Get out when you think about it.

You know how it is:

The leaves are only just turning – I’ll get out next week and get some shots.

Trouble is next week is busy with one thing and another.

Then the weather conspires against you with dull or overcast conditions that make the inside of your dishwasher look bright.

It’s OK there is always next week!

Then a storm hits and most of those leaves are now in the road or across the pavement.

Can anyone relate to this? I’ve done it so many times now you would think i’d know better.

So the next time you think you should get out and take some photos ……..just do it.

Skara Brae, Orkney added to 12 Pics series

Skara Brae, Orkney added to 12 Pics series.

Skara Brae, can be found on the west coast of mainland Orkney, near the Bay of Skiall. It is a Neolithic village, occupied some 5000 years ago, inhabited  before the Great Pyramids of Egypt were built.

It remained hidden until a storm hit in 1850 exposing some of the buildings. The village was abandoned around 2500BC.

Consider a visit if you go to Orkney.


Now PETA want to own the monkey selfie copyright.

A couple of websites are reporting the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are throwing their hat in the ring over the continuing monkey selfie copyright argument.

They are trying to get the federal court in America to rule in their favour so they can manage the copyright on behalf (and to the benefit of) said primate and his friends.

PETA claims (my edited version) “animal rights should be recognised for the sake of animals and not for the exploitative benefit of humans”.

Not only is the original copyright failing to be acknowledged and still in question, an organisation now wants a court to assign copyright to them on behalf of Naruto (the primate).

So if they win this one, will they then start actions against all the zoos, aquariums, sea worlds and wildlife parks?

Or do those animals not have the same rights?

Portmeirion, Gwynedd added to 12 Pics series

Portmeirion added to 12 Pics series.

Someone asked if  I had any pictures of the lovely Portmeirion in Gwynedd, North Wales.  I realised only a couple of images were on the website so I decided to make it part of the 12 Pics series.


Portmeirion is an Italianate style village. For those old enough to remember, The Prisoner was filmed there. If you are in North Wales and the idea of walking around a colourful village setting appeals to you, it might be worth a visit.

I have now added Portmeirion to the 12 Pics series.



Well, it would seem the DXO One is getting some flack for the way it connects to the iphone. Basically using the lightning connector.

Some reviewers have noted the phone can easily fall off, thus making photo taking a two handed operation. Normally I use two hands when taking photos on my smartphone, but I dont have to worry about dropping anything. In my post back in June one of the things I thought needed further attention was the integrity of the connection.

I still think in a couple of generations a modular system could be successful.

What we dont need is something that only fits one make of phone using one type of connector. Whether that is Apple or whoever.

If Apple change their connector………..

Snowdonia added to 12 pics series

Snowdonia Pictures added to 12 pics series.

What potentially was an uninspiring (i.e. cloudy) day resulted in 12 moody images of Snowdonia being added to the 12 Pics series.

Are photographers an unhappy bunch?

Are photographers an unhappy bunch?

A quick scan through the forums and rumour sites might suggest so.

No matter what the manufacturers produce in a body or lenses or even a system someone is not happy.

We have more choice of equipment at different price points than we have ever had. We have better technology available in the bodies. We have better technology designing lenses. Whilst I still think prices are nudging up slowly, for the best part we have very good value for money. The fact that people can own two or three systems at the hobby level would suggest price isn’t a limiting factor.

It would suggest people are looking for something that one system doesn’t provide, thus back to being unhappy in some way.

So is it quality, weight, size, features, or a combination? Or even something else?
A limit on weight and size will compromise quality. You are not (yet) going to get Nikon D810 quality in something the size of the V1. Physics will tell you that. A full frame sensor will not fit in something made for a 1” sensor. It’s not just about sensor size though. You have the supporting electronics and a battery, the optics.

I could go on but you get the idea.

I think the problem is that a lot of photographers have lost sight of what they actually NEED in a camera. They look at a make or type of camera and decide that it has one feature (probably not used that often) that their current gear hasn’t got. This then puts them in a downward spiral of depression until they realise they need some GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) to relieve their symptoms. Unfortunately the relief is generally, at best, temporary.
Someone will release a new model with an extra function button you just have to have.

Are we ever going to get the ideal camera? In a word. No. There are too many variables involved. What is going to be acceptable for one will not be acceptable to another. After all we are human. On the brighter side it means we will continue to have a choice and that’s not a bad thing.

Is there a cure for this inherent unhappiness in us togs?

I don’t know. For me, if there is something that results in me missing shots then I will have to decide if it’s me or the gear (probably the former more than the latter). If the latter then it is a question of :

how much do I spend to overcome the issue  /   is it really worth it

Meanwhile rather than look for the feature that is missing lets all look for the next photo.

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty AONB

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – AONB – lets change the name for the sake of it.

It is reported by the BBC the Welsh Government are considering renaming the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to Natural Landscape of Wales.

Apart from the huge cost for re branding it seems to me they are losing an important message.

Rhosilli Beach, The Gower

How on earth does ‘Natural Landscape of Wales’ convey the same message as Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty?

The AONB is already a recognised brand. ‘Natural Landscape of Wales’ could mean anything.

Is this all they have to worry about?  Renaming something that doesn’t need it?

Surely there must be more important things that deserve Welsh Government attention?

Pluto pictures

There are some great images of Pluto appearing from the New Horizons probe, with more to come.

It takes over four hours to transmit data from the probe back to Earth.

What we need to remember is the technology producing and sending these images and data is nine and a half years old and has travelled over 3 billion miles across space, to the outer edges of our Solar System. An amazing journey through inhospitable conditions. The fact that the team still has control over the probe is quite an achievement let alone the ability to send images back.

The probe was launched in January 2006. A couple of months after Nikon released the D200 in photographic terms – knocking on a bit ( I still love using my D200 🙂 )

And as photographers we worry about upgrading to the newest model as soon as it comes out….kinda puts things in perspective……. doesn’t it?

Olympus Air 01

The Olympus Air 01 has been officially released in the US after being announced earlier this year.

It’s another one of those products that falls into the ‘camera add on for the smartphone’ camp a bit like the DXO One.

The spec seems reasonable and apparently Olympus has released the SDK so other people can write apps for it.

The difference with Air 01 is the design is essentially a sensor with a lens mount which takes micro 4/3 lenses. This has both advantages and drawbacks. On the one hand there is a nice range of lenses available. On the other you will have to carry those lenses and the Air 01 to use with your phone. You can hear the sceptics saying ‘i may as well just carry a camera body’. They may have missed the point though.

The DXO One and Olympus Air 01 give us photographers a choice. Even more choice. They bridge the gap between carrying a camera bag full of bodies and lenses and the ability to use our smartphones with some more pocketable sensor options.

These devices won’t be for everyone and I daresay that the die hard fans will still moan that ‘if it ain’t a DSLR it ain’t a camera’.

While I am following the development of these add ons, it will be interesting to see if mobile manufacturers respond by improving phone cameras in a way that is meaningful to the consumer. Actually the same could be said for the camera manufacturers 🙂

For many, though, stand alone cameras have become good enough.

Has have mobile phones….

Copyright rears it’s ugly head again

Just as photographers are trying to get their head around an apparent ‘do as I say, not as I do’ copyright argument with Taylor Swift the EU decide to stick the boot in as well.

It was reported that Taylor Swift was not happy with Apples’ music licensing arrangements I.e not receiving a payment for three months and wrote an open letter to Apple saying as much. Apple backed down.

It then comes to light that there are some restrictive contracts to taking photographs at a Taylor Swift concert, which reading the reported furor hasn’t earned her any brownie points. The crux of the matter allegedly being that the photographer does own copyright but TS and her promoting company can use the images without further payment.

Before the dust settled on that copyright argument the EU reportedly want to change want constitutes freedom of panorama (applying to certain EU countries), which in effect means a building in a public place MAY be subject to copyright and require a licensing agreement to use for commercial purposes.

There are more than a couple of issues with this. Not least how it would be policed, how you are supposed to know who to obtain permission from and what actually constitutes commercial use which can have different meanings depending on context.

Add to this the fact that when a photograph that supposedly is covered by copyright gets stolen and used without permission ( I’m thinking monkey selfie here) and you have avertible black hole of copyright law.

You could approach the TS example above by arguing a contract is in place and it is up to you whether you agree to the terms and sign up.

The Monkey selfie is copyrighted and as I understand it, being (quite rightly) contested. As a photographer I hope it reaches a suitable conclusion for the creator and makes things clearer for everyone involved.

The reported EU copyright proposal is just ….. WEIRD.

If indeed the proposal becomes Part of EU law (there’s a vote in July) I’m not sure what it will achieve, apart from a potential payment for a copyright holder, although it is obvious what the result could be. Yes there is a difference.

So, as copyright rears its ugly head again photographers (and others) are getting worked up even more, the flames fanned by a media press each with their own agenda……

Update: The proposed amendment to Freedom Of Panorama has been defeated after a vote by MEPs. It’s back to ‘ as you were everyone’. Thanks to an online petition and raising awareness of the issue common sense has prevailed. As photographers we must be grateful to the people who highlight these things and save our rights from being further eroded.


The Dxo One has caught my attention

Dxo have branched out from software, into hardware with the One.

A camera you attach to an iPhone 6, which is then used as a viewfinder and means of controlling the camera.

I really want to like this. You have a better quality camera than a standard smartphone with its own storage and battery. Dxo are promoting the unit as having DSLR image quality with a F1.8 32mm equivalent lens. It has a 6 blade iris and 20.2MP one inch CMOS BSI sensor.

The one inch sensor wouldn’t bother me in the slightest (after all I am one of the few fans of the Nikon 1 system).  A 32mm F1.8 lens is slightly different to what I’m used too but not totally off putting.

So what has caught my attention and why have I finally got something to be excited about in an otherwise predictable photographic world?

Well apart from a few niggles (battery life, connector, non replaceable battery) I think the concept is a great starting point for something a lot bigger.

Imagine two or three of these modules in your pocket. A wide angle, standard and telephoto lens. Swapping the module gives you a different field of view while all your control functions remain the same. You can use the phone for storage or the built in micro sd card. Each lens effectively having its own memory and battery.

Being connected to a phone would also allow a quick edit and uploading to your agency, website or social media of your choice. i.e your workflow just got a lot better than anything currently available using a DSLR.  You might even be brave enough to leave a laptop at home!

Thinking about the end use of the image, you wouldn’t need huge MP modules and could instead divert some R & D resource into lens and battery development. The premise here being that results would be viewed on a screen and not printed.

I think with the right developments, marketing and pricing the Dxo One concept, or something similar, is needed to shake up the camera market. We need to move on from the basically film like design of current bodies. In nearly anything else you could think of technology has been able to produce weight and bulk savings. Why are most cameras still designed like they should have a film in them?

Dxo if you happen to read this I would love to be one of the ones to try out the One 🙂


Water Voles

As mentioned elsewhere on this site I have a limited budget for photography. Knowing your equipment and its limitations helps no matter what gear you use.

With that in mind have a look at these.

Helicopter Heaven

You would have needed to be living under a rock in South Wales lately to miss all the helicopter activity taking place as part of a massive military exercise – Joint Warrior – over the last week or so. We have had Apache attack, Lynx multi purpose and Chinook support helicopters flying around (and that’s just what I’ve managed to see).

No photos – no worries!

We have had some glorious sunshine and decent temperatures recently so I decided to go out for a walk today in the local wood.

I thought a packed lunch would be in order so I duly assembled some nibbles and put them in my daysack. Instead of carrying two bags I also put in the Nikon 1 V1, spare battery and the 10-100mm lens. The Nikon is so small I normally put it in a pocket and spread any remaining gear out amongst the other pockets of whatever I’m wearing.

So I set off on my walk, enjoying the sun, the slight breeze and the multitude of birds singing their various songs. I count at least four different types of butterfly, see a couple of squirrels and some of those singing birds. The only other people I see are a couple of ladies out for a leisurely ride on their horses, accompanied by a couple of dogs, quite happily running on in front of them. Have you ever noticed how dogs always look at you like you should have something to eat for them?

All in all I had a nice couple of hours out in the countryside.

Did I take any photos? No – not on this adventure.

Why? I’m not really sure. I just didn’t feel like getting the camera out, being quite glad I didn’t bring the DSLR and all that bulk!

This is unusual for me, if I’ve got a camera with me I normally take some photos. Did my lack of taking photos detract from the experience?  No, not at all. Shame the other half wasn’t with me, because I doubt if she will believe me 🙂

So No Photos – No worries!