" But it takes pictures. " How many times have you have someone come up to you while you were busy justifying $ 8000 of camera and lens and distract you by telling you about the camera they have? Or had. If you are unfortunate they will see you as a kindred soul and want to share the time they found a ghost gum with a '37 Ford ute underneath it. If you are really cursed they will have the picture on their phone. Well, it's on there somewhere - just let them scroll through 2016 to 2020 and they'll find it. This is the result of modern times...

Leo Junior was the local name of a Hilson-Praga Air Baby monoplane imported to Australia in the 1930's. It was blue, sleek, and remarkably underpowered. But it, and two of its siblings survived the war and numerous owners. You can buy your own Little Leo in Camera Electronic, but you'll be getting a tabletop tripod - one of renown. The Leofoto MT-03-LH-25 is not a name that trips off the tongue like Air Baby, but it is one of the best value precision 'pods that are on offer. The legs are duo-fold - you'll see one out there in the heading image making up for the uneven surface. There's a rubber foot on the end to avoid marring the top of the piano. It is not a dumb leg, either. Five 1/4" mounting holes on every leg let them support a microphone or a mini-light or control box if you are using the support for vlogging. The head is precise and compact, with an Arca-Swiss configuration and a big enough ball to give a firm grip for average-sized cameras. The grip plate also has a...

Get someone to write your speech for you. If you pay them enough they can make you sound like you know what you are doing. Okay, that's cynical, but consider the results of  getting up to make an extempore address and losing the plot in two sentences. You might not be able to avoid disaster four drinks into a wedding speech, but if you are vlogging or doing other recording whilst in control of the machinery, you can get help started your way before you open your mouth. We've all seen the tele-prompter machines that allow politicians to speak sincerely and directly into a camera, while reading the whole thing from a screen in front of them. The professional rigs are big and evident. Now you can get a tiny version for your own productions. You can appear good and sincere, on camera, and stay on-script. The Desview T1 Tele-prompter can present your thoughts, or the thoughts of your writers, to you as you are being filmed. You'll look focused and intelligent. The trick is a mirror that is partially front-silvered. It is mounted...

There it was. Stuck on the accessory wall between stuff that hasn't sold yet and the stuff that might never sell.  The thing that we all should buy. I have an IKEA box at home on the shelf that contains the tools I need to survive photography. These used to be a sixpence, a film tongue retriever, and a blower brush. I have long sold the film retriever at the second-hand markets, the blower brush has perished, and the sixpence is now a 5-cent piece. But they have been replaced by a horrid collection of stuff. See the heading image...

My video adolescence is proceeding apace and I have come to the point of considering the rig. It is, at least, a mechanical thing, and understandable. Briefly, it is the framework about which I might construct a confection of accessories to make the video camera experience work. Not a mental framework, nor a virtual one - a real metal structure. There are many makers of these items, but one of the best is the Smallrig people. They cast and mill custom designs in China for many different camera and lens combinations.  Not just new cameras - they have been doing this for a good deal of time. Older cameras may well be accommodated in their system. I pulled one from the Camera Electronic video cabinet without noting which camera it serves. The basic structures are very similar, with the chief differences being the angles of the aluminium cage and the fitments on the bottom for the specific camera. The work is extremely precise and well-finished. There are signs of thought in the design - a legacy of a number of past designs. Basically it...

Do you know who Bluestockings were? Go look it up. Then find a novel by Sarah Fielding and read it. It won't have photography in it, but you'll be on your way to literacy. In the meantime have a look at the Leofoto tripods in Camera Electronic. The ones hanging on the tripod hooks with the silver-coloured leg locks. Both the smaller and larger Poseidon models are quite beautiful - a term we seldom use for the everyday devices that make up photography. We might regard a camera or a lens as such, but we seldom extend the compliment to tripods and accessories. The advertising spiel for the Poseidon series mentions sea-water resistance conferred by titanium and silicon rubber parts. Certainly the main tubes in that gorgeous blue are carbon fibre. The surprise is when to unlock and discover that it's blue all the way up, Folks. Note that Benbo tripods used to resist seawater too - by the simple expedient of building their tubes upside down and sealed on the bottom. We sold one to a marine biologist who loved it for just...

Not if you're me, you can't. Nor can you see as well, nor so far nor as closely and finely. In fact, the little batteried box with the glass on the front can beat nearly all of us when it comes to vision and memory. This is a humbling thought for we monarchs of creation, but we've brought it on ourselves by creating photography. Be of good cheer - the camera and lens need not be your master if you enter into a bargain with it; you tell it what to do, and how to do it, and give it the freedom to operate. Reserve the rest of the artistic process for yourself. The camera cannot tell you what you are interested in recording - the closest it can come to this is to provide program icons that suggest activity or vision; sports, parties, portraits, etc. These are just shortcuts it suggests that might ( ...