Wednesday, January 31, 2007

1/8th, 1/15th, 1/30th, 1/60th, Shutter Speeds etc

I've had a number of requests for help with shooting moving subjects. One thing that may well not help is an image stabilising lens. Sure you can hand-hold at two shutter speeds lower, but if the subject is moving it might be blurred.
In addition any lens which is IS or VR but does not have a wide maximum aperture will further hinder the ability to set fast shutter speeds - film or digital.

(For those less technical double-click on the image to view it full size)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Yours Truly - A Caricature

Firebird Events
The Eyes of a camera-man's charcoal caricature follow me round the kitchen.
During the Valeant Pharmaceutical's Christmas party on Saturday night, at The Elvetham, Hartley Wintney, Hampshire I was caricaturist Mark Tabbener's first victim. In less than 10 minutes he'd captured my essential features.
Mr Tabbener is bookable through Firebird Events based in Camberley Surrey.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


Here's Looking at You Pal: Nilesh Ladwa displays
a caricature drawn during Valeant Pharmaceuticals
"Christmas" party at the Elvetham Hall Hotel,
Hampshire, on Saturday night.
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Friday, January 26, 2007

Half Moon

Equipment used Nikon D100, 2 x (Two times) converter Nikon TC 200 manual,
180mm/2.8 lens, Manfrotto Tripod, Iso 400, 1/60th f8 spot metered. Not a perfect picture but ok for Max's art school project. Taken at 11.25pm from the backyard in Peebles, Scottish Borders.
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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Frosty Mornings

Cold clear or frosty foggy mornings allow us
to see common sights such as these Rowan
berries in an unusual way.
Taken on 4 Megapixel Nikon at 1/33rd
f5.6 It is always worth carrying your
Which one to take?
Yesterday an optician asked me how I choose between an SLR and compact camera.
If I'm going for a walk in the hills and it's
foggy or raining then I take the compact.
If it's sunny when I start I take a bigger
camera. This usually works out.
Once in "film days" I had a Zeiss Ikonta 2.25 sq inch folding camera with me as I left Pen-y-Pass car park below Snowdon in North Wales, the air was thick with fog.
"You'll not need a camera today," said one joker as he marched past.
By the time we reached summit of Crib Goch (3,000ft+) we were above the cloud.
There was a perfect inversion with sun above and peaks jutting out of a cloud sea. I had the last laugh as the joker asked me to take a picture of him and his mates from Barclay's Bank. I agreed for a princely fee.
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Not Out Yet

Alpha Male: Another "Steptoe" look-a-like (see January Archive), Alec Morrison is sought after in our shop for his photographic knowledge.
But you'd better hurry as he's just seven months from retirement.
If he'd not already bought a Minolta 5D the Sony Alpha 100 in Alec's right-hand would be snapping up scenes around his Fife stomping ground.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Friday, January 19, 2007

Shandwick Shop Shifting

Lynch's Labourers: In the spirit of classic Eric Sykes film "The Plank" this pair get stuck in as work continues on our new Edinburgh Branch.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Lunch Quewe

Hay here's lunch, sheep quewe in the snow for a munch today near Peebles. A variation on one of my Christmas shots of animals feeding.

A Note on Technique:
Shot at Iso 400, with a 180mm (270mm on APS sized digital sensor). Handheld at 1/800th f2.8.

The use of a wide aperture makes the sheep at the front sharp but throws those behind out of focus. This, combined with the compressing of distance caused by using a telephoto lens, helps to further the eye's impression of a line of sheep.

Uncle Ben's Express

Salesman's Snack: Microwave rice hits the spot for Paul after a busy morning selling snap devices to camera happy punters.
Despite being building's "bowels" our new kitchen, still with its shabby chairs, knocks spots off the former staffroom.
Perhaps the microwave is no longer the bacteria infested cooker it previously seemed to resemble.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Digital Printing - Editing Takes a Back Seat

SERIOUS snappers in the halcyon days before digital (bd) rarely printed more than one or two films at a time. Professionals and semi-pros often chose to develop a film and contact strip it before deciding which frames to enlarge.
They would be horrified, in our shop, by people printing between 600 and 1200 6x4 inch digital prints all at once. At seven pence a print 600 is just £42, what! 42 quid on 6x4s, have these people never heard of editing.
Why not edit and then enlarge the best. No, these folk are printing pictures which have been languishing on hard drives for years, or perhaps they just love scrap-booking.

One told me her 1300 prints were the result of a year's travelling. I suppose on reflection 36 films is not bad for a year away. If you only save a proportion of those films, say 10 frames, then the 1300 prints represents 130 films. Even in a year most amateurs with a pocket camera would never take that many.
In five years of newspaper photography I only managed to save about 200 real keepers. Mind you I'd be pretty ruthless only keeping five of 36 typically. Many of those were not real keepers just average portraits with an occasional celeb.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Simple Selenium Cell Imaging

APPLE'S iPhone seems to wind-up some tech writers. Tim Lott, in yesterday's Independent reckons we are doomed to be slaves of technology. He has become addicted to e-mail:
"I check a dozen times a day."
This got me thinking about the power for all these gadgets and hankering after the simplicity of a 35mm Olympus Trip. This camera drew its meter's power from the sun with a selenium cell mounted round the lens.
In addition it took pin sharp pictures which even some DSLR owners would envy. The Trip, made famous by a TV advert featuring David Bailey, now costs about £30-50. Sadly it used film so is seriously out of vogue, and as I have mentioned this week, specialist film is becoming scarce at some high street stores.
Environmentally though, taking into account lithium batteries and all the circuitry in digital devices, the old film camera probably wins.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0

Students from my courses who have bought or plan to buy Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0 should see this week's Amateur Photographer. There is a very full review from pages 19-26 by Angela Nicholson.

Kodak T-Max 100 vanishes

T-Max 100 was never popular with college students, now Ilford Delta seems to be the only choice at the shop under the big blue banner. However, as I said on Sunday about Fuji film it is still available so why alienate all those who want to buy it and force them to go elsewhere?
Perhaps some of the Christmas shortfall in DSLRs (blamed on Nikon and Canon) could have been made up with all the film sales we lost because we did not have the stock.
As I have stated before, it annoys me to work in a photography shop which wins awards for service but have to shop with a competitor on-line to buy consumables. Not because film is cheaper there just it is there!

Wild Flowers

Spring might be just around the corner judging by the temperatures this week. So here are some nice French flowers:

right centre

I don't know about drag and drop in New Blogger but I'm finding it a right pain with photos just as I did before. I struggle with the code but am slowly learning how to get spaces between my pictures.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Fuji Film'sVanishing Act from High St Specialist

WHILE digital imaging is this blog's main theme, film is still fun. Sadly, though, at the shop under the big blue banner, where I work, most Fuji film, such as Superia 200 and 400, seems to be unavailable.
Customer's who have remained loyal for years are being told: "We have not seen five packs of Fuji film for ages." Although film sales are dwindling, most days at least 40 films are taken in for processing. That's at one small shop, repeated many times around the country it means developing and processing still represents big business.
Some firms, such as internet retailler: (Channel Islands) are gaining new customers. Despite many dire warnings on sites such as grumbletext, I tested the water with an order for 5 x 200 and 5 x 400 Fuji Superia from this company. What an excellent service, £14.95 for 10 films including postage is almost unbelievable.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Nikon Coolpix S7c

A SUPER-SLIM seven megapix "flat" digital compact the Nikon S7c has been available for a few months. In our shop we have sold just one, yet it has a unique feature matched by no other current compact.
After taking a picture if you are in a WIFi hotspot, (thanks to the Clarendon Hotel, Edinburgh, I was warm enough!) it is possible to send a picture, to any email address using Coolpix Connect.

So unlike using a phone camera there is no charge to move a picture in seconds. In practice until you have input a few email addresses it takes slightly longer.
The email input relies on the camera's scroll wheel, similar to an iPod, as the camera does not have a keyboard.
I accept that pictures from cameras with "folded" lenses (the lens does not extend out of the camera body to zoom) are not as sharp as conventional compacts. Nikon have addressed this with Vibration Reduction (VR) and a maximum 1600 Iso. However, the ability to use a real camera and send pictures nearly instantly outweighs most considerations when using this device.
All reporters should have one in their top pocket.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Albert Steptoe meets George

Double Click on the photo for an explanation,
not exactly any special digital photography
but for those who know him it's a laugh.

Giant Sequoia, no, a drive-thru-beech

A giant beech tree felled by last night's storms straddles the road near Auchendinny, Scotland.
Rob Maxtone-Graham took his family out in a hatchback which will just pass below the trunk. The road was closed to most vehicles.