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I wish I were a collector of business cards. I should be able to pursue a hobby with little expense and a maximum of examples to gather - for everyone on Earth seems to have one. They may not have the business, but they've got the card. Of course there is an extensive protocol revolving around these - and quite important in Asian contacts. If you are at all involved in business there you would do well to study the expected behaviour carefully. Here in Australia we hand them out, exchange them, leave them at restaurants hoping for a free feed, and lose them at inappropriate moments. They are part of the stock in trade of the budding professional as well as the blooming amateur. When I decided to change the name of my studio to Dick Stein's Little Studio, I tossed out all of my old business cards. They were pretty dated and had an ABN number that no longer applied, as well as a list of specialties on the reverse side that I am now avoiding like the plague. They...

Every time I go to a book store - whether it is a glossy one like Kinokuniya in Sydney or the photo markets at Leederville Town Hall, I am amazed to see the amount of literature that has been published to do with photography. Please note I say published rather than put out on the internet - I am speaking of paper printing. Of course any technical subject garners paper - look at the amount of material there is on medicine over the last 3000 years - and in the case of medicine it all boils down to take two leeches and call me in the morning...

  I've never been a traveller, which accounts for me now living 12,000 miles across the ocean from where I was raised - also explains why I only used to take two interstate trips per year. If I enjoyed any of it I would stay at home. All that said, I do like seeing picture books of foreign places rendered in panorama. They give a real feel for the vista and if you are frightened of being laughed at by strangers, you can quickly snap the book shut. Sometimes the landscape does not lend itself to a regal view, but a little bit of HDR and a tweak of the saturation button usually fixes it. That, and a shot of rum. I tried my hand at panoramas with the mirrorless camera - not entirely successfully, but encouraging enough with the newer Fujifilm equipment to entice me to try it again. I experimented with an automated panorama feature that a lot of Fujis have - called a motion panorama - and found it a mixed bag. It is quick - you just spin around while holding...

  I am going to resist giving the glib answer - " The one you have with you." - as it never really seems to satisfy the customer who wants to spend money. It might well be the correct reply to a real old photographer, but they know it already and never ask the question in the first place. As a professional salesman with a amateur conscience I frequently found myself steering people away from decisions that might have been wrong. It may not have been what the business demanded, but it was what the craft deserved. I did get people to tell me what size they wanted their final image - literally what size in inches or centimetres -and what form it would be. This could be on paper, canvas, computer, or mobile phone screen. The answer set the mark for the camera to shoot at and I could provide a number of alternative ways to achieve it. It surprised some people to hear that they could make their art with modest equipment. In fact, I saw this many times. Someone used an...

    I used to think I had it down pat. If I took a picture I owned the copyright to it until I licensed it, sold it, or gave it away. I could make pictures for people and they could own the pictures but they couldn't make copies of them without my permission. Seemed to work well in the film era as most of my stuff was on big format and no-one else had the copying equipment to muscle in on it. Then I started to learn digital work and put the images out on CD 's. And then posted a few on the net. Then, boy, did it get complicated. All of a sudden my work was open to copying, re-editing, and general footling about. People could plaster my images on Facebook, make coffee mugs, and have it tattooed onto semi-clad exotic dancers*. It could be traded on the New York Stock Exchange like pork bellies or Eskimo futures. I was told that 10% of my work could be changed...

Whether 'tis nobler to take arms against the fierce shadows and defeat them or to flash, perchance to fill - Aye, theres the rub. Pardon the bad parody of Shakespeare, but I have never accorded him the worship that English Lit teachers and Arts Council directors were wont to do. I was Macbeth'd early, the bump came up, and I have been immune since. The question here and now is whether to use the TTL function of the speed lights that we attach to our digital cameras. I had several Nikon TTL lights that fit the D300 cameras and a new EF-X500 Fujifilm speed light that works with the fujifilm stable. I've cobbled up a rig that places the flash beside the cameras and feeds the information back and forth on a Canon TTL cable. Canon? Similar contact placement to Fujiflm and works quite alright. Funny that Fujifilm do not have one dedicated for themselves...

The advent of Photoshop around here was slow in coming, but once it arrived the pace picked up dramatically. Like many old film photographers I went through a digital adolescence - with all the over-saturated, over-sharpened, and over-dramatic images I could make. I am amazed that the screen on the old PC did not shatter. By the time I graduated to my iMac the worst was over. Apart from a crop of photographicpimples, it was a mild adolescence. I did not pass to the second stage of digitality - the hipster coolpro no colour, desaturated, dead fish in the corner of the frame school of art. I figured Irving Penn had done all the dead leaves and cigarette butt platinum prints that the world needed and anything I could add would only be dead weight. As drugs and rock and roll have never interested me, I turned my attention to sex. Sex ignored me. So I turned my attention to historic re-enactors and recreating the look of old photographs. At least the re-enactors did not ignore me. In the last 15 years I...

It is interesting to see the advertising that accompanies modern photo and audio gear and how much emphasis is put upon the portability, light weight, and small size of the goods. This is all good, when you are person who has to do the porting - it becomes bad when someone else elects to step in. I went to an event at a venue last Saturday and shared a deserted balcony overlooking the stage with someone else's equipment that was to be working unattended. Nothing sophisticated - a small video camera, tripod, and battery pack. I duly turned it on and off for the owner when the show started and stopped - and went on with my dance shooting in the meantime. It was a pleasant novelty to work a shoot separate from hoi polloi - up there in the semi-darkness. I was supplied with a drink and plate of Spanish rice and could not be happier. My files turned out well, and the stage lighting was surprisingly good - one of the few occasions when I haven't flashed anything at all....