No, I've not gone dyslexic.  Shooting pictures of sport is a time-honoured form of photography. Early successes in the wet-plate era would have been rare, but subsequent improvements in plates, films, lenses, and shutters meant that the 20th century's photographers got more and more sports into their lenses and out onto printed paper. Now in the digital era i cannot think of any sport that doesn't have exceptional coverage from professionals - we all see the best of the action every time we open a newspaper or turn on a screen. As an audience we are presented with a magnificent visual feast, and all it needs for satisfaction is an interest in sport. Which I do not have. Not at all. Couldn't care less who kicks a puck into the basket on the MCG. Wish them well and no torn cartilages, but that's about the extent of it. Emigrated to the wrong country, eh? On the other hand, I do like looking at pictures. And sculpture, and dance. And when I cannot see it firsthand, I like seeing it on the screen or...

If you follow baseball you know that a batting average above .300 is considered a sterling achievement, and over .400 nearly impossible. Yet I know a photo firm that bats 1.000. Not every retailer, I hasten to say, nor yet every wholesaler. They do their best but sometimes strike out. I'm thinking of a manufacturer - a maker of studio and lighting equipment; Manfrotto. You can be as surprised at this as you like, but my experience with their goods has been uniformly...

Well here we are, supposedly twenty years later, and some of our photographic space odysseys have become distinctively odd. None more so than the ones we start on when we open the menu for our new camera and see what the factory designers have prepared for us. In 1968 when we went to the cinema to see Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey we were shooting analog cameras and processing the results in chemicals. We were just about to be amazed at the success of computers in getting people on the Moon and were ready to accept the fact that one of them could turn rogue and start thinking for itself. Now when we open the camera or the phone we are all too ready to let these devices do just that - and to accept what they think as our opinion too...

This is a question I was asked at a hobby club when I was seen using an older camera. It was doing the job brilliantly, but when the questioner learned that the design is some 9 years old all credibility seemed to vanish. He'd bought a new camera last year, and while he had not learned how to operate it yet, he felt that surely it must be better. When I told him I had bought mine as new, old stock when a replacement was being sold he called me a madman. I was so pleased...

You may recall the movie or the song, but remember that every studio needs stands. Camera Stands, light stands, hot dog stands. ( well photography makes you hungry. ) General Custer used to make stands, but his last one was somewhat of a failure. I went looking in the Stirling Street shop for economical stands for the new video venture. Not for me - I have 6 or 8 Manfrotto light stands of various types and they have never failed me. I have a Gitzo tripod that is the same - and a home made studio stand that hasn't fallen over yet. I'm okay - it's my dancer model who needs to build up a dance studio set at her own home. And not at high prices. Could we do it? a. A tripod is needed. I don't care what the adverts show you about putting a mobile phone on a light stand - if you have to support it on the ground and it has to be at least up to navel height, you need a proper tripod.   The INCA tripod I discovered...