On my Camera Electronic Day Out - my tour of the city shops - I was taken by the display of the electric vehicles in Wanderlust. My interest was stimulated by a recent social media post by a friend. He had been scootering on a footpath near his home and steered with more enthusiasm than balance. The photo that appeared on Facebook of him with casts on both broken wrists  was remarkable, to say the least. I hope that this is a rare occurrence amongst others, and for him, only the once. The thought of having an itchy nose with two arm casts is daunting. Now scooters are not the only electric vehicles going - I counted a bicycle, a two-wheeled Segway, and a pair of controllable electric roller-shoes. Thomas was game to test them out - he's good with the Segway and fair with the shoes. As yet he has no broken limbs, but I am writing this on Easter Sunday and there is always time before the column goes to press to change that...

In the rush to supply cameras that shoot images to a fabulously high ISO we often forget that there is such a thing as an on-camera flash. That is until we try the ISO trick in some place that not only has insufficient light, but suffers from foully mixed colour emperatures and a subject that moves faster than we can cope with. Eventually all the high-tech solutions to seeing are exhausted and we either have to light up the subject or go home. Canon have always made a very popular and capable set of electronic flashes that integrate with their cameras. The latest one - the Speedlite EL-1 is in the Murray Street shop right now. The basic form of the thing is the same as it has always been - large tilting head - electronics and batteries in the bottom - and a multi-contact foot for the hot shoe. With the EL-1 , however I note some new things that I haven't encountered before: a. High-capacity Lithium ion battery for 300+ full power flashes and a full power recharge time of .9...

I have started speculating about the old working dogs in the Perth photo scene. I hasten to add I do not mean the people - I have too much respect for the photographers to pry into their ages. Plus I want them to like me enough to buy me coffee and cake on occasion. No, I mean the equipment. I don't know the answer to these questions but I'd welcome answers to the column or in person from the people concerned. Who is shooting professionally with: a. The oldest camera per se. What year was it purchased? b. The oldest analog camera. What work are they tackling with it? c. Ditto the oldest digital camera. Are there any of the original ground breakers still whirring? Where do you get batteries for it? d. Okay, now we go out past where the buses run. Who is using - professionally - the oldest and smallest memory card? Do they shoot with their fingers crossed? You can pursue this line of enquiry for the enthusiasts and amateur users as well. They don't have to earn a living with the...

What's In A Name?   It seems that the photography world is divided over the importance of brand names - especially when it comes to choosing a camera. Of course, there are die-hard fans that would fall on a sword for their beloved Canon, Nikon, Sony and Fujifilm. Some couldn't care less about being brand-loyal. They want the best camera with the right features regardless of what badge sits at the front. And then, there are the Leica groupies - and the debate to establish if Leica is more than just a name. One side of the fence has shot with Leica for a very long time. The other, don't see the value in spending five times what a non-Leica camera costs for the same performance.  First a little history. Ernst Leitz founded the Leica company in 1869 in Wetzlar, Germany - it was formally known as Ernst Leitz Optische Company. The very first Leica, and the first successful 35mm camera ever developed, was invented by Oskar Barnack. Barnack was an engineer and a passionate travel photographer - this passion resulted in the...

We are accustomed to seeing television coverage of the Tour de France - at least in normal years. Also Grand Tours of Europe undertaken to gain culture rather than sore legs - also in normal times. Even lesser locations have conducted excursions - the Tour de Manangatang comes to mind - and people stream out of the pub to either see or be seen. We need to institute a Tour de Photo event to boost our art - or at least to whip up a little trade. Several ideas have been mooted: a. Hold a long distance car rally/travelling gourmet/photo opportunity event on a set course round either the south west, the wheatfields, or out past Meekatharra. Set stages, timed runs, required photos, and local cuisine. As you get to each stage you download your photos of the last stop to be judged. 5 days on the road should see the average photographer shot out, crapulous, and with a number of traffic fines. b. Do exactly the same for the wedding enthusiasts. Imagine the delight of a bride upon seeing 28 strange photographers...

" Vitamin C? Ascorbic acid? Prevents scurvy - staves off head colds - tastes like orange juice. Why not C? " No, why the " C " on the Fujinon GF 80mm f:1.7 lens? None of my Fujinon Xf lenses have a " C " on them and they work perfectly well. In fact I've given up off-brand lenses entirely in favour of the Fujifilm product. What gives? " Simple. Switched to " C ", the lens responds to camera controls for aperture settings. Just like the little brother lenses such as the 27mm f:2.8 pancake lens, this one can be controlled by the wheel under the right thumb. There is a report in the viewfinder as to which aperture is being selected. If you have your left hand on the focus ring at the time it need not be shifted to alter the aperture ring. But you can choose an automatic response by the aperture to camera metering with the " A " setting or preselect the aperture you want with the main ring. From f:22 to F; 1.7 there are positive...

As soon as I acquired my first camera with multiple settings - I think it was "I" and "T" for Instant and Time - I followed the practice of setting it wrong, and then changing my mind and correcting it, and then going through the cycle again several times. Increasing numbers of controls and possible settings multiplied the chances for folly, and I am proud to say I took advantage of every opportunity. I held little contests with myself, starting with a cold, dead camera and running against a time clock. I started it up and then made every possible adjustment in every possible combination until I either completed the exercise or the battery exploded. So far my best time was 14 minutes and if the manufacturer had not brought out the Mark II model just then and distracted me, I believe I could have broken the 13-minute mark.. Someone said you could also take pictures with cameras but I find it hard to believe - I mean, when would you find the time? All this to introduce my experience of fiddling...

Upon the few occasions when I manage to chew through the straps and escape, I generally take a camera to record sights of interest. In some cases this results in a thousand images on a memory card. It used to be ten rolls of 35 mm Kodachrome or two pro-packs of Portra 160 but times have changed. I have exchanged worrying about X radiation on the film to worrying about running out of battery charge. Don't worry - the hit rate for good shots is still 10%...