Thursday, 28 May 2009

Canon EOS 5D Mk II Firmware Upgrade

At last! On the 2nd June Canon will release the long awaited firmware upgrade to improve the 5D MkII's already stunning video performance.

The firmware upgrade will include the following features:

* Full aperture selection
* ISO speed: Auto, 100 to 6400 and H1
* Shutter speed: 1/30th to 1/4000th second

This will allow much more creative control and the ability to create some stunning visual effects. I will certainly be experimenting with some of the tricks we used to shoot on 16 mm cine film - shallow DoF, dragging the shutter, & slo-mo.

No doubt the firmware upgrade will appear here:

Until then, happy snapping.


Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Landscape Photographer of the Year 2009

For those keen landscape photographers, here's an opportunity to enter the prestigious Landscape Photographer of the Year competition, with the opportunity of having your winning images exhibited at the National Theatre in December 2009.

There are four for adult and under 16's categories: Classic View, Your View, Living the View & Phone View each with valauble prizes. Closing date is 15th July 2009 and images must have been created within 5 years before the closing date.

Good luck, let's see what you can do!


Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Canon Professional Photography Training

On the 21st May I mentioned a series of Canon Professional seminars being run at at Park Cameras on Thursday 28th May, here's the link to their dedicated page - Canon Professional Imaging Event.

My mole tells me the places are going fast, so be sure to book yours now.


Sunday, 24 May 2009

Inspired by Banksy

Inspiration can come from many sources, in this case from Banksy's graffitti preserved behind clear plastic for all to see on the route of this year's Worldwide Photo Walk in Brighton. I won't say where as that will spoil part of the fun on the day. The route I've planned will give plenty of scope for some cracking images.

The above image started out as an over exposed jpeg file that I was going to trash. The reason for this was simple, I'd been working with my Canon 5D Mk II earlier and dialled in 2 stops over exposure and not reset it before packing the camera away. I started shooting and wondered when I previewed the first frames they were a bit on the pale side!

Anyway, I shouldn't even be here, I should be planting my tomatoes before they die.



Saturday, 23 May 2009

Worldwide Photo Walk 2009 - Brighton

I scouted the route yesterday evening with my fellow photographer & friend Ben Potter. There will be plenty of photo opportunities and a break for lunch in Pavilion Gardens. We're producing a short taster video which will be available soon. Watch this space.

Have a great weekend and if you're in the UK don't forget that for some, Monday isn't a work day!


Thursday, 21 May 2009

Photography Training

Photography training courses are a great way to improve your skills, meet other photographers and exchange experiences and ideas.

I've had my new Canon EOS 5D MkII & 50 D since before Christmas and still haven't managed to get to grips with the Canon Digital Photo Professional software. As luck would have it Park Cameras are holding a training day on Thursday 28th May which includes sessions on Canon digital work-flow. In addition, onOne software and Colour Confidence will also be running sessions.

I haven't been able to find any details on the Park Cameras website, so here's the schedule for those of you who're interested:
  • 10:30 - 11:00 AM
    Colour Management for Photographers
    Including using the new ColorMunki Photo screen calibration tool

  • 11:00 - 12:00 Noon
    The Canon Digital Solution
    Including Digital Photo Professional software & PIXMA printers

  • 12:00 Noon - 1:00 PM
    OnOne Software Post-Production Solutions
    Genuine Fractals 6.0, PhotoTools 2.0, MaskPro, PhotoTune and PhotoFrame 4

  • 1:15 - 1:45 pm
    Colour Management for Photographers
    Including using the new ColorMunki Photo screen calibration tool

  • 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
    The Canon Studio - Wireless Flash to Printing
    Including Digital Photo Professional software & PIXMA printers

  • 3:00 - 4:00 PM
    OnOne Software Post-Production Solutions
    Genuine Fractals 6.0, PhotoTools 2.0, MaskPro, PhotoTune and PhotoFrame 4
Booking is essential so be sure to contact Park Cameras to avoid disappointment.

I'll see you there.


Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Worldwide Photo Walk 2009

On 18th July 2009, the 2nd Annual Worldwide Photo Walk will take place. More information can be found at the website

I've been selected to lead the Brighton Photo Walk. More information will follow shortly, either here or at the dedicated website. The weather-guessers at The Met Office can't tell what the weather will be, but being true Brits we'll just get on with it!

For those of you not familiar with Photo Walks - it's a social gathering when a like-minded bunch of photographers get together and take a walk as a group around a city, town, attraction or whatever and create a whole pile of photographs. Don't worry if you haven't got the latest kit, this is about the final images. At the end of the walk we all meet up and compare notes, photographs and maybe have a drink or two. The best image of the day will win a copy of Scott Kelby's Digital Photography Book Volume 3.

Places on each walk are limited to only 50 so be sure to book early.

This is a massive worldwide event, with over 8 thousand people participating in over 230 cities.

To see images from the 2008 Brighton Worldwide Photo Walk click here.

Once all the images from all over the world are uploaded, the overall winner will be judged and amongst the host of prizes will win a Wacom tablet & 2 tickets to Photoshop World.

I've now got to plan the walk, so watch this space or the dedicated Brighton Worldwide Photo Walk website.

Keep smiling;-)


Monday, 18 May 2009

Feel Good Monday

Some people say "thank goodness it's Friday", I reply "Yep, two days to Monday!" and normally get an unprintable response or a look as if I loosing the plot, fortunately for me, I'm one of those lucky people who have a job they enjoy.

I'm just about wound-down from 3 late nights where I've been involved with a dance production staged by the dance school my young daughters attend - Let's Dance...The Musicals! Let's Dance has run classes locally since 1984 and recently Point 4 Dance, run some great dance classes for kids and adults alike

It's amazing to see the time and dedication that the kids and their families contribute in making the charity fund-raising show such a resounding success. I've seen the show grow over the last 10 years and every year the presentation & performances get better and better.

All the numbers were excellent, but without doubt one of the highlights (well, for the Dads, anyway) were Gully's Girls dancing to the Jersey Boys show/Frankie Valli track Who Loves You. Sally-Anne the daughter of the shows principle choregraphs the girls for Brighton & Hove Albion football club.

I did my bit a few weeks back by making over 40 pre-show group shots, with my collegue Ben creating over 200 individual head shots on the same day. This is the first time the show has used professionals to create the show photographs and the feedback on the quality of the photographs, our conduct and professionalism has been excellent. It's quite gratifying that there are people who still appreciate a professional approach & end product.

I relish jobs with a variety of photographic challenges - two location studio set-ups on one day to on-the-run press-style shots at the final show. Jack the Lad from Southern FM (one of the local independent radio stations, soon to be Heart FM) closed the show and presented the cheque to the chosen charity, who as luck would have it didn't make it to the show! Such a shame considering all the effort put in to making the show such a success.

I'm off now to a week of various meetings, brochure design, website development and photo-shoots.



Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Kata Rain and Elements Covers - Or Kit for the English Summer

If like me you work outside a lot, there will be times when you need to continue shooting and protect your precious gear from climatic extremes, whether it be wet, dust or sand.

In the past I've resorted to polythene bags, bin liners, gaffer tape and all manner of bodge jobs, none of which look at all professional! Now I've found the ideal solution - the Kata range of Rain & Elements covers.

These are a very well designed and manufactured range of weather-proof covers made from durable materials that offer excellent protection, as you can see in the photograph below of the E-702 on my Canon EOS 5D Mk II with 24 - 105 mm L Series zoom lens attached. The end of the lens sleeve is adjustable allowing a variety of lenses to be used. There is also the E-704 available for longer telephoto lenses.

The cinche elastics on the sleeves have a large bead at the end which allows easy handling with wet, cold or gloved hands. There is a double-ended zip closure at the bottom which will close tight against whatever tripod head you use. Also available in the range is the E-705 which I don't own (yet), but will take a pro-DSLR with hotshoe flash attached.

The clear material these covers are made from allows you to easily view both your optical viewfinder and preview/menu/liveview screen at the back of your camera. The sleeves have a strong drawcord allowing easy access and full control of the camera togther with access to batteries and storage media.

I looked at other brands at Focus on Imaging (which will remain nameless) and to my mind the Kata Rain & Elements range come out tops in the weather protection stakes.

Even after a thorough shower the E-702 left the camera bone dry!

So whether you're a keen enthusiast or hard-core pro shooter the Kata Rain & Elements range are an essential item if you work in environments where there's any possibility of ingress of water, dust, sand or other foreign matter. Come to think of it, there are factories I've worked in recently where I wish I'd had my Kata E-702 with me.

For more information on the Rain & Elements range visit the Kata website. To check where to buy locally & pricing visit Bogen Imaging at

For those of you interested, the above photographs were lit with a Lite Panels LP Micro with a 1/4 CTO gel to add a bit of warmth to the light on a grey English morning!

I've just noticed that Park Cameras stock a good selection of Kata bags and associated kit, including the E-705.

Must go as I'll be late for my next meeting.

Keep smiling :-)


Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Thought for the day...

We were talking about why colleges in the UK still teach first year students to use film instead of digital capture when the market-place they're entering is dominated by film, when a fellow photographer came up with the this quote:

"Teaching students to use film is a bit like teaching keyboard skills with a quill pen..."

The identity of this photographer will remain anonymous as the studio takes in a number of work experience students during the year.

Surely students would be better getting a grounding in current technology and not getting themselves deeper into debt by having to shell out for film and processing, both of which are becoming increasingly scarce, a bit like the film cameras they use?