travel Tag

You can keep your turkey and mistletoe. You can keep your carollers and eggnog. I only recognise it as Christmas when the Steadepods come out on the shelf. The Steadepod camera support has been a staple item for Camera Electronics as long as I have been working with the firm. It may be far older than this - for all we know there may be pictures of Keith Richards using one to photograph dinosaurs. It is a sales item that returns every year like swallows or Canada geese - and unlike those birds, Steadepods are safe to look up at as they fly over. The idea may have occurred to the inventor from some military harness, or perhaps from a retractable tape measure. However it came about, it is a very clever solution to the problem of steady shooting or filming for the travelling photographer. And you needn't travel very far - this is the sort of camera accessory that can be used in the tightest of places. I said it was a support, but that's not strictly true - you don't set...

But then there are a lot of things I did not know until this year: a. How happy I could be to be healthy. Reading the news is no fun any more - bank robberies and page-three girls have given way to grimmer things. Seeing the troubles that have afflicted others this year makes me ever so more grateful that it has not hit my home city or state as hard. That's the background to a lot of the days now. b. How much money is worth. A lot, when you see it disappearing, but not a lot when you see that it can buy comfort and enjoyment in bad times. Not ashamed to say this - sometimes you can't buy happiness or stave off sadness with a purchase...

Fool that I was, I thought it would be easy. I had seen pictures of travelling photographers at American re-enactments of the Civil War who had marvellous wet-plate cameras and dark tents and customers lined up for miles waiting for an expensive ambrotype photo. I figured I could do that in Australia and make a mint*. 1995. End of the Old Tyme Studio craze in the theme parks - and pretty near the end of the theme parks - and just before the big rise of digital photography. I bought a 150mm Schneider lens, a ratty old Nagoka 4 x 5 camera and a box of film holders. Then a dark bag, and travelling case, enough wood to make a tripod, and an HP Combiplan developing tank. Then...

Old advertising principle: you don't show a product you can't sell. Getting the crowd het up is the basis of a lot of advertising. Loosening wallets is a complex activity - there is an entire industry trying to analyse how to do it - but it's no good getting them ready to spend if there is nothing to spend on. When they are finally ready for the snake oil, have the bottles handy. This is a problem with some of the semi-advertising I do in this column. I see an item in CE, feature it a week later, and then find that it has sold out in the interim - leaving any readers who have gone into the shop on my say-so rather put out. I apologise for this, though I'm not sure why. Likewise, I have been dying to tell people to buy some things , but until the shop stocks them, I need to keep mum. At least the featured product today was there when I photographed it, and is a darned good idea. Similar products like it from other makers are also darned...

We normally don't promote a manufacturer's range of products with a picture of someone else's goods in the same advertisement - it certainly wasn't done in the golden age of Madison Avenue. They might have hinted about " Brand X" and " Brand Y " and made fake motor-car tyres out of plaster and wood to pretend that one was superior ( and they did...

Well, you know me by now. Close-up pictures galore and somewhat of a Fujifilm fanboy, but there are still a lot of things I don't know about the subject or the equipment - and I am driven as much by idle curiosity as by scientific zeal. The good thing about idle curiosity is that you can do it when you're idle...

You used to take the kids or Grannie on holiday at the seaside. Now you leave them home and take the phone, tablet, and camera and give them an outing. Which is fair enough, because most photo enthusiasts think more of their equipment than they do of their family anyway. Get your priorities right...