And there is nothing on Earth that will set you dancing in the dark better than a series of cables and wires strung across a darkened photographic studio. Whether you entangle yourself with the power leads on the floor or clothesline yourself with the PC cord or computer tether cable, the experience will be exciting. You may be able to get some use out of that public liability insurance policy too, as well as the Medibank premiums. Mmm, boy there's something to look forward to...

I read several photography columns daily, and to my credit, I rarely steal ideas from them. This is not from fear of prosecution, but from the fact that so many of them feature things in which I'm not interested. I'm sorry to say that a very well-known daily website is getting less and less relevant as time goes on. I don't blame them - the bits that make up the trade are getting scarcer -  and anyway, I've lived where they write from and the climate there isn't conducive to great literature. But every so often I pick up a snippet that gives you to think. On all three sites recently there was a reference to returning goods that had been purchased. In all three cases this action did not seem to be the result of the products being faulty - just that the writer did not fancy them. I'm willing to bet that it's not just in the rainy Northwest, locked down Alps, or privileged California sun that this sort of thing is rife. Rife? That sounds like a note of...

If one were to read all the literature of the last couple of years regarding the format and sensor sizes of digital cameras, one might be forgiven for thinking that there has been somewhat of a witch hunt. By this I mean the smaller format sizes have received scant treatment alongside the 24 x 36 FX or full-frame cameras. This is not surprising - it's been relatively late in the piece that large sensors could be made by Sony in sufficient quantities and at a low enough price to permit their incorporation by other makers. And don't look shocked when I couple the one maker with the others - they buy their components from each other. Okay, you can buy 24 x 36 Nikons, Canons, Leicas, Sonys, and Panasonics off the shelf today. And lots of lenses for them, whether they are going to be for DSLR or mirrorless operation. You'll be told that the larger sensors and wide lenses are capable of marvellous photographic effects and increased light-gathering powers. There are a number of technical explanations for this and many of...

One of the iconic symbols of Hollywood - besides the sign on the hill - is the Klieg lamp with the barn doors. The Kliegs were an arc system and murder on the actors and actresses who had to bake under them - apparently the high UV could cause eye damage. " Klieg Eye "was a real thing. The lights had to be directed, even if the players did not. So there were swivel stands and control wheels and moveable shields to cut off part of the light pattern. The most efficient way to do this was with large movable flats but if you only needed shade a smaller area, the " barn door " could be swung into place. Whether they were effective or not depended upon their surface area. This form of light modifier then made it into the studios of still photographers when the studio flash systems were perfected. I've got two sets that clip onto my ancient Elinchroms and they are sometimes moderately effective. I found a better set on the back wall of CE in the Profoto...

When I was working behind the counter at CE - fitfully, I hasten to add - I was often tasked with the job of setting out the inks for the printers. We carried a number of the Epson models - still do - and it was a precision task to match the various supplies with the printers. Fortunately Epson was pretty good about colour-coding the boxes - less so about the various sub-variants of ink. You had to read the label carefully to see if it was the right number. The Epson Ultrachrome inks are actually wonderful. When I set my R 3000 printer correctly, load my paper correctly, and get the computer to correctly send a signal ( Three correctlies in a row...

When I take a notion to buy an office chair, a bag of lollies, and a pack of HB pencils, I know which big chain store to visit. I avoid it the week before school resumes, but that is just self-preservation. I love the way each one of these chain stores is set out the same so that I can go to the aisle I need wherever I am. What I do not do is buy my inkjet printing paper there. They sell it, but I have never seen such a confusion of packs or types in my life. It's not the fault of the store - it's how the stock is made up by the various makers. I know it's not likely to catch fire in my Epson R3000 but I still get nervous...

Bet when you go to your local grocery store you forget to take the darned re-usable bag out of the car and have to backtrack across the car park to get it. It's never a good start to a shopping trip, but at least it's better than trying to juggle cabbages and green beans on the way out. If you've ever erupted in green beans while trying to fish the car keys out, you'll know that people can be cruel with their laughter...

And that just about describes the last couple of months, eh? I am assuming that you have, like my family, been doing the right thing and hunkering down in the bunker. So far we are safe and cabin fever has not set in. We wait the day of the big breakout, however. So, back to the cameras. And the dilemmas of which, what, how, why, etc. The first thing to do is to consider whether you need to have a dilemma at all. Do you need two lemmas? Would one do? For many of us, it would. One camera. One only - and with one lens on it, too. This may seem a little anti-business for a firm that would like to sell you many cameras, but remember that the founder of Camera Electronic - Ron Frank - was a genius at helping people decide which single camera they needed. He could, and did, ask exactly the right question at exactly the right time. If he could get a clear answer from the client, he could hand them precisely what they needed. If...

Go to your car. Start it up. Drive somewhere. Do your business, and drive back home again. Park it and go into the house. Note: This is not intended to encourage folly. Keep 1.5 metres away from the bumpers of concrete trucks at all times and wipe the dip-stick with hand sanitiser, even if he protests. And no driving past Rottnest without a permit. But consider what you do when you set off on a normal journey - you get into your regular car, do the normal things with the controls, and for part of the journey out and back are on very familiar ground. You do not get into the car and then decide what sort of petrol you need in the tank, what size of tyres to mount, what pressure to inflate them. You may consult a GPS monitor for some of the journey, but not when you're near home. If you are sensible you do not spend the journey envying or triumphing over other drivers in other cars - based upon whether your vehicle is the newest of the new....