mer cr ƒ t C SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017 • £8.25
Incorporating Master Photography &
ƒ2 Freelance Photographer
EAST LIGHT WEST LIGHT
SUNRISE OR SUNSET SHORES MAKE PHOTOGRAPHY LIGHT WORK… IAN COOK/NORTHUMBERLAND GLYN DAVIES/WALES & CORNWALL MICHAEL HERMANN/KERRY DENISE BRADY/LOWESTOFT
100 YEARS IN PORTRAITS A LIFETIME STUDY BY CARMEN NORMAN
STEVE CHONG FROM CONCEPTUAL STILL LIFE TO ICONIC LANDSCAPES
CAROLA KAYEN-MOUTHAAN REFERENCE AND IRREVERENCE
FUJIFILM X100F TAMRON 14-150mm ƒ3.5-6.3 VC Di III SONY A9 and A6500 VOIGTLÄNDER 65mm ƒ2 APO MACRO LANTHAR
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
Cameracraft September/October 2017 1
SCORES MAX 5 STAR RATING IN GROUP SOFTWARE TEST. Practical Photography July 2017
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mer cr ƒt C VOLUME 2 No 6 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017
Edited and Published by DAVID & SHIRLEY KILPATRICK Icon Publications Ltd Maxwell Place, Maxwell Lane Kelso, Scotland TD5 7BB firstname.lastname@example.org +44(0)1573 226032 News & Tests Editor RICHARD KILPATRICK RTK Media, The Grange Pincet Lane, North Kilworth Leicestershire LE17 6NE email@example.com +44(0)1858 882105
Incorporating Master Photography &
By our portfolio photographer Carola Kayen-Mouthaan – a different side to her portrait styling.
Associate Editor, USA GARY FRIEDMAN Huntington Beach, CA 92646 firstname.lastname@example.org
Associate Editor, Ireland STEPHEN POWER email@example.com
STOCK ANALYSIS How ‘heat maps’ can show how a viewer reacts to different images – and the value of human interest.
Advertising & Promotion DIANE E. HENDERSON dianehenderson@ iconpublications.com +44(0)1573 223508 Cameracraft is published six times a year May/June, May/June, July/ August, September/October, November/December, January/ February. On sale in the month before first month of cover date. Distributed by COMAG: www.comag.co.uk
ISSN 2514-0167 This issue: Cameracraft #18, f2 #90
Subscriptions cost £49.50 for six issues. Cheques to the publisher’s address made payable to ‘Icon Publications Ltd’ or subscribe at www.iconpublications.com Subscribe with The Guild of Photographers membership: www.photoguild.co.uk Icon Publications Ltd can accept no responsibility for loss of or damage to photographs and manuscripts submitted, however caused. Responsibility for insurance and return carriage of equipment submitted for review or test rests with the owner. Views expressed in this magazine are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and policies of Icon Publications Ltd or its advertisers. All technical data and pricing information contained in news and feature articles is printed in good faith. While all advertising copy is accepted in good faith, Icon Publications Ltd can not accept any legal responsibility for claims made or the quality of goods and services arising from advertising in this publication. All contents including advertising artwork created by Icon Publications Ltd are copyright of the publishers or the creators of the works, and must not be reproduced by any means without prior permission. ©2017 Icon Publications Ltd. E&OE.
ƒ2 Freelance Photographer
1 to 100: CARMEN NORMAN A challenging project created a memorable book and exhibition for Carmen when she moved to a new studio in the Lake District.
TEST: SONY ALPHA 9 Gary Friedman’s field review of his experience so far with Sony’s high specification, high price-tag mirrorless speed demon.
COAST TO COAST: EAST vs WEST Stephen Power interviews four photographers who live on the sunsrise and sunset sides of our islands. Glyn Davies, Anglesey (above) Ian Cook, Northumbria Michael Herrmann on the Wild Atlantic Way of Ireland Denise Brady in Lowestoft with Britain’s most easterly studio
TEST: SONY A6500 In brief, the APS-C alternative to the £4,500 A9.
LENSES: TAMRON 14-150 DiIII The only independent zoom for the MicroFourThirds system is much better than you’d think from its review reputation.
PHOTOHUBS NOVEMBER EVENT Full details of a two-day training spectacular supported by Cameracraft.
PORTFOLIO: CAROLA KAYEN-MOUTHAAN Always with a touch of humour, Carola’s homages to old masters are commissioned by portrait clients. It’s not just a personal portfolio.
FROM CONCEPTUAL STILL LIFE TO LANDSCAPE DRAMA: STEVE CHONG His choice of Sigma sd and dpQuattro cameras sets him apart – but so do the images he makes.
TEST: FUJIFILM X100F Richard Kilpatrick took the new fixed lens series upgrade on a day trip to Liverpool.
REARVIEW GALLERY No entry fees, no repro fees, no contest! Introducing three Guild of Photographers image of the month contest Gold winners.
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LENSES: VOIGTLÄNDER MACRO APO-LANTHAR 65mm ƒ2 ASPH David Kilpatrick completes a review which started using a prototype lens under conditions of strict confidence. The ‘retail’ final product lives up to its promise and more.
THE GUILD OF PHOTOGRAPHERS Welcome to our new readers, over two thousand members of the Guild who will receive Cameracraft six times a year from now on.
OPINION Your editor might face a fate worse than retirement – trying to make a living as a photographer again…
Cameracraft September/October 2017 3
send your news releases & events to firstname.lastname@example.org Tamron SP 24-70mm ƒ2.8 Di VC USD G2
DIARY September 3rd 2017 Motocross Experience Day Wisbech, Cambs www.photohubs.co.uk September 17th 2017 Newborn Workshop Larne, County Antrim www.photohubs.co.uk September 18th 2017 ‘Sitters’ (older babies and toddlers) Workshop Larne, County Antrim www.photohubs.co.uk October 17th 2017 Newborn Workshop Helensburgh, Scotland www.photohubs.co.uk October 7th-22nd 2017 Scottish Schools Autumn Break (may be 1st or 2nd week) October 7th-8th 2017 Wilkinson Cameras Digital Splash Exhibition Exhibition Centre Liverpool www.digitalsplash.tv Guild members and Wilkinson customers – check your email for special ticket offers October 8th-9th 2017 Master Photography Awards and Masterclass Day Jury’s Inn Hinckley Island Hotel, www.thempa.com October 10th 2017 3XM Live Event Falkirk, Scotland https://3xmsolution.com/ social-media-event2017.php October 10th 2017 The Business of Wedding Photography Stoke-on-Trent www.photohubs.co.uk October 11th 2017 Wedding Hands-on Training Day with Kevin Pengelly Stoke-on-Trent www.photohubs.co.uk October 12th 2017 Guild Qualification Preparation Day with Kevin Pengelly Stoke-on-Trent www.photohubs.co.uk October 23rd-27th 2017 England and Wales Schools Autumn Break (some schools, 16th-20th)
Canon 6D Mk II UPRATING their mid-range full-frame offering, Canon has stuck with their tried and tested approach of creating a Mk II based on feedback, rather than simply reinventing the wheel. As such, the EOS 6D Mk II (£1999 body only) has been designed to retain main of the features popular with their existing userbase, with updates to the technology within. A new 26.2Mp sensor ventures up to ISO 40,000 before hitting the extended modes, and the latest DIGIC-7 processor provides sufficient bandwidth for 45-point traditional AF, on-chip dual-pixel phase detection and 6.5fps burst modes. Surprisingly that bandwidth doesn’t provide 4K video, though it does allow 4K timelapse and intervalometer movies to be created in-camera, and undoubtedly provides the grunt for Canon’s new 5-axis digital image stabilisation for movies. WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS are built in, and the 3” Vari-angle screen can be rotated to protect the display when taking advantage of the weathersealed body. The 6D Mk II is available now.
Canon 200D MIRRORLESS may be relentless, and rumours abound of Canon and Nikon entering the fray, yet Canon’s latest answer is to push the boundaries of value in the DSLR market. The EOS 200D is the lightest DSLR with vari-angle screen, and as always in this class, threatens the established wisdom of needing a professional-grade camera to capture professional quality images in the studio. For under £600 (£579/719 kits), you get 24Mp – the same as the 800D and 77D – 9-point AF and an optical finder, with quick focus, simple user interface and both WiFi and bluetooth remote control with NFC linking. The 1Mp LCD on the rear can be rotated away for chimp-free viewing, and also offers touch screen focusing – useful with the dual-pixel CMOS AF. Video is HD, not 4K and other economies have been made to produce an entry-level camera without getting too close to the rest of the range, but in terms of sensor capability and processing, little has been sacrificed – ISO is rated to 25.600 and UHS cards are supported for fast shooting – 5fps is a good rate for a consumer DSLR. www.canon.co.uk
Pantone colours Autumn/Winter 2017/18 Well – there you are. These are colours the retail, fashion and advertising worlds will be using now through to the end of the year. We told you. That’s Atomic Blue (for Kim Jong Un), Lemon Tonic (for Theresa May), Orange Clown Fish (for Donald Trump) and Sparkling Cosmo for fun.
October 28th 2017 Newborn Workshop Rhyl, North Wales www.photohubs.co.uk
4 September/October 2017 Cameracraft
THE TAMRON 24-70 SP 24-70 F2.8 D-VC-USD-G2 (£1599) is the latest contender for the midrange ‘holy trinity’ crown and has some solid competition from third-party and camera manufacturers alike. Offered for Nikon and Canon owners. Tamron is optimistic that their recipe for the SP 24-70 F2.8 D-VCUSD-G2 will tempt you away from the default offerings. Processing power is not something you would usually consider in a lens, but dual processors allow fast AF and image stabilisation, with a class-leading 5-stops of correction. eBAND and BBAR nano coating minimises glare and ghosting, and fluorine coating and “moisture resistant construction” should ensure a long working life. For firmware and adjustment, the lens is also compatible with Tamron’s TAP InControl system. Nikon users benefit from the same electronically controlled diaphragm as Canon, though this does limit compatibility with pre-2008 models of camera. The design allows a close focus distance of 38cm, and utilises a 9-blade rounded diaphragm in the 17-element, 12 group optical path. Weight for the 111mm long lens is below 1Kg for both Canon and Nikon variants,.and the front filter is 82mm. www.intro2020.co.uk THE ONLINE Paper Company was the first to sell Hahnemühle digital inkjet papers in a webshop in 1999. Their online catalogue now covers arguably the largest range of digital inkjet paper in one place at up to 60% off RRP. Summer Clearance pages include bargain returned/ opened boxes alongside special offers on their regular lines. Quote checkout code F2910 to receive free UK P&P until October 31. www.on-linepaper.co.uk
our fourth dedicated Sony FE mount 250Introducing years of experience 250 years of quality! premium quality manual focus lens. The 65mm ƒ2 APO-Lanthar Macro.
Voigtländer offer a range of high quality lenses for Leica M mount, Micro Four Thirds, DSLR and Sony E/FE mount cameras. All lenses are manual focus operation, made of high-grade metal and glass elements. Exclusive distributor for UK & Ireland:
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Voigtländer offer a range of high quality lenses for Leica M mount, Micro Four Thirds, DSLR and Sony E/FE mount cameras. All lenses are manual focus operation, made of high-grade metal and glass elements. Exclusive distributor for UK & Ireland:
Flaghead Photographic www.flaghead.co.uk Cameracraft September/October 2017 5
send your news releases & events to email@example.com Reflecting those unpredictable jetstream skies…
The longest range ever APS-C superzoom
IF YOU’RE going for compact and all in one, your DSLR is about to get the most extreme range of focal lengths available if Tamron’s intent is to be believed. The new 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD (£649) is aimed at the new crop of compact, low-cost DSLRs with APS-C sensors, offering a bridge-camera rivalling 22.2x zoom from the 28mm wide angle to a 620mm equivalent telephoto. 5-stop stabilisation is essential in a design like this, as is the integrated motor which ensures support on the base-model bodies. Nikon owners will need to check support for the 7-blade electronic diaphragm, though most bodies made in the last decade will work. The impressive range is due to a new cam design in the triple-extension barrel, and reduces to a compact 121mm length when not being asked to perform as a small telescope. 16 elements in 11 groups include aspherical and low dispersion glass, and a zoom lock prevents the lens from extending when carried on a strap. Remarkably, the 75°33'-4° angle of view lens is also capable of a close focus of just 45cm and 1:2.9 magnification. If you’ve been looking enviously at the abilities of superzoom bridge cameras, this looks like a very promising option. www.intro2020.co.uk
Nikon D850 – Details TBC WE’RE NOT usually in the habit of discussing rumoured cameras, but with a bi-monthly schedule “strong rumours” may have some value. As such, by the time you read this perhaps details will be known, but it looks likely that Nikon will be launching a new full-frame DSLR. The model number and development have been confirmed as the D850, possibly based around a new 46Mp (approx.) sensor, fit the more compact format established by the D700/800 with an optional vertical grip, and support the usual Nikon professional features, inheriting elements of the D5/D500 and retaining 10-pin/PC synch support. These are, of course, assumptions, but with Nikon celebrating their centenary, something big would be apt. It’s also worth noting that Nikon has had a fair length of time for R&D since their last DSLR launches, so improvements in AF, metering and processing are all possible. It is most likely that if Nikon are releasing a new DSLR, they’ll be looking to underline the strengths of optical finders too – perhaps enhancing the brightness, clarity or magnification ratio of their classic SLR designs – RTK. www.nikon.co.uk
LANDSCAPEPRO 2 is the latest generation of Anthropics’ intelligent editing software for outdoor photographers. As well as all of the tools available in v1 (sky replacement, 3D depth estimation, a depth of field simulator, distance controls, and photo-adaptive controls among other powerful features) the new version offers an expanded library of skies, 2D and 3D lighting brushes, sky reflections in water (above) and improved selection brushes. The software offers one-click presets for instant results as well as in-depth editing using sliders. It is available in three editions – Standard, Studio which handles RAW files and can be run as a plugin to Photoshop and Lightroom, and Studio Max with Batch Mode and histogram panel for maximum control. Prices start at £29.95: see www.landscapepro.pics/editions – readers can claim an extra 10% discount off sale prices by using checkout code F2910L
Share and share alike with Mobile Apps PHOTO MOBILE APPS are a marketing tool offered by Online Picture Proof to boost word of mouth marketing and increases referrals. “The main purpose of this App is to bring you new clients and get you in touch with your old customers to get repeat business”, they say. “When you give an App to any of your customers they will share it with their friends and family and your contact information will also be shared. You can create unlimited Mobile Apps for your clients. Its compatible with both iOS and all the latest Android smartphone.” Online Picture Proof provides a solutions for professional photographers includings HTML5 website, online proofing and shopping cart, iPhone & Android web App, SEO and
marketing tools. Unlike some portals such as ZenFolio they do not charge any commission or service fees of sales. No credit card required for a 30day free trial. www.onlinepictureproof.com
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What it takes to be I original conic American fashion photographer Herb Ritts (1952 -2002) once remarked: ‘The French highly promote culture and the arts… and photography is in their blood.’ He could have been talking about Michel Haddi, another prolific and richly-talented, worldclass fashion photographer. Michel (60) once dubbed by The Independent newspaper as ‘The king of celebrity snappers’ is more than doing his bit to promote culture and the arts…both as an internationally renowned photographer whose talent was weaned on the pages of magazines such as Vogue and Vanity Fair, and the owner of a publishing house dedicated to telling compelling stories in pictures in magazines, unique calendars and ‘fashion bookazines’. Photography is certainly in his blood too. His sold out book I Love America, Don’t You boasts 260 pages of celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Cameron Diaz and Clint Eastwood – shot ‘like you’ve never seen before’. Each copy of his book The Legend – David Bowie has been hand-signed in a limited edition of 500. Not unexpectedly, this demonstrably patriotic Frenchman also comprehensively covers Paris in The Blue Hour and Paris, Dream on Baby and there’s just one copy left of his take on The Story of ‘O’ – the erotic 1950s tale of sex, domination and passion – again set by Haddi in Paris and titled Blue, A Whipping Delight. Yours for £6,000. Somewhat ironically, the man who has spent decades photographing some of the world’s most beautiful women across a comprehensive range of styles and poses, was actually raised by nuns in a convent. “They gave me a strict moral code which I still live by today”, he confirms. Michel began adult life as a construction worker – until the day he happened upon a Helmut Newton image on a Vogue cover. “That was it”, he enthuses. “I immediately loved his work and the profession of photography. I adore beautiful girls too… and I thought it would be a much better idea to photograph people than spend my time down a mineshaft for £50 a week.” He managed to blag himself a job as a photo-assistant in London which led to fashion commissions with high-end magazines and
Why a world-famous French ‘photo-God’ prints on Fujifilm Original Photo Paper and uses a small independent studio in Newark
then advertising shoots for luxury brands. “I remember being very proud of one of my first shoots for British Vogue, as I tried an anamorphosis (distorted projection) technique –something no-one had dared to do at that time. The editor-in-chief at the time sent me a special congratulations card.” And despite photographing countless big names over the years he says that he hasn’t had to suffer a prima donna moment from any of them. “I’ve been lucky. I think I am like a good doctor… people just trust me.”
The creative connection
“I was actually raised by nuns in a convent… they gave me a strict moral code which I still live by today” – celebrity and fashion photographer Michel Haddi
8 September/October 2017 Cameracraft
Portrait of Haddi, above Cre8 Studio reception in Newark with print work on display, below.
Why does Michel work with Cre8 and insist on Fujifilm Original Photo Paper? These days Michel splits a lot of his time between London and New York – but when he is in the UK he insists on using Cre8, an independent Newark, Notts-based studio he has had strong connections with for years. “Cre8 is a very special studio for me”, he says. “They just give me what I want. Always and without fail. In my experience the smaller the organisation, the harder it will work to give you the very best service possible and go the extra mile when necessary. “The secret for me is to first know exactly what I want to achieve and then work with the lab to make sure it happens. I guess the analogy might be that sometimes you don’t need to spend £20,000 on a camera. Sometimes a far more cost-efficient £500 device will do the job.” Michel has been working with Fujifilm for the past 35 years. “I used to work extensively with Fujiflex silver halide papers – I must have thousands of prints on
ADVERTISING FEATURE that medium”, he notes. “I believe that Fujifilm paper is simply the best in the world. My recent exhibition in Florence was output on Fujifilm Original Photo paper… the quality is simply outstanding.”
Small is beautiful Ask Cre8 owner/partner David Gates the secret to winning and keeping a major customer like Michel Haddi and he confesses: ‘There is no doubt about it, we are control freak perfectionists. I am sure that helps! “I have worked in a large prolab before coming to Newark 22 years ago and sometimes size and volume means some work doesn’t get the attention it really should. Quality control can become an issue as you get bigger. “My partner Steve Watson and I will never allow any product out of our studio unless we are 100% happy with it.” Cre8 has been in the Fujifilm camp for over four years now. “The best move we ever made”, he adds. “Fujifilm Original Photo Papers are simply the best on the market. Customers love the colours, the stability and the durability of the range… we never have any problems.” The studio has been working with Michel Haddi for five years. Says David: “I remember getting a call from him asking about our service. He needed high-res scans and retouching capability. He brought us a small batch of images which were going into a book he was producing. He loved the results we produced and he has been a regular customer ever since. He also has a lab he uses in Paris but he prefers to use us whenever he can.” Cre8 recently printed, packaged and despatched over sixty large format exhibition images (output to Fujifilm Pro Gloss paper) to Florence, where Michel was having an exhibition. “To be honest the packaging, which took us hours, was more of a challenge than the printing”, admits David. “One wrong move and we would have had to reprint. We were working on very tight deadlines.” Working with world-class professionals enables small studios like Cre8 to be flag-bearers for small independents within the Fujifilm FDIS network. “I think it’s great for our industry generally that big-names are prepared to work with smaller outfits where they know they can get exceptional and bespoke service”, concludes David. And Cre8 can look forward to many more years working with
Michel Haddi’s exclusive photo book on David Bowie – “I believe that Fujifilm paper is simply the best in the world. My recent exhibition in Florence was output on Fujifilm Original Photo paper… the quality is simply outstanding.” . Michel, as he has no plans to retire. Ever. A martial arts expert with over 40 years’ experience (and a book dedicated to his kick-boxing son) he concludes: “I am a mercenary. I am always thinking about the next gig.” Á For further information see: www.michelhaddistudio.com www.cre8studios.co.uk
“Fujifilm Original Photo Papers are simply the best on the market. Customers love the colours, the stability and the durability of the range… we never have any problems” – David Gates & Steve Watson, Cre8 Studios
Learn more from the new Fujifilm ‘Original’ photo papers website: www.originalphotopaper.com
Cameracraft September/October 2017 9
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10 September/October 2017 Cameracraft
arketers selecting the correct images can double the amount of time their online ads are viewed on desktop, according to a study commissioned by Shutterstock from Lumen (eye-tracking specialists) to identify the types of images that had the highest engagement factor and dwell times. The study found that simple image-led online ads which mirror the demographic profile of those they are targeting perform the best when measuring viewability and dwell time. The top performing ad was viewed for 1.4 seconds, compared to a benchmark dwell time of 0.7 seconds. Highlights from the study include: Males (on average) are more responsive to online ads than females Males viewed or noticed almost a third (31%) of all the ads in the study whereas females viewed or noticed just a quarter Males looked at the ads for 0.4 seconds longer than females (males 0.9s vs females 0.5s) Image-led ads featuring children are more engaging to parents Those with children viewed 25% of these ads for an average of 1.3 seconds Those without children viewed 22% of these ads for an average of 0.8 seconds Image-led ads featuring images of an elderly couple were viewed more by those aged 55+ Half of those aged 55+ viewed the ads A third of those aged 18-34 viewed the ads 38% of those aged 35-54 viewed the ads The study was conducted in two phases. in the first phase, 150 panellists were shown 65 images (taken from Shutterstock’s library) in a randomised order to decipher which were the most engaging. In the second phase, the top, middle and bottom performing images from the first study were used to create 16 image-led ads. These ads were then shown to a panel of 148 individuals, within a typical online browsing environment. Throughout the entire study, panellists’ eye movements were
Why choosing the right stock shot pays off for advertisers
A ‘heatmap’ showing viewer engagement and focus of gaze on a stock shot of a girl playing in a ball pool. You can view the original at – shutterstock.com/image-photo/young-blond-girl-child-having-fun-112469771
The heatmap for an elderly couple, who are shown kissing with an old print of their wedding photograph. Note how much viewer attention also passes to the wedding photo despite the small scale of the subject. shutterstock.com/image-photo/senior-couple-holding-wedding-photo-27256444
seconds benchmark, when shown in a typical online browsing environment. The top performing images from the second phase were typically bolder and simpler in composition. Jeff Weiser, Chief Marketing Officer, Shutterstock, commented: “With this research we wanted to get to the heart of what makes an engaging ad online. It’s notoriously hard to prove the effectiveness of online ads but this study goes a long way to showcasing what type of images engage viewers and therefore what kinds of ads are most effective. For marketers looking to produce online ad campaigns, they should seek to use simple imagery that appeals to the target demographic.” Mike Follett, Managing Director, Lumen, said: “With our eye-tracking technology we’re able to see first-hand what consumers are looking at and why they’re looking at it. This puts a lot of power in the hands of art directors and visual creatives as it enables them to make informed decisions regarding the imagery that they choose.” Overall, when viewing images, the eye-tracking technology revealed: Faces grab attention quickly: they are often the first thing that people look at Busy images can split attention: not everyone is attracted to the same part of the image straight away When the image does not have a key focal point, attention begins in the middle, before spreading to the rest of the image Photographers can use this insight both to improve their stock sales (for engagement when the images are being viewed for selection too) and their website performance. We find the attention paid to the vintage wedding photograph also supports the value of photography itself.
This graph shows that digital ads grab attention for an average of just 0.9 seconds, and that only 4% of ads get more a two-second glance.
tracked to measure engagement. From the first phase, more complex images designed to elicit emotions such as anger and confusion had the highest engagement factor, whereas images evoking
surprise and happiness had the lowest. However, out of the images which had the highest engagement factor when shown in a non-ad environment, only 40% of them were viewed longer than the 0.7
See: www.shutterstock.com Shutterstock, Inc. (NYSE: SSTK) is a leading global provider of highquality licensed photographs, vectors, illustrations, videos and music. With a growing community of over 225,000 contributors, there are currently more than 125 million images and 7 million video clips available.
Cameracraft September/October 2017 11
et me start by saying that Sony now has more talented and more driven engineers than any other camera manufacturer. This is evident in everything they've been doing with the E-mount cameras since the platform's introduction: First they managed to squeeze a full-frame sensor into a svelte body. Then they added an optical array overlay to help guide light from wide angle lenses into the corners. Then they figured out how to put in-body stabilization without dramatically increasing the body size nor the heat build-up when used during video. Autofocus slowly improved as they got good at using phasedetect pixels embedded in their sensors. The latest member of the fullframe E-mount family, the Alpha 9, represents even more miracles of engineering, resulting in a camera body that's smaller and lighter than the best action-orientated cameras on the market, with performance equal to competing bodies costing considerably more. This is a camera that claims to perform similarly to Nikon's flagship sports camera, the D5. To understand what the engineering team was up against, watch the video I made several years ago, explaining why the E-mount has a theoretical disadvantage when it comes to focusing compared to traditional DSLRs and Sony's own A-mount: https://youtu.be/QlBWL_UVUS8 Since the E-mount was designed from the ground up for video, the engineers made a decision to use working aperture for many AF conditions. Focusing stopped down is tough, as anyone who's ever used depth-of-field preview can attest to. So what technical challenges was Sony able to overcome in order to produce this camera? They found a way to perfect follow-focus even though it's more difficult with a closed-down f-stop. They created a new sensor which can dump its data quickly, and has the closest thing to a ‘global shutter’ that the consumer world has ever seen. The sensor
Field test by Associate Editor Gary Friedman I'm in Japan I plan to track down the engineering team and bow to them.
The acid test
can dump its data AND provide live view feed at the same time, resulting in NO screen blackout when shooting and 100% silent operation. The electronic viewfinder doesn't lag behind your subject, requiring a substantial increase in processor speed and a corresponding increase in power consumption. They created a new high-energy-density battery to help – without
The Sony A9 has a new rugged lens mount with six fixing screws (top) and new controls which echo the best from older Minolta and Sony designs. Here – with the 24-70mm ƒ2.8 G.
12 September/October 2017 Cameracraft
crippling heat buildup, which is even harder in a tiny body. And – the world's biggest buffer. A casual sports shooter might just take these improvements for granted, as a natural result of progress in this incredible age in which we live. Let me reassure you these are technical breakthroughs that nobody else has tried to tackle. Next time
I've always considered Birds In Flight (BIF) to be the toughest workout for a camera's autofocus system – more so than tracking an Olympic athlete, whose motion can be predicted to a certain degree. Up until now Sony has never had a reputation for doing it as well as Nikon or Canon. So I thought I’d give it a try. My first attempt was on an uninhabited island off the coast of Scotland, where we were shooting puffins. This first attempt was disastrous, since just about all of the in-flight shots I got were out of focus. I blame this on myself for using unfamiliar equipment – the camera had arrived just days before I left on a one-month trip, and I hadn't had time to go through all the menus and configure everything just the way I wanted. Later I discovered that I had two inappropriate settings that prevented usable BIF shots: The AF Track Sens(itivity) feature tells the camera how long to wait before trying to refocus in AF-C mode; it was set to the factory default of 3 (standard) when it should have been set to 5 (responsive). The other inappropriate setting? I was so focused on shooting the birds (and making sure I had underexposed enough) that I forgot to set the camera to a fast enough shutter speed. These were shot at 1/250s, fine for travel photography but should have been 1/2000s for BIF. D’oh! Once I returned home I tried it again, this time with the right settings, and what a difference! Thousands of perfectly sharp pictures with what I calculated to be a 97% hit rate. Keep in mind that any other camera can do BIF as well – the difference here is the hit rate, and not missing any shots because you're waiting for the camera to reassess and confirm focus.
Use and control In all other respects, the A9 handles just as well as any of the other A7 series cameras. They made some welcome improvements to the physical user interface, but also took away some features. My favorite improvement is the ‘new’ mode dial, which actually mimics mode dials from earlier cameras. The Focus Mode dial, for example, was lifted directly from the Minolta Alpha/Dynax/Maxxum 7 and 9 cameras.
Above: with the wrong settings, including a too-slow shutter speed, puffin shots didn’t show off the fast AF of the A9. Below: the retro function dial with clear, easy settings for focus and drive. Bottom: tested with the right settings and 70-200mm ƒ4 G lens, a 97% hit rate on birds in flight.
Also the drive mode dial, which borrowed from Sony’s first DSLR, the Alpha 100. Everyone else’s favorite new control is the second joystick which can help you manually select your focus point (or menu feature) faster than if you used the cursor keys hidden in the rear control dial. The camera is also much more customizable than before – there are more assignable buttons, and there are more features which you can assign to those buttons. Some new features have graced competitors’ cameras for years. There’s a ‘My Menu’ where you can customize a menu to include just the settings you change the most. There's also a touch screen which allows you to touch the subject you want the camera to focus on, just like you do with your smartphone. It's the same implementation as Sony provided on the A6500; except it now doesn't work when using the EVF. Sadly you can't I use the touch-screen to enter the copyright info, or configure my
FTP server. Annoying, but on the other hand you only have to do these things once. The A9 also boasts the Eye AF feature, which everyone in the world seems to love except for me because of the way they implemented it. Eye AF does what you think it does – it identifies the closest subject’s eye and focuses just on that; knowing that when people look at portraits, it is the eyes that the viewer looks at first. My complaint is in the implementation – you have to press and hold a button in order to invoke it. And if it can't find an eye, the camera stops trying to find focus and gives an error message. Why does this feature need a button press at all? The camera has face detection, doesn’t it? If the camera can recognize a face, can't it then zero in on the eye on its own? Worse, if you use it in highstress situations (like weddings), your brain now has one additional mental hoop to jump through when picking up your camera: You now have to think to yourself, ‘Am
Cameracraft September/October 2017 13
Eye AF works perfectly when the subject is close
I shooting a person whose face is close enough for Eye AF to work?’ – if so, you can use Eye AF function to focus. If not, you'll have to press the shutter release button halfway like in the old days. Furthermore, if it can't find an eye the camera should default to focusing on a face or the closest object like it normally would if you didn't invoke Eye AF. In my opinion this should have been implemented automatically and invisibly like Face Detection was. Sony now offers the ability to plug your camera into an Ethernet port on the A9; and although I marvel at how they were able to squeeze a Cat 5 connector in there, I still can't get this feature to work.
It complains that the camera can't get an IP address, regardless of how I connect. I think it's a false error message, since I can get the camera to use the access point in other features. Sony Pro Support is looking into possible causes.
It’s not just for action (above) – the dynamic range and colour from the A9 , here using Tungsten light balance to get a strong blue evening sky behind Scotland’s Kelpies scuplture, make it an ideal all-round choice for travel and family photography
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Features that are gone Interestingly some popular features on previous cameras are now gone; like the Scene modes aimed at beginners, and the Panorama mode (my
personal guilty pleasure when travelling). Strangely, certain pro video features like the S-Log2 and S-Log3 gamma curves (aimed at videographers, and appearing in other A7 cameras) are missing, although there is a rumor that Sony might add that back in via a future firmware upgrade. Most frustrating for me is the identity crisis all camera companies seem to have about what's appropriate for a pro-level camera. ‘Everyone’ knows that pro cameras don't have built-in flashes, even though they're tremendously useful for fill flash and for triggering wireless flash. The pro-level Minolta 9 got a lot of flack for offering pop-up flash from the press 20 years ago. There’s also confusion about the utility of a more versatile flip-out display, eschewed by high-end cameras presumably because of potential reliability issues. Sony could lead the way here by incorporating the twist-and-flip display used in their A-mount bodies, which are so useful to me I'll never give up my A-mount system as a result. It should have been included in the A9. Á
To follow Gary’s regular on-line journal see: www.friedmanarchives.blogspot.co.uk
f you took a poll of the ideal file size compromise, regardless of sensor size, it would probably be 24 megapixels. It’s been around for almost a decade (the Nikon D3X and Sony A900 in full frame). Canon caught up later, overtaken by many APS-C cameras using the Sony 24 megapixel sensors. Fujifilm finally stepped up from 16 to 24. Ask the same about lenses, and the favourite has to be the 24-105mm range (FF) and the ƒ4 constant aperture. In crop formats, some rather more ambitious zooms have been possible – Sony’s Carl Zeiss 16-80mm (24-120), their own brand 16-105mm (24-157), Nikon’s 16-85mm (24-127) and Canon’s 15-85mm (24-136). None of these has been a constant aperture. The Sony Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar 16-70mm ƒ4 OSS stabilised E-mount scales down the typical full-frame 24-105mm ƒ4 so that when mated to the new A6500 high-end APS-C body the combination is just 800g including battery and lens hood. It takes 55mm filters and cradles in one hand securely when changing lenses. Compared to the 24-70mm ƒ4 for full frame which I wrote about in the May/June issue, it’s much cleaner towards the edges of the frame when used wide open at the wide angle end and does not need stopping down to sharpen up. Why own an A6500 in addition to an A7RII kit? The answer now is air travel, more so than ever before. That 800g weight could be all you need in your cabin bag. I studied my results and lens use, and sold my full frame 16-35mm and 24-70mm zooms. The 42 megapixel A7RII really is worth treating more like a medium format camera, with careful use of prime lenses. I now use my 10mm Voigtländer (unique 130° view), a new 18mm ƒ2.8 Zeiss Batis, my 28mm ƒ2 Sony FE, 55mm ƒ1.8 Carl Zeiss FE and 85mm ƒ1.8 Sony FE. I’ve got an 10-18mm ƒ4 OSS ultrawide zoom designed for APS-C which happens to cover full frame well in the 13 to 16mm range. Moving up from A6000 to A6500 means having in-body stabilisation and no further need
A6500 As an alternative to the A9, the smaller format A6500 has much to offer the travelling photographer
Improved controls, mode dial and buttons but still only one control wheel
for stabilised 35mm and 50mm lenses – also selling these, along with A99 and 24-105mm which had been kept partly because of that useful zoom range, more than covered the A6500 with 16-70mm, 18mm Batis, and the new Sony 50mm ƒ2.8 FE Macro. We also parted company with everything DSLR (or DSLT) except one body and lens kept in the studio. Mirrorless has had seven years to prove its future – I first used the NEX-5 at its launch in summer 2010. The A6500 is so far advanced we would not have believed it. The greatest advance, phase detect AF on the sensor, has come so far that the AF points now cover almost corner to corner. The focusing is also extremely fast, with intelligent face and eye targeting and tracking. Silent shooting is possible, along with 11 frames per second drive, and the bitrate needed to capture pro standard 4K movies also enables 100/120fps slo-mo 1080p. The electronic viewfinder is precisely the same as in the A7RII, with equally sharp eyepiece optics. The entire camera is far more solid than the A6000 and that critical addition of fiveaxis sensor stabilisation opens
the way to use so many manual lenses. My 500mm ƒ8 Tamron Macro mirror lens becomes not only practical to focus with accuracy (magnified on screen or EVF) but also to enter the focal length as a custom choice and get stabilisation which transforms its use. I’ve kept the small, light 55210mm ƒ4.5-6.3 zoom despite modest performance, for travel. The real tele zoom to use with the A6500 is the 70-300mm ƒ4-5.6 Sony G OSS FE. Bought to go with the A7RII, it’s even more useful at the long end with the A6500. The APS-C crop from A7RII is a touch over 18MP, and the 24MP sensor just adds that little bit of extra true pixel-level tele power. There are downsides to the A6500. It has a new control layout and some valuable features like the two MR positions on the mode
dial, but it has only one main control wheel and relies on the clunky use of the rear flat click/ turn controller for a second. This is perhaps its weakest point when so many other aspects are improved. I also find that on a ‘professional grade’ camera having the SD card slot in the battery compartment really doesn’t work. It’s also one of the worst SD slot designs for removing the card easily. As for image quality, the A6500 has an anti-aliasing filter and its sensor is not as low noise at higher ISO compared to the A7RII. Depending on the lens used, 18MP A7RII crops can have more absolute detail than A6500 frames. The APS-C sensor also has less dynamic range and no uncompressed raw option, producing files with more clipping at the highlight end and less malleable shadows. In return, it produces slightly more pleasing and film-like results with a bit more ‘pop’. Would I use the A6500 for professional work? Certainly, for anything needing a wide or standard range zoom without wide apertures. For groups, PR shots, sports action, children and animals outdoors, web product packshots and travel it’s good. I prefer the soft contrast scale of the A7RII for portraits (and weddings, if I did them) and this goes well with the larger format and use of fast prime lenses for differential focus. While a 10-18mm zoom might seem wide (15-27mm equivalent) I’m used to having lenses with wider angle coverage for architecture, commercial and creative applications. On APS-C DSLRs we used Sigma’s excellent 8-16mm to provide a match for their 12-24mm on full frame. Now I used 10mm on FF. I’d like to have a rectilinear 6mm for E-mount, or a 5.5mm or 5mm. That’s just not going to happen. As a second body, the A6500 is ideal. Using it drives home how much faster converting and post-processing 24MP files can be, relative to 42MP. For the full specifications see Sony’s information. – David Kilpatrick
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Tamron 14-150mm ƒ3.5-5.8 DiIII
amron’s first ‘mega-zoom’ for mirrorless systems was the still-current 18-200mm ƒ3.5-6.3 Di III VC for Sony E-mount. This stabilised zoom appears to be the basis for Sony’s own similar LE designated model. MFT users, with Olympus and Panasonic systems, are familiar with the conflicts between stabilisation when mixing brands. The Tamron 14-150mm ƒ3.5-5.8 DiIII is not only a good half stop faster than their 18-200mm, but with no optical stabilisation it promises better performance in a smaller package. It drains no extra power to lock an OS system down or operate it and it weighs only 285g. On the Olympus OM-D E-M5 MkII body, with hood fitted, the total weight is under 730g. While this is not a weatherproof MSC AF lens like Olympus’s own 14-150mm ƒ4-5.6 ED M. Zuiko Digital II, it has fast (stepper motor) silent focusing and it’s 3mm shorter physically with 52mm rather than 58mm filter thread, and identical 63.5mm barrel diameter. The ergonomics are very different from Olympus, with the unmarked fly-by-wire focus ring closest to the camera and a generous rubber grip ribbed zoom barrel operating a smooth two-section extension with lock at 14mm. The lens is so light that zoom creep is not really an issue, though over time the action is likely to get looser. The Tamron is an attractive lens in its black version, which we tested – the same hard gloss black as their Sony LE. Everything about it speaks of precision, and it’s over £200 less than the Zuiko’s £550-ish price tag. With 17 elements in 11 groups, the Tamron was claimed to be the most complex such zoom design when introduced in 2014. Reviews have been mixed. Frankly, we wouldn’t recognise the excellent lens we have been using from some published tests. On the E-M5 II 16 megapixel sensor it’s much sharper at 150mm than any full frame 28-300mm at 300mm, as well as faster at ƒ5.8 not ƒ6.3. It focuses faster thanks to the video-
Tamron was the originator of the ‘28 to hundreds’ superzoom range. They now make one the only independent zoom for MicroFourThirds – an ultra-compact, light 14-150mm, 28 to 300mm equivalent.
Prairie dogs at Five Sisters Zoo, Livingston. 12 megapixel crop from E-M5 MkII 16 megapixel frame, above, at 150mm and ƒ5.8, ISO 200, 1/250s. Full print size (300dpi) section, right, shows fine sharp fur detail. Below, Spittal promenade, where Lowry painted on his Northumbrian holiday breaks. Great depth of field and good geometry at 35mm, ƒ10, ISO 200. Photographs: Shirley Kilpatrick
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friendly silent stepper motor, right down to 0.5m at all focal lengths enabling a 0.22X image equivalent to 0.44X or nearly half life size in full frame terms (matching the Zuiko in this). With no OS, it’s not recommended for the Panasonic bodies which have no built-in stabilisation but it’s a great travel companion for the Olympus OM-1, 5 and 10 (especially in MkII form) or Pen F. The lens has a built-in profile which are activated by some bodies to correct JPEGs and also the EVF or screen view. With barrel distortion present at 14mm and pincushion appearing from around 35mm on, raw files claim to be using the built-in profile but close study leads us to think Adobe does not do so correctly. There is no separate profile unlike that for the APS-C DiIII 18-200mm. The extreme corners of the frame are soft wide open at 14mm, but the profile correction to JPEG loses these corners entirely. The lens seems to be shorter than 14mm, and its specifications reflect the profile-corrected image scale. In practice, we found results at 150mm and ƒ5.8 to be as sharp as the sensor would resolve. In general, telephoto-end AF was instant and perfect (a frequent experience with current MFT kit, which does this so much better than any other format). Could it match the legendary Olympus 60mm ƒ2.8 macro? We did a quick test on a linen tea-towel with lots of superfine fibres, at 50cm distance, both lenses at 60mm and ƒ5.6. In a blind test guessing which was which, the Tamron actually won. It actually had more contrast and was just as sharp, and across just as much of the frame. The lens can be firmware updated via the camera body, like all MicroFourThirds consortium products. Don’t confuse this with old full frame 28-300mms or APS-C 18-200mms. It’s a later design and better than any of those ever were. – David & Shirley Kilpatrick Á
ANNOUNCING THE FIRST WACOM
CINTIQ EXPERIENCE CENTRE OUTSIDE CENTRAL LONDON
Featured artist: Craig & Karl
GET UP CLOSE & PERSONAL WITH THE WACOM CINTIQ RANGE At the new Cintiq Experience Centre, centrally located in Leicester, youâ€™re able to test the latest Wacom Cintiq tablets in a comfortable, relaxed environment where we give you the time you need to discover the wonders of Wacom for yourself. Bring your own files and see how the latest technology from Wacom can help improve your productivity and workflow, whilst unleashing your true creative potential. Alongside Cintiq, you can see the rest of the Wacom range linked to the latest Eizo monitors for a truly immersive experience.
Cintiq 27 Pro
MEET THE EXPERTS AT OUR OPEN DAY - Weds 13th Sept Come along to our Open Day in September and you will be able to speak directly to the experts from Wacom who will be presenting a special demonstration focused around Photo Restoration.
The latest Eizo CG and CS Series of monitors are trusted by leading photographers, retouchers, animators and film makers around the world. With clearer images, greater detail, and sharper colours
Also in attendance will be experts from Eizo Monitors.
With Wacom and Eizo you can create your ideal working environment.
2 Meridian West, Meridian Business Park, Leicester LE19 1WX www.tetenaluk.com REGISTER FOR THE OPEN DAY BY VISITING
http://bit.ly/2uN9HFz or call to make an appointment for a personal demonstration
http://www.tetenaluk.com/wacom-pen-computers-interactive-pen-displays-and-pen-tablets.html Cameracraft September/October 2017 17
teve Chong suffers from the Rodney Dangerfield syndrome. He gets no respect from his peers – not because his photos are substandard, but because of the equipment he uses. Actually, his style and subject matter has changed considerably over the decades, starting first with still life and commercial, then shifting to conceptual art which has collectively won over 100 gold medal awards internationally, and now concentrating almost exclusively on beautiful landscapes of Asian countryside. Conceptual Art “Images appear in my head all the time”, says Steve, who goes on to explain the kind of intensity that went into creating these shots on film. “It’s very tiring, setting it up, props, lighting, post-production… it takes a long time. With some shots it took one month just to get it right. And it’s not the kind of project where you can stop and then continue it two
weeks later. I can’t stop mid-way; I have to work on it continuously until it’s finished.” The editing is even more time consuming, shooting on everything from 35mm to medium and large-format film, scanning, and then retouching. “If I were to shoot in film, I have to shoot, arrange, then rush to the photo shop to get it developed, look at the negatives, sharpness… only then do I come back and finish. Sometimes I have to reshoot. Today, I love the instant feedback of digital! “I had two kinds of customers”, reminisced Steve. “The first are those who are looking for a nice feeling, like the kind of China landscapes I produce today. Images that bring a positive kind of feeling that people want to hang on their walls.” The other type is the kind that likes to be challenged by the imagery. “I don’t want to give them a nice feeling, I want them to
STEVE CHONG From studio concepts to iconic landscapes
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think about my motive. I want them to guess what’s on my mind. Some have a message (some I couldn’t even comprehend myself), and some people explain it to me. It’s interesting how they perceive my art. The photo of the hand and the ball, for example – some will say the hand is releasing, not catching the ball. To them, this kind of interpretation matters. This kind of viewer wants questions, not answers. I find it very interesting.” The obvious amount of intensity and effort that went into his conceptual work helped him land many commercial jobs later on. “People tend to look at my work and think, this guy is driven… he can do things that are beyond our normal ideas”. So his commercial work had to be pretty straight but not conceptual. But, as Steve admits, despite the awards (which came from such institutions as the Royal Photographic Society and the London Salon), the conceptual work took too much time and didn’t bring in enough money. And the commercial work, too little and sparsely spread out. And so ten years ago he changed gear and started doing travel and landscape photography, synergistically mixed with hosting photo expeditions geared toward the unique needs of photographers. He hasn’t looked back.
Faucet and water shot, top left: “The inspiration came during a drought when I was expecting water drops but water in full strength came rushing out. I painted my hands white and have to set the timer to obtain the shot. I must say it was very challenging. This image has won four awards.” Hands and red ball shot, left: “The lock for criminals dated hundreds of years ago in China inspired me to do this shot. I bought a soft board measured two feet by ten from the carpenter, and cut two holes about three inches in diameter on the left and right. Spray paint went onto this and a background cloth, and on to the hands of the children who were modeling. I poked a pin size hole on the ping-pong and stuck a black string in it.” Green cup on green table: “The light source was my computer monitor. I wrote a simple BASIC program to obtain the colors I desired. Interestingly, the surface of the table is pink. I bought the cup during my tour to Vietnam.” Glass on blue background: “The image had been on my mind for more than a week. I first made a glass tank, and put blue paper with a blue 60W bulb behind it. It took thirty minutes to get the glass positioned just right using blue tack. I filled the tank with blue water, and adjusted the lights and glass to get the desired reflections. After more than ten attempts I finally got this shot.” Cameracraft September/October 2017 19
Steve was born in Malaysia in 1965, in Malacca, where he has lived all his life. He’s fourth generation Chinese Malaysian, with his ancestors emigrating from China during the fall of the Ch’ing dynasty. He started his career as a computer programmer, set up his own software company, and hired others to do the work. “I hate managing other people. That’s the part that drove me nuts!”, he says. And so he transitioned to photography instead, hiring someone else to run the company – “I’m an absentee owner now”. Today Steve fills his schedule with travel, publishing photo books, and conducting the photo expeditions throughout China and Indonesia. “I’m concentrating on these two areas because I speak many languages: Mandarin, Indonesian, English, Malay, plus many dialects. Part of the reason I like this is I get the chance to meet nice people. They’re economically stable and have a better attitude toward life”. He also has a regular column in the newspaper China Daily, where he writes thoughts about feelings, political opinion, philosophy, and life stories of people that he meets. Sometimes they're deep and heavy; sometimes humorous. He even talks about photography occasionally. “I use
is now in its third printing. Each printing sold out in six months. All of Facebook! I have about 10,000 followers. It’s a natural thing for me”. One day he hopes to get back to the conceptual photography again – “my medium format cameras are crying in the closet… they want to come out to play”.
my mobile phone to shoot for the paper. This morning I posted an article, just came back from China, the village where my great grandma came from. “I just do things I like – I like to see the world, to experience the
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phenomena of nature, and like to introduce these to my friends”. The photo book business has treated him well too, having self-published many books and selling them exclusively on his Facebook page. “My first book
So what’s the issue with his equipment? He shoots with Foveon-based Sigma cameras, and reactions range from “Sigma makes cameras?”, to “their color palette is off”, to “nobody I know shoots with that” – reactions usually accompanied by a look of despite. That’s why he always tells his students, “Don’t show me your camera, show me your pictures”. Foveon sensors were once supposed to revolutionize digital photography, much like the rotary engine was supposed forever change the automotive world. The technical advantages are numerous: no need for a Bayer RGB filter array over the sensor, as each pixel can sense all three colors at once; no anti-aliasing artefacts when shooting finepitched detail like clothing. The most recent iterations are said to have a resolution equivalent to a conventional 43MP Bayer sensor
(although it’s difficult to come up with an equivalence formula – see http://bit.ly/2tOzht9). And perhaps the best advantage of all: a small camera body capable of producing giant enlargements that can withstand careful scrutiny (see David Kilpatrick’s review of the Sigma sd Quattro H in the July/August 2017 issue of Cameracraft). Foveon has been offering all this since the days when 6MP APS-C sensors reigned. It was a significant technical advantage when Steve was searching for a digital camera during the industry's infancy. The sensor’s downside is that cameras that use them tend to be slow and unresponsive, and desktop post-processing is a must. This rules out the camera for sports, kids and pets, but it's a great choice for landscapes. “I’m a sharpness freak. It’s not better than my scanning negatives. Someone pointed me to Sigma. I downloaded their photos, and their raw processor, Sigma Photo Pro. I said, gosh, it is so sharp and so detailed and so clean. I knew then that I had found my camera. The output is some of the best, even now”. His landscapes are so compelling that they caught the attention of Sigma, who since made him a brand ambassador for their cameras. “I have all four Quattro cameras. Some of the best. The only drawback is the focal length is too short at times on the models with fixed lenses, the dp series. I do use them occasionally, but find myself using the DSLR more for landscapes”. Any particular source of inspiration? “Steve Jobs once gave him a famous speech called ‘connecting the dots’. It’s a very touching and important speech where Jobs says you have to trust in something, be it your gut, destiny, karma, whatever, because you can’t know at the time whether the thing you're about to do is the right thing. I’m doing that. Ever since bridging the post-processing gap between analog and digital worlds, I knew it was the right thing to invest in. So I’m connecting the dots”. – Gary Friedman
A small sample of Steve's work can be found on his website SteveChong.com but much more can be found on his Facebook page, where he's been posting his landscape images for several years now: https://www.facebook.com/steve.chong.35 There's also a short video of his work at https://vimeo.com/188643255 Finally, his photo expedition schedule can be found at http://bit.ly/2vx4BP9 For information on the Sigma Quattro cameras, visit www.sigma-imaging-uk.com or www.sigma-global.com
Á Cameracraft September/October 2017 21
essing with a proven formula is always risky; Fuji reignited their professional camera presence with the original X100 and have brought it steadily up to the fourth generation (hence, the F) for 2017. What was hailed as retro is now becoming more mainstream partly due to Fuji’s impressive success with the X-series, and as with the original, retro is only skin deep. Defining the X100 series is a purity that traditional film photographers appreciate. Pocket cameras that dominated 35mm format usage were crucial to many and thrived in part because the compact, integrated design is often the best tool for the job - it wasn’t about price. Even as late as the 1990s, when affordable new and used, technologically advanced SLRs had reached saturation point, models like the Contax T2 with fast, standard-wide lenses and great build quality were popular and expensive. For a while it felt like that side of the market had gone, with a gulf between high-tech DSLRs and consumertargeted, technically fiddly or limited compacts. Key to the X100’s appeal at launch was the hybrid optical/ electronic viewfinder. For the X100F, this offers a clever parallax correction frameline that also corrects the AF point/AF confirm location, giving full photographic telemetry with a real-time view of the subject and composition. The quality of this is arguably superior to the Leica M I’m used to, easy to glance at the framing, no distortion of the framelines (on the Leica the wider frames are pushing the extreme edges of your field of view), and that’s before the hybrid finder really gets to work. Colour electronic rangefinder, focus peaking and full EVF are all available for subject-appropriate technique in addition to the rear touch screen, which makes framing and focusing on more considered scenes exceptionally straightforward. Ergonomically it is hard to fault the X100F; quick access to controls is intuitive through direct adjustments or the Q menu and only the lack of a tilting screen holds it back for
Richard Kilpatrick takes the latest incarnation of Fujifilm’s Leicalike fixed lens ‘rangefinder’ compact for a spin – and finds there is no need to put a spin on it at all. It does its own PR.
The classic, metal Leica-like lines of the X100F with its hybrid viewfinder that uses an intelligent, parallax-eliminating optical-electronic view. The rear screen is an alternative composition method and does not fold out, keeping the size to a minimum. The 23mm ƒ2 lens is similarly fixed. The SD card is accessed via the battery cover. The mechanicalstyle aperture, shutter speed and exposure compensation controls make the camera easy to set and adjust.
optimum flexibility. In this case, the saving in bulk is worth it. SD card access via the battery hatch – battery type shared with other X-series bodies – down below. The tripod mount is off-centre, allowing accessory grips to be used and provide a tripod mount on the lens axis.
Fujifilm X100F £1199 SRP inc VAT
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Behind the 23mm ƒ2 lens, with its central shutter, lies Fuji’s latest X-Trans III sensor. Found in the X-Pro2 and X-T2 as well, this offers the differentiation of the pseudo-random colour filter array and the on-chip phase detection developed on later X-Trans sensors. Capturing a 24.3Mp area for a maximum file of 6000 x 4000 pixels, the sensor area includes a total of 325 focus points as well as a fine range of predefined contrast detection points. The spread and accuracy of the hybrid focus system has allowed Fuji to give the X100F decidedly nonpocket camera performance when needed - 8 frames per second and the same range of motion-tracking AF programmes as the X-T2. Unlike the X-T2, the X100F can give you reasonably high-speed flash sync without HSS, ranging from 1/500th at ƒ2.8 to 1/4000th between ƒ8 and minimum aperture. Fully open the leaf shutter needs about 1/300th to fully open and close, limiting speed there. This same phenomenon naturally affects shooting in bright daylight, and to alleviate this a switchable 3-stop ND filter is built in. Naturally the hybrid viewfinder/ LCD combination lets you break out the traditional filters too, with a 49mm thread keeping the costs of high-quality polarisers and ND filters reasonable. This is one camera where a couple of ND options and grads can be really enjoyable, after all, keeping the creative process in a compact package. Either way, the ability to control aperture, ISO (up to 51,200 in extended modes, but 6400 is a nice limit for pleasingly low noise and good detail and 12,800 is available before pushing the files) and sync across such a wide range of variables endows the X100F with a lot of creative potential when working with
The X100F is an unobtrusive and silent camera. It is also very quick to use. For street photography, the framing (above) does not have to be exact as the new 24 megapixel sensor allows plenty of scope for cropping (left) with straightening and black and white conversion in this case. Below: the 23mm lens is very sharp indeed, and the image at ISO 200 is effectively noise-free, even in sky areas which often show most evidence. Very subtle tones and fine detail in Liverpool architecture.
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The 23mm ƒ2 lens in the X100F is equivalent to a moderate wide angle 35mm, always a popular focal length for general use. The difference in depth of field between ƒ16 (left) and ƒ2 (right) in this shot shows how even wide open, the depth of the foreground subject group is well enough handled and it is mostly the distant background scene which is blurred. This also happens with close-up portraits, the APS-C format and short focal length making critical focus less important when nose, ears, and hair and not likely to be out of the depth of field even wide open.
constant light or flash. The only real technical limitation is the lack of flash when using the electronic shutter. However, the electronic shutter does have applications when shooting wide-open in good daylight, where the physical limitations of the diaphragm shutter become apparent. Better yet, your experiments in flash can be very forgiving of older, slow duration kit. Although the X100F really should be the strongest argument yet for ditching your smartphone – 10cm close focus, a wide angle of view, exceptional dynamic range and quality with files you can effectively crop and indeed, sell – it still benefits you to have one of the cursed devices alongside the camera. WiFi is used not only for sharing your creations to Instagram for immediate kudos, it also allows geotagging of travel images and remote control of the camera. The same WiFi is used to bring a bit of analogue fun back into the X100F, supporting the Instax Share/SP2 printers. With that instant gratification in mind, Fuji have also implemented their full range of film simulation modes – though at present Adobe’s software still defaults to importing with the Adobe profile, your JPEG previews and remote transfer images have the profiles applied, from ACROS monochrome with optional filter simulation, to classic Velvia and Astia. Double exposures and “fun” simulations, like colour-pop and toy camera modes are also present, but not intrusively so. Fuji
For street photography, the X100F hybrid viewfinder allows both rapid framing and accurate composition. Street photographer, above, using something more noticeable than the Fujifilm. Below, post-processing black and white is an alternative to using the built-in JPEG monochrome looks such as ACROS. The optical finder may leave elements of the shot closer to the frame edge than you think.
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With 24 megapixels to use, a slightly looser composition of a subject like the architecture above can be post-processed with Camera Raw or Photoshop perspective correction. It’s better to leave as much room as possible round the subject, here the crop is as close to the buildings as permissible. Right: single-handed use of the X100F when clambering around monuments to get the right viewpoint. The X100 series cameras are some of the best for one handed use with a wrist strap – just lift to the eye and fire.
have catered for the demands of the smartphone generation rather well, as it happens, yet the X100F presents and works as a simple, straightforward rangefinder compact if that is what you want of it. Fuji have released updated conversion lenses, allowing the X100F to go from the standard 35mm equivalent view to 28mm (WCL-X100II, 0.8x), 50mm (TCLX100II, 1.4x) with software-guided parallax correction and frame guides for the hybrid viewfinder. Software also provides precropped 50mm and 70mm modes, with an appropriate reduction in resolution, for those quick snaps where you want the assistance in composition and don’t have access to cropping tools. Typical UK retail price is around £1,249 in silver or street-discrete
black. Though some online stores are offering below £1,000, they are probably grey imports, and to be avoided if you want support from Fujifilm UK. This compares with the interchangeable X-Pro2 without lens at £1,349, or if you prefer, the graphite kit with 23mm lens at £2,149 for a near-direct equivalent setup. The X100F is smaller and lighter, and offers that central shutter; it really is the optimum choice for street and travel photography. It may take some time to break the habit, but it’s time to move on – that iPhone might have reinvigorated how you’re looking at everyday scenes for the captures, but the X100F will make those images valuable and beautiful. Verdict? I want one…
www.fujifilm.co.uk Cameracraft September/October 2017 25
Image © Tom Barnes
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1 TO 100
t the foot of a quiet lane which leads into the centre of Bassenthwaite village there’s a distinctive new house which has something unique. Parking! Anyone who has tried to stop for a minute to take a picture on the Lake District’s roads will know that lay-bys and parking spaces are rare. Try parking in most towns or villages and it’s either impossible, expensive or both. This makes the well-defined, brick paved private parking for Carmen Norman’s studio a major asset. It’s clearly private enough to prevent casual unauthorised use and accessible for her clients. We came across Carmen’s work with the publication of her book, 1 to 100 A Century of Portraits, and Lakescapes exhibition at the prestigious Theatre by the Lake in nearby Keswick. The book helps the Lake District Mountain Rescue and is an example of how digital printing has enabled self-publishing by photographers. Printed by Blurb Books, it is a high quality slip covered hardback with 108 pages (54 sheets) and endpapers. With a price of £30, the Blurb costing has enabled Carmen to give £10 to the search and rescue charity for every copy sold, with the option for buyers to add more. Although the family only moved to Bassenthwaite in early 2015, Carmen and her husband Alastair had been regular visitors over the years, and always wanted to make the move. She grew up with photography, her father Ron Burridge teaching her darkroom work in his unique loft-space conversion which involved putting a garden shed into the roof. In London, she worked in the family wedding and portrait business well into her twenties before following the digital revolution. She taught IT and became an early expert in Photoshop, while her own photography turned to the landscape – and Cumbria. “We wanted to move”, she told us, “but finding the right house in
Carmen Norman moved to the Lake District to cement her reputation – and gallery sales – as a landscape photographer. Then a simple idea for a book and exhibition drew her into the heart of her new community.
Betsey, 1 the Lakes District is difficult. Then we found Rakefoot. The house had been built but was not lived in for two and a half years, as there are restrictions on who can buy property in the national park. If you want to buy here, you must live here and run a business – not have a holiday home or a buy to let. The area has a big problem with 70% of property now holiday lets. The planning permission included the studio as business space, not a living room which
potential buyers wanted it to be. The studio was for work – business rates, business stamp duty… so they had trouble selling.” For Carmen, the property was ideal. The work space is clearly defined, a timber-clad open plan room leading into the house. The property stands on a narrow roadside strip with the beck running below, no risk of flooding though the village enjoys plenty of rain. After being approached by a student who was photographing
someone every day for a year (and agreeing to be a subject) Carmen thought of the idea of 1 to 100. But how do you go about getting all hundred people into the studio in a reasonable time frame? Her answer was to put out a call on social media, Facebook and Twitter. The response was immediate, as she wasn’t doing a free sitting in the marketing sense. She was not making any charge for the photography, but with sponsorship from Permajet provided each one with a fine art print on Portrait Rag paper, printed on her Epson printer (now a P800 though she started with a smaller R2800). She did not expect the sitters to buy prints, though some naturally did. Within the first week, she had booked in 40 sittings, all with different ages. The words also went round through local groups, Cumbria having particularly strong networking with charities like Age UK Cumbria in good fettle. The fact that her time and skills were being used to support Mountain Rescue gave her a natural connection to all local groups as this is such an important voluntary service in the fells. Most sitters were able to come to the studio in North Row. Bassenthwaite village is not on the lakeside, but it is on bus routes and firmly on the tourist map with hotels and restaurants, shops and essential community facilities. Some were not, so she took her simple white background to their homes. The plain white style which links all the photographs was planned. “I wanted a minimum of distraction”, Carmen explained. “This was all about the face.”
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Charlotte, 2 To achieve the consistent look, she used two fluorescent lights balanced for daylight, in small softboxes. In the studio, the background is set up to face a large French window overlooking the beck. The westerly light in the valley provides much of the look, with the studio lighting adding only what is needed. For other portrait work she often uses a black background. The simple, consistent look relied on using Nikon D810 (she has two bodies) with either the 50mm ƒ1.4 or 85mm ƒ1.4 lens. “I would usually take 40 to
50 images of each person at different angles, different heights, asking the subject to try different facial expressions”, she writes in the book. “One of the toughest parts of the project has been to select just one image from each person’s collection. I didn’t want all smiling happy faces, I wanted to select a picture that captured the person behind the eyes and showed the personality. The book isn’t only a set of portraits, it is a collection of experiences, of personalities, of memories. I have seen so much love and laughter whilst building this book. I will
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never forget 100 year old Kath, she was so happy to have reached such an incredible milestone.” For some sitters, the project became a race against time. Towards the end of the year’s photography, Carmen found she had a few gaps – years with no representative. She had to photograph them all within one year or their relative ages would have been skewed, and the oldest sitter she was able to have visit the studio was 96. For the ‘final decade’ she faced the inevitable demographic, most of the oldest subjects would be women.
Then, she needed to fill in a gap for age 98. She had to find her last sitter. Not only did he turn out to be a man, redressing the bias, but she had only two days in which to get the portrait before he turned 99! It all went well, and she had her set. The exhibition of the portraits was held in the Theatre on the Lake gallery, with all the work framed using the consistent choice of stock frames Carmen buys from a local framer. These are black, white or natural wood with a slim square profile moulding, matte overlay and
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Lynne, 72 and Geoff, 85. glass. In her studio, one wall is fitted with hanging cords and clamps allowing a number of prints to be displayed and changed without marking the painted wall. Most of the prints on show are landscapes, as that’s what brings in the sales in the Lake District where visitors, locals and those problematic 70% of holiday rentals all want the wall decor. The pictures we have selected are not necessarily the ones with the best stories, or evenly spaced. They are just an edited set to our taste. As for the stories, Carmen was asked if she could record words from all her sitters, and decided it should not be. This, after all, was all about the faces. It’s a fascinating record of the ages of man and woman. – DK
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Film is not dead!
nigmatic Burnley-based ‘film star’ Daniel Scanlin makes no bones about it – he hates digital photography. He always has. Daniel’s grandfather used to run a photographic lab – one of the first in the UK to use Fujifilm photographic paper for consumer prints. Now it’s a minilab set-up in a camera shop run by Daniel and his father. “I learned about the darkroom and the magic of film processing and developing after leaving school,” he says. ‘I think it should be a given that all photography students be taught these fundamentals. I confess I am a digital photography hater. I think this technology has just given people with money the opportunity to buy a camera, stick it on ‘auto’ and claim they are proper photographers. And yet the truth is, many don’t even know what an f-stop is.” He adds: “Now, with smartphones, everyone is a photographer. I think real photographers’ confidence has dropped. They’ve gotten lazy. To me nothing is more beautiful than grain. I believe digital images tend to be flat without the application of major post production.” Now Daniel, who says his mission is simply to document life, has produced an eBook (available free on Blurb) entitled Burnley loves Benedictine. The project completes next year – coinciding with the one hundredth anniversary of the troops’ homecoming. Additionally, he is planning a series of exhibitions (all work output to Fujifilm Original Photo Paper by ThePrintStore, London) in the north of England and also in Normandy at the Palais Benedictine (a distillery and museum housed in a palace). He describes the eBook as ‘a photographic insight into an unlikely love affair betwixt a French elixir and an industrial town in the north of England’. Daniel explains: “The link with this secret recipe and Burnley fascinates me. The history goes back to WW1 when physically injured and mentally exhausted soldiers from this area had been given bene‘n hot – Benedictine with hot water – by nurses in casualty clearing stations and auxiliary hospitals across Normandy. “When they came home in 1918 the soldiers still wanted to drink the liqueur – and to this day the renowned Burnley Miners Working Men’s Club is the biggest seller of Benedictine D.O.M in the world.” He adds: “Also Burnley Football Club is the only club in the Premier League to serve this cocktail ( made to a top secret recipe from 27 plants and spices with the flavour of sweet honey and holiday spice) – at halftime – which I am sure is why we win a lot of our home games!” (Check out Bene‘n Burnley video on YouTube).
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Prints from the exhibition by Daniel Scanlin – left, the library at the Benedictine distillery and museum; below, the Benedictine lounge at Burnley Miners Working Men’s Club.
‘I love vinyl records. I have no television at home and I shoot with film’ – Daniel Scanlin, the digital photography hater whose latest exhibition, ‘Burnley loves Benedictine’, is shot on Fujifilm Pro 400H and Pro 160 NS.
Scarborough’s ‘ninja’ duo NOW A Scarborough studio is also running a ‘film is not dead’ theme. Scarborough-based sibling photographers Dom and Liam Shaw help run York Place studios. They describe themselves as ‘natural light ninjas’ – shooting local portraits/weddings and street photography across the world. The brother/sister combo frequently roam international cities ‘to try and find the true essence and soul of a place’. Recently they partnered with Digitalab. ‘After seeing the phenomenal work they do in developing, scanning and printing film… we decided it was time to go back to our roots and see what we could produce,” says Dom. Armed with Fujifilm Superia 200 film (sponsored by the lab) they took themselves off to Sri Lanka for a fortnight (see their website: yorkplacestudios.co.uk). Adds Dom: “Whilst much of the trip was actually spent shooting digitally, it was very exciting to pick up a film camera again and hear that old familiar click and winding of film- not to mention the absolute joy of receiving the beautiful scans back from the lab. I have a feeling there will be many more film images in our future.”
Right: Dom and Liam, top image, and photographs from their Sri Lanka documentary.
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Artistic References Cameracraft September/October 2017 35
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Carola Kayen-Mouthaan - reference & irreverence
iving in Brabant, the shadow – and light – of the Northern European Renaissance is always present for Dutch portrait photographer Carola. Working from her home studio, once her household became all-adult she revived a lifelong interest in photography, eight years ago. With great support from all her family, she developed her own ideas and has learned to master Photoshop alongside the ‘old mastery’ of lighting, posing and mis-en-scène for subjects who often become her actors. In the last three years, Carola’s reputation through the image sharing net of sites like OneEyeland has grown. She admits to finding inspiration in other people’s work but her real muses are the people she photographs. Some appear in many different pictures, including characters like her iconic bearded men, forming collections of work. Since Carola is prolific in output, there are many different sets of images. Our cover photograph for this issue is unconnected with the themed set chosen here.
To see more of Carola’s work visit http://dutchbeautyfotografie.nl At a meeting with the Guild of Photographers, some of Carola’s entries for their Image of the Month appeared on Steve Thirsk’s screen and one – the bearded artist painting himself on to the canvas – prompted a search later to see more of Carola’s work.
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We found that this is one of a series with many variations on the theme. It’s not an entirely new idea, artists themselves have used the idea alongside trompe l’oeil and illusory perspectives ever since lenses, mirrors and magic merged in the 17th century. In the
last few years she’s taken a strong interest in fine art and its history, and travels to attend workshops. Her ambition is to have an exhibition at a recognised gallery, and we’d say that with sets of work like this, she’s on track. This is not just personal, or development, work. It is professional paid portraiture and for one of the pictures here we had to ask permission from the private client (the third picture in this set). Clearly, the example of one idea has been adapted to be similar but unique to her client. Her theme has been developed to include sculpture references as well as painting, artists at work, self-portraits and animals. Carola loves animals – whether alive or antique stuffed props she often uses. While the photographs are full of references, they are also full of irreverence, humour and fun. In this she has more in common with the late Renaissance than with the often far-too-serious ‘fine art’ of many photographic contemporaries. – DK
Print in photo courtesy of Sian Lewis Photography
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Voigtländer Macro APO Lanthar 65mm ƒ2 Aspherical
f you want a lens which bucks trends, this must be it. There’s no plastic in sight, nothing floats, sharpness trumps bokeh and build quality determines the budget. Designed for fullframe Sony FE mirrorless, the Voigtländer 65mm ƒ2 Macro APO Lanthar reached us in pre-production form in March with a brief to try it and report back to help Cosina fine-tune the production release. I have no idea if they did, as the lens was pretty much perfect to start with, certainly a benchmark optically and impressive to use with its massive 1:2 focusing barrel and ultra-smooth operation. This is a manual focus and aperture lens with electronic coupling. The non-linear aperture ring has one-third soft click stops from ƒ2 to ƒ22. The focus takes over 300° of travel to reach the 30cm close focus or half life size. At this range, 17cm is clear between the lens filter rim and subject (without the short lens hood which adds 17mm to a 30mm recessing of the concave nano-coated front element to eliminate light source flare). To achieve 1:1, you must add a 26mm extension between lens and body. The helical focus extends by 40mm, so a standard E-mount set of two extension tubes at 26mm does this. I fitted two sets of extension tubes to get closer, but the weight of the Macro APO Lanthar at 625g is a poor match for a cheap engineering of typical tubes. On the A7RII and A6500 bodies, the lens mount is a very firm fit without any trace of play, just right given the resistance of the manual focus action. The activation of magnified manual focus has a fast response. The EXIF data is accurate and absolute, so ƒ2 records as ƒ2 even at 1:2 scale when the effective aperture is ƒ2.8. The data provided to the camera’s sensor-based stabilisation worked as well at 1:2 as it did at infinity. The infinity stop was dead-on, which is a risk as Sony bodies are variable in
Technical test by David Kilpatrick Additional images by Treeza Condon
The 65mm Macro APO Lanthar, top, has three coloured flashes on the front rim to indicate its level of correction. The prototype had RGB rings (watch out for eBay sellers – genuine? – still showing pictures of this). The FE mount, top right, is matt finish rather than polished and this probably helps with the firm secure fit. The aperture ring has one-third clicks and is nonlinear, with more space between the midway markings, less at ƒ2 and ƒ22. The depth of field markings are almost a token design feature. Above silk thread swatch book test: this test tells me a lot about colour, geometry, corner to corner sharpness and microcontrast (extremely fine low contrast detail). As the 300dpi full size section shows, performance at ƒ2 is already as good as I’ve ever seen. Right, the lens shown at infinity and at 1:2.
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This lily was set up as a test in the studio and photographed at all apertures, in detail and as a whole. Tests were made using focus stacking with both Photoshop automation and Helicon Focus software. In practice, the best compromise between the finest detail sharpness at depth of field turned out to be a single shot at Ć’13, but the extra depth of field at Ć’16 was worth the slight loss of definition. This was corrected by increasing detail sharpness and adding a small level of Clarity in Adobe Camera Raw. The lens revealed so many tiny defects on the specimen plant that extensive retouching was needed. Sony A7RII, ISO 100, two Godox DE300 studio flash heads with 90 x 120cm softboxes (left and right rear side lighting) and one Multiblitz Profilite 200 with 40cm rigid softbox near the camera.
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Photographs by Treeza Condon We asked Wiltshire photographer Treeza to test the lens. She likes soft focus, and found the wide aperture ideal for this. Above, at ƒ2 focusing on the pollen. Below, at 1:2, stopped down a little to ƒ4. To see more of Treeza’s work, follow her on Facebook or at gurushots.com/treezacondon
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Manual ‘move the camera’ focusing at ƒ2.8
Detail as shown on an 18 x 27 inch print their precise register and a zone beyond infinity can allow for this. This lens on my body was set for astrophotography accuracy at the hard stop. Used for general and landscape photography the lens is so sharp that even apertures like ƒ8 need real care in focusing on 42 megapixels. At ƒ2 with maximum magnified EVF focus, rows of individual roof slates could be ‘focused through’ at 500m distance. The focal length combines with the A7RII viewfinder to give a nearly exact 100% view meaning you can have both eyes open. The 10-blade
manual iris gives a pleasant bokeh if not true circles as you stop down and the high resolution makes peaking and magnified focus work well even at ƒ11. The sharpest results are from ƒ2 to ƒ5.6. I don’t think there is a higher resolution lens made for the FE mount. No doubt various lab test websites will confirm by measurement what can clearly be seen by observation. As for illumination, geometry, flatness field between 1:2 and infinity, flare resistance and aberration correction I can only repeat that this is a benchmark lens. I found no trace of any fault except slight softening through
At ƒ5.6, focused slightly beyond the cyclists, the church is still sharp but the tree branches at the right show subtle out-of-focus bokeh
diffraction once ƒ16 is used on a non-macro close-up, or ƒ11 at closest focus. With its 91mm minimum length, 67mm thread and deeply recessed front element, the 65mm is a little large for ring-flash and ends up without much clearance if you add extension tubes to go beyond 1:1. In the studio, whether stopped down to ƒ16 single shot or focus stacked multi exposure at ƒ5.6, 65mm proved a useful focal length also ideal for still life and product work on APS-C bodies like the A6500. It is a true apochromat, with its 10 elements in 8 groups.
Examined with a point source, no ‘onion-rings’ can be seen which means the aspheric element is similar in quality to Sony’s latest high precision moulding. There is no ‘colour bokeh’ tint shift in defocused foreground or background blur. For the £749 (inc VAT) price the 65mm Macro APO Lanther ƒ2 is a sound investment. Even if Sony introduces 100MP full frame sensors it will shine. It’s not just a great macro lens, it’s superb for landscape, studio and general work.
Detail as shown on an 18 x 27 inch print
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COAST TO COAST EAST vs WEST
oming from a family of fine-artists and art-lecturers, it was only natural that Glyn Davies spent his formative years drawing and painting, which led to a fine art foundation course at Falmouth School of Art and an honours degree in photography from Harrow. Newly-graduated Glyn began work in 1987 as a freelance photographer shooting commercial, industrial and portrait photography for corporate and private clients nationwide. He was bought up in Cornwall but his father’s family are all from Anglesey. “In the late 1980s my family moved back to North Wales”, he told us, “and after leaving university I moved up here with them. Other than a few periods in Manchester and Portsmouth, I have been here ever since”. Glyn worked from home for many years until a friend
Stephen Power talks to four photographers who live and work where the sea meets the sky. Are you a sunset person or a sunrise person? It makes a difference…
1: Glyn Davies, Anglesey
Subtle washes of sunlight permeate the winter gloom: Elidir Fawr becomes a snow-capped volcano and Y Garn sits solemnly in the shadows behind.
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suggested he invest in business premises that became available in Menai Bridge. So, in 2002, he opened a photography gallery and concentrated on personal landscape work for sale to the public. “Putting yourself and your work right in front of the public daily is the scariest thing I’ve ever done, but I’ve never looked back”, he admits. “It was just fluke that I set up in Menai Bridge. In hindsight, I wish I was in a busier town as footfall is essential for a retail gallery. It’s damned hard making a living here in North Wales, an economically hard-hit area with no major industry apart from seasonal tourism.” On the plus side, Glyn sees some real advantages to working in North Wales. “It’s a rural area which includes the Snowdonia National Park and many areas of outstanding natural beauty. We are also close to the extremely
Facing page top: dropping below cloud base in Snowdonia, a gigantic ball of sun slowly appeared below one huge bank of cloud and the Irish Sea and the horizon turned orange and red. Above: storm waves crash onto the imposing, rugged once tin mining cliffs at Pendeen, West Penwith, Cornwall. The last mine closed years ago, but numerous engine houses and chimneys mark the site of this once booming Cornish industry providing high grade tin. Below: gigantic Atlantic storm waves crash over the reef at Cape Cornwall near St Just, backlit by early morning sunlight. The sound of the sea was deafening and relentless and my camera lens needed cleaning every few seconds, covered as it was by soft spray that blew over 100 ft into the air.
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wealthy counties of Cheshire and Shropshire, the residents of which regularly holiday here. Many have holiday homes or chalets here and they adore the place. This means that when they need artwork for their walls, they usually want art with a Welsh connection so that it reminds them of their dream escape when they are back at work”., he explains. “I honestly believe that I would be far more financially successful by now if I’d stayed in London, but my work would have been different, and my lifestyle. I am extremely happy to be living so close to some of Britain’s most beautiful landscapes.” Glyn describes his love of the landscape and the sense of solitude he gets from it, combined with the drama of the light and weather over the terrain as “spiritual inspiration”. The variety of changing scenes leave him ecstatic, especially when alone. “It’s like nature is giving something up of itself to me personally – no-one else will ever see the exact same interplay of light over land unless standing at precisely my location.” In terms of photographic gear, he has been using Canon DSLRs for many years since turning to a
Above: a day of mixed weather, brilliant sunshine then violent hail showers – but even when things seemed at their darkest, the burning sunshine was always just behind. Below: a solitary house bathed in late afternoon sunlight in dramatic weather overlooks this secluded little cove on North Anglesey, where streams run down to the sea.
digital workflow, the latest being the 1DS MkIII. However, weight is a factor for someone spending so much time hiking in the mountains, and the rucksack full of heavy Canon lenses and pro body along with flasks, water, food, clothing, walking poles, tripod, and in winter, walkers-axe and crampons has started to take its toll on him. “I found myself being pulled backwards going uphill, and I’m a broad shouldered six foot two bloke”, says Glyn. He looked at the Fuji X-T1 system and quickly
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moved to the X-Pro 2 for higher resolution on APS-C and although the files were “infinitely better”, he didn’t like the ergonomics or rangefinder-style design. The lack of an integral eye-cup was solved by moving to the X-T2, but had issues with dead pixels in two units and flare from the essential 10-24mm zoom shooting into direct sunlight. Glyn has been trying mirrorless full frame Sony A7RII, testing the body with a 16-35mm, and finds the difference in quality he’s been looking for when it comes to
sharpness, clarity, tonal separation and lack of flare. When the new 12-24mm and 100-400mm zooms have settled down to regular availability and price he’s going to consider making the change. “If I wasn’t shooting into the light so much I’d probably stick with the Fuji even with its dead pixels as it’s a neat and fun system in other respects. However, as a professional I need to be able to shoot in any conditions, without worrying about major aberrations; which results in lots of retouching time”, he explains. Glyn processes his image files through Adobe Camera Raw and finishes them briefly in Photoshop, basically re-establishing contrast and sharpness in the raw files. He does all his own printing with calibrated and profiled twin Eizo screens and an HP DesignJet printer. Because of this, he knows that what he sees on screen will translate perfectly to print. “That’s a huge bonus when shooting in the landscape as I already know in my mind what the final print will look like.” In-house print sizes range from A4 to A1, and he’s confident going up to A0 with his Canon and the Sony 42 megapixel files.
“These larger prints are all editioned”, he explains. “Customers spending a lot of money on a print prefer that their images are not produced by the shed-load. They enjoy the rarity of edition prints even if that is not their prime reason for buying. “It’s dead easy to almost give prints away and flog cheap inkjets, but that’s not what selling professional photographic art works is about. A business adviser once drummed into me that without profit, your business will fail, nothing more than a vanity exercise, looking busy but making no money. He was so right.” Glyn has been featured frequently on TV and radio and his work has appeared in numerous publications. He is particularly pleased to have published five books of his own, two of which, Anglesey Landscapes 1 and 2, were bought by the Prime Minister as a Royal wedding gift for the now Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Since 2011 Glyn has been working on a long-term personal project about vulnerable nude figures in wild landscape, which
Above: the decond day in a row of temperature inversion. This is right at the edge of the fog bank, before the coast, so the sun was able to pierce the thick fog over Aberffraw and the Irish Sea Below: wind-formed shapes in the Llanddwyn sand dunes, with crepuscular rays in the skies behind.
resulted in a major exhibition Landscape Figures, at the Ynys Môn Gallery. “I have dealers representing my fine-art nudes in landscape work, but I’d love to have an agent or dealer who would represent my fine-art editioned landscapes”, he says. When Cameracraft contacted Glyn, he was being filmed for ITV for a six-programme series about people whose lives and work are influenced by the Menai Strait. That series will be shown either in
the Autumn of 2017 or in January 2018. “I am enjoying my life generally”, he says, “and even without big earnings I value the ability to get out into the landscape easily on a regular basis. I enjoyed my Landscape Figures project and am keen to start Volume 2. I am also thinking about putting together a book of my Cornish images, but having realised just how expensive print-on-demand can be for self-publishing, I may have to go
down the litho route for my next book to make the unit cost low enough to sell customers copies at an affordable rate.” His future plans involve bringing his life-partner Jan on board at the gallery. “She’s shooting some absolutely beautiful architectural and maritime influenced images in a very decorative abstract way, and I’m very inspired by what she’s shooting and her eye on things”, he says. Glyn also predicts personal projects combined with travel, for himself and Jan, and continued interaction with his clients at his gallery, and sums it up very succinctly: “I am happy making art for myself and selling prints in the gallery. There is nothing better than customers walking in to the gallery, engaging in great chat, and then walking out with a treasured artwork which leaves me happier financially and them happier emotionally. That is the sole reason I continue in this fraught and highly competitive market.” Á
Glyn’s Instagram: www.instagram.com/glynsgallery
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ward-winning wildlife and nature photographer Ian Cook was at the bottom of sea cliffs, photographing Kittiwakes on the east coast of England, when Cameracraft caught up with him. This longtime professional photographer, based in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Northumberland, is constantly active, often in inaccessible areas – possibly even hazardous ones seeking his photographic prey. “The phone reception is ridiculous where I am working. It’s difficult when the tide’s in, as I get cut off by the sea and I can’t get back up the cliff to use the phone. I get to a location and often think to myself ‘I’m marooned here’”, Ian explains. “I very often don’t even turn the phone on, as I can guarantee that the perfect shot will present itself, the phone will go off and said wildlife has long gone.” Ian has over 40 years photographic experience, having worked in both Industrial & Commercial Photography and Scientific Sectors. He became interested in photography at the age of 14, when his maths teacher at Stockton-On-Tees Grammar School loaned him a Praktica Nova 1 SLR camera to take some astronomical photographs. “I processed the images myself in the school darkroom and it was like a eureka moment for me. My parents then bought me the ubiquitous Zenith E SLR and I started developing and printing my own photographs in the bathroom at home and even started selling a few prints to the local paper” he says. Aged 16, Ian left school and began working as an assistant for a firm of industrial and commercial photographers, initially working in the darkroom washing prints and eventually moving up the ranks to become head black and white printer and commercial and industrial photographer. He was also freelancing in motorsport photography in his spare time, for many high-profile motor sport magazines. He then worked in Forensic photography and other specialised areas, eventually turning freelance photographing landscapes and wildlife. Ian was inspired by a talk from
2: Ian Cook, Northumberland
Above: aerial of Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland – “30 minutes into the flight in a helicopter, so this cost £300 to get!” Below: Muker, Yorkshire Dales, North Yorkshire at sunrise. Bottom right: Hadrian’s Wall, Pentax 67, Velvia film.
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internationally known wildlife photographer Andy Rouse who was using a Pentax 6 x 4.5cm for his work – a camera that Ian also owned. “I had been interested in wildlife photography, but I had not taken any photographs, until I spoke to Andy Rouse. I took some shots with the 6 x 4.5cm camera, which compared to my current work were basically rubbish, but I was hooked” he explains. Ian has achieved many competition wins, including the North-East section of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2011. “That win brought me into
contact with important clients in the North-East wildlife network, including the Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Northumbria University and the natural History Society of Northumberland. The winning photograph, of two Kittiwakes on the Tyne Bridge, has become one of Ian’s best known and most commercially successful images, to date. “It was an unusual photograph, as it’s the largest inland Kittiwake colony in the world, being 15 miles from the coast” he explains. “2000 birds come to the Tyne Bridge every year and I managed to take two photographs, of a parent bird and a chick one of which has had phenomenal sales success. Through the publication of that image in the press, I built up a good working relationship with the local Wildlife Trust, which snowballed into work with tourist boards, and book publishers.” For Ian, Northumberland is a vast, unspoilt and unpopulated area where he can work without seeing another person for days on end. “I don’t believe in the notion
Life on the ledge – “my best selling, multi award winning image of the Tyne Bridge Kittiwakes”. It is the largest inland kittiwake colony in the world and the image has earned sever thousand pounds in licences. “It was taken on a compact, proving that the best camera there is is the one in your pocket!”
of spoon-fed wildlife photography, which is ‘on-tap for the masses’ and for that reason, I try to avoid places like the Farne Islands. If I see another photograph of a Puffin with six Sand eels in its beak I think I’ll scream” he says. “The Farne Islands are certainly making a lot of money for the boat owners running trips there, but I don’t see anything else good coming out of it. The downside is, in my view, gross disturbance of the wildlife in the area” explains Ian. He is currently concentrating his lenses on Kittiwakes, including the Tyne Kittiwake colony and some of those birds which are nesting in cliffs along the Northumberland coast. Ian is also photographing Red Squirrels and Kingfishers which can be found more inland in the area. In terms of the light to be found in Northumberland especially in the early morning. Ian is very happy shooting in the middle of the day and feels that there is too much emphasis put on the Golden Hours, a time
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of day often favoured by landscape photographers. “For a lot of publicity shots used by the tourist industry, daytime shots work well, because they show the landscape as the visitor is more likely to see it, rather than very early in the morning or late in the evening”, he says. “It depends on what use is required for the shots.” Ian says that some wildlife shots can be taken throughout the day, while others must be photographed at very specific times. “The feeding colonies of seabirds are busy all-day long. Animals such as squirrels are around from about 8am until noon, and Kingfishers are around from first light until last night.” Ian is using the Nikon 800e camera body for his digital wildlife work these days; he has two bodies with a range of lenses, including a 16 – 35mm zoom, 24 – 70mm zoom, 70 – 200mm zoom, 300mm f2.8 prime lens with a x1.4 converter and a 500mm f4 prime lens with x1.4 and x1.7 converters. “For a walkabout, if I don’t want to carry all the other gear, I’ve a got a Sigma 150 – 500mm zoom, which, for the money, is quite a good lens. However, it’s a slow-focusing lens
Above: Red Squirrel and reflection pool. Below: Tanfield railway County Durham. Top right: Kingfisher with lunch. Bottom right: Kittiwake nesting site on the cliffs, Ian’s latest image as part of my current project on Kittiwakes. “This is near the bottom of a 50ft cliff cut off at high tide”, he says. “With no mobile signal!”
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and quite useless for anything that is fast moving. I bought the Nikkor 300mm f2.8 lens to specifically focus on Kingfishers, which are fast little guys, as the Sigma wouldn’t follow them.” “A lot of emphasis is put on equipment”, says Ian “but I’m a firm believer that you should use your camera fully. When the limit of the camera is reach, and it’s preventing you from getting the photograph that you want, then is the time to change it. But, before that, it’s important to be able to use the gear that you have already. The advice I give other photographers is to buy the best lens they can afford and use it with a midrange camera, before upgrading the camera. The glass on the front is the most important part of the outfit.” In terms of the end use for Ian’s work; he is shooting on commission and/or supplying specific clients – such as wildlife and bird magazines - rather than making his images available in stock libraries, these days. “I have to think outside of the box, when considering what images might sell, these days” he says. It’s impossible to listen to this affable and incredibly skilled
photographer talk for even a short period of time without noticing both his passion for the work and the compassion for his subjects. “My aim is get something different from all the other wildlife images around these days; such as the ones I’ve taken recently of the Kittiwakes while hanging off the side of a 100-foot cliff.” he says and then adds, with a tone of utmost conviction “but of paramount importance for me is that I take my photographs with no disturbance to the wildlife”.
Ian Cook Photography Website: iancookphotography.wixsite.com /ian-cook-photography Ian Cook Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/iancookphoto/ Cameracraft September/October 2017 53
orn in East Berlin, Michael Herrmann had a long and successful career as both a staff and freelance photographer for several newspapers and magazines in Berlin, before moving to Ireland. Michael was given his first camera by his grandfather when he was 14. “It was a Russian replica of a pre-war Leica, a FED 2. The initials stand for the company’s founder, Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky, best known as the founder of the Soviet Secret Police, and I still have it today”, says Michael. “When I got the first roll of film developed, all the pictures were blurry and I couldn’t work out why until I discovered that the lens was collpased into the body and needed to be pulled out and locked in place.” He bought his first SLR, a Zenit, at the age of 25. “I had to open the aperture on the lens to focus the camera and then close it down to the f-stop required, and then the viewfinder would get dark,” he says with a smile. “Later, in 1978, I got my first proper electronic SLR camera, a Praktica B200, which was very advanced for its time”.
3: Michael Herrmann, County Kerry The two Skellig Rocks, the main focal points of this South Kerry area, have become magnets for tourists following their use in the Star Wars movie franchise. The smaller rock (Skellig Beag) is home to a colony of around 30,000 mating pairs of gannets. Skellig Michael is home to hundreds of puffins in the summer months. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the real star of the movies. It holds out the challenge of a vertiginous climb, without supports or barriers, up 600 steps with a steep drop on both sides. This leads to the sixth-century Christian monastery and stone ‘beehive’ huts, where the monks lived, 160 metres above sea level.
In the free world Michael’s first job was as a process camera operator in a printing company in East Berlin – taking photographs in darkroom conditions with a large format camera, of other people’s prints to be reproduced in newspapers, magazines and occasionally posters. In 1982, he took an apprenticeship in the film academy outside Berlin. On graduation, a friend who was leaving a job with a newspaper suggested that Michael apply for the vacancy. He worked as a staff press photographer for three years. “I was travelling around Germany, mainly by train, as I had no car at that time, photographing for newspaper articles. I then moved on to a magazine about foreign politics called Freie Welt (Free World), which was funny because it was only the Eastern part of the world that we covered; mainly Poland and Russia. I travelled a lot in those countries
Above: the peat bogs of Ireland are not as often photographed as the coast or dramatic mountains. Top, ‘bog cotton’ grass. Above, a typical bogland scene.
and absolutely loved every day I worked there.” In 1990, Michael had planned to move with his family to the Freie Welt office in Moscow photographing reportage features throughout Russia. “But then the wall came down”, he says. “Freie Welt became a travel magazine and the office in the Soviet Union was closed and everything came back to Berlin. I had been in Moscow, the Ural region and Khazakstan several times on different reportage assignments. It´s a huge country and I still enjoy the literature and music of Russia and speak the language.” Freie Welt closed in 1993 and Michael became a freelance, working for Berlin-based Die Welt, the biggest broadsheet in Germany. “It was very interesting and varied work, photographing high-ranking politicians – the
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Queen visiting, for example, and major international events, such as summit meetings”, he says. “I was running from one job to another, shooting film cameras for a long time. My first digital photographs were of Gerhard Schröder and Tony Blair. I worked there right up until the day I jumped into the car and moved over to Ireland ten years ago.” Michael and his wife had been visiting Ireland regularly on holiday for many years and they decided to build a house – where they have lived permanently since 2007 – in Ballinskelligs, a picturesque village on the extreme west coast of County Kerry. The area has hit the tourism jackpot recently, with the Wild Atlantic Way, the Ring of Kerry and also the Skellig Ring (named as one of the top ten places for travellers to visit by Lonely Planet).
The permanent move to Ireland had some important consequences for Michael. He stopped working as a freelance photographer for the German publications and made a creative move into landscape photography, from the people-based photography he had been doing all his working life. “It was a huge transition, but what made it happen quite quickly was that I love nature and I love walking”, he says. “When I was coming here on holidays, and I didn’t know where I was, I joined a local walking group and walked every Sunday. I know the mountains quite well now. I know where I’m going and I can make a decision, depending on the weather, where I will go to take photographs on any given day.” It was important for Michael to re-start his business in Ireland and he quickly established a strong reputation as a commercial photographer, using large format cameras. In addition to working on his own projects Michael also teaches digital photography courses accredited by the Irish Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC) up to Level 5 in local community colleges. He founded the South Kerry Camera Club on conclusion of his first FETAC course, as a way
of encouraging former students to practice photography. This enthusiastic photographer also leads groups of photographers, from all over Europe and beyond, on photography workshops in around the Skellig Ring and the wider South County Kerry area. An important project for Michael is a book of photography of the Skellig Rocks, which he has been working on for around seven years. However, the tourism fever centred around the Skelligs has allowed him to step back from it and to re-think it. “People are going there who have no interest in the history of the place at all. They arrive in their Star Wars costumes with their toy Lightsabres, taking selfies. I’ve stood in the monastery listening to people just talking about Star Wars. It’s ridiculous that they don’t open their minds to see what’s actually there”. Michael’s intention is for the book to be divided into two sections, as he feels that there are “two stories” attached to Skellig Michael. The first part of the book will concentrate on the heritage of the Rock, including the
Top, Valentia Island rocks. Above, Mullaghanattin mountain is on the right, Macgillycuddy's Reeks beyond to the left.
monastery and the three separate sets of steps connected to it and the south peak of the rock. The second part of the book will tell the story of the two lighthouses to be found on Skellig Michael. “The lower lighthouse is not in use and the upper one is ruined, as it was abandoned in 1870, after they discovered that it was too high in the first place; it was obscured by clouds most of the time”, he explains. “I’m lucky that I know Richard Foran, the last lighthouse keeper on Skellig Michael, and I have
been out with him several times, staying in the old lighthouse keeper’s house for several days at a time. I even worked on an article about Richard for a German magazine. I was there with Richard on our own, for a week, as the sea was too rough for boats to dock and so no tourists could land. It was a great privilege to take photographs in places where you normally couldn’t have access”. It’s not difficult to pick up how important it is to this conscientious photographer that Skellig Michael is understood
historically; properly appreciated and accurately represented photographically. “There is a high level of expectation and responsibility about what I’m going to do with those pictures. I’m glad that I didn’t hasten the project, as it gives me a chance to re-think it and present it just how I want people to see it”. This highly experienced, globe-trotting photographer has photographed around the world, so what drew him to Ireland and especially the south west coast? “It’s definitely the light”, Michael says. “I’ve never seen any better light than here. When I stepped off the ferry the first time I arrived in Ireland, I couldn’t believe how beautiful everything looked because of the low clouds and the dramatic light. Particularly, the mix of cloud and sunshine and the impact it has on the landscape. Here in Kerry, the light improves in the winter time. We have bigger, heavier clouds and with the wind conditions, the drama really unfolds.”
Michael Herrmann Photography www.skelligphoto.com
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orn in East Anglia, just outside of Southwold, Denise Brady now lives and works in Lowestoft. Her studio near the harbour is the most easterly studio in Britain, the true sunrise location. Her family moved to Lowestoft when she was three and she spent her childhood “between the beautiful beaches of Lowestoft and Southwold at my parents or grandparents.” Although Denise moved away a few times – to Cornwall, the Midlands and even to Gran Canaria – her family remained in East Anglia and so the pull to come back was always strong for her. “I guess you could say home is where the heart is; and it’s also very ‘laid back’ here.” Denise began her career as a professional photographer in 2014, having made a major career change from working as an office manager for a health care company. “I was in the fortunate position that my husband works in the gas and oil industry and we sat down and discussed the job I was in. He knew that I wasn’t enjoying it and was considering working in photography. We looked at our finances, decided we weren’t totally reliant on my salary and so he encouraged me to go for it”, she explains. Denise used her savings to invest in equipment and rented a studio in Battery Green Road, Lowestoft in 2015. Around the time that she also joined the Guild of Photographers, and she is currently aiming for a professional qualification judged by their Newborn Photography panel. “My main income streams are weddings, newborn, family portrait and boudoir photography”, says Denise. “The studio is ideally placed for passing trade. By offering a range of services, I hope to have customers for life. Couples get married, have a baby, their family grows and then of course there are the special anniversary photography gifts I can offer clients.”
4: Denise Brady, Lowestoft
Top: Thornham stumps, North Norfolk. Middle: Sarah, aged 16, her grandmother and mother all celebrate grandmother’s 90th birthday, South Beach. Bottom: Sunrise, Southwold pier, 4.30am. 56 September/October 2017 Cameracraft
Above, Nightfall on Oulton Broad – camera supported using a purse as a beanbag on a wall,10pm. Below: learning the art for professional development – taken on a workshop with Neil Freeman at the Nikon School, in London.
East Anglia is a special place for Denise, having, in her words “a diverse mixture of vibrant cities, individual towns and villages, beautiful countryside and idyllic seaside, so living here is great.” Landscape photography is Denise’s way to relax and unwind after hectic days of photographing babies and weddings. “Our stunning beaches also make the perfect backdrop for family photoshoots”, she enthuses. “It’s wonderful to be able to take children down to the water’s edge and photograph them doing what comes naturally and playing rather than having them posed and uncomfortable in the studio. The natural light is perfect with only the need for a fill flash on occasion.” Sunrise on the East Coast in the summer is around 4.30am and Denise can often be found trying to catch the beautiful light. It’s an early start but very worth it. “The light here is beautiful especially around Ness Point in Lowestoft, Benacre, Shingle Street, Languard Nature Reserve and along the Alde and Ore rivers. Sunsets are a little more difficult to capture, but if you head to the North Norfolk coastline at Old Hunstanton, Cromer, Sheringham, Wells Quay or How Hill you’ll catch some stunning ones.” So what does the future have in store? – “I am working on a number of projects at the moment, and looking forward to seeing some of my fashion images in a magazine which combines my love of photography and history”. She is also working with a stylist and writer in Norwich on articles for the local press. “I have now had work published locally and internationally, so I hope to expand on that – I’d like to have another exhibition of my landscapes too. I held my first one in locally in October 2016 and a number of images sold”, she says. “Ultimately, my goal is to keep learning my craft and perfecting my techniques, and having people enjoy what they see.” It would seem that the sun is certainly rising on a new photography star in the East.
www.denisebradyphotography.com Cameracraft September/October 2017 57
PHOTOHUBS COVENTRY is an amazing two-day event packed with inspirational speakers and educational workshops delivered by nine of the most well-known contemporary names in the photographic industry. Ana Brandt from California, Paul Callaghan from Ireland and the ‘Big Dog’ Damian McGillicuddy from the UK to name just three! You have the option of joining us for one or both days by simply purchasing either a one-day or two-day pass which gives full access to main stage in the Grace Auditorium where five inspirational, thought provoking and varied seminars are scheduled each day. Select Trade Partners will be present there too… and lunch is included! There are also options to reserve a place on longer private speakers’ workshops or outdoor shoots in the heart of Coventry. These last three hours and have limited places PLUS if you book a ‘workshop’, the Day Pass access to the main stage for the rest of the day is included, along with your lunch. There will also be a great social element to the two days including a pre-Christmas Party on the first evening! Further details to be announced in the November/December magazine out in September, watch this space. For full details of the exciting speakers, the seminars and workshops follow visit the PhotoHubs website – www.photohubs.co.uk Please remember that there are limited places on the workshops or at the Christmas Party so if you are interested in attending one of those do reserve your place. Finally: If you are a member of the Guild of Photographers you can save up to 25% off the listed prices, potentially saving more than your membership costs. Contact the Guild’s office to find out more or obtain the members discount code – firstname.lastname@example.org
MEET THE SPEAKERS AND THEIR PROGRAMME
2 DAYS 9 SPEAKERS 10 WORKSHOPS The Welcome Centre, Parkside, Coventry CV1 2HG 9.00am to 5.00pm each day
SUPER SEMINAR EVENT
COVENTRY NOVEMBER 15/16
Ana Brandt is a California-based award winning photographer, who needs no introduction, being a globally sought-after speaker. With over 18 years specialising in pregnancy and newborn images, Ana photographs families all over the USA and further afield. She has her own studio and is a very successful businesswoman, author, teacher and mother of three. A keen educator, she teaches on-line and in person. She changed the ‘bump’ market as the first to design a line of maternity gowns for photo sessions. Ana will be on the public stage on the morning of the 15th and afternoon of the 16th. She will host private workshops ‘Stunning Maternity Photography’ (1.00pm, 15th) and ‘Creative Newborn Photography’ (9.00am, 16th). www.anabrandt.com Twitter:anabrandt @anabrandt
Gary Hill is just one of the speakers whose work can be seen hitting the high spots in the Guild of Photographers Image of the Month competition – here’s a Gold Bar winner by Gary from the most recent judging round.
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Paul’s list of accolades speak for themselves. As a winner of over 400 Gold Awards, an international speaker and both a judge and mentor to the photography industry, Paul has a lot to offer, in a manner that everybody warms to straight away! He is a Master Craftsman with the Guild of Professional Photographers. Paul will be on the public stage in the morning, then holding a Private Workshop at 1.00pm, on Thursday 16th. www.paulcallaghan.com
Olympus UK Principal Photographer and Educator, Olympus European Visionary and star of many national photo show demonstration stages, Damian ‘Big Dog’ McGillicuddy has a natural empathy for his beautiful subject in this distinctive portrait. “I had a fab shoot creating a little "conceptual studio fashion" with Stacy Paris, one of Angel Sinclair's simply fantastic Models of Diversity ambassadors… what a hard working, driven professional she is!”, says Damian. See: www.modelsofdiversity.org “Stacy isn't a disabled model, she's a model that just happens to have a disability, much like I'm not a disabled photographer, I'm a photographer that unfortunately lost a leg… maybe to some a subtle difference but to me a difference big enough to ask people to consider. “Lilly Von Pink excelled in her rôle as prop builder and make-up artist and Lesley McGillicuddy was, as usual, invaluable. Together I think we created something that promoted the coolness of Stacy’s prosthetics. Just remember… NOT a disabled model but a model with a disability!”
A working commercial and portrait photographer for over 30 years, Damian has amassed over 670 international awards, 12 photographer of the year titles, 10 fellowships and a double Grand Masters, and a Grand Master with Double Bar. Damian’s training has resulted in photographers achieving many national and international awards including sixteen photographer of the year titles, and many photographers gaining qualifications ranging from licentiate to fellowship. Damian will be on the public stage November 15th afternoon, November 16th morning and will hold private workshops ‘Easy and Effective Location Lighting’ 9.00am 15th, ‘Beautiful Portraits from Simple Tools’ 1.00pm 16th. damianmcgillicuddy.photography twitter.com/mcgillicuddy1
Damian McGillicuddy offers private workshops on both the days of the two-day event, in addition to appearing on the main stage. Book now on-line: http://photohubs.co.uk/events/coventry/
Twice nominated for Portrait Photographer of the year with a leading photographic association, Gary shoots weddings, portraits, events, catalogues, brochures, books and websites, fashion and commercial packages. He also runs the Just Pose workshops and training days with Cass Davies, intensive courses for photographers looking to up their game in their chosen field, covering Newborn Posing, Lighting, Business, Boudoir & Maternity. Gary hosts a private workshop ‘Lighting Set-ups that Really Work’ 9.00am Thursday 16th, and takes paert in the public stage in the afternoon. www.justposetraining.co.uk
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Gavin creates images with a narrative – to ‘give my viewers reasons to ask questions’. Brought up with black and white film, he has a passion for the medium and the way it concetrates focus on the subject of the image. Gavin has lived on the East Coast of Yorkshire all his life, and has spent years capturing the beauty of this environment – landscapes, beach-scapes, people, local landmarks, events. His private workshop ‘Inside the Black and White World of Gavin Prest’ is at 9.00am on Thursday 16th, with public stage appearance in the afertnoon. gavinprestphotography.co.uk twitter.com/gavinprest
Linda is a pets and animals specialist based near Brighton, East Sussex. She has a deep love of animals, especially dogs, and has three large Rhodesian Ridgebacks of her own. Linda has an understanding of dogs’ nature and body language which helps to capture their unique characters. A Qualified member of the Guild of Professional Photographers, Linda is also in demand for her excellent workshops. At the Coventry event, she hosts ‘Capturing Canines’ with a real live dog – a private workshop on Thursday 16th at 1.00pm – after appearing on the public stage during the morning. lindajohnstonephotography.co.uk
Two Gold Bar winners from a recent Guild of Photographers Image of the Month competition round, by Linda Johnstone. Linda will using a live doggy model for her canine photographer masterclass on Thursday November 16th. Book now to be there – the convention centre is right next to the IBIS Hotel.
Well-known for his imagination and fast-moving workshops, Dave has over 45 major awards to his name. He teaches Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom and imparts photographic expertises round the globe. He is noted for his creative retouching and for teaching essential retouching skills for working photographers. With training sessions for photographic associations, Fujifilm, Sigma, Manchester City FC, Panasonic and many others his work – and humour! – stand out from the crowd. He holds a private workshop ‘Skin… from Zero to Hero!’ at 1.00pm on Thursday 16th, appearing on the public stage in the morning. www.davewallphoto.co.uk
Andrew runs a comprehensive program of photography courses all over the UK, across Europe and in South Africa. Andrew has embraced many changes that continue to influence photography but maintains that the key concepts of light and composition are the two constants. He ran his first photography workshop in October 2010 and since then he has booked in over 2,500 places. Now is the
time to learn from his success! 2017 has witnessed another exciting dimension to his training courses: video production. The emphasis here is on teaching photographers who are ready to take advantage of the video capabilities of the modern stills camera. With workshops suitable for all levels of experience and competence, he believes that the holistic approach is the best – ‘teaching someone to take a photograph is no substitute for teaching them to become a real photographer’. Andrew is a regular photographic judge and a panel member with the Guild of Professional Photographers. His workshop ‘How & Why You Need to Shoot Video on Your DSLR or Mirrorless Camera’ is at 9.00am, Wednesday 15th, with a public talk in the afternoon. www.appletonphototraining.com Twitter: @Applephoto
See Andrew’s video: https://vimeo.com/225072669
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A former brand and marketing manager, Nina has established herself as one of the UK’s top family and child photographers. She loves shooting outdoors and uses the ‘colours of the UK’ as her portrait backdrops. She has recently been names as one of the top three photographic trainers in the UK. Her work has featured in child photography competitions and international publications including Vogue; she has named ‘Top Children’s Photographer of the Year’ by the Guild of Professional Photographers. Her private workshop ‘Get Children’s Photography Right’ is at 9.00am on Wednesday 15th, and she is on the public stage pm. ninamacephotography.com Twitter: @ninamacephoto
ONE OF the most valuable benefits of membership of The Guild of Photographers is Code42’s Crashplan on-line cloud backup. At Cameracraft, we activated this a week before going to press with the benefit of newly-upgrade fibre to cabinet BT broadband. Even with 20Mbps upload, the initial backup of the iMac’s main user files – around 750GB – was going to take over ten days. However, this is the initial setup process, for the free Crashplan service which restricts backup to your internal system and data drive (Drive C on Windows systems, or your system disk for Mac OSX and Linux). Once completed, Code42 software will backup changes only, synchronising with your computer, and there will not be such a heavy load on the connection. Our production office has two fibre broadband lines, to ensure large PDF and image files can be sent even if there is also a high level of other use. We tested Alamy upload of files while the
Code42 Crashplan cloudbased backup – available at a 60% discount through Guild of Photographers membership – safeguards your work www.photoguild.co.uk
backup was active and could detect no reduction in the usual speed of transfer, indicating that the Code42 software handles its bandwith use intelligently. But once the core files are safely backed up there's another six terabytes of image and production archive waiting to be added by paying for the full service. With Guild membership this comes for much less than the $10 a month shown in the regular deal (left), over £90 a year. The Guild member deal is under one third of the cost. Unlimited back-up (for up to 4 devices plus external hard drives) and unlimited storage can be added to Guild membership as a bolt-on for £29.50 + VAT per year! “This is amazing cover, giving amazing reassurance and at an amazing price for members only, at less than 10p per day”, say Guild directors Steve and Lesley Thirsk. “To add this to your membership simply contact our office after joining.”
109995 132x180 advert 2016 dates.qxp_Layout 1 03/03/2016 09:57 Page 1
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Cameracraft September/October 2017 61
62 September/October 2017 Cameracraft
Pure gold for Autumn We’ve chosen this spread from the Guild of Photographers’ Image of the Month on-line competition archives. The choice is huge and the standard is high with a great variety of genres, subjects and styles. The two wonderful set-pieces on the left are by Simon Newbury from Sussex. He creates perfect large groups and tableuax for things like school ‘end of year’ parties (the barn dance, top) and weddings and we’ll surely be looking at his technique and ideas in a future issue. See: www.simonsart.co.uk Above, what you have to look forward to, not too soon – mellow Autumn colours from Phillipa Towers (www.phillipajane.com), and a perfect Richmond Park stag by Prashant Meswani of Middlesex, which achieved success in the National Geographic photo contest and RPS (www.prashantphotography.co.uk).
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Fountains Abbey, by Terry Goodfellow LRPS. This image is from the RPS Yorkshire Group’s Showcasing Yorkshire exhibition in Hull, part of the City of Culture celebrations, which opened on July 28th for four weeks (like so many such shows, a month is not long enough as visitors may come at any time). Fujifilm XE2s , XF 27mm ƒ2.8 lens. Lightroom and Topaz Black and White effects; three-image HDR and basic processing in Lightroom then into Topaz. “I particularly like dark skies and have developed (pun intended) a workflow and process technique which allows me to exaggerate the sky”, says Terry. Taken in January!
Free to read online… Creative Light bi-monthly e-magazine http://tinyurl.com/guildCL 64 September/October 2017 Cameracraft
t the same time Icon Publications Ltd was setting out to publish our first photographic magazines, and moving to Scotland in 1988, Ian Gee and Roy Doorbar were forming The Guild of Wedding and Portrait Photographers. Cameracraft editor David Kilpatrick worked with Ian Gee on the production of the new Guild’s newsletter and was thus responsible for the first ‘Guild magazine’. Although it was a light weight black and white newsletter, it was packed with concentrated information on lighting, posing, camera techniques, sales methods and ideas for better weddings and portraits. A few years later the Master Photographers Association formed The Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers with a very similar emblem and its own newsletter. David, after a term as editor of the British Institute of Professional Photography’s magazine, was invited back by the MPA to run their magazine, which he had edited in the 1980s. He also handled publishing for what was later to become The Societies. David continued to produce Master Photography until earlier this year. The Guild of Photographers directors Steve and Lesley Thirsk arranged a meeting to discuss ideas for a new Guild printed magazine. Cameracraft was due to end its loss-making and wasteful news trade distribution, so the Guild was able take over the entire retail news allocation. Every single printed copy now goes directly to a reader. Cameracraft now has three times the readership that Master Photography had, with Guild members doubling its previous subscription and news trade sale. So, we welcome all UK Guild members to this new printed magazine which will complement Julie Oswin’s excellent digital page-turn Creative Light e-magazine. For non-members, the Guild fits well with the former ƒ2 Freelance Photographer and Cameracraft readership. It is an organisation with both enthusiast and professional membership grades, and offers clear benefits to both. Here are the deals:
Cmercrƒt welcoming our new readers from
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Guild Members get 10% off any on-line purchases. Find out more about their products at www.creativitybackgrounds.co.uk
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Sytner auto dealers offer members a 10% discount on servicing,parts and accessories alongside offers on new and used vehicles. www.sytner.co.uk
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A groundbreaking Photoshop/Lightroom suite. www.lsp-actions.com
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10% off any calibration package. www.camerafocussupportservices.co.uk
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The online accounting option for photographers. www.shuttertax.co.uk
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PIXSY – ACT AGAINST COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENTS Special Guild Member offer. www.pixsy.com
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Guild Members receive 10% off all product orders. www.3Xmsolution.com
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Everything you need to put your photography online and get selling. 30% discount and a further 10% for referrals. http://en.zenfolio.com/uk/
Need more be said? Please take a look! www.graphistudio.co.uk
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To request samples, please email: email@example.com
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Members get 1 month FREE cover every year – www.infocusinsurance.co.uk
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30% discount off your first order, (up to £150). www.onevisionimaging.com
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FREE 10 year old UK based forum. www.photography-forum.org
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Book the course, give your Guild membership number (excludes the annual ‘bespoke’ programme) – www.aspirephotographytraining.co.uk
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Visit the Guild’s website to find out more – member Log-In, once joined, gives you full access to the codes and special URLs for Partner offers.
STANDARD MEMBER £10.00 a month, £27.50 quarterly or £ 90.00 annually. Includes: • Access to qualification and on-line mentoring programmes • Specially discounted insurance cover and other great discounts (including up to 12% off at the Apple Store) UK only • Priority data recovery service • Guild private members’ network and personal support • Monthly competitions • Bi-monthly Creative Light online magazine, Cameracraft bi-monthly, and regular email newsletters • Use of Guild logos • Free downloads (e.g. contracts) PROFESSIONAL MEMBER £12.50 a month, £35.00 quarterly £120.00 annually Includes all standard features plus the following great business-class additions: • Debt recovery service • Contract dispute and mediation cover • Loss of earnings protection • Tax Investigation protection (worth £150) • Personal access to a confidential Legal Advice helpline available 24/7 • Personal access to a confidential Tax Advice helpline • ‘Crisis cover’ – 24/7 access to PR expert advice with up to £10,000 to tackle negative publicity or media attention • Compliance and Regulation (including Data Protection) cover • Employment Protection • Free access to a Business legal services website with over 100 documents to assist you with day-to-day business • Up to £10,000 worth of PR support if the PR helpline feels the situation needs it • Plus much more, including legal costs and expenses cover in the case of identity theft, and legal defence against any motoring prosecutions Some of these features are also available to members outside the UK – the Guild office will be happy to advise. All for just £2.50 a month extra! Á
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ow would you go about making a living from photography in a world where every single person carries a camera almost all the time? I’ve had to put my mind to this over the summer, as I had a very much full-time job with two magazines one of which actually took up three-quarters of my time because its content was determined by the activities and annual diary of the photographic group it was produced for. With that magazine gone, I faced the fact that there would be not enough coming into the business to support the overheads. So would a return to running a photographic studio be the answer? Despite a lifetime working with successful professional photographers, and a publishing career of the last 30 years founded on the profits of a creative commercial studio, I simply don’t see that my local business environment could support a revival of my past life behind the camera. Our 1980s clients were often forced to use professional photography. Only skilled professionals could manage to produce the simplest of images, a studio shot on plain white of a product lit well enough to be reproduced in print without expensive retouching. Very few amateurs had the equipment, materials or knowhow to work consistently, giving pictures identical lighting and technical quality from month to month. Back then existing separation films were often re-used for revised catalogues with only a few pictures replaced, as scans were so expensive. Most studios in our area, if shown another studio’s earlier work, had the technical skill to take new photographs which matched… and needed it. Today, clients rarely care about such things. I know of some who do, and use élite photographers whose highly paid work depends on such consistency. For the most part, it’s irrelevant in the Instagram age. Artistic interpretation counts more than controlling it all down to pixel level. A couple of years ago I did a rare commercial job of the kind I did thirty years ago. I spent hours ensuring that a full set of craft
Cmercrƒt I don’t want to be a photographer!
Today you have to like babies. That’s a step too far!* Re-entry into the commercial market would involve burning up in the Facebook and Instagram stratosphere.
The skills Photoshop replaced – one shot per page, on 5 x 4" sheet film. Plate glass table, white paper below, camera mounted on overhead beam. Everything done by eye using a grid screen, no ‘post processing’ – just one scan per page (1988).
ale bottles was photographed with consistent reflections and perspective, labels all at the same height, the level of the drink in the necks meticulously retouched to match when they couldn’t provide this even by hand filling. Blemishes retouched at almost microscopic level, finished images able to print the bottles ten times life size. For a month or two, their website looked consistent. Then, an employee with a Canon DSLR
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started taking random pictures of new bottles and sharing them on social media (in the past, this client would have been calling the studio for every new release). My perfectly matched on-line store catalogue images became mixed with random outdoor and indoor shots. They had spent a modest budget on the ‘professional’ set – really about a third of what the bill should have been – but even that was too much, and what they had paid for simply didn’t matter as
iPhone snaps or informally set-up shots connected better to their prospective customers. Now this may just have been a random personal experience, but I suspect not. When I was at my busiest as a photographer we didn’t touch weddings or portraits or work for the public. I knew successful photographers who did, but conditions favoured commercial work. Today, there is a huge social photography sector. Weddings are extravagant, babies are infrequent and to be treasured in newborn albums, selfies are rife and portraiture crosses over into becoming a model-shoot experience. Much of this is driven by women photographers, now far more than the 18% which one pro body recently estimated – that association just doesn’t have the ratio right as they are still an old boys’ club at heart. Well, I’m not a very ‘social’ old boy. These days my childhood and teenage self would be considered ‘on the spectrum’. I still don’t do eye contact all that well. A working day spent doing portraits and meeting several families would be a nightmare for me. I would never recognise any of them afterwards – even when I know someone well I can be confused if they are in the wrong place or wearing the wrong clothes, have got older or changed their hair! Well, I won’t have to compete with my local professional friends, who are many. Cameracraft now has a doubled readership and a secure future, and I have half my time free to make Alamy and other stock sales return some income. We have invested in shop premises, in a good location where my old friend Huw Chidgey once ran a one-hour photo lab and upstairs studio. It has a tenant until the end of 2018 and if we don’t find a new one a bookshop and gallery would be my natural habitat, even with a studio above it. I’ve got dozens of matching frames from a 2012 exhibition and a stack of prints ready to sell. – David Kilpatrick
* Of course I do like babies – I just don’t like the direction baby photography has taken.
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© Tim Kemple
Power in all the right places Profoto B1X The Profoto B1X improves on the B1 in three significant areas: power, power and power. A more powerful modeling light, a more powerful battery and extended HSS power range. Add to that two new OCF reflectors and you’ll find with the B1X, we’ve redefined the on-location flash yet again. Discover the B1X at profoto.com 68 September/October 2017 Cameracraft
The September/October edition of Cameracraft incorporating f2 Freelance Photographer and Master Photography.