Saturday, 28 February 2009

The Genius of Photography

Don't forget tonight (Saturday 28 February) at 7:00 PM (19:00hr) the next episode of this brilliant repeated series is broadcast.


Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Focus on Imaging 2009 - 2nd Instalment

There was plenty to see and do this year. Canon & Nikon provided all the latest kit for visitors to try. Canon even set up a few big 'uns for people to get their hands on!

There was a plethora of kit from all of the big names like Manfrotto, Gitzo, Bogen, Kata & my particular favourite, Lowepro. There were a few smaller companies offering ranges of inexpensive lighting kit for use with hotshoe flash - some of it OK, some no comment.

Lastolite put on a good selection of live demos during the show as did The Flash Centre. I'm sure there were others but the crowds prevented me from exploring every aisle of the show.

Apple, Adobe & OnOne provided rolling schedules of seminars and talks which proved very popular.

OnOne have introduced a suite of software plugins for Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom & Apple Aperture that without doubt improve and speed-up digital post-production workflow. Genuine Fractals is the industry standard for enlarging digital image files without quality loss; there's too many great products to discuss in depth here, so why not visit to see and download demos of the full range - you won't regret it.

Press Release - The People’s Premiere

‘The People’s Premiere’ launches Pete Postlethwaite’s
new climate movie on March 15 from solar cinema tent in Leicester Square and across the UK via satellite link-up

The People’s Premiere. “The Age of Stupid” will be launched on March 15th in a solar cinema
tent in the park in Leicester Square, and simultaneously at more than 60 other venues, including
The Eden Project and a kids-only event in Fulham. As an INclusive, rather than EXclusive,
premiere, the public can buy tickets (£10, from today) to their local cinema and watch the
green carpet arrivals and post-film Q&A live by satellite link-up from London. The whole event -
but not the complete film, obviously - will also stream live on the internet and in Second Life.

Eco-Premiere. The star of the film, Pete Postlethwaite, will arrive by solar car before posing
for the papparazzi on the green carpet. Other celebs will come on foot, bicycle, bike rickshaw,
public transport or biodiesel cars (chip fat from local Leicester Square chippies will be
collected in wheelbarrows by youth volunteers on the Friday). Every part of the event - from
power sources, to food, to transport, to ink, to clothing - is genuinely green, as opposed to
greenwashed. Full eco-audit available soon:

From Land’s End to John O’Groats (nearly). The participating cinemas are in Aberdeen, Bath, Birmingham, Blackburn, Braehead, Bristol, Bury, Cambridge, Cardiff, Carlisle, Cheshire, Clones, Cornwall (Eden Project), Croydon, Edinburgh, Enniskillen, Exeter, Glasgow, Guilford, Harrow, Hartlepool, Hatfield, Hull, Inverness, Kingston, Leeds, Leicester, Lincoln, Liverpool, Livingston, London (8 locations), Maidenhead, Manchester, Milford Haven, Naul, Newcastle, Newcastle West, Norwich, Oxford, Plymouth, Portlaoise, Portsmouth, Preston, Reading, Romford, Scunthorpe, Southport, Staines, Swindon, Tinahely, Tunbridge Wells, Watford, Wigan and York. List of venues & booking info:

Largest Ever Premiere? With a capacity of over 16,000, the Guinness Book of Records will
hopefully soon confirm The Age of Stupid as the largest ever film premiere. The event is
supported by the UK FIlm Council.

Eden Project Premiere. Transition Towns founder Rob Hopkins will introduce the Eden event and host the Q&A afterwards. Tickets £10 from Eden box office or

Youth Premiere. The Fulham Vue cinema will host an event for under 18s, organised by WeCAN, with young speakers and action packs to take away. The film has a 12A rating, so any children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Equally, any adult without a child will not be admitted. Enquiries: Press: 07970 870 026

Running Order (all cinemas, inc Eden and Youth)
5.00pm Green carpet arrivals (London only)
5.15pm Doors open at cinemas
5.40pm Intro from local host in each venue
5.45pm LIVE satellite link-up from green carpet & solar tent
6.00pm The Age of Stupid (90 mins)
7.30pm LIVE satellite link-up from solar tent:
Q&A with filmmakers & special guests.
Pete Postlethwaite launches Not Stupid
8.00pm Local speakers in each venue
8.15pm ENDS

PRESS RELEASE: 24 Feb 2009

Live on the Internet. Free, live webstream at
or in Second Life at

Not Stupid and Copenhagen. All profits from the premiere will go to the new Not Stupid
climate action campaign, which Pete Postlethwaite will launch by starting a giant countdown
marking the remaining days, hours & minutes till the Copenhagen Climate Summit in December.
Copenhagen is being called “The most important meeting in human history” as it is where the
successor to the Kyoto Treaty will be finalised. Not Stupid is supported by all the key climate
NGOs, including Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and Stop Climate Chaos. The ambitious aim
is to turn 250 million viewers of the film into climate activists, all focused on Copenhagen.
Donations are most welcome and can be made at

Win Tickets. Anyone donating £50 or more to the Not Stupid campaign will be entered into a
prize draw to win two tickets to the solar tent.

The Age of Stupid stars Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite (In The Name of the Father,
Usual Suspects) as a man living alone in the devastated world of 2055, looking back at old
footage from 2008 and asking: why didn’t we save ourselves when we had the chance?
It was written and directed by Franny Armstrong (McLibel, Drowned Out) and exec-produced
by John Battsek (Oscar-winning One Day in September).

Crowd-Funding. The £450,000 budget for the 90 minute film was raised by the filmmaker’s
innovative “crowd-funding” model. 228 ordinary people invested between £500 and £35,000
and each own a percentage of profits. As do the crew, who worked at drastically reduced fees
to keep costs down and deliver a big-budget film on the (relatively speaking) tiny budget.

Cinema Release, 20 March. The Age of Stupid is released on March 20 in ten UK cinemas: Bristol Watershed, Belfast Queen’s Theatre, Sheffield Showroom, Edinborough Film House, Glasgow Film Theatre, Inverness Eden Court Theatre, Cardiff Chapter Cinema, Kilburn (London) Tricycle, Bethnal Green (London) Rich Mix and Panton Street (London) Odeon. Box office sales from the opening weekend determine whether it will expand to more cinemas or be dumped in the bin, so please, please bring ten friends to either the premiere or the opening week. Depending on the UK success, worldwide releases will follow later in 2009. (Sales agent: Celluloid Dreams, Paris.)

Awards & Prestigious Screenings. The film has already won the documentary world’s most
prestigious prize: a Grierson. It was screened at the UN Climate Summit in Poznan in Dec ‘08
(the precursor to Copenhagen), as well as at the British, EU and Dutch parliaments. Upcoming
screenings include the Welsh, Scottish and Swedish parliaments. Obama’s thinktank, The Center
for American Progress, is hoping to host the Washington premiere in May and Kofi Annan has
asked to host a screening at the Global Humanitarian Forum in June.

Press. Alex Sayer at Rogers and Cowan. +44 (0)20 3048 0485
NGO Liason. Daniel Vockins. +44 (0)20 7267 1532
Speaker Liason. Katie Roberts. +44 (0)20 7267 1532

Tickets & Booking Info:
PR Resources (press releases, high-res pics, facts).
NGO Resources (posters, pics, supporter info).

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Paypal - Problems with Postal Labels

For those of you who dabble with Paypal & Ebay, you may have noticed that the "Print a Postage Label" facility is not working at present, and hasn't been for some time. Apparently, there has been software upgrade with Paypal and they don't know when this facility will be up & running again!

If you're in the UK & need to contact Paypal by 'phone you can bypass the 0870 number by dialling 020 86053000.

Should you need to find a non-0845 or 0870 number in the UK go here you can find alternative conventional terrestrial numbers or even 0800/free call numbers.


Sunday, 22 February 2009

Focus on Imaging 2009 - 1st Instalment

It's now 22:37 hr (10:37 PM) and I've only been back from NEC for 2 hours after a longer than nornmal journey.

Lots to see and I'll report in a few instalments over the next few days. I didn't get to any seminars as the first part of the day was spent trying to get past the masses or persons carry items of oversize photographic jewellery around their necks. But I guess those of you visiting tomorrow won't have this problem 'cos these people wioll be back at their full-time or proper jobs Monday to Friday!

I'm surprised there weren't any reported cases of lense rage or lense envy;-)



Saturday, 21 February 2009

Odds & Ends

Seven Photographs that Changed Fashion
BBC 4, 21:00 - 22:00 hr Sat. 21 Feb. 2009. I've just picked up a repeat of this show half way through and it still inspires me. Rankin creates some of the iconic images that influence the way we see fashion today. Bailey is a particlar favourite of mine. Look at the simplicity of the gear he used in the '60s - a TLR with a fixed 80 mm lense with manual focus and sheer creative and technical excellence.

Forget the gear, think about your creativity and previsualise the final image; the gear and the software are a means to an end, what you see in your minds eye ios what's important.

You can see more of this show by visiting

See it on Youtube at together with links to the other shows in the series.

I've Just Missed This One...
BBC 2, 19:00 - 20:00 hr Sat. 21 Feb. 2009 - The Genius of Photography. The last in a series on the history of photography. Information the series can be found at

I'd like to this series at some point soon, but it looks as if the Beeb won't be repeating it for a while. If you go to Youtube some kind souls have uploaded it. The first episode and links to other episodes can be found at

Focus on Imaging
The 20th annual and 2009 show opens at NEC, Birmingham, tomorrow 22 February until Wednesday 25 February 2009. Some, if not most people in the photographic business consider this to be the premier photographic show in the UK. Maybe even the UK equivalent to Photokina in Germany? I haven't been to the show for a few years so am very interested to see what's happening and who's doing what.

I'll be visiting the show tomorrow and will post anything of interest as soon as I'm able.

For more more show information visit

Enjoy what's left of the weekend.


Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Financial Turndown...

Here are few corporate logos modified to reflect the current financial crisis. I don't know who the author or authors are, so can't give them the credit they deserve.

There's more...

Talking of this so called "credit crunch", now is the time that those of you who aren't marketing should start doing so. Tell your prospects the benefits of working with you; keep in regular contact; use email marketing to maintain contact & build profile. Keep your name in front of people without being pushy. Then as the economy improves you'll be ahead of the competition.

That's it for now.


Monday, 16 February 2009

S E E Festival 2009 - The Brighton Documentary Film Festival

If you're at a loose-end this coming weekend then the S E E Festival is the place to be. There'll be screenings, seminars and special events with some of the leading lights in the documentary film industry.

On Sunday 22nd February Good Morning Mr Hitler by the acclaimed director Luke Holland will be screened followed by a directors Q & A. This will be an opportunity to see 35 minutes of 16mm colour Kodachrome footage of Hitler and the Nazi leadership filmed during July 1939.

Luke Holland's credits also include the BBC Storyville series A Very English Village where copies of the series may be purcahsed on DVD.

For more information on this very special event in the documentary film calendar, visit



Saturday, 14 February 2009

Always Carry a Camera

This a good reason to always have a camera at the ready!

My kids say that Daddy is naked without his camera - not a pretty sight. Whether you use the camera built into you mobile/cell phone or a digital compact, keep your eyes open. Who knows, you could be the next Henri Cartier-Bresson. Always look for that decisive moment. I was hoping to get a few more frames here but the traffic warden clocked me - fortunately he saw the funny side.

If any of you can come up with a humourous caption post it below. No prizes, just that warm glow from knowing you've been judged the funniest by me, Steve (my film editor chum) and Jamie (our tame actor).

Have a great weekend.


Thursday, 12 February 2009

Formatting New Memory Cards & Data Recovery

When you get a new memory card for your camera, whatever you do, DO NOT format the card in your PC or Mac. Always format the card in the camera in which it will be used.

The format command generally will be found under the view images or playback menu, but this will differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. It's best to read the manual before doing this. Also, you may be presented with a choice of format to undertake; normally quick or low-level. Choose low-level everytime. It may take longer, but you know the card will be formatted correctly. A quick format will only erase any data from your card.

There may be other occasions when you need to format your camera memory cards. When you do, be sure to use your camera and not your computer as this may render the card unreadable once image data has been written to it.

If you accidentially format a memory card or if a memory card becomes corrupted/unreadable, all is not lost. With specialist software you may be able to recover some or all of the image data.

There may be circumstances where you can't read a memory card at all - this may take to form of a card not showing in My Computer with Windoze or not appearing on the desktop of your Mac. With a PC you'll ultimately get an error message along the lines of "Card unreadable, I/O error" which in English means your card is dead and needs replacing. Check your paperwork, as the card may still be under the manufacturers warranty.

I have had great success with Image Recall. This software is available for both Windoze & Mac platforms. The evaluation version will only let you recover and save the first 10 images on a card, so I recommend that you invest the full version for £24.99 and load it onto your laptop or MacBook. I've been using this recovery software since version 1 and it's now up to version 3 and it's saved my skin on more than one occasion.

I use Sandisk media and some of my cards have been supplied with something called Rescue Pro 3, which I must admit I haven't used, but would be pleased to hear from anyone who has. Also, if any of you have any experience of other data recovery software, it would be good to hear from you. Rescue Pro 3.3 can be downloaded here, and it recovers more than just image data files.

One last thing before I close. Always check you pockets before putting your clothes in the washing machine - compact flash cards will endure a cool wash but not SD or other media. And no, putting your media cards in the wash doesn't clean up the whites (joke for old for tranny film types!). Likewise, mobile/cell 'phones aren't too keen on 40 degrees with soap suds - just ask my young daughter;-)

Keep on snappin'


Carbon Fibre Tripod Review

I've just come across an excellent lightweight carbon fibre tripod on Ebay.

It's from a manufacturer that I don't recognise, like Manfrotto or Gitzo. But even so, I think this tripod represents excellent value for money. You can read my full review by downloading a PDF file (approx. 1.5 Mb). If anyone can tell the readers where to obtain these other than Ebay, please post a comment.

Have a great day!


Thursday, 5 February 2009

Keep a Camera Handy - Or Just an Excuse to Show Some Snow Images

On Monday morning I awoke to be confronted by a rare and beautiful sight - snow in south east England.

This is the view from my front door taken with my trusty Canon G10 jammed against the door frame to steady a Program mode 1 second exposure, f2.8, 400 ISO. The image has had my usual post production treatment in Photoshop CS3 or 4.

If you haven't got a tripod in low-light situations you can press you camera against a solid object or even rest it on a wall to get a steady shot. I'd advise taking a few frames as some may be unsharp due to camera shake, especially if you're using a longer lense or breathing. Yes, breathing can cause camera shake during long exposures/slow shutter speeds. If you have to hold the camera, take a breath, hold it, release the shutter, breath out. With practice you can create images as sharp as the one above.

This breathing technique is not recommended for very long exposures!

If any more proof is needed, here's the deep snow covering the patio table in our back yard. OK, it's nothing like the 2 + metres overnight my family in upstate New York experience on a regular basis, but hey, this is England.

It was a tradgedy that the kids didn't have to go to school or most adults to work, with the exception of my wife who braved the adverse conditons to drive 6 miles for a 7:00 AM start.

I wonder if it was the wrong kind of snow on the railway lines? As you can see, not many commuters made the effort to wait for a train.

The local kids certainly enjoyed themselves - strange how not one seemed sad not to be at school:-)

I must confess that it's very difficult to get motivated to work when there is snow on the ground - perhaps I shouldn't admit to this? But I guess most of the adults we met on our way to the South Downs with our sledges felt the same.

With the exception of the last image, all were created using my Canon G10. The final image was created with a Canon 50D with 24 - 105 mm f4 L series lens - not that you judge the quality at 400 pixels wide. It's a shame the light was so flat and uninteresting.

The following day the sun peeped through and transformed the whole landscape. I did manage to create quite a few frames, some of which will be used for future tutorials.

Happy snapping.