A home for the things I think are worthy of sharing. Will largely be photography based.

Ramblings

Canon UK Cashback

I’m not a Canon user (well other than compact and printer) but spotted this and thought I’d share. Partially as it’s been so long since I blogged anything!

CanonCashback

 

http://www.canon.co.uk/springcashback/

Products include:
DSLRs – Casback
EOS 5D Mark III
£160/€200
EOS 6D
£100/€125
EOS 7D
£80/€100
EOS 60D
£65 /€80
Lenses & accessories – Cashback
EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
£80/€100
EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
£160/€200
EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM
£80/€100
EF 17-40mm f/4L USM
£80/€100
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
£235/€300
EF 8-15mm f/4L FISHEYE USM
£155/€200
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
£235/€300
Speedlite 600EX-RT
£80/€100
Compact Cameras – Cashback
PowerShot G1 X
£30/€38
PowerShot G15
£30/€38
PowerShot S110
£20/€25
PowerShot SX50 HS
£50/€60
Camcorders – Cashback
LEGRIA HF G25
£75/€95
Printers – Cashback
PIXMA PRO-1
£100/€125
PIXMA PRO-10
£75/€95
PIXMA PRO-100
£50/€60


Joey L. : Varansai : “Beyond”

Just watched Joey L.’s free on-line documentary : Varanasi, India: “Beyond”

(Please watch it in HD full screen, not in this little window)

Its partly about Varanasi and the Sadu’s but also partially about their journey and photography/cinematography.

Other than the fact that I think Joey L. is amazingly talented there are a few things that I really like in the documentary :

The fact that they don’t storm in to taking photos – they take a little time to get to know people and get their trust first and have a brief relationship – which I guess when most of us go on holiday we don’t have the luxury of time.

And also the fact that although his equipment is top-notch (e.g. digial medium format) – the setup is relatively simple but gets stunning results. Must be very careful in matching the flash to the ambient light.


Movember Progress

Oh damn – I totally forgot to put some Movember updates up here. All friends are likely bored of my Facebook posts anyway.

Here’s a couple more photos.

Remember – it’s all towards a good cause and if you donate over £16 to me or my team you coud win lots of shiny camera/video gear!

http://mobro.co/dafyddowen

See the ever increasing list of prizes at Philip Blooms site – our team leader and organiser of the prizes.

And it’s not all about money of course – Prostate Cancer affects 1 men in 6!! So if there’s a history of it in your family you should get yourself checked sometime.

EDIT: Although Movember funds are open until April – you only have a few hours left to donate and enter the prize draw of my team. Minimum donation and instructions info here : http://gopb.co/movember


Lytro geekery

Although not a massive geek in things IT and only a bit in Photography the whole Lytro thing does get the inspiration/geek mojo going – exciting science.

Just seen that Lytro are introducing new software to do “stuff” that is fairly cool:

Although not hugely amazing in terms of being able to walk around a scene or anything like that – it is still rather cool.

If you’re not aware of Lytro – it’s the camera where you can change focus after taking the picture! There are plenty of examples on their YouTube page. When it was first announced I thought – oh – it’ll only be a fad. And I still think it’s a little bit of a fad and will unlikely have a place in “serious” photography or at least for a while yet – mostly as you need a special viewer to use the pictures fully – but I now think it’s rather cool and fun. The “cool” bit is the geeky science behind it – the “light field” technology. As I understand it : when recording the light hitting the sensor (as normal digital cameras do) they can also measure in what direction all the light was travelling in – be it photons or pixels. And with this data – then can calculate where the light would be a bit earlier or later and so mathematically alter where the virtual sensor is – thus changing focal point. I assume that this perspective addition is similar but different mathematics.

When announced I was expecting them to be massive and expensive – but they’re actually quite small – compact camera size!

 

They’reselling for $499 and $399 so ~ £250 and £320.
Am I tempted to get one – well a little, just for the geekery. Will I ? Probably not, although not new at full price…. Seeing as they don’t currently have an outlet/distributor in the UK I guess 2nd hand ones won’t be available in the UK for a while yet.


New Sigma lens can be connected to a Computer!

Bit of a geek-out post this!

Sigma have announced a new 35mm f/1.4 lens. Priced at $899

Nothing massively interesting there – although I would have hoped it would be cheaper – mind you – Nikon 35mm f/1.4G is £1299!

BUT the funky-doo-dah thing is that you can buy an optional part that allows you to connect the lens to a computer! Not to take photos of course ,as this would need an imaging chip – but to update the lens itself! i.e. adjust the internal lenses, updating firmware etc! Some cameras have micro-adjustment settings to fine-tune them per lens – but this means you can do it directly to the lens without including the camera – which I guess should mean that it will be optimized for all cameras. I didn’t even know lenses had firmware! Updating is done via the software Sigma optimization Pro.

 

(Via PetaPixel)


Movember

4th Nov - Movember

Not a photography item – but rather a personal one.

You’ve likely heard of Movember – well I’m taking part this year 🙂
Movember is a cancer charity about and against common male cancer issues i.e. Prostate and Testicular cancer. Many cancers are curable these days if caught early – however guys being guys – we’ll often not go to the doctors if we spot something. So as well as fund-raising Movember is about awareness too. Part of the registration phase for the website is to click that you’ve gone for a health check – I like that.

I’m going to be photographing my “mo” progress over the month and hope to compile a short time-lapse of my moustache. Couple of quick shots below – on the morning of the 1st after a shave and then just now – evening of the 4th.


1st Nov - Movember4th Nov - Movember

Additionally I’ve joined the Movember team of Phill Bloom – a famous videographer and blogger. He’s managed to get a load of video and camera suppliers to donate equipment for a prize draw. There are two ways to win – creating a video about/for the cause and to donate more than $14/£20 either to someone who’s part of the team or to the team in general. So if you fancy donating to me (please) – you can actually win some pretty impressive equipment! See here for details – you need to mail him your donation receipt.

I would be tempted to create a video but I’ve not really done anything like that before and don’t know what i could cover. May yet think of something.

More updates to come.

Here’s my Movember / Mo-space page.


Photoshop / editing mouse

Logitech G400

Yes I said mouse!

Photographers are used to talking about or reading about pen-tablets – and they have their place – however I personally tend to see this largely as being when you need to do fine detailed work such as cleaning up skin or hair on studio shoots, or table-top product shoots. But for the most part I don’t need to go down to this level of detail – events being the most common example for myself. It may be because I’ve not totally got used to the tablet as yet (I have a Wacom Intuous 5 small).

Before getting my tablet I’d customised my Photoshop so that my most used functions were assigned shortcut keys. I had to  assign these in a couple of instances but Photoshop makes this easy as almost anything can be assigned a shortcut key.

My most used actions when editing photos like event photos are:

  • Maximize image
  • Crop
  • Levels
  • Curves
  • Sharpen
  • Flatten

And on the whole – that’s it. There will be a few instances when I do other work but those are by far the most common.

As I use layers a lot of these were shift-key combinations i.e. you had to press the shift key down and a letter key to operate the shortcut. These are the shortcut keys I set up, or were in place. Not a lot of thought was put into these initially but it’s what I got used to eventually.

  • Levels Layer : Shift-, (shift and comma)
  • Curves Layer : Shit-M
  • Sharpen : Shift-F (This is the default shortcut for re-doing the last filter done)
  • Flatten : Ctrl-Shift-F

 

Although shortcut keys do certainly quicken the workflow (rather than selecting the item from Photoshop menus or sub-menus) it’s still a bit of a break in the flow – hands need to move, find keys, press them etc. This is especially so when the key-combination isn’t simple to do with one hand and both need to move (this is where I think I should have assigned simpler short-cut keys).  So I had the idea of looking to find a mouse that  has assignable buttons. Not sure now but I knew they existed – maybe just noticing one in a computer shop when doing something else.

There’s a whole wealth of mice out there with more than the usual 2/3 mouse buttons – a huge amount in fact. They’re called gaming mice. Of course these are directed towards the gamers as they want to do certain actions quickly without swaping hand in case they get blown up ;)…… where’s that key to change weapon *BOOM* – damn game over…. and such like.

They come in all shapes and sizes – some even have customizable shapes ! But their price range also vary significantly.

I had a brief look around and decided on some main requirements:

  • At least 3 definable buttons in addition to standard 2
  • Wired (don’t see the point of having wireless if it’s never leaving my desk and don’t want to waste batteries)
  • Optical (rather than laser – seen some iffy reviews)
  • Affordable (I’m not a gear freak in terms of PC stuff so didn’t see the point in spending £100 on a mouse!)

In the end (after looking at specs and reading reviews) I decided to go for the Logitech G400.

Logitech G400

 

I bought it for something like £25/27 (probably Amazon) rather than the £35 listed on the Logitech site.

In addition to the usual 3 buttons (left, right, roller-with click) it has an additional 5 buttons. Two at the side that are assigned to anything and three at the top which are usually assigned to precision/speed.

In the software that comes with it you can assign these to different actions, e.g.:

  • Keystroke (single)
  • Key-Combinations
  • Mouse function
  • Text
  • Media (e.g. play, pause)
  • Hotkey (e.g.  windows operation e.g. open/close a window)
  • Function (e.g. Open windows “My Computer” window)
  • etc

This picture shows the interface and what I’ve assigned them to/called them:

Mouse key combination G400

 

So they are :

  • Levels (New levels layer)
  • Curves (New Curves Layer)
  • Flat-Filter (Flatten the image and then Sharpen – or last filter)
  • Full (Maximise image window)
  • Saturation (New Saturation level)

Each one refers to a “Multi Key” combination and one does two things (Flatten + Sharpen). You can do these using the tool/driver to record what you press – so it’s just a matter of clicking record and then doing the key presses. This also records lifting the keys after you’ve done. But one important thing to remember is that on the New layer combinations you also need to press Enter if you want to accept the default name of the window, which I usually do, else you’re left with the new layer prompt. If I want to rename it for a longer edit I can do that later.

So here’s the combination for new Levels Layer as an example (usually Shift-, on the keyboard):

Logitech mouse key configuration

 

 

Rest is fairly simple really.
As seen in the first image you can set different button settings for different applications. It does come with some suggested configurations but almost all of these are games …. which I don’t have or have the time to play. Of late I have found that it can struggle to pick up which application I’m using sometime, especially when going from Bridge to CameraRaw and then to Photoshop. I’ll press a button to do something but instead of my assigned function something else will happen e.g. instead of maximising the image the mouse will get more sensitive (quicker). This can be solved by doing a windows alt-tab to swap away and then again back to Photoshop. Annoying sometimes but on the whole the mouse is saving me a lot of time. Very glad I bought it even though I now have a Wacom tablet too.


Skyport Receiver Battery

Skyport Receiver Battery note

Not a very exciting blog post – but hopefully one that may help others.

I have a set of Elinchrom Skyport Speed radio triggers – one transmitter and two receivers. Recently one of the receivers stopped working. The transmitter has a replaceable battery but the receivers have an internal rechargeable battery which you charge by plugging in an AC adapter. The malfunctioning receiver wouldn’t turn on. When plugged in to AC power the LED would glow as it should when charging BUT a lot dimmer than the working receiver. I tried to charge it well over 3hrs as described in instructions – but then after disconnecting the power it wouldn’t work. Wouldn’t even turn on properly when the AC was plugged in as I’ve read it should.

I bought the set January 2011 so over a year ago and couldn’t find a reference to warranty period online so was worried that it would be out of warranty. However after mentioning the dilemma on Facebook, friends mentioned that under EU law electronics should have a warranty of two years. And sure enough – after contacting the retailer (Photomart) they said I could get it repaired under warranty – joy! After sending it to Photomart they sent it to The Flash Centre – the Uk distributor and service centre for Elinchrom who repaired it and sent it back.

On it’s return there was a note (below) stating that the battery had discharged so significantly that it couldn’t regain power – interesting. The note was A5 and seemed pre-prepared as if this isn’t an un-common issue- and so I thought it worth blogging so others with a similar issue and googling the issue know what to do. It may be worth charging your receivers from time to time in the hope of preventing this also – or if you commonly only use one – to swap them.

Skyport Receiver Battery note

Transcript:

The Skyport Universal Speed Receiver internal battery has been reformed due to a deep state of discharge.

The most likely cause is that the skyport has been stored away for a period of time in a discharged state.

Therefore we recommend that you recharge the skyport after each use to avoid similar occurring in the future.

The Li-ion battery charges in approx. 3hrs

Auto-Standby function after 4 hours.

Internal rechargeable battery lasts up to 30 hrs.


Magnum Photographer Christopher Anderson

Nice little video on/from Magnum photographer Christopher Anderson.
Talks briefly about how he became a photographer, “fell” into war/conflict photography and then out again.

Bit of an arty piece – uses words such as “engaged”, “conciousness” etc which all too often can be used in far too much of a high-brow manner, but in a very down to earth way. I appreciate that.

http://www.vice.com/en_uk/picture-perfect/christopher-anderson

Unfortunately I can’t embed it – wordpress.com doesn’t like script embedding – boo WordPress/oolaya

15min long

(Originally from Nikon Blog)


Remixing or Copying

Of late I’ve started to think that I should work on a “Project” again (again as in thinking I should, not having done one before) as I don’t seem to be photographing much for myself but more for other people. I enjoy this and sometimes it brings in a few pennies but all too often the editing can take weeks of my free time evenings which on occasion can be fulfilling but when it continues for many evenings can drag on.

One issue I’ve had with thinking of topics to cover is that they all seem to have been done already or are too obvious e.g. the view out of windows in my life (home, office, bus etc). Reading through photography blogs and magazines pro-photographers seem to start personal projects for two reasons A. Just as a creative output for themselves, but also B. to create something interesting and (arguably) innovative so that it can show their prospective clients or peers something new and a reason to pay attention to them. So it’s this later point which I find troublesome.

I am rather averse to doing work (photography) that is too similar to to others or making use of other people’s work – it’s for this reason I generally don’t photograph statues or graffiti. If I took such photographs I wouldn’t consider myself the major contributor to the end piece and so not really my work. I would of course be happy to photograph such things for the purpose of documenting them – but not to present it as my own “art”.

This also leads on to one of my pet hates – such projects that are every repeating. Reading many photography articles and blogs as I do all TOO OFTEN you se the same thing coming up time and again. Often presented as being quirky, different or innovative – but since I’ve seen it all before – not in my mind. Common examples would be levitation photographs (where people seem to be hanging in mid air, either vertical or unusual poses) – my most hated, Fashion shoots using powder, under water fashion shoots, etc I could go on.

HOWEVER I recently watched this TED talk by Kirby Ferguson – he was the person who made the Remix videos that made the rounds a while ago but the Ted talk encapsulates some of those areas. It’s interesting – take a look:

 

And it’s started me thinking – is it too bad if I do something that’s been done before ? It might even be really hard to actually find something that someone somewhere hasn’t done before with photography in terms of projects. As long as I choose something without being influenced by someone else to omuch (i.e. doing something because X person has, or I’ve seen another person’s effort),  and that I make it my own, not copying others too much – then it might not be too bad. E.g. there has been quite a strong resurgence in light painting photography recently – and even though it’s not a new thing (See Picasso doing some) I appreciate it as  some of the recent results have been fantastic – check out Dennis Calvert.

So – maybe time to let go of the hangup of doing something that may have been done before…..

Let’s see what I choose.

I’m still not touching “levitation” photography though 😉

Here are the rest of the Remix videos from http://www.everythingisaremix.info/

 


Gregory Heisler – The Quiet Portrait

All too often, especially for photographers coming from a background such as myself (colourful + brash nightlife events), a lot of us photographers aim for the colourful/stunning/sharp/alarming/shocking portrait. All these words mean different things – but on the whole they all lend themselves to an overall term of  “Striking”. I know I’m very guilty of it myself – lots of people finding their way in a skill will do the same – be it photography, painting, drawing, music etc.  We will of course over-do things sometime but then see the benefits of toning things down. I try sometimes. It’s of course very understandable as being striking – these sorts of images are the ones that often inspire us most.

Just come across this interview with photographer Gregory Heisler. Although he touches on a couple of topics – such as dealing with subjects/clients – the area and topic which I found inspiring was his discussion of what he calls the “quiet” picture.

Take a look:

Found on : http://fstoppers.com/behind-the-lens-with-gregory-heisler


William Eggleston – Dandy + Rogue

Eggleston - Troubled Waters

Reading this in a photography mag earlier:
“But there are those photographers, such as Eggleston, who insist they’re doing nothing more than looking through the lens and capturing things that interest them; Eggleston, as you know, is famously opposed to any intellectual investigation of his work” it struck a chord as on the whole I dislike photograpic discussions that mess around with juxtapositions etc etc.

So while looking up for some confirmation/quotes I came across this:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2004/jul/25/photography1
With this fantastic exert:

Back in the mid-Nineties, when Primal Scream were recording their album Give Out But Don’t Give Up in Memphis, they paid a call on Eggleston to ask if they could use Troubled Waters, his strange image of a neon Confederate flag and a palm tree, on the cover. ‘I remember he was wearing jodhpurs and leather boots, some kind of military outfit, and walking about with a rifle and a bayonet,’ recalls lead singer Bobby Gillespie. ‘When he heard we were Scottish, he sat down at the piano and started reciting great chunks of Rabbie Burns. It was surreal.’

Gillespie’s friend, the filmmaker Douglas Hart, takes up the story. ‘William and his wife were knocking back these massive drinks. He asked us to let him hear a song, and then he would decide if we could have the picture. We played him “Moving On Up”, and he fell on his knees and started shouting, “Bo Diddley! Bo Diddley! Y’all love Bo Diddley!” He rummaged through his records and pulled out “I’m the Meat Man”, by Jerry Lee [Lewis] and played it so loud the speakers blew. Then his wife shouted, “Y’all want ribs?” She insisted we all go to a local rib joint. It was wild.’ Gillespie nods in agreement. ‘He let us have the picture though. He was a true gent.‘”

Ha – how cool!
Will have to read up on him some more.

Eggleston - Troubled Waters

Eggleston – Troubled Waters

Edit – here’s another from the Guardian article:

“He wore Savile Row suits and drove a Bentley, and played classical piano, but he was more rock’n’roll than any of us, even though he probably hated the music we were making. He’d shoot with some kind of night vision lens often until the bitter end, then just fall over unconscious on the floor. He wasn’t just at the party, he was the party. When he and Stanley Booth [the Memphis-based rock writer] got together, it was like World War Three.”


Buying Photography Magazines

Other than an introduction course in studio lighting and one in Black & White development (which I did a month before buying a Digital SLR so never developed myself after that) I’m self taught. Either from books, friends, online forums or magazines.

Over time I’ve bought or subscribed to various magazines : Practical Photography, Photography Monthly, Amateur Photographer etc, and more recently Professional Photographer.

In addition to wanting to learn more – I will happily admit to being a photography geek. Although I work in IT to some extent it’s just a “job”/career – it’s not a passion – I don’t read IT books at home – and I have tried. But Photography is different – it’s a passion.

These days I read Professional Photography Magazine – not that I’m a professional photographer (I’m not) but mostly for 2 reasons – 1. I consider I MAY turn pro some time. But also I work (IT) in the photography industry so some elements are relevant there. Also 2. There’s only so many times you can read about what filters are and how they’re used – or other such topic.  The more amateur level magazines tend to cycle such articles and this can get frustrating.

Professional Photographer magazine doesn’t have photography technique tips at all really – but does have some on elements like editing, or planning a shoot, location scouting etc.

Aaaanyway – getting to the point of this post – Getting the most out of Magazine Subscription.

 If it’s not obvious to you by now – I am, what I shall call “careful with money”. I joke that I’m a skin-flint but in reality I’m not – I’m more than happy to buy my round at the pub. Instead if I can get something at a cheaper price or offering more value for money – I will most certainly look into doing that – especially if buying something for myself.

Yes – I have been guilty of making spreadsheets in the past 😉 However I do get some level of enjoyment from it – plus savings to be had can be quite significant e.g. I believe I saved £400 on a mattress from Tesco Direct rather than buying from Dreams. Anyway – I digress.

When subscribing to magazines a lot of different savings can be made but some of them only come visible with a little looking.

Generally offers fall into two categories:

  • Free gifts
  • Money off

 

Free Gifts

Over time I’ve managed to get two free photography bags through Magazine subscriptions: a LowePro Orion Trekker (no longer available) and a LowePro Trekker AW.

Someties free gifts that come with subscriptions are so-so – but on occasion I’ve waited to subscribe and only gone for it once a gift I actually wanted came along e.g. Lowe Pro Trekker. Both of these are very good and I still use them – I think price new would have been £50-£80 or there abouts.

The “trick” with getting more free gifts is that you cancel your subscription after the year (usually subscriptions with gifts have minimal duration of 12months. But if you’re an organised person and use some form of diary or calendar (I have to be as my memory for dates is so shockingly poor – I use Google Calender which sync’s with my phone) then it shouldn’t be an issue. Is ti worth the hassle – hell yes – for a £80 bag it is!

From the magazines I’ve listed above one had a free gift option:

Practical Photography Bag offer.

The no gift offer is 12 issues for £12 – very good in itself (more on these below) but the bag offer is :
A Jessops Tecno rucksack + 12 issues for £51
Pretty decent if the bag is worth the £79 it claims, but digging a little deeper shows you can buy the bag for £40 from Jessops at the moment. So not such a great deal – BUT hopefully you can see my point if this bag did sell for £80.

Other options I’ve seen in the past
Black rapid RS-4
Lowepro DryZone Rover bag

Looking around

For both free gift subscriptions and money off offers (below) a little work can be beneficial.
First off don’t just go for the subscription full value that usually is on the magazine subscription sites – instead shop around. Some places worth looking :

  • The magazine website itself
  • Subscribe to the magazine’s newsletter – sometimes offers here will be better than on the site!
  • Check older newsletters – offers often change

I’ll give examples below.

Money Off

A lot of money can be saved on money off subscriptions either off the full cover price or from the basic subscription price.

E.g. A series of offers I’ve just found for Professional Photographer:

Cover Price : £4.20

Basic subscription from subscriber website : £35.50 for 12 months = £2.95 per issue

Googled offer to cheapish subscription : £12 for 6 months = £2 per issue

Professional Photographer website link to cheaper subscription : £10 for 6 months = £1.67 per issue
Magazine newsletter email link even cheaper offer : £5 for 5 months = £1 per issue

And this is including postage in the UK, paying by direct debit.
All these are to different offers on the same subscription site!
So for a year – a saving of £38.40
In the grand scheme of photography costs not a huge amount, but for 20min work – certainly worth it. (Or for you the 5min it took to read this post)
But these offers usually only last for a set period – that mentioned. So e.g. £12 for 12 issues will only last that long, if you continue the subscription without cancelling etc it will then go up to £35 per year. They vary.
So yes – I will have to cancel after 5 months or pay the increased rate – but as above – I’m organised and with everything inc direct debits being online – a very easy and quick task. These £5 offers are always around too.
Other examples for other magazines:

Practical Photography
Cover Price : £3.99
Subscription : £12 for £12 – £1 per issue

Photography Monthly
Cover Price : £3.99
Full price subscription (36% off) :  £33 for 12 months = £2.75 per issue
Cheap subscription (77% off) : £5 for 5 months = £1 per issue

So hopefully you’ll find the above of use and it will save you money.
(And not make you think I’m a spreadsheet-making, penny saving scrooge 😉 )


Pulitzer Prize 2012

Well …. seems I’ve been passed over again 😉

Just a quick post to mention that Pulitzer Prize 2012 winners have been announced.

The number of photography awards can vary years to year, this year there are two:

 Feature Photography – Craig F. Walker of The Denver Post

Breaking News Photography – Massoud Hossaini of Agence France-Presse

Here’s the winner for Breaking News Photography (see above link for more details):

Ashural Bombing - by Massoud Hossaini of AFP

For those interested in the Photography of Pulitzer – there is a book called “Moments – The Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographs” however it’s now out of print so hard to get hold of. Also as years go buy it’s been updated so there are numerous versions of the book too. I have one, think the 2002 version – I’ve yet to go through it in detail. I THINK there might be a version from 2007.

 


Focus on imaging – cameraworld prices

More Focus on imaging 2012 prices – this time cameraworld,nothing I want is V cheap.

Click on images for a larger picture.

Sigma lens prices - cameraworld


Focus on imaging – Jacob prices

Some prices for you. Hope this WordPress app uploads the full images. Edit: It didn’t but they’ve been uploaded. Clicm on picture for the full size.

Canon Camera prices at focus on imaging

Sigma Lens Prices at focus on imaging

Nikon Lens prices at Focus on imaging

Nikon camera prices at focus on imaging

Sigma lens prices

Canon lens prices


Creative Bokeh

Ok so I’ve mentioned creative Bokeh before, but think this is the best one so far – combines split screen and also love the fact that they show how it’s done in the film itself.

Found via PetaPixel.


French speed camera humour

A total bit of randomness to the random banter blog. Just found this funny so had to share.

(From PetaPixel)


SOPA / Protect-IP

Thought I’d help spread the word about possible dangers of a couple of bills going through US congress, add my voice to the crowd so to speak.

If you’re not sure what this is about – check out this video – it’s well put.

So an example would be – if the above video happens to have some music that is copyrighted (I doubt it of course) then I could be sued for just sharing it! Just sharing it!

Of course – this isn’t what the bill is really designed for, but so often in history certain government legislations “designed” for one thing have been used for another. E.g. who in London hasn’t been stopped and searched ? And did those stop London bombings – no. Plus if these large companies had that level of control…. could end very badly in the litigation company of the US.

As a photographer of sorts – copyright and IP rights is an important issue – however I feel this is a case of using a sledgehammer to put in a screw. It’s the wrong way of going about it and far in excess of what’s needed. As the video shows – there are already ways and means of dealing with such issues.

 

So…. if I have any US readers – please write to your Congress now to show your disapproval.  And for the rest of us – share the message.

 


Crazy Car Rig

Concious I’ve not been posting anything for a while – not even Random stuff or bit’s of interest – thought I’d share this as found on fstoppers.

How crazy is this car rig!

Follow either Fstoppers or Vimeo links for more info.

I can’t help thinking that with that level of retouching – they don’t really need that fancy rig though. Mind you – well aware that need and want are very different things – must have been fun to play with it.


Political / Environmental Art Photographer

Another video from Fstoppers.

Starting to watch this video I thought I’d be posting it here as an example of photographs being taken/used to make a difference in the world i.e. political leverage. But that sort of content is minimal in the video – instead – I just love his narrative – it’s a lovely mix of technical and arty – sometimes photographers can be terribly technical (myself included) or overly arty-farty and up their own backsides – but Jack Gescheidt‘s narrative is just an honest, forthright and dignified account of his project. Love the fact he’s so honest – admitting that as well as reasons of anonymity – nudes are used as an impact tool – to get people talking.

So filed under Bits of Interest + Ramblings 🙂


D800 at long last ?

Woohoo!

Well maybe……

Rumours are currently rife that the camera I’ve been waiting YEARS for may finally be with us – the update to the D700 i.e. D800.

Why do I want a new camera and why have I been waiting for so long ?

For those that aren’t camera boffins – generally the race for more and more Megapixels in SLRs slowed down considerably over the last couple of years – and instead camera/sensor manufacturers have been consentrating more on low-ligh or High-ISO performance i.e. making the images less grainy/noisy when you crank the ISO up. Recent cameras such as Nikon D3s have had phenomenal High-Iso performance – with next to no noise at ISO 1600+

(If you don’t know – the dots/bits in film was called grain as it was due to the film emulsion, but in digital cameras it’s generally called “noise” as it’s due to electronic interference or noise…. hmm not sure if I explained that V well 😉 )

Now I use a Nikon D200 – this camera was announced November 2005! That’s almost 6 years ago – aeons in DSLR terms.

Why didn’t I upgrade ?

Well the options were –

D300 – more of an update than an upgrade. Didn#’t want to spend my money for just a smaller update.

D300s – and update of an update – as above really

D700 – Although much better camera it still only had 12Mpx and I did fancy more, especially for studio work. And then later on as Video comes into the frey – D700 just doesn’t have video. Not that Video was top of my list – I’m not dying to take moving images – but I just didn’t want to loose out.

D3/D3s/D3x – Too big (+pricey). I want a small body D-SLR.

So in effect I’ve been waiting for a D700, with more Mpx, and Video.

 

So it seems it’s finally here:

http://nikonrumors.com/2011/10/09/nikon-d800-specs-recap.aspx

Woo hoo!
But at 36Mpx (!!) it sounds like it’s more likely to be a baby updated D3x i.e. studio camera rather than a baby updated D3s – which is probably what would have suited me better.

My preference would be for a High-teens / low 20’s, small body camera with great High_ISO performance.

BUT I’ve been waiting so long for this – I’m damn right going to get it. So come November when allegedly it’s going to become available – I may be very very poor 😉

Here’s crossing everything hoping that the Nikon announcements on/around the 24th make me happy.


Inspiration and Enthusiasm

Just a quick “Bits of interest” share rather than a long ramble.

Found this to be interesting and inspiring (Chris Buck on Subject Interaction) :

Seen on PetaPixel.

But they saw it on Strobist.

When reading tips about what to work on or on turning pro – they often mention – do what inspires YOU. This way you’ll produce better work and won’t loose direction and interest.

I do have a habit of just doing whatever lands in my lap rather than creatively following what I want to do. Hopefulyl will do soon ….. as soon as this backlog is out the way 😉


London Riots

First non photography blog entry and first video upload – not what I expected.

Ok – so everybody (in the UK( has hear what’s happening in London.

After Tottenham I really wasn’t expecting it to continue – but infact it’s escalated. These are a couple of clips that I took on my phone on my way home. We had to get off the bus – wasn’t too sure why initially (It wasn’t police stopping us but pedestrians heading in the other direction) although had seen 7 police Riot vans shoot past us and over-heard women on the bus saying there was trouble in Peckham. After getting off our bus – 2 buses ahead this was the scene that greeted me:

After this bus there was another parked and empty. There was a big cable drum on fire just ahead of it and then a couple of what looked like teenagers started dragging it towards this bus. Sadly I didn’t take any video but I was already very cautious as as well as innocent people – there were guys in hoodies with their faces covered all around me. Shortly after that there was a guy in hoodie + mask pouring what looked like petrol RIGHT in front of a big articulated truck. I indicated to the driver that he should back up – and just then sounded like someone threw something towards his side of the cab. Shortly after he did a quick U-turn in Peckham High street – causing the group on that side (largely masked) to scatter. Shortly later up the street I spotted some riot police and took this video:

Walking up Peckham High Street, seeing a smashed up Burger King I couldn’t go any further as the police were stopping us. Directing us around the back of the Lidl shop. Bit of a walk around I came to Rye Lane and a group of people watching on as masked hoodies looted a Clarks shop of all places! took some video but unfortunately trying to keep discreet with my phone by my waist I pointed it too low 😦 50m down the road there was a row of Riot Police – seemingly not doing much. All the looters were wearing hoods and masks – some as prepared as to have balaclavas on!

Neither of the above were in the really scary parts (masked people around me) those times I put the phone away….

After the London Bombings of 07/2005 I always thought that if something news-worthy happened close by I’d try to go cover it – but although not much scares me – I was a bit shaken up. Gladly wisdom kicked in and after arriving home I decided to stay there. I’ve read of photographers getting attacked. Although I’ve wanted to cover something news-worthy – lets face it – I’m not a press photographer, and personal safety comes above all else. If there wasn’t an obvious threat to personal safety I would be out there.

As I’m sure many people have and will mention – this seems to have very little to do with last weeks original issue in Tottenham (police shooting) but instead it looks like kids/teenagers doing a copy-cat thing and just looting.

For all the friends in affected areas – hope you’re all safe.