Dick’s Rant

There it was. Stuck on the accessory wall between stuff that hasn't sold yet and the stuff that might never sell.  The thing that we all should buy. I have an IKEA box at home on the shelf that contains the tools I need to survive photography. These used to be a sixpence, a film tongue retriever, and a blower brush. I have long sold the film retriever at the second-hand markets, the blower brush has perished, and the sixpence is now a 5-cent piece. But they have been replaced by a horrid collection of stuff. See the heading image...

My video adolescence is proceeding apace and I have come to the point of considering the rig. It is, at least, a mechanical thing, and understandable. Briefly, it is the framework about which I might construct a confection of accessories to make the video camera experience work. Not a mental framework, nor a virtual one - a real metal structure. There are many makers of these items, but one of the best is the Smallrig people. They cast and mill custom designs in China for many different camera and lens combinations.  Not just new cameras - they have been doing this for a good deal of time. Older cameras may well be accommodated in their system. I pulled one from the Camera Electronic video cabinet without noting which camera it serves. The basic structures are very similar, with the chief differences being the angles of the aluminium cage and the fitments on the bottom for the specific camera. The work is extremely precise and well-finished. There are signs of thought in the design - a legacy of a number of past designs. Basically it...

Do you know who Bluestockings were? Go look it up. Then find a novel by Sarah Fielding and read it. It won't have photography in it, but you'll be on your way to literacy. In the meantime have a look at the Leofoto tripods in Camera Electronic. The ones hanging on the tripod hooks with the silver-coloured leg locks. Both the smaller and larger Poseidon models are quite beautiful - a term we seldom use for the everyday devices that make up photography. We might regard a camera or a lens as such, but we seldom extend the compliment to tripods and accessories. The advertising spiel for the Poseidon series mentions sea-water resistance conferred by titanium and silicon rubber parts. Certainly the main tubes in that gorgeous blue are carbon fibre. The surprise is when to unlock and discover that it's blue all the way up, Folks. Note that Benbo tripods used to resist seawater too - by the simple expedient of building their tubes upside down and sealed on the bottom. We sold one to a marine biologist who loved it for just...

Not if you're me, you can't. Nor can you see as well, nor so far nor as closely and finely. In fact, the little batteried box with the glass on the front can beat nearly all of us when it comes to vision and memory. This is a humbling thought for we monarchs of creation, but we've brought it on ourselves by creating photography. Be of good cheer - the camera and lens need not be your master if you enter into a bargain with it; you tell it what to do, and how to do it, and give it the freedom to operate. Reserve the rest of the artistic process for yourself. The camera cannot tell you what you are interested in recording - the closest it can come to this is to provide program icons that suggest activity or vision; sports, parties, portraits, etc. These are just shortcuts it suggests that might ( ...

No matter where you are. If your device can receive a signal you've paid for, you can watch your favourite show. There is an intriguing shelf at Wanderlust on the right side of the shop. It contains digital projectors - but not the big industrial ones that you see in lecture halls and theatre venues. These are smaller, personal devices that project an image for a small audience. There's the word - small - think in terms of a couple two, three people sitting around a table or lounge. If there's a big TV screen to watch, fair enough. But if there is only a laptop, tablet, or mobile phone screen then some of the watchers are going to miss out - and they will all likely be straining to hear the sound. Let's not forget social distancing, either. These projectors are designed to throw an image onto a subsidiary screen. This can be as sophisticated as an Ektalite surface or as simple as a plain white wall. Some have screen included. They have to have enough brightness to overcome ambient lighting -...

Well, let's be honest with ourselves - they've been doing that since their first Photoshop program. And we've grumbled about it as we learned what their odd words and commands meant. But this time Adobe can give us good advice. A lot of people use Lightroom to process their images - even if they do not fiddle with them later in any of the other Adobe programs. They get up a library of whatever the latest shoot is, throw out the duds, and clean up the rest. Then they sort and send the resultant images to other areas for storage, printing, or delivery. The lucky people who have discovered Loupedeck + do this with great ease and can power through large jobs a lot faster than the mouse jockeys. Ask me, I know. The best day I had in the last decade was the one when I saw the Loupedeck+ at a PhotoLive event. I watched a friend buy one and when I knew it wasn't dangerous, I followed suit. CE sell 'em...

SPECIAL RULES: Two lenses only. Photographers proceeding past this point will only be allowed two lenses. More than two will result in the excess optics being confiscated and put into landfill. You have been warned. I don't take anything for granted these days when I read official notices - particularly if it is me writing them. I have no idea whether anything is real any more so I just play along and edge closer to the door. The idea of One Lens To Rule Them All is popular in some circles. It makes a good debating point for a camera club meeting or a cage fight. Everyone can have an opinion and after they have expressed them, you can have a good time going around and seeing if they actually uphold their own ideas. The number of lenses in the average camera bag or equipment cupboard put the lie to this one. Note: No sensible retailer would deny people the chance and advantage to own multiple lenses. We've got our own opinions too, but they need not confine you. Buy as many lenses...

As we are all watching more screens these days with moving pictures that show people speaking, we are all familiar with the slightly out-of-sync presenter. They are generally heard slightly before or after their image is received and the sounds do not match the lips. This is not much of a real problem, but our brains keep poking us and complaining that something is not right. We start to lose concentration, watching the disparity between sound and vision. Pretty soon we have to actually stop looking at the speaker and just listen to what they say - a dangerous thing, as the quality of audio may also be poor - and the quality of the thoughts being expressed even worse. We all remember the wagon wheels in old cowboy movies that went slowly backwards, even as the Deadwood Stage went rollin' on over the hills. A slight disparity between the speed of the spokes as they turned and the frame rates of the movie cameras - each spoke being the same, they could be made to go forward and backward at will....