Dick’s Rant

Club - Association dedicated to a particular interest or activity. Or a blunt weapon. I'll leave the latter to your discretion - the former is the idea we want to deal with today. I met with several members of the Western Australian Photographic Federation at the recent PhotoLive 2021 at Edith Cowan University. When I say met, I mean pinned them to the wall with a request for a photo. Game souls that they are, they agreed, and I think they look pretty good withal. Their presence at PhotoLive was to promote one of the best ideas there is is photography: fellowship. I hope they had a number of interested visitors and that they can gain new members for their constituent clubs. This is no idle desire; when new people come to photography, or enthusiasts get to meet like-minded individuals, the whole art advances. I might not bring anything new to the table from one year to the next, but that doesn't stop someone else from getting a brilliant idea...

Besides booze? Well, that was a one of the questions that flicked through the mind as I walked around the trade hall at the recent PhotoLive. It was a fair bet that the people employed by the wholesalers would be carrying their own goods - the staff sales discounts pretty well guarantee that. And no sale rep who is paid to sell A all day will risk being seen taking pictures with B on the weekend. Not in this gabby town. But what of the volunteers who manned the stands from a sense of fellowship, or loyalty, or curiosity? And what of the retired reps who were there to pass on their considerable knowledge but wouldn't be writing up sales orders the following Monday? I did not poke the various bears too hard, but I did pause beside the Fujifilm stand to listen to Duncan Dodd when he spoke about the cameras he liked. I was a good audience because I like and use the Fujifilm system myself. Duncan was preaching to the choir when he was talking to me but I...

You all know the joke about the job not being finished until the paper work is completed. Laugh it up, but then go back to your desk and start making an Excel spreadsheet of 500 items. We need it in half an hour...

And we don't mean antibiotics. Think about doing a course of instruction in some aspect of photography. I was minding a table at the recent PhotoLive 2021 set very close to the lady you see in the heading image. Perth Learn Photography is an organisation that aims to do just what it says on the tin; help people to learn photo skills. Before you turn away, consider some ideas: a. If you don't know how to take photographs...

A guide to the newest idea for tripod legs. And not just for tripods - The Manfrotto people have come up with something for the monopod and video rig users as well. That's Sgt. Sharma at the en garde position with the new FAST leg locks. It would appear one twist of the entire hand section unlocks both ends of the tube - then one twist locks it again. The technology has been adapted for tripod legs: Up until now we have seen any number of locking mechanisms applied to tripods - and even in the Manfrotto stable there have been variations - one era seeing thumb screws and the next clip locks. Other makers utilise screw collars or spring-release collars to some success, but I can say from personal experience that the more precisely a thread is cut the more it attracts sand particles and the more it fights you back when you try to operate it quickly or with delicacy. I wrote earlier in this column about lens juggling, but you can find yourself doing a plate-balancing act with some camera...

Well, that's not bad at all - I captured four extreme professionals with two shots of my little reporter's camera at the recent PhotoLive 2021; Andrew, Kym, SanDisk, and Sigma. I agonised about which lens to take on the day. But in the end I settled for the Fujinon 18mm f:2 - the diagrams of the sales rooms and the corridors of the Edith Cowan venue suggested that it was going to be a bit squeezy. The 18 is quite tame if you remember to level it - and even if you get a few degrees of tilt and the consequent distortion you can iron it out in Photoshop. I know, I know...

I dived for the Nikon stand at the PhotoLive 2021 as soon as I saw the little group of colourful cameras at the front of the table. I'd been primed to this by reports of the new Nikon Zfc retro-style mirrorless camera that had been introduced just a few weeks earlier by the company. I read DP Review and Rockwell and a lot of other sites every day - the reports so far seem very impressive. What I didn't realise was that the colourful examples there were trade samples showing the decor. Nevertheless, they were spectacular to look at and I think will sell the product to a whole new range of clients - people who have started to see cameras just as same old/same old. There is bound to be a major show and launch when they come on stream here in Australia and I am going to make sure I'm there to see it. There will also be the release of a much bigger new Nikon mirrorless camera, I suspect, but this is still just glimpses and rumours from...

If you thought the Indianapolis 500 was a gruelling race you want to go to a PhotoLive trade show as a wholesale representative  or the official photographer. By the end of the day you'll be ready for the pits! Here's Brenda and  Julie at the Canon stand taken early in the day before the thundering herds arrived. They are cheerful and relaxed, and not at all apprehensive. They both know that the Canon equipment will not let them down - whether thry are selling it or shooting with it. Note that Julie is using an on-camera flash to raise the light level of the venue, clean up the colour balance, and tame the shadows that overhead spot lighting can sometimes produce. If you're ever in the same position - having to be a fast-moving worker in a variety of lighting situations, emulate her - a speed light is often the difference between a blah shot and a sparkler. Note to self: Emulate Julie in the footwear department as well. I chose my old black shop boots with the bovver toecaps for the day,...