Thursday, 28 August 2014

44 Years On



I took the picture for his 2nd birthday.

It was in the days well before digital.

It was taken with the light from the window.

Probably with a Pentax camera and FP3 film.

Then I developed it. And printed it.

It still pleases us.

Our son visited recently.

Over six foot tall, 13 stone.

And still very happy.

Have a nice day.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Photo U

Camera, notebook and pen on table                                                August 2014

Can photography be taught at schools, universities or, by distance learning programmes?
One can obviously teach the basics and hardware but unless the student develops an instinct for a good picture they will never be more than an adequate technician.
I was appalled some years ago when a neighbour asked me to assist with some course work he had been set as part of a film and photography degree course. The best part of a year - a third of the total - was devoted to study and deconstruction of the work of the founders and prime movers of photography in the mists of time.
The degree exhibition at a prestigious London gallery was a disappointing collection of poorly composed, badly focused, ill considered images. The boys and girls all got their BA[Hons] degrees, but they still weren't photographers.
A better solution would be to spend £12 on The Photographer's Playbook published by Aperture Books in UK this June. Here a variety of authors present over 300 assignments, ideas or hands-on suggestions for anyone who owns a camera. If you followed these at the rate of one per week you would have 6 years of experience and enjoyment. You may not have letters after your name but you would achieve great satisfaction and have a firm basis on which to build a business if you wanted to.
One suggestion, taken at random, was to replicate a published photograph in your own way, whilst avoiding plagiarism and outright imitation. I took this header photograph which was 'inspired' by the one below which I found on the internet.
I don't present it here as a great  or even good picture. It does, however, illustrate my point.

Happy snapping!
Camera, notebook and pen on table                                                 via internet

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

One Eyed View

September 2014 issue on newsstands now

For reasons that are too numerous to list here, I love magazines and publishing.

The trouble is that I have a Smart Car income and would need a Rolls Royce expenditure to buy all the titles that appeal. [Yes, our local library does have several titles to look at free of charge, but have you ever tried to read in a library lately? Noise levels escalated when our main library decided to be an internet cafĂ© as well as a library. Then they added a 'one stop shop' for local council matters which added many more decibels to the multi-racial pandemonium ... but I digress]

After a disastrous attempt to subscribe to a glossy up-market magazine International Artist, which I described here earlier this month, it seemed odd to be attracted to another offering of posh pulp that I shall certainly NOT subscribe to because their rates are a rip off.

Monocle is now up to issue 76 and is published 10 times each year. Eight issues are priced at £6 and the two 'double-month' issues are £7 each. With basic math you can see that you could buy a year's output for £62. Easy!

When most magazines offer discounts and other inducements to subscribers who are, in effect, paying up front to subsidise future issues, Monocle asks an eye-watering £90. Sure, they throw in a 'canvas tote bag' [why?] and a couple of newspapers during the year, they offer a discount at their stores ... if you need to ask the price Sir, you can't afford it ... and access to a website that doesn't appeal to me in the slightest and again, is usually offered free to subscribers by other publications.

However, £90 a year equates to £1.73 a week which is about half the price of my weekly fix of Amateur Photographer. The High Street price of Monocle falls to a weekly equivalent of £1.19 and about half the price of a regular Americano in Caffe Nero or Costa Coffee. And this is a good deal for around 240 pages of extremely well written, well edited, well photographed and well printed international entertainment.

Of course, if you aren't interested in 'a briefing on global affairs, business, culture and design' then you will not be interested in Monocle or its 24 hour internet radio station, or its luxury [That's £uxury with a big £ !!!] shops in London and Hong Kong. Apart from the absence of young ladies without clothes, this is the magazine that the original Playboy magazine could've become. But didn't. Pity!

Take a look at Monocle, just don't subscribe. And don't drop a copy on your toes as it weighs in at roughly the weight of a bag of sugar. But, it's probably better for you.

Regular readers will note that I have cleared out some of the chaff from the right hand sidebar to give a cleaner look to the blog. I will still name other websites and bloggers within the postings when appropriate. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Bank Holiday

Photo by Patrick Ng                                                                         What more could we want on a damp bank holiday?

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Save ... The Day

Canny self employed entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the special 'Back to School' stationery promotions in many stores. Always a good time to stock up the home office with essentials. This time of year is particularly good to acquire a diary for you can be sure that prices will reach a premium as December approaches.
I bought the tiny pocket version in real denim material with real orange stitching for 60p at The Card Factory, Alongside is the plastic faux leather folder from the 99p Store which includes an address book. I would be surprised if the pages survive beyond Easter before coming apart, but then I realised that the ever durable USA made Field Notes can be slotted in the covers Midori TN  style,
There are dozens of internet sites offering free printable diary pages for Filofax, Moleskine, Midori and other proprietary brands.
£12 approx. depending on layout

Smythson or Asprey in leather  £170 and more
£9+ according to layout

Midori TN two piece £18

HAPPY SHOPPING   guide prices and photos approximate from internet sources

Or you can just wait and hope that your favourite client or local store is feeling generous in the New Year


Saturday, 23 August 2014

No Tower of Power

Margate's radio, television and cellphone reception is patchy at best and non existent at worst.

I probably spend twice as many hours listening to the radio than watching TV. So it is annoying when, apart from one news/weather/sport and pop music station that blasts across Kent, one needs luck and patience to find other broadcasters.

DAB was supposed to be our magical future. It isn't even our present down here! I have tried with three DAB sets over the years and all were given away when they pulled in no more than the main FM stations in dodgy transmission quality.

It was not always like this. From the mid 1930s to mid 1970's we had a pioneering art-deco building where Rediffusion served our needs. The site is now a retail park at Westwood.

During the 1950s and beyond, nearby North Foreland Radio was the main ship to shore station for messages.

And until the Marine Offences Bill was slushed through parliament on false grounds, we had the offshore radio stations like Caroline, RNI, Laser 558 and others.

I have an answer. My little Eton M400 [top picture - £29 from Maplin]] pulls in most stations and when I get totally bored with the repetitions, poor grammar, inaccurate reporting and political correctness of the BBC I can listen on line to sites like with a more balanced view of the world and www.live365 which offers a choice of thousands of stations ... including one reprising Caroline and the others.

I have just discovered that my favourite radio is available in red too, but only in the USA where it is branded 'Grundig' which is odd, when Eton is a stateside company too. But if Santa is listening and eBay is up for it ,,,

PS. The M400 travel case is ideal when the radio is at home, for one of my small cameras to keep it cosy in my pocket.

Happy listening!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Easy Learnin'

When you are doing something that you enjoy it seems like pleasure instead of work.

As a lazy learner I am always checking for a simple way out.

The Photographer's Puzzle Book by Marcus Weeks is a great way to see if you really know as much as you think you do. In a pocket size 4" x 6" hardback you will find 150 brain exercises, riddles and teasers. Ideal for a holiday flight when looking out of the window gets tedious ... only if you are a passenger, pilots should not read whilst in the hot seat.

I bought mine in the local Waterstone's for £6.99. Could be a good Christmas gift for any shutterbugs in your list of lens minded lovers.

I've pictured it here - left above - alongside a regular Moleskine pocket notebook which costs about the same and has blank pages!