Blogs

Over the years, our loft has become a dumping ground for a whole pile of stuff that, through nostalgia, laziness and lack of space, has reached tipping point. Its steady encroachment from the outer reaches of the eaves, subsequent invasion of the central area and onwards toward the loft hatch means that I can no longer climb into it. From the top of the ladder I peered in, surveying the landscape with the aid of a small torch, while cold air rushed down into the house, carrying with it the roof space’s signature smell of slightly damp wood, age and insulation. With Howard Carter like trepidation I scanned the shadows for spiders, mice and a plethora of other fictional creatures which exist only in horror films.

2018 marks the fifth year of the Photography Show at Birmingham’s NEC. Born from the ashes of the annual Focus on Imaging event, each year offers the chance to try out all things photographic. From brands that for decades have been cornerstones of the industry to the rise of new and innovative businesses, there is something for everyone. It is not just about kit though; anyone who takes time out from the allure of trying out exotic optics or handling beautifully engineered camera bodies (this means you Hasselblad!) can spend hours attending presentations by some of the best names in the business. One thing is for sure though, whatever you do with your time at the Photography Show, you will leave feeling inspired (and possibly a little lighter in the wallet).

As the years go by it has become apparent to me that Ethan and I take far too many digital pictures. Their stealthy monopolising of our hard disks has meant mandatory expansion not only of drive space in computers, but an equally costly exercise to maintain similar capacity of our backup solutions. Given that we retain three backups of our images (NAS, Cloud and secondary local storage solutions), a rational approach to image storage makes perfect sense.

Before we get started we would first like to apologise for our lack of content over the past couple of months; the end of 2017 went a little crazy to say the least. After arriving back from Dubai and Mauritius late November feeling slightly dazed and confused, it goes without saying that neither of us were prepared for Christmas and the associated gift buying that goes with it. The Christmas rush was on and to complicate things further, we were spending the big day up in Scotland meaning all the present buying needed to be sorted in advance. To make matters worse, we had one family member who had just gotten out of hospital, when another was rushed in. So, we are pleased start 2018 by saying everyone is fine and by unveiling a new PhotoArk!

It was a little over a year ago when I dipped my toe back into a camera system after a five-year hiatus of using a fixed lens Leica X1 followed by a Typ 113. Having enjoyed and appreciated the simplicity of these models, I began to long for the versatility of an interchangeable lens system again. Anyone reading my previous posts will be aware that I spent many months trying out different systems before deciding to buy an original Leica T body and 11-23 lens. Impressed by the intuitive interface and beautiful results, I built on this by adding 35 and 60mm lenses which rounded out the focal lengths nicely. With the Honeymoon period long gone, and having used the system in various environments such as snow, extreme heat, dust and humidity, I feel that now would be a good time to appraise the system, for better or worse.

OK, so I have been reading lots about the APS-C format lately which is the reason I have reacted; one thing that really dribbles down my blowhole is what I see as standard acceptance of a misused word or phrase. Ebay ‘Mint’ is one such example while the term ‘macro’ is increasingly (mis) assigned to anything that provides close focus attributes.

If ever the phrase “the best (insert piece of kit here) is the one you have with you” rang true with me, it is for the small but well-built Velbon Ultra Maxi Mini tripod. I am the kind of person to worm out of carrying a large tripod around all day if at all possible. True, on some shoots it is unavoidable, therefore I have to endure rather than enjoy their use on these occasions.