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....

If you wanted a quick guide to happiness you should have come along to Camera Electronic last Friday evening. Alex Cearns OAM of Houndstooth Studios gave a short talk on her animal photography, a short encomium on Tamron lenses and Sony mirrorless cameras, and a chance to see her new book - The Quokka's Guide To Happiness. And was it ever worth it! Alex loves animals, which is a real asset for someone who wants to take their pictures...

An aside: There is a chap in Canada -  a gentleman from Quebec - who has made a practice lately of looking carefully at all the printed signs and official literature to see that it conforms with the two-languages policy that has been law there for many years. When finds a breach - like the failure to put the French word for " press " on the button of a public water fountain - he institutes a lawsuit and frequently makes a nice little earner from a suitably sympathetic Quebec judge. In this fine public spirit I set out to see if the advertised specification on the side of a set of IKEA lightbulbs was accurate. I did not have time to wait the 15,000 hours they promise as burning time, but I could measure the colour temperature. Or rather, Adobe Lightroom could. The experiemnt was simple - a dark room, illumination by two IKEA articulating-arm lamps and two of the RYET LED lamps. They were marked as delivering  a colour temperature of 2700º K. I set up Neuschwanstein and the...

Yet. The chief word in that title is missing. Because everything that you can think up, someone else can copy. And you can do vice versa when you see what has gone before. It'll get a bad name in some circles - derivative, stale, plagaristic, etc. The people who you rip off will universally condemn you for it - and then look any new stuff you come up with to see if it's better than theirs. And then use it as a springboard themselves. It's bad when it stops you ever doing anything fresh - even if constant repetition and hiving off other photographers can be made to pay a decent income. Of course, eating regularly is attractive in itself, but occasionally you can experiment with vinging in a garret and looking interestingly pale while you come out with a fresh body of work. You need not starve to do it - I've noted several very successful professionals who spent up big to pursue an artistic idea in the last couple of years. I've no idea whether they made a motza from the work,...