Posts in Category: Comment

Happy new year

Happy new year. Lets hope it will be better than the last one.

I actually started this a couple of days ago… then left it. I didn’t want it to be another ‘heres my favorite, worst, best, accidentially shot jpeg of 2020’ posts. I also didn’t want to include that over used word starting with U.

We all have our reasons to say goodbye and good ridance to last year.

It is just a bit unfortunate we are starting a new year with yet another lockdown. Lets hope the vaccines that are slowly being rolled out will provide a welcome end to the chaos of this pandemic.

Due to lockdowns and tier restrictions blog posts and new images maybe a bit more intermittent.

Waskerley Way

Wherever your path may take you have a safe, enjoyable 2021.

Out of lockdown reduced to tiers

On December 2nd England will come out of lockdown and be reduced to tiers. Essentially most of us will be in tier two, with the (broadly speaking) south east tip, middle and north east areas in tier three. Cornwall, The Isles of Scilly and Isle of Wight will be in Tier One. At least thats how it stands at the moment.

So has our second lockdown worked? Depends on how you look at it. We can go to the gym or the hairdresser but not mix with different households indoors. At the beginning of November half the country was in tier one, meaning we could mix indoors in homes or pubs and restaurants. Provided you kept to the rule of six.

So a bit of a mixed bag of results then. You can go shopping but you can’t see family members that you don’t live with. These new tiers will be reviewed every 14 days apparently. The (almost) good news is any restrictions will be relaxed to allow a  Christmas of sorts.

How does this relate to photography?

Currently you can take unlimited exercise. This could be interpreted as going for a walk…oh and i’ll take the camera just in case.

I dont know about you but I like to zone out when taking photographs. I forget about the everyday things and just focus on capturing an image (see what I did there 🙂 ).   Some might call this meditation photography. Seeing as its what I normally do I am not going to label it.

Cue visual break:

River Wear, County Durham

I managed to grab this during some recent exercise.

Mental health is important

In these trying times our mental health is just as important as our physical health. Spending more time indoors than usual could have an adverse effect. Comfort or boredom eating can be a real issue. I normally stay around a certain weight. This year I’ve put on 4 kilos that I just can’t shake. Fortunately at the moment it is not a problem but I’m keeping an eye on it.

Now if only we could ‘weigh’ our mental health as easily. For a lot of us it will not be easy to spot a detoriation in our mental well being. We might need to rely on those in the same household to point out if were getting moody, grumpy, short tempered  etc.

How do we cope?

Try doing something you may not have done before. Maybe get into reading, knitting, modelling (plastic aircraft kits, railways, ships, type of modelling), experiment with some new recipes, search the web for all that (intelligent) stuff you wanted to google but never had time.  This assumes you have shot macro of everything in your house already 🙂

If things do seem to be getting too much could I encourage you to seek outside help. There are plenty of organisations and charities that can offer advice on well being and possibly more practical help.

But were at the end of it now..aren’t we?

We are coming out of a lockdown into what for most of will be tougher restrictions. So I would say no we are not quite at the end. Personally I reckon round about spring might be a good target.  Talking of seasons as a photographer I have mixed feelings about winter. There can be some nice opportunities photographically speaking BUT I absolutely hate the short days and long dark evenings.

Lets look forward to getting out and about and enjoying some beautiful scenery again.

Stay safe everyone.

A couple of UK mental health resources that maybe useful:

www.mind.org.uk

Www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines

It Seemed to be getting better

It seemed to be getting better…then as we all start to get out and try to reboot the economy …. it got worse.

Perhaps unsurprisingly we relaxed a little bit too much and gave the dreaded COVID-19 a chance to resurge. You only have to look in the local supermarket to see a lack of social distancing.

Now we can only meet in groups of six or less (with certain exceptions). The devolved governments in the UK have slightly different rules so you have to keep track.

Local lockdowns are looming in greater numbers and once again the tourism and hospitality trades are holding their breath.

A lot of people are being affected by the consequences of this pandemic. The normality of a year ago seems a distant memory.

Wherever you might be reading this please think about your actions and can I encourage you to keep a check on family, friends and neighbours, both physically and mentally.

Stay safe.

A Scottish holiday

We regularly go away for a Scottish holiday. If you’ve ever been to Scotland you will know the weather can be …unpredictable. You might need everything from suncream to a raincoat in a single day.

Our recent getaway just as lockdown restrictions were being lifted resulted in a nice break. So grateful to be able to go on holiday we weren’t really too bothered about the weather. After all there isn’t much you can do about it anyway.

While sunshine would have been nice it really seemed to elude us.

Scottish Highlands

Scottish Highlands

The above scene was typical for the week. From a photographic point of view the light was flat. Here is another example:

Wester Ross, Scottish Highlands

Wester Ross, Scottish Highlands

Apart from a lack of decent light for photo purposes we had a good holiday and enjoyed ourselves.

The slight drawback of going anywhere on holiday in the UK is you never know what the weather will do. In the past we’ve been camping and it’s rained for a week. Equally we’ve had glorious sunshine and everything in between. In a normal holiday  season that is one reason people tend to go abroad. You have a much better chance of it being warm and sunny.

Unfortunately this has been anything but a normal season, as anyone working in tourism and anyone taking a holiday will testify.

To finish on a more upbeat note here is the final picture for this post:

Sheep scottish highlands

Sheep with an itch Scottish Highlands

This little chap had an itch that needed scratching…

Whatever and wherever you may go on holiday this year enjoy yourself.

Lockdown is easing at last

Lockdown is easing at last here in the UK. Although England appears to be slightly in front of Scotland and Wales in certain restrictions.

It can’t be easy for people who have to make the decisions to get life back to normal. Too quick and there could be a second spike. Too slow and the economy will be permanently crippled. Lets be honest would you want to weigh up the factors and decide? Whatever you do someone won’t be happy.

In terms of photographic opportunities before long we are only going to be limited by the great British summer. The weather has become somewhat unsettled with parts of England getting sunshine, hail, rain, thunderstorms and lightning. It’s as if it knows 🙂

[cue visual break]

Lake District, England

Lake District, England

It’s a shame that as we get our freedom back there is an increase in litter and unsociable behavoiur in certain places. Perhaps being ‘locked up’ for three months people have forgotten how to treat our countryside and beaches.

Lake District, England

Lake District, England

Wherever you are and wherever you may go taking photos, let’s enjoy the fact we can go out and visit different places again.

We might even be able to have a holiday and put the abysmal start to 2020 behind us.

Heres looking forward to the rest of the year.

 

Happy New Year

Happy new Year to everyone. I hope the Christmas and New Year festivities have refreshed your body and soul and you are raring to go for the new decade.

I might have mentioned I don’t really do New Year resolutions. If you want to do something you can decide that anytime, I don’t see the significance of saying it for a New Year. Of course your mileage may vary, as they say and that’s fine.

It is the time of year I tend to look at what equipment I have and whether it still allows me to do what I need. Most of the time if were honest it is not the the equipment holding us back though. Come on… I said be honest 🙂

I think I’m sorted for now. My Nikon CX and DX gear maybe old (understatement) but I don’t feel for what I currently do it is holding me back.

I still love my Nikon V1 for when I want to travel light. If I want to go even lighter there is always the smartphone. Yes I do enjoy photography with all my gear.

My old Nikon D200 is still usable for what I do and for me there is just something about it. I actually prefer using it to my D5300, Why because it fits my hands well (small isn’t always better) and I do like the output from it. There is something that appeals to me from its CCD sensor.

The output may only be 10mp but I have several prints hanging on my walls from that camera. I don’t need anything larger for what I currently do.

So I’m OK gear wise for now, but I think it’s important to consider what your gear choices are every so often and think if they are still fit for your purposes.

Christmas

Well that time of the year is almost upon us again. It seems to come around quicker and quicker.

This year I will probably be working for Christmas, for the first time ever. We have had to swap around the annual get together, but you do realise how many people do have to make adjustments at this time of year and end up working when most of us enjoy a break.

Whatever your doing  TMMA Photography wishes you the best of the seasons greetings and a Happy and peaceful new year.

Christmas with Garfield at the top

Christmas with Garfield and an angelat the top

 

Yes that is a Garfield on top of the Christmas Tree. A TMMA household tradition dating back years 🙂

Training

After the relaxation of our recent cruise it was time for me to go and get a job which involves a long period of pretty intensive training.

This will probably mean that for the foreseeable future blog posts could be a bit thin on the ground.

In case you were wondering the job is not related to photography, unfortunately.

I hope to maintain a bi weekly posting schedule.

 

Durham Cathedral

A recent visit to Durham Cathedral allowed a brief photo opportunity.

We had some family visiting so I wouldn’t class it as a photographic outing, but it did whet the appetite for a return trip.

The Cathedral can be busy with tourists so I would avoid peak season for photography purposes. If your going just for a visit you can take some photos that avoid people if you want.

I’ve added a selection to the 12 Pics series here of my adventures. While your there take in the impressive Lego Cathedral if you get the chance.

Durham itself could also be worth a wander around to complete a day out.

 

There’s been a drought

There’s been a drought …..in me posting. I really must use the schedule post feature more.

Well September became a busy month. We moved house and just about managed to unpack before a cruise celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary.

On our return it was a matter of getting back into everyday life routine. Which is difficult after relaxing on a ship, getting served great food and remembering not to take (too much) advantage of the all inclusive drinks package.

I will post some pics in the coming weeks.

As this was more of a holiday than a photographic expedition I only took my Nikon V1 and a couple of lenses. At one stage I only used my phone to take pictures.

Walking around various locations there seemed to be a lack of ‘large’ cameras. DSLR users were few and far between. No wonder camera manufacturers are struggling.

The overwhelming majority of people were quite content (as was I) to use a mobile phone to capture images.

What a lot of gear heads on the forums forget is how the end product will be used. People using mobiles for their photography needs probably won’t show those images on anything bigger than an iPad [insert your preferred choice of tablet here].

In fact they more than likely posted to social media, got a few likes and that will be that.

As far as I can see the latest raft of mirrorless cameras still don’t seem to address the problems mobiles have eliminated. The ability to capture an image, edit it and post it to the internet all in one device. With a few taps of a screen.

Will ILCs ever have such a workflow?

I’m going to stop buying gear

I’m going to stop buying gear because whenever I get into a system things tend to go downhill.

My premise of buying into Nikon CX was to gain a smaller capable system and use the crop factor to extend my DX zoom capability.

I quite like my Nikon 1 system and still use it. Quite a lot actually. It’s not very often you can stick the equivalent of a 300mm lens in your pocket, carry it around all day and not notice.

In terms of extending my zoom capacity with the DX zoom it sort of worked. It would have been better if Nikon hadn’t of knobbled the AF to one centre point though.

Anyway the downhill part became the demise of the 1 system. Nikon couldn’t figure out where to go with it. By the time they released the V3 with the third different body style my expenditure on the system stopped. I’m feeling a bit of deja vu here.

As it happens Nikon’s expenditure on the system stopped as well.

On the DX side of things I started with a D70 had numerous bodies since and currently use a D200  and D5300. So you could say I stuck with DX.

For me DX is a nice compromise in terms of cost, weight, value and performance. I’ve happy with my DX system and for what I do don’t need full frame.

Now it would appear that DX could go the way of CX.

Im starting to feel the APS-C sector is going to become very niche. The only company really sticking to the format seems to be Fuji.

It will be interesting to see what happens as the APS-C segment comes under pressure from smartphones at the bottom end and lower pricing on full frame from the top end. This could also apply to m4/3 as well.

If you don’t need full frame will there still be a choice of formats long term? Or will we be forced to choose between a smartphone and full frame?

Fortunately there is more than enough pre-owned gear around to last for a while.

In the meantime I’m going to stop buying gear and see where the dust settles.

 

Catch up – June has been busy

Here’s a catch up – Due to a busy few weeks the blog posts have been a bit thin on the ground.

I hope to remedy this soon with a couple of articles about our holidays.

Life in general has got a bit busier too. I will try to make a concerted effort to return to a post a week.

While I’m happy with my current gear and have no intention of changing it, I have noticed a long time blogger of Nikon 1 gear is softening his approach and trying out a different format.

We have a wide range of equipment available to us today, take advantage of that.

Don’t be precious about what you use. A camera is a tool to take photographs. Ask a car mechanic, plumber, electrician or gardener about the tools they use. I bet a bag a doughnuts they don’t care about the make as long as it does what they want.

Keep calm…..go create 😀

Is the Olympus camera division on the ropes?

Is the Olympus camera division on the ropes? Several sites are reporting they might be forced to forgo their digital camera business. This has of course fired up the comments on various forums. Some in defence and others proclaiming m4/3 is dying.

The situation isn’t helped by Panasonic deciding to change direction.

So what’s the problem?

Well….It would appear to be the investors in Olympus suggesting a new direction. While their latest camera the EM1-X  might be considered an expensive model, somewhere within the rooms and corridors of Olympus HQ it must have been discussed and agreed to release that product at that price point.

It’s interesting that its the investors – reportedly foreign investors – who are asking for change. Does that vindicate the Olympus marketing and production departments? Maybe. It can’t be easy in the digital camera business these days. Despite comments on what camera companies should do from forum users, I think that those very users sometimes forget what they want may not be appropriate for other markets or regions. A few vocal Americans [insert your country here] may not be representative of a global market.

M4/3 may not be the only casualty

I still think that anything smaller than full frame could well be challenged in the current climate. It’s possible, to get some clear product differentiation that Canon and Nikon may give up on their APS sized cameras and cede market share to smartphones.

That would leave Fuji in the APS segment, effectively in a niche. Both in style and sensor size.

Will Nikon continue to produce what is effectively three different ranges of lenses? I’d bet a bag of doughnuts that Nikon will (officially or otherwise) let the DX go. And I say that as an avid DX user. I just hope that they don’t do a CX on it and neglect it to death. Nikon published a road map for their Z series lenses. Let’s hope they have the kahunas to tell us what they might do with DX.

Will other investors want out of the camera market?

If Olympus investors want out, are they the only ones? Will this prompt other investors to think along similar lines and want to change direction away from a declining market?

Let’s face it investors want a return. If that is harder to accomplish in a diminishing market they may very well want out.

That could mean Olympus won’t be the only one in trouble.

It could also mean investors increasingly calling the shots …..

Just for the sake of it

Have you ever done anything just for the sake of it?

At this time of year photography opportunities are limited. Either by weather or poor light. This tends to make me spend a bit more time at a keyboard and screen.

That leads onto me looking at the design of the TMMA website. Anybody that uses WordPress to publish a site will tell you its relatively easy to use and you have a lot of choice. The first part of that sentence is great. The second part can be a curse.

The choice comes in the form of all the different themes available to you and that you can easily swap between. Now themes can be very personal in terms of what you like and dislike. Fonts colours and styling all adding up to decisions you have to make.

As an example I prefer a dark on light easy readable font. I also don’t like huge dark areas in terms of website design. Hence the design of this website 🙂 Now I appreciate this may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Light on dark could be more trendy, as could a more complicated style. A personal pet peeve is having to click on too many options to get to where you want. Hopefully I’ve avoided that here.

Not sure where the curse is?

I end up on these dark, rainy  evenings looking at the various themes available on WordPress and trying them out. From the wife’s point of view it keeps me quiet. But invariably after experimenting with three or four templates, I end up going back to more or less what I had.

The choice can be the curse. The same could be said for the range of equipment at our fingertips too. Will that new mega body give us a tangible improvement in our photography? For the most part no. Not unless it does something you need to do that your current body can’t.

So after having my annual look around at website themes, I’m back to where I started. There might be a tiny tweak here or there but for now it largely appears the same.

So have you ever done anything just for the sake of it?

Have Canon finally realised?

Have Canon finally realised what the rest us have known for a while?

There are several reports that Canon are predicting a slump in demand for cameras (that’s the short version).

Modest iterations from manufacturers and a lack of filling out lens lines, together with a shift to higher price units have all helped to subdue sales.

Apparently the full frame mirrorless sales are coming at the expense of DSLRs. Did they think we would buy one of each?

Plus as I have mentioned before there is still a lack of consumer confidence in several global market areas.

Even Apple are feeling the pinch, although on a slightly different scale. Apple appear to be citing difficult trading in the Chinese market. The cynical amongst us might say they have pushed the pricing of their latest phones a bit too far.

Speaking of high pricing, Olympus have joined in with their latest offering the EM IX. That is pushing $3000 for a m43 camera. At first glance that’s a lot of money for a small sensor camera compared to the full frame offerings around.

Several camera companies have alluded to a repostioning to sell less cameras with a higher value. The way things are going that seems to be a tough call to accomplish.

The underlying trend though, would question the future viability of the APS sized cameras. With a shift to full frame mirrorless from both Canon and Nikon I can’t see the smaller sized siblings getting a lot of love.

The market is shrinking according to all the sales data and that puts the manufacturers in a dilemma. The current hopes pinned to full frame mirrorless and lenses in a new mount.

I’m still not convinced expensive mirrorless lenses and bodies are the solution…….