Dick’s Rant

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...

When you get to a certain age you can expect to forget things. Like your trousers. The case comes up before the magistrate in a fortnight. In the meantime I visited Stirling Street shop and forgot to take my portable tabletop setup upon which to photograph new items. Rather than admit my folly, I set about using the resources that were already there - and this put me on an experimental track to resolve an unrelated photo problem. Have you ever been in a museum shop, or display area that had things in it which you wished to photograph? Things that were behind glass in cases, and that the staff weren't about to take out for you. This would be analogous to going into CE and not opening the cabinets. Display of valuable items can be well or poorly done, and the lighting is a lottery. Herewith some thoughts on the problem: a. You need permission to take the pictures. If they say say " No " you have to abide by the rules of the premises. Some places will allow photography as...

My name is Beulah! Not Chloe! Aaaaarrrrgh! Shouting out a name whilst in the transports of love may be all very well, but it is best to shout out the name of the person with whom you are currently entangled. Anything else and it gets violent...

I used to be fascinated by the statue of Laocoon and his two sons being attacked by pythons - they had annoyed some Greek goddess and were crushed to death for their trouble. I'm sure there was something involving sex or politics there, as with most of mythology or commercial television. My involvement with this all ( the strangling, not the sex...

Military colouring used to be a lot of fun - If you were English you got a red coat and if you were French you got red pants. If you were German you got a red face. It was all about looking as sharp as you could while wielding something sharp. If you were shooting people you made so much smoke doing it that concealment was impossible - so you wore feathers and gold braid and shiny hats. Then they invented smokeless gunpowder. You could hunker down behind a log and fire on people with a fair chance that they would not see from whence it came and would not kill you back. You could further improve on the odds by wearing clothing that made you blend into the log. Camouflage was born. Uniforms got dust-coloured, tree coloured, or haze-coloured. This helped against rifle fire but nothing deterred artillery from killing you. Well, things need not be as dire now for photographers. Apart from those fools who insist on going to wars and who would still be wise to wear camouflage whilst doing...

The title is a phrase I heard regularly in our camera shop. Usually a new customer and generally either a Mum, Dad*, or someone going away in holiday. If it is predictable as a statement, at least it has the advantage of being truthful - there was no pretence to it. The person really did want a camera to take good pictures. Unfortunately, this sometimes had the unspoken postscript...

I always like to say the words " Rodenstock Imagon " in a crowd of photographers to see if there are any large-format workers there. You can tell which ones have encountered this lens - all the blood leaves their faces. The Imagon was invented to do for imaging what the Iron Maiden did for the Spanish Inquisition, but in portable form. And no-one expects the Rodenstock Imagon...