Leica Glow:An appreciation of classic Leica M photography.

Posted in age of elegance, camera, England, hobbys, Leica, Leica Lens, Leica photography, luxury camera, photo, photoblog, Photography, photojournalism, road trip, rustic, travel, Uncategorized, vintage, Wales, writing on September 9th, 2014 by wabisabipix

kd_leica_m6_1The Leica rangefinder camera has over the years become as legendary as the famous photographers that have become synonymous with using it.

Cartier Bresson,Eve Arnold,Robert Capa,Robert Frank and Vivian Maier to name but a few, have all been associated with its name and the body of work created with this photographic tool has spanned over many decades.

In an era where photographic quality and longevity seem to be taking a back seat, in a world obsessed with the quick fix and inherent obsolescence and yearly upgrades, it seems the ubiquitous smartphone has dominated the requirements of the masses.Even internet service providers are struggling to cater for the deluge of every day images flooding the internet and it is allegedly rapidly running out of capacity in its current form.

Interestingly there appears to be a rekindling of interest by many in the younger generation that have read and learned about the photographic legends of the golden era of photojournalism and are kicking back against the digital world that cocoons them.Many are seeking to learn more about the old techniques of dark room printing and the power and minimalism of black and white photography.

Film appears to be making a come back and even the film industry is turning away from the current vogue to use video and returning to celluloid in a bid to recapture that classic 35mm look.Such is rumoured to be the case in that of the new Star Wars Film currently being filmed at Pinewood Studios in the UK.

The legendary Kodak film Tri-X, famous for use by such photographers as David Bailey,Don McCullin,Anton Corbijn and Sebastiao Salgado,is also gathering resurgence of interest,especially for those seeking that natural film grain and rich blacks and whites that add character and depth to an image,a complete contrast to the digital, rather clinical, grain free effects of todays digital offerings.

Indeed a close friend who had a fridge load of date expired film has found that it was purchased enthusiastically on ebay by fans of Lomography who love the psychedelic effects of the film in their Holga and Lomo cameras who cannot get enough of it.

Many are now stepping off the digital merry go round and seeking out classic film cameras to shoot their important pictures and memories, after all its easy to scan a negative for internet purposes and you can keep a negative for archive purposes for hundreds of years, but when your hard drive dies or becomes obsolete thats a big problem,who can remember zip disks?

Over the decades I have used many cameras,but one that I have a special fondness for is the Leica M6 with a 35mm F2 Summicron IV pre aspherical.

This lens has become known as the “King of Bokeh” among rangefinder aficionados.

A true jewel of a lens,this optic is possessed of a unique set of characteristics that almost give the lens a life of its own.

When shot wide open this lens gives an extraordinary creamy bokeh(Japanese Bo-ke),a term coined by the japanese to describe the out of focus or blurry background effect when a wide aperture is selected.It also gives a wonderful glow in the specular highlights and a full range of tones that really jump out of the picture giving an almost 3D quality frequently described as the Leica glow.It is almost as if the lens maker has dropped a tiny pipet of bottled nostalgia onto the front lens coating and all images suddenly seem in some way like a captured frame from a dream sequence.

Mechanically the optic really is a dream.It has beautiful click stops,silky smooth focus and a full array of depth of field settings,enabling a photographer to take full advantage of setting hyper focal distance and pre-setting the camera for street photography.

I also like the 90mm Elmarit f2.8 which is ideal when you need that extra little bit of reach or a tight portrait and the gorgeous Elmar 50mm f2.8 is a cracking pop out pancake lens in the old tradition and style for keeping in a discrete pocket.

In modern times the Leica M6 body may not seem the most ergonomically designed of film cameras and the loading procedure can be a little bit more time consuming than opening the back door of a typical 35mm film SLR, however in my opinion this is not what rangefinder photography is about.If you require a camera to rattle off 12fps and send the images directly online via a wifi connection to your laptop then you are looking in the wrong place.However if you are the kind of person for whom the internet is a mere after thought and you want a small discrete camera that can be hand held to stunningly low shutter speeds and which is whisper silent and doesn’t draw attention,and if you enjoy doing your own black and white prints or thrill when you get back your prints from a lab,then this could be for you.

The Leica rangefinder is for people who prefer to smell the roses and enjoy life at a more laid back pace while taking the scenic route.It is for those who may relish the pleasure of sitting in a cafe watching the world go by while enjoying the pleasure of winding on the gears of a classic precision photographic instrument,almost like a swiss watch,that instills you with confidence in its design and the quality of its build and optics.The enjoyment of following a classic ritual from an age of elegance that makes you feel that taking pictures with it should be more thoughtful and considered.

 

In essence,shooting a Leica rangefinder eventually becomes an almost Zen like experience as one can see all the action prior to the subject entering the frame,preset the focus using hyper focal distance and use experienced judgement to set the light levels.Combining all these elements successfully creates an almost instantaneous extension of your mind and eye and culminates in a single understated whisper quiet click!

They are such mechanical wonders that they do not even require batteries.In my opinion thats quite something in this modern age.

It takes practice and discipline to master this technique of course,but the reward is there for those patient enough.

Indeed Leica cameras and their lenses are not cheap and seeking out the classic lenses is a costly affair.However of all the cameras on the market they are clearly an investment and you will almost certainly find that the camera or lens you buy either holds its value or becomes more valuable as the years pass by,the problem is that you probably will not want to sell it anyway as it becomes very much a part of your life.

There is also something pleasing knowing that in all likelihood that rangefinder will still be shooting when those digital wonders are are long gone into the annals of upgrade history or are relegated to the status of expensive paperweights.Indeed a battered and bronzed Leica with years of usage,has a certain beauty and appeal to it that is quite frankly priceless.

 

 

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ALL ABOARD THE CRAB AND WINKLE LINE:A DAY OUT IN WHITSTABLE.

Posted in art, beach, classic, England, english village, Kent, lumix lx7, nature, news, photo, photoblog, Photography, photojournalism, quaint, railway, relax, retro, road trip, rustic, steam locomotive, sunday lunch, tourism, train, travel, unusual, village, vintage, walking, walks, Whitstable, writing on July 6th, 2014 by wabisabipix

A short drive out of London, on the Kent coast,lies a gem of a town that still retains the flavour of an old English seaside resort of the kind that is much missed these days on this sceptred isle. Whitstable is a perfect family destination for those in the know,where time hasn’t moved along in a hurry and families can still enjoy that beach experience very much relegated to the halcyon days of nostalgia. An afternoon spent wandering along the sea walls, meandering among the multicoloured beach huts, breathing deeply of the sea air and exploring the old fishing village and harbour with its fresh seafood,Oysters,Cockles and Winkles.Exploring the old alleys filled with boutique shops or simply savouring the peace and quiet and recharging ones batteries here,the traveller is left with the feeling of time well spent. Originally built in 1832 by the Canterbury and Whitstable railway company, the harbour was created to serve what was called the Crab and Winkle line ,which linked Canterbury and London by a steam ship and also helped carry coal and timber as well as providing a thriving sea food industry. By 1849 the town had turned into a bit of a boom town and played its part during the war transporting munitions and grain. Sadly the town fell into a downward spiral after the Crab and Winkle line closed in 1952. As time passed,the town became more of a traveller destination,preserving much of its original character for being quiet,reserved and far enough off the beaten path to feel like a haven away from the big smoke of London. A great plan for visiting Whitstable is to start in the harbour with its seafood markets and walk up the sea front, stopping at leisure and absorbing the atmosphere along the sea walls. Children will be in their element as there is so much to do. The Old Neptune Pub,a famous landmark that has often been seen in films made in the area,would be a great place for refreshments. Why not head into the quaint town centre and its delightful boutique shops and restaurants where you cannot help but feel that there must be a reason this town attracts a lot of artists. After lunch, perhaps a stroll back up the hill visiting Whitstable Castle and dropping back down to the beach to enjoy the beautiful light of the sunset over the Isle of Sheppey while rounding off the day cooking a fish supper over a beach barbecue.

 

See more images here:http://www.surreypix.co.uk/p31361888 All images copyright Kerry Davies/All rights reserved.

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PAINSHILL PARK:HAVING A BLAST WITH THE NAPOLEONIC ASSOCIATION.

Posted in age of elegance, britain, cannon, cavaliers, cool, drama, England, english village, enthusiasts, equine sport, europe, feature, film location, Film set, folk, forts, french, fringe, hussars, legends, london, lumix lx7, moods, muskets, myths, Napoleonic, Napoleonic association, napoleonic wars, nature, news, Nikon, painshill park, photo, photoblog, Photography, photojournalism, re-enactment, redcoats, relax, renactment, road trip, skirmish, surrey, swords, tourism, travel, unusual, vintage, Wales, walking, walks, warhorse, waterloo, writing on May 25th, 2014 by wabisabipix

The May bank holiday on sunday 25th 2014 certainly went off with a bang as the Napoleonic Association of re-enactors http://www.napoleonicassociation.org blitzed the Painshill Park near Cobham in Surrey http://www.painshill.co.uk with the thunder of hooves and the crack of muskets and cannon fire. An incredibly authentic experience of the “age of elegance”,they delve deep into all aspects of the period delivering an enthralling battlefield skirmish and other camp and entertainment experiences along the way. You have to blink twice to remind yourself that we are in fact still in the 21st century and cannot help but feel that these were in fact more elegant times. This group clearly eat,sleep and live this colourful period in history and provide a great insight to onlookers who ever wondered what it would have been like to live in these times. I can still smell those camp fires! Now where did I put that musket!

More images can be viewed at: http://www.surreypix.co.uk/p393250091 Copyright Kerry Davies /All rights reserved.

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HORSING ABOUT!

Posted in britain, Castles, classic, England, english village, enthusiasts, equine sport, feature, Festival, london, may, moods, news, photo, photoblog, Photography, photojournalism, tourism, travel, Uncategorized, Windsor castle, Windsor Great Park, windsor horse show, writing on May 19th, 2014 by wabisabipix

A glorious Sunday afternoon day spent in the shadow of the spectacular Windsor Castle watching the Royal Windsor Horse show and photographing the finest of the worlds equine talent in action while munching on strawberries and cream and slapping on the factor 30 as the sun blazed down relentlessly!

 

More Images here:http://www.surreypix.co.uk/p374146395

Images shot on a Nikon D700 with a 300mm f2.8 afd

Images copyright Kerry Davies/all rights reserved Strictly no unauthorised use or reproduction.

 

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Your Punch And Judy Needs You!

Posted in britain, classic, covent garden, England, enthusiasts, feature, Festival, folk, fringe, london, may, mayday, moods, news, photoblog, Photography, photojournalism, punch and judy, puppet, puppeteers, quaint, relax, restoration, retro, tourism, travel, Uncategorized, vintage, walking, walks, writing on May 11th, 2014 by wabisabipix

“Your Punch And Judy Need You!” proclaimed the stick wielding angry looking Mr Punch illustration attached to the wall of the metal fence of the St Pauls Church in Covent Garden in Central London on May the 11th 2014.

Wandering into to the rear courtyard of the church otherwise known as “The actors church”, I was struck by wall to wall arrangements of multicoloured very striking lines of Punch and Judy tents that screamed of historic beach nostalgia from Britains glory days of old.

“Oh no it isn’t!!, Oh yes it is !!” Echoed around the courtyard and the distinct yell of “Sausages!”,and the clack of wood against wood as Mr Punch received another clobbering from his ever suffering wife and the screech of a Police whistle as Mr Punch was eternally pursued for batting his baby into the stratosphere in a most politically incorrect manner.

I even spotted a pearly King and Queen  and of all things a psychedelic pink Policeman and a brass band thrown into the mix for good measure!

The annual Covent Garden May Fayre and Puppet Festival is an event that celebrates the red nosed stick wielding puppet and brings together dozens of puppeteers in a gathering of great entertainment value and nostalgia.

On the wall of the Church an engraving stands prominently in honour to Mr Punch.Covent Garden is in fact the birth place of the troublesome,anarchic chap who was first sighted by Samuel Pepys on May 9th 1662 near this site and the last sunday nearest this date has essentially become his birthday.

So enjoy your sausages Mr Punch but look out for the crocodile,happy birthday!

 

All images and video shot with a Lumix Lx7.Puppeteer Professor Clive Chandler

Images Copyright Kerry Davies/No unauthorised reproduction/All rights reserved.

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Jack in the Green Hastings 2014

Posted in Battle of Hastings, beach, britain, Castles, Celtic, Christians, England, europe, feature, Festival, folk, fringe, gawain and the green knight, green man festival, hastings, Jack in the Green festival Hastings, jack-in-the-green, legends, may, mayday, medieval, myths, nature, news, Nikon, pagan, photo, photoblog, Photography, photojournalism, quaint, relax, retro, road trip, saxons, tourism, travel, Uncategorized, unusual, vintage, Wales, walking, walks, writing on May 6th, 2014 by wabisabipix

As the clock ticked over and the Sun rose over Great Britain on May 5th 2014, blowing away the cobwebs of winter, I revisited the Jack in the Green Festival on the south coast of England most famous for being the gateway for the Norman invasion in 1066.

It was a fantastic warm spring day of Morris Dancers and mayhem and quite a sight for the senses.It was held in a field next to Hastings castle and overlooked the splendid sight of the main town in all its glory.At its centre was a stage where performances of various kinds ranging from Morris dancing to belly dancing entertained the masses that descended upon the seaside town.

It starts with a procession around the town and culminates with the symbolic slaying of the Jack of the Green which symbolically frees the spirit and welcomes the transition of the Winter into the Summer.The tradition has many roots and I have another article on the subject earlier in this blog.

Needless to say,this festival never disappoints and is one of the best Green Man festivals in the UK and well worth a visit.

Here are a few shots shot on a Nikon D700 with a 17-35mm f2.8.

More Images can be viewed from previous years at www.surreypix.co.uk.KD_Green_Man_2014_Copyright_Kerry_Davies_45ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Images Copyright Kerry davies/No unauthorised usage .

 

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All the fun of the fair

Posted in britain, camera, classic, english village, enthusiasts, europe, fairground, Festival, galloper, london, may, mayday, moods, news, photo, photoblog, Photography, photojournalism, quaint, relax, restoration, retro, steam engine, steam locomotive, surrey, Uncategorized, vintage, walking, writing on May 4th, 2014 by wabisabipix

SP_Carter_Steam_Fair_22The Mayday bank holiday 2014 rolls around and the famous English Carter steam fair rolls into town settling on the village green in leafy Hersham in Surrey.Very much a part of vintage Britain,It is quite a sight to see the superb antique steam fairground rides assembled and running with the nostalgic sounds of ride organs playing the melodic tunes of times past.It was formed in 1977 by John and Anne Carter,collectors of all things vintage and grew from strength to strength into its present form and is very much a part of treasured British heritage that is constantly being lovingly restored and cared for while delighting new generations of children and adults.ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

  images and video copyright Kerry Davies/No unauthorised use or reproduction.

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The London to Brighton Jaguar Run 2014

Posted in Brighton, britain, classic, classic car, England, enthusiasts, europe, Festival, film location, Film set, hobbys, jaguar, london, motoring, news, Nikon, photo, photoblog, Photography, photojournalism, relax, retro, road trip, surrey, tourism, travel, Uncategorized, writing on April 28th, 2014 by wabisabipix

The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich near London which is also the home of the Cutty Sark ship,the Greenwich Observatory and recently the setting for the film version of the recent movie Les Miserables provided the grand backdrop for the 16th London to Brighton Jaguar run where members of the Jaguar enthusiasts club gathered together in the region of 300+ classic Jaguar cars in a leisurely cruise down to the English coastal town of Brighton with its Victorian pier and beaches.It was time to knock back the bacon butties have a hot coffee and don the driving goggles and scarf and burn some rubber throughout some of Englands prettiest coastal routes while trying ones best to read the maps and avoid using the 21st century sat nav…… Ahhh nostalgia!

  Images Copyright Kerry Davies/No unauthorised use or reproduction.

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Retro Cool?

Posted in classic, cool, Leica, Nikon, Nikon Df, photo, photoblog, Photography, photojournalism, retro, Uncategorized on November 7th, 2013 by wabisabipix

This is the new Nikon Df camera with a newly designed 50mm f1.8 lens.

images

After its much much publicised entrance with several teaser adverts it clearly attempts to merge the design of a classic FM2 or F3 body with that of a modern SLR in an attempt to capture the kudos of the film days in a almost £3000 package.

My first impression was one of fascination and interest and seeing that mirror box shape reminded me of the days when film was the only option.

The question I couldn’t help but ask questions of however was Nikons marketing ploy of “retro”.

What is truly “retro”?

We live in an age when digital cameras are upgraded every year or two.

Does any camera really last long enough to become truly classic any longer?

In this time when press photographers are having their livelihoods stripped away by a dying newspaper industry it leaves me questioning their pricing.

If camera producers truly wanted to create a classic retro camera would it not make sense to make maximum effort to create a quality example of perfect engineering with quality parts and optics at a reasonable price with perhaps a replaceable sensor that can be replaced with each technological update.

In the 1990’s I clearly remember the cost of professional bodies such as the Nikon F4 and the Canon Eos1 being in the region of £1200.These cameras would last a decade or more if treated properly.

The one thing that remained true was the use of film.

These days camera’s now cost 3 times that cost.The new Df is priced on the region of £2800.

The current workhorse cameras the D4 and D3 offer more features on the face of it and they will soon become obsolete for the next  wonder sensor that turns up and relegates those metal bodies to mere paperweights sitting on a bookshelf gathering dust.

The retro looks only last a short time as a novelty jewellery item, before becoming common place and ending up among other equally identical faux retro bodies looking like they popped out of a plastic 3D printer. These are now living in a used camera shop at less than quarter of the value you paid for them.

What is truly retro?

To me a truly retro camera has to be a film camera.

It is a film camera that will be your constant companion for a decade or more,something that will live with you and your family and be there for all of your experiences,the highs and the lows. It will wear and age with dignity and those experiences will show themselves as worn brass corners where those years of mileage have rubbed away at the paintwork like an ancient stone pathway.

Its gears will be of fine mechanical quality and the shutter and aperture dials will click with a reassuring quality that work as well as the first day it was bought even though a decade has passed.

The focussing screen should enable a bright view of what it being photographed, even in low light,  the image will snap into focus with a diamond cut clarity.The experience should leave you with the feeling of an artist bringing all the elements of a painting into sharp focus in a simple but exquisite frame.

Its lenses will produce a creamy bokeh that renders an  image with a unique fluidic quality, possessed of a character that enhances reality, giving an almost 3D quality .The lens will have distance markings and Hyper focal positions clearly marked to facilitate the pre-setting of focus quicker than the fastest auto focus could manage.

It will have a timer switch which whirs like a quality swiss watch.

The wind on  mechanism will be whisper silent.

Its shutter will produce a muffled unobtrusive inaudible click making it possible for the photographer to blend in to the background unseen.

It will become something you truly trust and covet.

I use Nikon pro cameras for my day to day press work and rely on them ,but for me what is truly retro?

Strangely almost half the cost of the new Nikon “retro” consumer camera  that to me meets the definition of this is……

What is truly retro?

KD_LEICA_M6_1

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PHOTOJOURNALISM IN THE AGE OF THE INTERNET

Posted in photojournalism, Uncategorized on October 26th, 2013 by wabisabipix

PhotoJournalists the world over are facing an existential crisis.

I am interested in the experiences of others as our international profession comes under treat by the relentless destruction caused by the erosive effects of the internet and its consumer technology.

To try and visualise a clear route through the carnage that has swept like a Tsunami through society, sweeping all in it path, is quite a task.

For the last 25 years I have worked as a photojournalist for various agencies and publications across the globe.

It is a job that has taken me around the world and given me experiences that I could only have dreamt about were I to have chosen another profession and I am truly thankful.

I started my career working freelance at a local paper in Wales in the UK where by a twist of fate covering a local cricket match turned into a streak of luck when the local paper photographers car broke down and the pictures that I took made the paper. There followed a period in Journalism college studying Photojournalism on an industry course within the UK and some time trying my hand at freelancing in London during the early 1990’s. By another streak of luck I was employed by a British international press agency which threw me on a plane to Los Angeles to join its cavalier crew of young journalists and photographers blazing a trail in magazines and newspapers throughout the 1990’s.I found myself with a battered Domke camera bag carrying Canon EOS 600 cameras and flashes all around the USA from Alaska to Hawaii. Rarely did a month pass without a plane trip to some distant location or thousands of miles driven in a hire car,tiring but great. They covered News and Features and Celebrity stories and made quite a mark on the Industry.

They were quite literally riding a wave.

After my return to the UK, I worked for a national newspaper title in the UK for the next 12 years.We covered News,Features and Celebrity stories in the UK and traveled internationally from locations in Europe to Africa and even south America on assignment. It has been a long strange trip.

The Industry is in a strange place now and I fear for its future.

Photographs and the effort it takes to get them seems to have become undervalued. National newspaper rates particularly for online use have become so low it hardly justifies spending the now overpriced fuel to go out and take them.If images are used online it is less likely that print editions will use the stills the next day as its by then old news. Its a vicious circle. The industry is like a dog chasing its tail that it has finally caught it and is now in the process of eating itself. Many colleagues have been forced to hang up their cameras and go and do something less satisfying to make a living. Its simply become not feasable to carry on when the media is just as happy using shakey smartphone footage and horrible audio rather than correctly exposed, high quality images with professional quality lenses and fine tuned fill flash, used with the aquired knowledge of years of trial and error and judgment of the exposure and composition.

All the talk of” FREE” and” CHEAP” and “EVERYONES A PHOTOGRAPHER NOW”,has sent accountants into a feeding frenzy that is sadly a knee jerk reaction not based on careful analysis.

There are horror stories such as the Chicago-Sun Times sacking its entire team of photographers and pressure to force reporters to file reports on their iphones.The National Union of Journalists in the UK has called for an end to the news video targets  local newspaper journalists in the UK  are being pressured into meeting in addition to their normal job of reporting. Many are ill equipped and inexperienced at doing so and there is clearly a problem with a deluge of pointless video making.Clearly you have to have a story worth making a video of in the first place and this news sense is clearly not well developed enough. Also there is the case of health and safety in often dangerous situations and the added workload of editing the footage into something useful which can often take hours and require technical knowledge. The case of the Chicago-Sun Times will become more clear after a period of analyzing their sales figures compared to their rivals who still employ photographers and those results will certainly be of interest.

If the opinion of their Chairman Michael Ferro is anything to go by its going to be a long uphill battle. I am very sympathetic toward [the photographers]. If I were in their shoes, I would feel bad too. It would be like you’re a carriage driver and the cars come and you’re really upset that you can’t have your buggy whip and hit your horse anymore.”

Michael Ferro Chairman of the Sun-Times Media.

Also a similar horror story has revealed itself across the pond here in the UK the newspaper publisher Johnston Press has announces that it is to sack 24 photographers from its company sending more shockwaves through the industry and almost certainly commiting themselves to self fulfilled oblivion!

http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/photo-news/540222/photographers-face-chop-at-uk-publisher?

It may be a period of confused transition by publishers ill advised by bean counters and I certainly hope so. I can forsee that we may be looking at the end of newspapers as we know it and their gradual, if not accelerated migration to that of tablets and laptops in their entirety, is only around the corner.How this happens we shall see but images will still be needed and publications need to establish a cash flow somehow rather being free which is what decimating the industry at the moment. Whether it is through paywalls or sponsorship or advertising,we shall see what the future holds but I hope they hurry up and lay the foundations as pretty soon there wont be many good people left to see it through.

For decades newspapers have been the glue of community and with the mass acceptance of tablet computers as the device of choice for millions and with the current campaigns to cut their price to affordable levels I suspect the full transition is just around the corner.Even supermarkets are jumping on the bandwagon selling their own models packed with targeted  marketing programs. it will certainly save a lot of trees but I’m sure the loss of rare earth minerals will probably counter balance that.

It will be sad if we descend into a planet glued to screens for all of our information at the cost of a lack of communication with those around us, other than by text and email.

Parents ignoring their kids and kids ignoring their parents,a sight increasing in family living rooms worldwide.

I guess thats progress.

However I cannot help but  fear that technology can advance but society can also regress.

In a recent development a french newspaper, Liberation, published an entire edition with spaces where the photographs should have been in protest at the  way photography is currently under assault in publications worldwide,this send waves of praise throughout the photojournalistic community.The British Journal of Photography published an article on it here: http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/news/2307127/french-newspaper-removes-all-images-in-support-of-photographers

Keen to adjust to change,one thing that is clear, is that video is becoming an integral part of what we do as journalists and for sure it is becoming a part of our kit bags. I have included a panasonic sd700 in my own along with a senheisser mic  with a softie and a juiced link XLR mixer.It provides a superb internet ready combination for churning out mp4 clips with ease.I have experimented with DSLR footage but frankly I prefer to keep my stills footage separate from my Video in my workflow and find the video camera appoach to be far more practical on a day to day basis.

Being a little on the nostalgic side ,in the early days I would travel with film cameras.In the 1990’s it was the EOS 600 camera body which rattled off at an amazing rate of frames.I superceded that with Nikon F4 cameras and then the Nikon F100. The lenses have remained pretty standard ranging from the wide angle 17-35mm ,the 24-70mm and the 70-200mm f2.8 and 300mm f 2.8 in their various incarnations. Currently the Nikon D700 is my body of choice as it can be easily broken down to a small body without the grip.

I also carry an excellent  lumix lx7 with its 24mm f1.4 .

What has changed for the better is the way that flash can now easily be intergrated into the workflow in a manner that is far less time consuming than multiple manual flash however manual flash still very much as its place,I own about 6 speedlight flashes but still also rely on two metz 45 flashes when basic manual flash is required.These are all enhanced by the fantastic pocket wizard radio slaves that have been around for quite a while.

When it comes to bags I’ve always had a preference for Domke shoulder bags.The original f2 was for years my bag of choice but as cameras became bigger I turned to the J1 series as they fitted the 70-200mm better.However with a lot of time on airplanes I ended up using the Think Tank airport range to transport gear as their wheeled cases are simply the best.

When I first started,we carried film cameras and boxes of chemicals and processed films in our hotel rooms when at remote locations. We then scanned them on a Nikon scanner and then uploaded them on an early Motorola phone with a data cable using software called Z term or used a  standard phone line.I recall one hilarious time in Mexico trying to send exclusive pictures of Oprah Winfrey while wandering through the Cancun jungle trying to find a hotel with a non crackling phone line that I could use. In the end I had to pay a hotel owner $1000 to take his fax line off the wall, ah the years of media madness!!!

I  welcome your comments and experiences.

If you are Interested there are just a few examples of my work at www.surreypix.co.uk

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