Last weekend saw me at a loose end with my time due to an extended period of rain that had moved across the United Kingdom. The hill opposite the house had disappeared under a veil of low rain bearing cloud that occasionally lifted its tendrils, revealing misty outlines of trees clinging perilously to a carboniferous matrix of scree and small cliffs, once a thriving limestone quarry.

Gear Acquisition Syndrome is the friendly name given to a hopeless condition suffered by many photographers, whereby they add equipment to their arsenal at a feverish rate, using the feeblest excuse to justify new purchases. One minute you have just a couple of items and the next, cupboards and drawers are overflowing with the stuff. Sneaking it into the house passed a loved one can involve complex levels of deceit that a politician would be proud of. Hiding the financial drain catapults the web of lies to whole new level almost tantamount to infidelity.

PhotoArk were recently honoured with the task to provide game & team photos for Matlock Town FC reserves at a home game with Dove Holes. Kick off was at 3PM Saturday 16th February, a particularly cold afternoon.

To me, tripods are a bit like bags; I have had lots of them over the years and always seem to be on the lookout for a definitive model at camera shows that will collapse down to ten centimetres, extend to two meters, be very sturdy, weigh next to nothing and support a tiny well-made ball head that, in turn, supports a couple of kilos of camera. Oh, and it should never, ever move even when windy.

We are regular attendees at the annual Focus on Imaging show, staged at the NEC, Birmingham. It is the best opportunity in the UK to see and test the latest photography related products and to pick up sagely advice from the many seminars held throughout the event.

Upgrades aside, purchasing additional lenses is for most of us, driven by the desire to capture images that our existing lenses fall short of. There is nothing quite like taking a new lens into the field and shooting a bunch of pictures that have a different perspective to anything previously taken. The best fun I had was getting into wide angle photography many years ago; I used a 28mm lens for some years but found it was not capturing the expanses I wished to photograph. This heralded in 24 and 21mm focal lengths which addressed the problem. The ‘wow’ factor when looking through the 21 for the first time is something I will not forget in a hurry, and it opened the door to some great subject matter. As this was back in the film days, it took me a while to understand fully the properties of the lens simply because the results were not instantaneous. I also had to take notes of camera and lens settings for consultation when my slides were returned, something that is taken for granted in these days of easily accessed EXIF data.

Before the rise of the Internet it was far more difficult to get hold of test and review information be it cameras, hi-fi or any other subject. This kind of information was the domain of specialist magazines which were limited to the amount of page space available. Often it could take weeks for a new piece of kit to get the review treatment and sometimes, depending on an items popularity, it would be skipped altogether. Dealers were also a good source of information, but their opinions were sometimes driven by whatever item had the largest profit margin.