Saturday, 18 July 2009

Long Time...

It's been a long time since I last posted here. But if you're interested in what I've been up to have a look at my Flickr site - for a pictorial runthourgh of the last few months.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Design and build quality

I've recently had leave to open up computer equipment from three well known manufacturers, HP, Dell and Apple. All three pieces of equipment differed vastly in their design philosophy. 

The Dell, a machine built primarily for use in a corporate environment was the easiest to open. A simple slide latch on the top and the lid popped off, revealing a mass of easily removable plastic latches and trays. It worked really well, but wasn't exactly a what I'd call a nice place. 

The HP printer on the other hand was obviously built down to a price - and never designed to be serviced in the field (indeed HP wouldn't repair this fault, they simply wanted to sell me another printer. 10 minutes searching on the interweb and an hour of work on a Saturday morning and the printer was as good as new). Several screws seemed missing, but my repair guide from the web says these just weren't fitted in the first place. Cheap, coarsely pressed metal which was roughly finished was the order of the day.

I also recently replaced the hard disk on my MacBookPro. Everything everybody says about Apple's drive for perfection in industrial design is true - and there's no better way to understand than to look inside one of their computers. Whereas the HP used one length of screw throughout (nobody cares if a screw sticks out an extra 5mm from its thread when it's inside the case - right?), if a screw inside the MBP needed to be .25mm longer or shorter - then it was. Everything was neat and tidy - you could tell that it hadn't been simply designed to be sold, it had been designed by people who cared about their product.

"So what does this have to do with photography", I hear you scream. Well I'll tell you. A few weeks ago I was demonstrating the use of large-format cameras to a group of people who'd either never used an LF camera before, or who were just starting out on their journey to true enlightenment :).

When working with another brand of camera - admittedly what you'd now call a 'vintage' camera, I found its control of movements - particularly front tilt and swing to be so coarse as to be virtually unusable. In contrast to my Ebony, which can be unlocked and moved by use of the very precise controls, suddenly struck me as a precisely engineered device which was designed by someone who really cared about how the end user would use it - and chose the best methods and materials he saw fit. 

The older camera in my mind aligns with the Dell and the HP - whilst it will get the job done, it is almost utilitarian in its execution of its task. 

Does the fact that my Ebony and my MacBook are designed in such a way make a difference to the end result? Arguably no. But I appreciate the design of these things, which to me makes a difference, I'm happier using them than less well designed things, and I hope that shows in the ultimate end result. 

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Win a Framed Print!

In connection with Enigma Gallery One in Bebington, we're offering a framed print of River Dee at Caldy in a free to enter draw.

Visit Enigma Gallery one in Bebington between now and Christmas and fill in a form and you will be entered in the draw to be held on Saturday 20th December - it's as simple as that. All we ask in return is that you consider making a small donation to the Claire House Hospice Charity

Monday, 12 May 2008

Image of the week

I didn't post an 'image of the week' last week, but I hope you'll like this week's one. This was taken at the Wilson Trophy sailing event held on West Kirby marine lake.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Rights Grabbing Competitions

I regularly get sent links to various photographic competitions, and almost inevitably don't enter them because I'm not happy with the Ts and Cs - in general the somewhat over zealous attribution to the rights of my images most of these competitions make. I've now seen that pro-imaging are starting to take a stand against this 'even if you don't win you grant us an everlasting, royalty-free, sub-licensable exclusive license to your image for no cost' attitude; and are publishing a list of offenders here on their website.

It offends me greatly that 'Take A View', which is run and promoted by Charlie Waite is on the 'Take Care' list. Charlie is a stock photographer; I'd lay dollars to donuts that he'd never submit one of his images to a competition who grabbed rights to one of his images.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Fuji Quickload - relationship between the ID code on the envelope and the film rebate code

Someone over at the UK LF Forum was asking about the relationship between the code printed on a Quickload envelope and that's marked with orange light on the rebate.
There is a relative relationship between the code on the envelope and that on the film. Once you know one relationship in that batch (the first two letters of the code) you can extrapolate forwards or backwards from that point. The code on the envelope is numbered in decimal, that on the film uses an alpha code using A-J So once you know that BE-3932 on the envelope relates to BE-DJGE you can work back and forth from this point:

Envelope Film
I've found that this relationship holds true for Velvia (50, 100 and 100F), Provia, and Acros

Saturday, 26 April 2008

The Navel Stone - Highly Commended

I'm really pleased to say that my image 'The Navel Stone' was one of two images awarded 'Highly Commended' status at the Wirral Spring Art and Photography exhibition.

As ever the submitted works were of the highest standard, and it really is an honour to have received the 'Highly Commended'.

The Wirral Spring Art and Photographic exhibition is open to the public at the Williamson Art Gallery in Birkenhead from Saturday 26th May until Sunday 1st June, open Tuesday to Sunday, 10am - 5pm. It is also open on the Bank Holidays on 5th May and 26th May. Admission is free and there is a free car park adjacent to the gallery.