Articles

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.

Have you ever wondered what those white letters and numerals printed on the lens mount of Olympus OM Zuiko lenses mean? Similarly they appear in the film chamber of some OM Camera bodies, but not all. As serial numbers cannot be used to accurately date OM System bodies and lenses, these relatively inconspicuous codes give away tell-tale information as to when an item was manufactured and at which factory it was assembled.

My office is a cluttered place and fundamentally unchanged for 15 years, so filing cabinets and desk drawers have slowly piled up with detritus over times steady passage. I was exploring one of the drawers this morning and behind several tins of plum tomatoes, mackerel and an old VHS video recorder, I unearthed a Sirius 28-200mm zoom lens. I cannot recall the last time this was fixed to the front of a camera, nor why its final resting place was the back of an old office drawer. But handling it again made me realise just how hefty these things were.

There was a time when projecting slides was a very popular method of viewing images. Aunts, Uncles, Children and Friends gathered together in darkened rooms preparing themselves to be bored by the latest bunch of holiday pictures, and sometimes hours could pass by before the victims stepped back into daylight. Humour aside, it was undoubtedly the image quality and cinematic size of projected images that made slide shows popular. Chromes, transparencies, slides, E-6, reversal film - call them what you want – their enduring qualities have captivated photographers for more than 70 years. And although viewing prints is far more convenient, much detail is lost if the prints being handed around are small. The use of slide film is also less expensive in comparison to producing good quality and size prints from negative film.

The past few years have seen a massive leap in mobile technology with devices getting smaller, more powerful and lasting longer on a single charge. But when considering a mobile device for photography out in the field there is one niggling question; how small is too small?

Over the past few months we have been working extremely hard on a major update to PhotoArk, dubbed ‘3.0’. This is the third major update we have done to the site, and by far the largest since its launch back in 2012. Like most things, web technology moves forward pretty quickly and we want to make sure we are on the cutting edge offering the best experience we possibly can. So back in February we began work on a new theme centred around improved mobile device compatibility. At first, the project was quite small with just a handful of things we wanted to update; within a month we found ourselves overhauling pretty much everything!

Recently, I came across some poorly executed scans of photographs taken when on holiday in Santorini, Greece, during the summer of 1986. They were taken at the height of my enthusiastic use of effects filters, when starburst, fog, centre spot and lurid colours stamped an undeniable 1980’s hallmark on each.