Author: Uncle Dick

Yes? Aquaman would like to talk to you. No? Well you'll not be wanting your photos to look like they were seen by a fish, then. Particularly the wide-angle landscape ones taken in the desert. We've all had fish at a roadside cafe in the desert and regretted it...

As a long-time user of Epson inkjet printers I have been somewhat cynical about my relationship with them. I started out with a biggie - a 3800 model that would print A2 sizes. It was a marvellous machine for some time but my own neglect of it eventually spelled doom. I failed to cycle and exercise it enough and eventually one of the channels in the inkjet head blocked irretrievably. I could do nothing with it and gave it away to someone who only wanted to print monochromes with it. They may still have it, and good luck to them. Chastened by my experience, I bought another - a smaller model that only goes to A3+ size. I've exercised it weekly since purchase and have saved it from complete blockage. But there are times when the jets do clog and there are procedures needed to clean them. However, when all is going well, the results from it are all that I could ever want - and all that the people who receive my prints could ever want as well. The secrets seem to...

All the time I worked in the shop at Camera Electronics in Stirling Street we had a gate at the side of the building - the entrance led to the back parking lot and was locked back at the start of the day. There was a definite security sequence to be followed to open it, walk down to back, open the doors, and then go inside. Get it wrong and alarm bells went off. Fair enough. Retail security is a thing to be taken seriously, particularly if you are going to have guard dogs on site - or, as in our case, a woolly mammoth. " Fuzzy " was intimidating at the start but you warmed to him quickly. It paid to be careful when he rolled over for a tummy rub - he took out a Toyota doing that one day...

You've all been into Camera Electronic, right? Two stores - Murray Street and Stirling Street. Full of staff - keen newbies and hardened oldies? Lots of tempting goodies? Hand sanitiser, social distancing, and all the rest? Simple, eh? No. You've seen the tip of the iceberg. Here's a glimpse at the rest - in particularly at one of the physical hurdles of retail trade. The other - the electronic hurdle - is embodied in the stock and accountancy tasks that occupy so many of the upstairs staff. This part is the actual packaging that brings the goods to the shops and then disgorges it  - eventually to be in your hands. Make no mistake - it's a thrill for the staff after a successful sale is to see a satisfied customer take a brilliant piece of equipment away while leaving enough money to pay for their wages. But part of it is just seeing another blessed box disappear to leave space for more cardboard. Think of it as a game of 3D Tetris and the computer always wins...

Your decision to buy by the barrel or the glass is important; particularly if you are driving home. It's the same in the photo game. You can be drawn into the shop and over to the lens counter on the prospect of several things: a. The look of the lens barrel. b. The focal length/aperture of the lens. c. The optical design d. The performance - both optical and mechanical. e. The mount - the fact that it fits your camera. f. The advertising. g. Novelties. When lenses were uncoated, people bought the new coated ones as a novelty and found they did better. Then new coatings came along and the same thing happened again. Don't be ashamed to admit that you have been drawn to a new lens by the look of the thing rather than the performance it is supposed to have - or vice versa. That's part of the advertising game that supports retail photo trade. If you feel you're being pummelled on all sides it just shows that we pummellers are doing our job. And you can take it from someone who has seen lenses naked...

It's Also known as Not Working. And you'll encounter this all through your digital photographic experience. You also encountered it all through your analog time too, but to a greater extent. You could fall down the analog stairs in the dark quicker and it hurt more when you hit the bottom. Why? Because there were a lot of those falls from which there was no recovery. When you made a real mistake with exposure or film handling or development or fixing, whatever you had done until then went well and truly out the window. I've got slides exposed in my first days of 35mm shooting that make me cry - mistakes that wasted opportunities. I can also remember darkroom errors that killed whole photo shoots - and they could be as simple as mis-reading dilution tables for the chemistry. Okay - you could do it royally with digital as well - you can format off an entire card and make everything disappear. However, the camera generally makes this harder by one step of permission before it will obey - some do it in...

Not the band - the real midnight oil that we burn to keep out photography going. There was a day when it was just that - safelights and enlargers with lamp wicks inside and very long exposure time. In later times it changed to electricity, but we still burned the midnight developer and fixer. And many of us went into the early AM with the thing, as it was easier to get a decent darkroom light-tight when there wasn't all that much light outside. If you are a modern digital worker who has never had to develop film on the road in a motel bathroom* I urge you to talk to an old-timer who did. There was a fine art to sealing a door with towels and getting a large developing tank under a very small faucet that is lost nowadays. Also getting the smell of fixer out of the room before you checked out...

Note: On no account is this instruction sheet to be shown to the general public. Once you have read it, scrape off the letters and dispose of them safely. The On-Line Department has issued a set of guidelines for internet trading that must be followed by all staff. a. When listing an item do not use images from another shop's website if it also contains their trademark, name, phone number, or picture of store owner. In particular do not copy and paste their image if it has a lower price than ours. b. If something has been discontinued by the maker - in 1956 - it is probably better to have a small notice in the on-line catalog that is is a special order item. No need to mention how special. c. On occasion items may be repeated several times throughout the on-line catalog as a result of small data-entry errors. It is as well to have them exhibit the same price wherever they appear...

No really. Go ahead. I won't scream. Because if you feel it and it seems loose, I can tighten it. The maker of my photo tripod included a natty little Allen spanner that can firm up the leg lock. If I have lost the spanner, the technician at Camera Electronic can do the job for me - and check out all the other things to which a tripod may be prone. a. Corrosion - With the exception of very few specialist tripods, they can all go manky if you stand them in salt water or chemicals. This may not be evident from the surface but can affect the joints. b. Sand - And other particulate matter. This also gets its entry into the sliding joints of a tripod as well as the locks and screw parts. Enough grit and enough wear can loosen or jam any tripod. They don't mention this in the advertisements but lots of the beaches in  Western Australia are made up of sand...