz

Renaissance Photographic Competition

Welcome to Renaissance, a photographic competition in aid of the Lavender Trust at Breast Cancer Care.
There are moments in life when we suddenly see the world from a fresh perspective, and appreciate the beauty of the people and places around us. Renaissance invites you to enter photographs that you feel capture these special moments.
Judged by a celebrity panel consisting of former Guardian picture editor Eamonn McCabe, singer/songwriter KT Tunstall, photographer Mary McCartney and eve magazine editor Sara Cremer, the finalists will get the chance to exhibit and sell their images at Proud Galleries in London and win fantastic prizes, while supporting a great cause.
1st Six nights in the Masai Mara Game park
2nd: £500 vouchers to spend at Calumet
30 selected images will be exhibited at the Proud Gallery in London and selected entries will be published in a special book of the competition.

Key Dates
10th September 2007Competition opens for online submissions at 10:00 GMT
10th December 2007Competition closes at 22:00 GMT
January 2008Winners announced
5th March 2008Gala opening
6th - 9th March 2008Exhibition open to the public

Monday, September 10, 2007

Wedding Photography

Pro photographers planning a wedding shoot make sure they have all the essentials sometime before the big day. Unlike a customer at the shop where I work, not content with the usual sorts of worries about whether batteries are charged for ther big day, he set himself a stern test turning up to buy a new camera just four hours before it was needed.
At first he failed as he tried to present someone else's credit card, her name was not even the same as his but he did have a marriage cert tucked into his bag to prove they were related. Marriage certs, weddings it is all getting a bit complicated. It was a no go, as even with the right pin it is illegal to use someone else's card.
With just two hours to go to the event, barely time to charge a 1500mah battery, he turned up with a fist full of dosh and bought the one essential that all wedding photographer's require a camera! Was he reading the instructions at the wedding......and someone was paying him to do this....

Nikon P50

Divide the P5000 by 100 and you have Nikon's latest pocket marvel the P50. It has a 28mm (35mm equivalent) wide angle lens, AA batteries so is truly go-anywhere, optical viewfinder, manual mode, Iso 64-2000, 8.2 Mega Pixels and vibration reduction (VR). So pretty much everything needed on a compact.
I'll have to give up recommending the P5000 and move to this newer model.
Have yet to try it out......................

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Taken by Keith Valentine at last year's World Mountain Biking championships in Fort William. I hope he's not going to charge me for this bit of free publicity for his website at:

This year's gallery will be live in a few days. Keith uses the Canon EOS 5D.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Calumet Brochure

Calumet customer David Noton presents stunning street photography in the September-October issue of Calumet focus. The magazine is avaiable free at all branches. It is well worth picking up just for the two page feature: "How to Capture Planet Earth." David gives tips on how he started out knocking on doors in his hometown of Bristol.
There is a list of what's in his bag including a Swiss Army knife with a tool he says that could service a nuclear submarine!
Calumet's new digital shutter releases are announced all priced £18.99 and there's an article by Andy Johnson, Calumet's National Digital Sales Manager on recovery software and travel solutions.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Moo Mini Cards

Here's a great idea for photographers, visit
Create your own mini-cards from photos or designs. Not only that it is possible to have a different pic on each card for just £9.99.
Moo also offer 90 stickers in a book - sounds great, sure it is probably available elsewhere.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Frontpage focus: A few of New York paparazzi
Leigh Green's splashes. Leigh says:
"My life is pretty good but it is tough out here & there are so many photographers now.Fortunately most are morons so I do alright but if the numbers keepincreasing like a bad virus I do not know for how much longer."
Most of his competition would not have been
through the tough training of Paul Delmar on
the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) course at Sheffield.

Friday, August 24, 2007

New York Paparazzi

Former Stradbrooke snapper Leigh Green has gone a long way in 12 years. He now snaps stars in the Big Apple its got to be better than being an embed in Iraq. This is the route to photographic hall of fame chosen byDan Chung, a contemporary of ours on the NCTJ course at Sheffield.
He was Guardian Photographer of the Year.
Sometimes I get the odd hankering but as I cycle home from work at Calumet, unless it is raining particularly heavily, on balance I'm happy with my lot. I leave at 5.30pm that's it. Still enjoy photography as my regular readers will note.
Leigh tells on his website of a dodge used recently to capture celeb pics at a wedding which was guarded by ex-Israeli security. He and a fellow photographer rubbed suntan lotion into each other's backs and pretended to be gay, the guards ignored them hey presto pics in the bag.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Panning for speed

Cameron Balfour in Peebles Cycling Club's 14.5 mile time trial on Wednesday evening. Tech notes:
1/30th f11 panned of course with rear curtain flash -4 stops on manual adapter, Iso 200 Camera Nikon D100 28mm lens Vivitar 283 flash.

Nikon D3

New Nikon entry into full frame sensors and suddenly all my lenses are useful at their true focal length.
Straight from Nikon's website here's the gen: (Expect price to be around that of D2XS.)
  • Nikon's original FX-format CMOS image sensor with 36.0 (H) x 23.9 (V) mm image size; 12.1 effective megapixels
  • Compatible with three image-sensor formats – FX format (36 x 24), 5:4 (30 x 24) and DX format (24 x 16)
  • Sensitivity range ISO 200 to 6400 at normal setting for exceptionally high-quality images; can be set to ISO-equivalent 25,600
  • Incorporates Nikon's original EXPEED digital image processing concept
  • Nikon's original Scene Recognition system, utilizing the 1,005-pixel RGB sensor, greatly improves autofocus, auto exposure and auto white balance performance
  • New 51-point autofocus system features 15 cross-type sensors that maximize the potential of lenses with apertures as small as f/5.6
  • High-speed continuous shooting at approx. 9 frames per second [FX format (36 x 24)/5:4 (30 x 24)]/approx. 11 fps [DX format (24 x 16)] *1
  • Newly employed Picture Control System enables creation of desired picture with preferred tones
  • Accurate focal-plane contrast AF*2 available with built-in Liveview mode

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Photojournalists v Reporters (with compacts)

There is currently a dialogue in the British Journal of Photography based on the old kernal of multi-skilling. Nick Hart has contributed to this argument with the following letter:

"I've been a journalist, staff and freelance, here and abroad, for over 30 years. I've always thought it mad that reporters could not take pictures, particularly mug shots of people they were interviewing, if they had the skills, which modern equipment has made much less demanding. I suspect that photographers are in such a lather (about the Drogheda Agreement) because they know that while most writers could easily master a modern digital camera, and take good pictures, most press photographers are not 'photojournalists' but stupid, unprincipled, oppournist snappers who can't string a sentance together."

Let alone copy out his ridiculous letter word for word and reproduce it on their blog.

As you can imagine I have replied to this letter, next installment coming soon........

Garden Photographer of the Year Competition

Garden Photographer of The Year 2008
This year’s competition is now open, with thousands of pounds worth of prizes up for grabs.A panel of high-profile industry professionals, including Clive Nichols andAndrew Lawson, will judge the competition and the top 100 photographs willbe exhibited at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London from May toSeptember 2008.Closing date for submissions: 31st January 2008.For entry details visit ( .

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

National Geographic & Nikon

A TRIP to Queensland, Washington DC and a Nikon D40 + 18-55mm lens are the prizes on offer for Kids in a Nikon & National Geographic photographic competition. The closing date is 5th September - so hurry.
Log on to: for details of how to enter and for full terms and conditions. There are three categories: portraits, scenes and animals.

Calumet 18 in 1 Media Reader Writer

Sorry for all the product news, here's some more I was surprised to be asked last week for a downloading solution as a friend was unable to get his camera to speak with his PC.
I thought everyone used PCMCIA cards or card readers to download photos.
So here's a picture of our own Calumet 18 in One card reader writer, it is excellent value at £10.98!
This 18 in 1 media reader/writer is compatible with the following memory cards: CF type I & II, Microdrive, MagicStor, SM, MS Pro, MS, MS Pro Duo, MS Duo, SD, MiniSD, TransFlash (micro SD), MMC 4.0 (MMC Plus), MMC, RSMMC, RSMMC 4.0 (MMC Mobile), xD, and SDHC.

Pentax K100D Super

Pentax's latest digital SLR offering is an update of the K100D. At £389.00 it is good value for body integral shake reduction and built in dust removal.
However, it still only sports 6.1 mega pixels whith Nikon for £10 (after Nikon's cashback offer) more the D40X has 10 mega Pixels and is considerably lighter.
Unlike the Nikon though it is possible to use any K-mount lens. Since the end of cameras like the ME Super K-mount lenses are cheap as chips.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Canon 1Ds MKIII

Photo review sites and Canon photographers have more to look forward to than just the much vaunted Canon EOS 1D MkIII.
Today a 21 Mega Pixel 1Ds MKIII is announced. Possibly a camera to rival the Dalsa chipped "medium format" digital SLRs.
For further information and a preview of the main features see:
At the same time Canon announced an update of the venerable (in digital terms) 30D. The new 40D will have a 10 mega pixel chip. A new 14mm f2.8 wide lens is announced. Finally in an attempt to remain at the top of the quality compact market the firm announced the G9 with 12.2 mega pixels and raw shooting.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Roast Beef

Simple roast beef, parsnips and potatoes which was our Sunday dinner.
This post is prompted by a local restaurant menu which we picked up on Saturday evening.
On it are such well known delicacies as Oxtail gateau, I used to think it was good in a stew. Wild turbot fillet with pistachio crust, I genuinely did not know that farmed turbot was an option. There was also plenty of jus available with Scotish beef fillet main course, what's wrong with gravy?
In deserts was crispy shredded dough with smooth rhubarb compote, if that was not enough in the same dish it's possible to enjoy the flavour of Perth strawberries and raspberry thyme sorbet. A nice bit of strawberries and sorbet would do!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Jessops Share Price

A Scary ride: Jessops' shares are in freefall again hitting a low this morning of 8.25p. How long before the shutters snap closed at all the branches not just a select few?
By 10.40am shares had rallied and at 3.05pm were back up to 11p a drop of 2.5 pence since yesterday.
Financial commentators were speculating that the firm might have broken its banking covenants but a spokesman said that has not occurred.
Finishing price today was 11.5p (-14.81%), shareholders who snapped up at the launch price of £1.55 in 2004 and clung on must be hoping for a miracle. Back in the family owned days when there were about 75 shops in the chain it was not such a wild ride. Certainly spending £3m on "revamping" the brand is perhaps not as good as employing some knowledgeable sales staff. One of my customers (Regular readers will know I now work for the competition) was with his wife, returning a camera recently and a member of staff tried to force a lens onto a camera for which it was not intended - result broken lens!
When old man Jessop was in control this person would never have been offered a job in the first place - one of the criteria was that staff were passionate photographers. I had worked as a photojournalist for five years when I rejoined Jessops, my manager then (in 2003) warned me that it was not the same company for which I worked in the mid-1990s. Now the firm prefers a good salesman to an enthusiast.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sean Bean

So snapper's spelling is not as good as hack's cropping or something like that in the latest National Union of Journalists'multi-skilling spat.
Sure anyone can take a good snap with a pocket digital. However, to get great snaps as many students from my courses will testify takes more skill if only in "managing" the subject to capture the a perfect pic.
Back in the days when I worked for a newspaper I knew what picture I wanted and how to capture it. Notice the little sparkle in Sean Bean's eyes from fill-in flash. What's that I hear most reporter's saying - that's what seperates "stupid, unprincipalled, opportunist snappers" (according to Nick Hart in the British Journal of Photography) from top photographers.

Recycled Camera Bag

Plastic bottles = backpack is Lowepro's latest attempt to gain some environmental credibility. It claims the Primus AW is made from recycled plastic bottles. Surely Billingham's timeless canvas and leather is kinder to nature by being natural at the start. At £179 inc vat it might more economical to recycle an old bag.

Photo from Lowepros Website

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Must be a bit behind things........................
But not as much as who emailed me some photos he has on, the link was interminable as it tried to download something I think I don't want. Perhaps that's what an embedded widget is, or am I just showing my lack of knowledge?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Bacchae

Not exactly photography but:
"A CROSS between Gary Glitter and Marlene Dietrich," says the Telegraph about Daniel Greig's adaption of The Bacchae written by Euripedes in 450BC. The Greek tragedy set in Thebes is now wowing Edinburgh International Festival crowds with a mixture of pyrotechnics and lighting.

Alan Cumming returns to his Scottish roots to take the role of Dionysus seen here surrounded by his "gospel" chorus. He entered the stage from the rafters and finished in a blaze of light from 96 floodlights which must have put a severe strain on the King's Theatre electrics.

Photo from Daily Telegraph website.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Johnny Vegas (by Andy Hollingworth)

Today I met Chester comedy camerman Andy Hollingworth known for snapping the stand-up antics of Britain’s comedians.
He has captured 130 comics on celluloid since 1995 in a body of work now recognised as an important archive for the medium.
Check out: Chortle

His series of portraits began by tracking down 1970s Yorkshire funnyman Charlie Williams and then photographing the other comics of his generation. Sittings with Russ Abbott, Frank Carson, Roy Walker and the infamous Bernard Manning followed. Sponsorship from the photochemical firm Ilford then enabled Andy to produce a long-running series featuring comedians, comedy actors and writers active since 1960.

Andy's photographs are included in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery, Rotherham City Gallery & the Picture House Centre for Photography.

His work has been published in the Independent, The Big Issue, Daily Express, Practical Photography, the Journal of the Royal Photographic Society and Photo Technique.

He has spent the last year producing work at the Comedy Store in Manchester photographing visiting stars such as John Thomson, Peter Kay, Rich Hall, Paul Merton, Greg Proops and Tony Slattery. This work was featured in a recent exhibition as part of that city's Comedy Festival.

Andy can be contacted at