April 14, 2018 - April 20, 2018
Your next camera
“Social Media” has
changed our way of life. I saw a wonderful cartoon with a Maitre d’ saying
to a couple, “Didn’t you like the food? You didn’t take any photographs!”
I am not in love with
social media to be honest (or TBH), used by most media watchers to publicly
profess private feelings, with a photo of lunch attached. It always makes me
glad that Margie loves Mary and hugs to everyone and no, I didn’t write
However, there is one
area where it is very difficult to beat what social media offers – and that
is instant access to people’s opinions.
I use the analogy of
buying a car. Many years ago I was in the market and these were the days BFB
(Before Face Book) and I was looking for a way to canvas opinions by the
owners of such vehicles. Every time I saw one parked at the side of the
road, I would wait and when the owner arrived I would ask him whether it was
a good car or otherwise. The poor man’s opinion poll.
So what has that got to
do with your choice of camera? A lot. Now you can go on line asking for
opinions on the latest DSLR and within 24 hours you will have your answer,
or at least what the majority thinks.
However, before you
even get to that stage you should be looking at what type of camera you
should be buying for your type of photography.
I read a most
interesting piece of research which came from the Sony people. According to
the Sony survey, 72 percent of DSLR buyers use their cameras to “capture
family memories and for fun.” A Box Brownie will do that.
Also, the greatest spur
to buying a camera at a specific time is an imminent trip. These people are
not going to do a crash course in serious photography before they take off,
so the requirement of competent, fully automatic mode is reasonable. And
wanting to get the best possible images is understandable. Then there is
weight. Who wants to lug a conspicuous brick around Venice when a small
compact system camera will do the job?
The compact camera
section of the marketplace is certainly the most volatile. As Sony found,
only 28 percent of camera buyers are going to go for the all-singing,
all-dancing DSLR cameras.
One of the problems
when comparing cameras with cameras is people tend to read the magic number
called megapixels and conclude that it is the deciding parameter between
brilliant, good and not so good. 24 megapixels is better than 12 which in
turn better is than 4.
Whilst the above is
partly true, it really does depend upon what you want to do with the end
result. Are you going to be blowing it up to the size of a barn door, or
will it be a 4R (6×4) at most? If you have been hired to produce photographs
for billboards, then look at a camera with megapixels coming out its strap
swivels. Otherwise, anything from six to 10 MP is more than adequate.
So what should you be
looking for when buying a camera these (electronic) days? To start with, a
fast autofocus. Instant zip-zip, not “pause for a second while I get myself
ready and then zip”.
I also recommend
inbuilt image stabilization. So many photographs are spoiled by camera
movement producing ‘soft’ images that can be overcome with image
stabilization electronics. And as a further small advantage, these types of
systems are particularly good for the senior citizen photographer with
You should also look at
the shutter speeds the camera is capable of. 1/2000th of a second should
stop a railway train (in Thailand, not in Japan) and be sufficient for 99
percent of action photography. It is also advantageous if any proposed
camera has a time exposure setting so you can take photographs at night,
Sony’s advice is right:
if you are not serious about getting to grips with the functions of a DSLR
then don’t buy one. On the other hand, if you are deadly serious about your
photography, don’t buy anything else. And see what other photographers
April 7, 2018 - April 13, 2018
Looking after your investment
Make no mistake about it – your camera
is an investment, just as your car is an investment. Both can be expensive,
and neither appreciates in value and both are expensive to replace. And
quite frankly, a camera is merely a light-proof box with a lump of optical
glass on the front to let the light in. Sure, there are electronic trick
things these days with ‘auto’ adjustments to assist in getting the right
exposure value, but the basic box and glass is still relevant.
How many times have you gone outside to
take a shot and when you looked through the lens it was fogged up? This came
from the condensation seen when the camera went from air-con cold to
tropical humidity. That condensation is water, and cameras and water don’t
Moisture and condensation are the
easiest ones to counter, but the dampness comes from more than just being
caught out in the rain. Thailand is a hot and humid environment. The best
answer here is to keep small sachets of silica gel in your camera bag. When
the silica gel changes color you can pop them back in the micro-wave and
rejuvenate them very easily. Many bottles of tablets come with perfect
little sachets in the top of them too.
There will also be times when you get
caught in the rain, or you may even want to get rain shots (even Songkran).
The camera body is reasonably water proof, but you should carefully wipe the
outside of the case dry afterwards, and especially blow air around the lens
barrel and the lens mount. A hair dryer set on the lowest temperature works
well, but do not overheat the camera body.
So here are some tips on how to look
after your photographic investments, with 100,000 baht commonplace these
The first concept is to understand just
what it is that will go towards destroying your camera. Usually these are
simply dust and grit, moisture and condensation, battery acid and being
dropped. Looking after your investment is then a simple case of countering
the above factors.
Being dropped never benefits any
camera, so the first procedure in the camera shop is to fit a neck strap and
get her used to wearing it. Even if not around the neck, the strap should be
wrapped around the wrist. The strap is like the safety belt in your car.
Dust and grit are the ever present
dangers in the environment. How many times have you got a small piece of
grit in your eye? Often, I will wager. Particles such as that can be very
bad for the lens focusing and zooming mechanics too. There is really no
That leads us to the even more serious
type of corrosion – leakage from batteries. Just about every camera in the
world these days has a battery, even if it is just to drive the needle on
the light meter. There is a moral here, isn’t there?
In fact, there are two morals to be
learned. The first is to check batteries every three months, I would
suggest, rather than just waiting for the batteries to fail or become
erratic. And secondly, you get what you pay for – so buy the best you can.
It will serve you well in the end. Acid leakage (and even acid fumes) from a
battery can totally ruin a modern camera, getting into the electronics so
that it never works properly again. Finally, keep your camera in a soft
padded case that can absorb some shocks. Not the original leather one. Buy a
new one! They are very inexpensive, especially when compared to the cost of
A couple of months back I mentioned my
daughter’s five month old Casio, on which the LED screen hinge had broken.
Purchased at Eastbourne in the Central Festival shopping center, there was
initially a bit of a communications breakdown, but that was got over and the
camera was returned to daughter now fixed and the claim was made under
warranty. Thank you Eastbourne. My daughter is once again happily
accompanying me on photographic trips, and I am happy to endorse Eastbourne.
March 31, 2018 - April 6, 2018
Do You Want to Upsize?
Size matters! Never
mind what you previously read about this – but size does matter in
photography. Even more than it does at the take-away.
You see, photography is
all about producing an image, and has been for the past 150 years plus.
After getting a handle on the technology, photographers began to see that
the image was the most important item, not how you got it.
After our intrepid snap
shooters took all these facts on board, the composition of the imagery was
next to be considered, and the famous name photographers of the last century
were the ones who understood composition. Not only composition, but also
Go to an art gallery
and look at the size of the paintings. Large and larger, all to give the
painting more impact. But I suppose, you would be flat out getting the
Battle of Waterloo into a 10x8 inch print.
However, you don’t need
an art gallery to exhibit your photography. One wall in your lounge room
will be more than enough, and here’s how you do it.
Having decided on the
images, the next step is to crop. It never ceases to amaze me just how many
photographers are willing to leave an image, as recorded by the camera, and
act as if this image is sacrosanct. It isn’t. If you are working in
Photoshop you will find there is a cropping tool amongst the capabilities,
made of two “L” shapes and you can move these around to change the height
and width. Remembering the Rule of Thirds, start with that as your
composition assistant. Now be brave and make your image fit a vertical
format, then change it to a horizontal format and see just how this makes
the image very different. Not all formats will be the best one, but you may
find that a landscape in a portrait format or a portrait in a landscape
format quite different and very pleasing.
The next step in your
art work photograph is the enlargement. Generally, the bigger the better in
your upsizing, but the final size will depend upon just how “sharp” the
image is that you are printing from. If the primary image is at all ‘soft’
it will become even more fuzzy and out of focus when it is blown up. Be very
hard with yourself and your images at this point.
Only after all of the
above, put the image on a memory stick and go to the photo-processors and
tell them what size is the final print, and wait for them to tell you they
have got it back from the printers. This is no One Hour process.
The final step is to go
to the picture framers, of which there are plenty in Pattaya. This is the
time to break out the champagne and hang your masterpiece(s) on the wall.
You will be very proud of your work, and will be amazed at the praise you
will get from visitors.