Posts Tagged ‘photographer’

Event Photography – Big Family Book Day

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Had a pleasant day out at Tatton Park yesterday photographing an event run by the local libraries. Big Family Book Day was aimed at promoting reading activities within families, and visitors were able to make badges, draw, colour, lie on the floor, sneak behind the curtains to look at the all the stuffed animal heads mounted on the walls, or even explore the history of paper-making and writing.

The History of Writing - well a little bit of it at least.

The History of Writing - well a little bit of it at least.

Not only that but there were three excellent speakers to entertain visitors.

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First there was That Poetry Bloke (Craig Bradley), a wonderful entertainer with an interesting take on language and words geared towards a younger audience but certainly of interest to me.

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Then came the turn of Matt Buckingham, illustrator of the Gruesome Truths series of childrens historical books. He entertained us by sharing the process of being a given a book to illustrate and showing the page layouts and instructions he receives on what kind of an illustration is required to fit the space.

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He even did a few drawings for us.

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Finally came Jim Eldridge writer of over 250 TV and radio scripts and with over 1 million book sales to his credit. Jim encouraged the audience to participate in a team story development process to show how scripts are written. And he also mentioned how he was thrown off the writing team at East Enders for suggesting that the story lines were a little dark and could perhaps do with a little humour injected into them.

Still I wasn’t there to listen, I was there to take pictures and that wasn’t as easy as I anticipated, huge spaces, low light levels, and not very many people at any one time. Photography made a little more difficult by having to obtain signatures from parents who sometimes objected to having (very good) photographs of their children used to promote the free event they were attending and consequently help to attract further funding for events like it in the future. I then had to remember all of their children and ensure I didn’t accidentally include them in any shots after that – and they were all over the place.

Still I’d got all I needed by around 2:30 and went off for a wander round the park and see if I could catch any rutting deer…

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…or autumn colours…

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Equipment used: Canon 40D, 17-85mm IS EF-S, 70-200 EF L, Metz AF58.

Michael Hadfield

Popularity: 58% [?]

Jessops, the Home of Good Photographic Advice – Maybe Not

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

I was in Jessop’s yesterday and there was a saleslady in there who was very keen. When I arrived she was talking to a family, the daughter of which appeared to want to buy a dSLR. I only noticed them because they were parked right in front of the Canon display window that I wanted to have a look at. Anyway she said something that caught my attention. An SLR is an SLR and whichever one you buy you’ll get brilliant pictures.

Mmm! I thought is it really as simple as that.

Then before I had a chance to position myself in front of the Canon Gear (of which there was a disappointing quantity I might add) a gentleman started looking at the same stuff and there she was again. The guy said he was looking for a full frame dSLR, she hesitated and I was about to offer my knowledge when she said, the 7D is full frame and the 5D. There was no mention of the two EOS 1d’s – neither of which they had on display, and interestingly no mention of any full-frame Nikons in the very next case.

Canon Digital SLR Camera EOS 5D Mark II + EF24-105 Kitcanon5d

Now here was a guy who was looking for a full-frame dSLR and this young lady was happy to sell him a 7D with an APS-C sensor which is a lot smaller than full-frame. I got the feeling she didn’t know much about photography, though I guess Jessops had trained her well enough to be able to demonstrate how a camera’s controls work.

Canon EOS 7Dcanon-eos-7d-2

Me, if I’d been selling, I’d have asked him what was the reason he wanted a full-frame sensor. My gut told me he was moving from film to digital (his apparent age was one of the factors that suggested this might be the case) and that a full-frame sensor was a belief that they maintained 35mm film quality.

Anyway, having now established that this young lady did not know as much as she was pretending to know, my thoughts returned to her opening comment. An SLR is an SLR.

Now I own two dSLRs a Canon 400D and a Canon 40D, and I’d upgrade to a 5D, 7D, or either of the 1D mkIII’s at the drop of a hat. Do both my cameras produce identical quality images? That is a much harder question to answer, but I’m sure if I rooted out some old photo magazine reviews I’d find that there was an improvement with image quality in the 40D over the 400D, or would I? It would certainly be an interesting comparison to make. I tend to use one or the other body, with the same set of lenses. I take the 400D with me when I want to have a camera, but can’t be bothered with the weight and bag full of lenses that I always take with the 40D. So I have no comparison images. This is something I need to correct.

The 40D is undoubtedly a much nicer camera to use with a better control layout and features that suit my photography. Now, as to whether Canon is better than Nikon or what I believe to be another contender for the crown – Sony. That is an interesting point to consider.

I wasn’t convinced by the young lady’s comment in the slightest. Every review I read finds some good things and some bad things, and picture quality is one of those things that varies from camera to camera. And if you ignore sensor-size/pixel count, which tends to be comparable in similar priced cameras from the big dSLR manufacturers, then the lens makes a big difference. The kit lens that comes with the 400D is pretty much fit for the bin. I only realised this after I bought the 40D and immediately noticed superior image quality from its kit lens. The 400D kit lens, when the camera was available, cost around £60. The 40D kit lens around £300. Then I bought my first L lens, and that shifted everything again.

The lens is the single most important factor for picture quality, yet the advice that was being given was, shortlist 3 cameras and then come and handle them and pick the one that feels best in your hand. Excellent selling technique. Puts responsibility for actual choice in the hands of the customer – no comeback in the form of ‘you advised me to buy this junk’; yet acknowledges that buying is an emotional rather than a logical act. The one that feels right. You’ll know it as soon as you hold it, she said.

I handled neither of my cameras before purchase; I bought them, mail-order, based purely on reviews and my (this is my emotional bit) 30 year experience of Canon SLRs. They both did exactly what I expected them to and I am very impressed with the performance of both.

To me there is only one reason to own an SLR and that’s to make use of the fact that the lenses detach and can be changed to suit the subject matter. Without this it’s just a big clunky camera bought to impress, rather than a tool to actually use. This aspect of SLR ownership was, interestingly, ignored.

So, to get back to the original comment – an SLR is an SLR, clearly suggesting that it makes no difference what you choose as long as you like it. Clearly ignoring lens quality as a factor. Clearly ignoring the size of the manufacturer’s lens range as a factor. I don’t believe the statement to be true.

Would be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

Popularity: 65% [?]

Camera or Photographer

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Amateur Photographer Magazine’s question of the week ‘Does your current camera help you take better pictures than the one you had five years ago?’. Interesting question.

My answer would be difficult because five years ago I possessed 5 cameras, since then I’ve added three more. Five years ago I had a Sony 3MP digital compact camera and the rest were film. The camera I most use today is a Canon 40D. The 40D undoubtedly helps me take better pictures than the Sony, but I’m not convinced it helps me take better pictures than my old, trusty and loved, Canon T90. It certainly helps me take loads more pictures at much lower cost than the T90, but I use Av & Tv and occasionally M today just like I used to do with the T90. Digital has the huge advantage in that I can change sensitivity (ISO) from shot to shot rather than having to wait until I’ve finished the roll of film. My EF 70-200 f2.8L is undoubtedly a far superior optic to the FD 70-210 I used, but I think my trusty old Tamron 90mm macro, is superior to my current Canon EF 100mm macro.

Photographers make pictures.

Photographers see something in their mind’s eye and set about creating an image that matches that. The camera is a tool – a very sophisticated tool – but a tool nonetheless.

I see people with very expensive kit producing very mediocre photographs. I see people with much less, extracting every ounce of performance from what they have.

It’s not the camera.

It’s how you make use of it.

Popularity: 12% [?]