Dick’s Rant

  I have owned a few motor cars in my life - and lots of cameras. The difference in those numbers is partly due to the capital cost of  vehicles compared to photo stuff. But partly it is due to the look of the things. You see, I respond to design details more than overall concepts. I suspect everyone does to some extent. I bought a French motor car because of the seats - and because of a sales diagram that showed a four-wheel independent suspension with 4 disc brakes. I bought a Leica camera because it had a chrome silver lens. I gloried in these things and they satisfied my soul until they wore out and were replaced. I bought a German car based in the colour of the paint - and a Swiss camera based on the brushed metal of the top plate. Both were disasters. To this day I have not spent another penny with either manufacturer. I suspect a lot of people have had this same experience - and that the chiefest aim of the advertisers should be to find...

A very good question indeed, and one that needs answering before you press the button rather than after: a. How many pictures do you need to document the event? If it is a human-wave infantry attack and everyone wants to have a souvenir to send home you could be there for a week. Ditto a school or big corporate dinner. Be prepared with enough batteries, enough chargers, more batteries, a mains lead, and another battery. Be prepared with enough memory and think whether you would be wise to commit it to a multiple of cards. Not only to back up the images, but to separate them out into easily-processed batches. At the very least decide what system of numbering you'll use for the shoot; start afresh, break it into batches, or just carry on with whatever the camera is doing at the time. This latter choice can be fraught. I did just this on an interstate hot rod shoot and the camera in use clocked up to the end of its numbering sequence and decided to quit. I had no idea how to...

Can be greater than some of the parts. Put another way, you can mix and not have to match. Let me show you. I found the following in the Murray Street show cabinets: A 17mm Zuiko f:1.8 lens. Equivalent to a 35mm lens on a full-frame. An Olympus Pen F camera body. Equivalent to any good mirrorless camera. An Olympus hand grip - equivalent to any Arca-Swiss grip for any system. Note the rails on the LHS of the camera body. Also, note the central tripod screw attachment. This grip seems not to be made in precisely black colour and I suspect it is really intended for one of the other OM-D EM camera bodies. But no matter. Bolt 'em together and you have: As good a little fighting reportage or studio camera as anyone else makes. The swinging screen at the back will have to be negotiated past the horns of the Arca-Swiss rails, but if you're fussy, you can unbolt the side rails. If you do not need to do this, those rails can be the foundation of an entire series of accessories. I...

As soon as a ray of light bounces off a subject and hits your camera, compulsion starts. It'll either be you doing it or you suffering it. When you first start out with photography, it's all new. You want to do everything - there's a widespread compulsion to take your camera everywhere and shoot anything that passes in front of it. This is like getting a .22 rifle when you're 14 years old, except the street lights in your town will suffer less from the camera. Eventually the overall pressure starts to coalesce and become more intense in certain areas. You'll find that you like taking pictures of surfing and the ocean...

Last week's shots of the shop's cameras behind glass were taken in the landscape mode. The camera was on the tripod or held with a flash poking out the top. But what happened if the subject was just not a horizontal one? What if I needed to do it in portrait mode? Well. I could step back to the tripod as before, but with the camera held vertically. Some tripods do this with more grace than others - come experiment yourself, but take my tip of trying a camera cradle with Arca -Swiss mounts on bottom and side and a corresponding clamp in the ball head. Changing from down to up is super-simple. There are several types on the market. Of course the people who invested in Stroboframe camera cradles many years ago could do so without even unclamping a thing...

If you are young there is still time to mis-spend your youth by frequently billiard parlours and learning to talk slang. If you are old you are going to have to draw upon knowledge already gained. In any case, you're going to be shooting for the angles. The Leica cabinet photos were taken straight-on. This was to preserve the beautiful lines of the cameras and show the straight ones to advantage. The 90º in and out of the light sometimes caught the lens of the taking camera and sometimes showed the surrounding cabinet's illuminations. This would also happen in a museum. If we are dealing with curvier subjects we can take them from more angular positions. This means that the entry and exit of light into and out of the cabinets may not trap other reflections. The white of the lens's front element engravings may never be seen - the room lights may add their lustre but not appear as ghosts in the frame. The flash power needed to do this, however, may be much more than with the straight shot - up...

That's a bit different from calling it Auto White Balance, but you can keep reading. It's all about what happens when you give the digital mule its head. The light meter on your digital camera ( the mule ) is a very smart part of the mechanism. It'll look at each scene you set before it and try to make it look good - decent exposure, no lost highlights or shadows, no noise. Frequently it will fail because you have overtaxed its capabilities...