Studio Tag

Or canned haze. In actual fact canned mineral oil, propane, and butane. A spray can that you can carry in your photo effects bag to create atmosphere in your shots. You've seen how Hollywood film and video producers use mist, haze, and atmosphere effects to inject visual tension in a scene - every horror shoot seems to have something boiling along the ground. In many cases it's made with water on dry ice. Good for a Transylvanian feel but the vapour created is heavier than air and tends to drop fast and disperse. The actors have to bite one another quickly while the mists roil. For a higher haze you need a different aerosol. Some have tried smoke but it can be too light, tending to drift up in spirals instead of spreading out all over the set. Unless you are prepared to torch the woods along with CALM, you may not get a wide dispersal of smoke. The answer between the two is the pressure can you see in the heading image. One of the staff members put me onto it, expecting...

I am grateful to Camera Electronic in general and Daniel Ward in particular for their ability to get me out of trouble. It is a condition I experience frequently as I operate photographic machinery. It's as well that no one trusts me with a motor torpedo boat or a herd of geese...

I have taken many pictures over the last two decades of people dressed up in costumes - or undressed up in skin - and I have concluded that the very best of the models are either the professionals or the professional amateurs. The reason why I say this is that these two groups are performing for critical audiences - in the former case for paying clients, and in the latter case for their own inner acclaim. I cannot say which is the tougher crowd...

Every mothballed battleship needs a dedicated maintenance crew to make sure that the guns still work, the boiler is swept out, and the plug is still in the bilges. Plus you need to rotate the rats. Photographic organisations - clubs, businesses, and studios - need to do the same if they are going to be laid up in ordinary for several months.  Now is the time to go through your check list; Has everyone who owes you money paid it to you? If they are still dragging the chain get in touch with them and yank it smartly. It never does to be the last shy person in the line of creditors when the bottom of the money pot starts to appear. You may not be nice, but you might be paid. Does everyone know that you are still alive? I don't mean literally, though that is a thought...

And what better tradition than to cut out pictures of the presents you want and leave them casually around the house for the family to see. Or beside their cereal bowls at breakfast. Or nailed to the door. Try to be subtle. I am going to print out several copies of the pictures you see in this column - I have a Gitzo tripod, you see, and at present it has a lesser maker's adjustable head on top of it. Of course that's working fine but in the face of something as magnificent as this device, I am helpless. The advantages of three-way heads are many fold; they can be quite a bit tougher for a smaller profile than their ball-head alternative. They can also be more precise in movement, as you shift one plane of movement at a time. You can frequently come back to the same position reliably. I was dead pleased with what I saw, desiring it mightily...

Okay, it's time to be honest with ourselves. There are things that we desire, but can neither justify nor afford. And I'm not just talking about the kick line in the Zeigfield Follies - I mean the stuff that raises the real lust; photographic equipment. There. I've said it. The cat is out of the bag and yowling to be let out the front door. In five minutes it'll be yowling to be let in. Anyone want a cat? They're cheaper than camera accessories. The heading image is the thing I want, but cannot afford. The desire is purely visceral - there is no actual need for the device. Yet...

Or how to go viral without going bacterial. When I pulled the Joby Gorillapod Mobile RIG off the Murray Street rack this week I thought of it as just another trendy apparatus to do interviews with. It wasn't until I looked more closely at the illustration on the front of the packet that the true nature hit me - this is a rig designed for the inveterate vlogger and selfist. And it's made to go out in the field to capture the full horror. Actually, it's rather an engaging little fellow - like a small mannequin holding up a camera, light, microphone, and mobile phone as a monitor screen. I would suppose that the phone is simultaneously streaming whatever is being recorded of the speaker to the social media and/or external storage. Well, if you're going to do it, this is a good way of getting a steady image and watching yourself as you do it. The Gorilla Pods have always been effective as mini tripods or wrapped around solid structures. Not so sure about the footage taken if you're going to hold...