March 21st heralded the start of the annual photography show held at the NEC Birmingham. For the uninitiated, the event runs for four days and includes pretty much anything to do with photography. Up until 2013, the show was badged as Focus on Imaging but changes by the organisers resulted in the show being re-launched, albeit in pretty much the same format.

There is a real trend toward manufacturing small but fully capable cameras at the moment, and it’s not hard to see what makes them so successful; one look at the micro four thirds system or Fujifilm’s current crop of devices reveals an alternative to those who are tired of hauling excessive weight around. But small cameras are not something new; my first acquaintance with a fully-fledged SLR of diminutive proportions was the Olympus OM1n. At the time, other manufacturers such as Pentax were also offering similar size models (the MX and ME are two that immediately spring to mind). Of course, smaller bodies need smaller system components to make the idea truly work, giving rise to a plethora of diminutive lenses, winders and flashguns.

We recently took a trip to New York City to celebrate Ethan's 21st birthday, so it goes without saying that we were going to use this as an excellent opportunity for some photography. As Ethan had recently purchased a K-3 Prestige Edition, he was keen to use it in anger and see what it was really capable of. New York was the perfect canvas for this. I opted for a very different approach; usually I would be accompanied by a SLR and at least two lenses, but this time I wanted to travel light and forcibly remove my indecisiveness when it comes to selecting lenses for use. This leaves me with just one alternative…my Leica X1.

One of the more discussed topics in photography has to be that of bokeh. For the uninitiated, the term is given to how a lens renders an image’s unfocussed areas, either in front of or behind the subject. Sometimes a lens can produce bokeh of such pleasing quality that it becomes part of the subject matter itself – in many ways desirable, but not always so. And one of the more intangible aspects of bokeh is that its beauty really is in the eye of the beholder; an effect derived from a lens that I find particularly pleasing may not do it for you.

The last few years have seen me deplete my stock of Kodak 35mm transparency film and with no more Kodak stock being made, I have reached a point where I need to evaluate the future of my photography. Having tried other manufacture’s slide films over the decades, I have never really found one that I was taken with so remained with Kodak until the end.

It’s hard to believe it was two years ago since we launched PhotoArk out onto the World Wide Web. At the time, we never envisaged the site evolving as much as it has, especially in such a short time. The images in our libraries have almost doubled, the Blogs & Reviews section has over 70 articles, our Exhibitions contain over a whopping 500 images and we have no intention of stopping there. So, with this in mind we would like to take this opportunity to reflect on what we have achieved and what we hope to achieve in the coming years.

It goes without saying that a holiday away from home is an alluring opportunity to photograph something new; a blank canvas so to speak – a chance to capture something new, or maybe perfect new and different techniques. For me, it is mostly about capturing a family event for future posterity – a pictorial record that helps preserve memories not only for me, but the rest of the family. It is a time when I get carried away with the craft in an effort to create something meaningful to us…a personal souvenir.