A Monkey's Revenge - My Blog

Gearhead

iPhone advert in Birmingham

My blog post this week is fittingly from Birmingham, where I passed this advert on the way to a job for The Daily Telegraph.
It's not the greatest quality because it was shot on my iPhone 5s in the early hours. I liked the irony of photographing an advert for the latest iphone on one of their older products. I'm not sure if the advert actually proves that much as it seems to imply that if you shoot with the latest iPhone your photos will be good enough to use at billboard size. The truth is that even when digital first came out, the small file sizes could still be upsized with software and used for billboards.
Many years ago I had a billboard made from a 5mp Nikon D1X file, although it's fair to say that even the sensor on that camera was bigger than the one in most mobile phone cameras.

I don't think I could ever be described as a 'gearhead'. Which is also ironic because tomorrow I will be heading to the 'gearhead's' favourite annual show-The Photography Show at the NEC in Birmingham. I haven't been in years and confess to being quite excited to be not only attending, but also writing about what I find there for the Manfrotto blog.
Last time I went the Fuji X100 was on display for the first time and I got a quick hands on with it. History repeats itself and this time the must-see Fuji GFX50S will be there. I've heard good things and bad things about it but at over £6K for the body only it would need to justify that price by blowing away the competition and cheaper cameras like Canon's EOS 5Ds which I have used and was very impressed with.

I'm also looking forward to meeting several members of my photographers' group who will also be at the show. These days photographers can be 'electronically isolated' and so it's a great thing to be able to meet up in person and have a chat. I don't fancy being one of those photographers at the show humping around all their gear in a rucksack, so like in my previous blog post-I will be travelling light!

How to travel light

It's 2017 and time I re-started my own blog. I've been writing for other blogs instead lately so not had much time or the inclination to update my own!

I aim to change all that though.

Here is my latest blog post for the Manfrotto School of Xcellence!

Instagrab

After an absence of over a year I finally decided to rejoin 'Instagram' which was named 'Instagrab' by me and many other photographers after appearing to do a rights grab on anybody uploading photos to it.
I missed uploading to it in truth. It's quick and easy and a great way to show recent work or just fun stuff which you may or may not have shot on your mobile phone.

So why the change of heart by me then? Well, I did switch to EyeEm for a while but for me it just didn't seem as good as Instagram. So I gave up on it.Then Instagrab got taken over by Facebook. I've been a 'Facebook tart' for years so decided as I upload loads of stuff to FB I might as well include their photo sharing 'club'. The difference now is that I watermark everything and include a copyright notice.The pics are small and I make sure they are uploaded at low res.

It looks to me like the cat is well and truly out of the bag now. If you upload anything at all to the internet then people will steal it, alter it, consider it theirs, etc. So the only way to avoid that is to become a hermit and go and live in a cave somewhere. That's too radical for me, and besides there is no TV reception in a cave. So I've decided to embrace the internet rather than reject it and if people steal my humble efforts for commercial sites, etc then I can always sue them for breach of my copyright and flagrancy if they remove the watermarks. If you'd like to follow me on Instagram, I'm 'Johnwattsrobertson'on there.

The Road Less Travelled

The road less travelled- No, I'm not talking about the self help book of the same name, although you could claim taking photos just for myself on the way back from a paying job is self-help I suppose ;-)

Sometimes I decide not to go the usual route to places and avoid the toll roads and busy motorways. Last week was no exception with a choice between a trip along the M6 and forking out £11 on tolls or taking the scenic route through the snowy Peak District up to Stockport.

I'm always on the lookout for sellable photos, stock or otherwise during my travels and sometimes see things I feel I have to photograph just for myself. These two were both taken from inside my nice warm car with the windows down and briefly stopped in a layby at Bottomhouse near Leek. The sheep were on one side of the car and the dry stone wall against a snow-covered steep hill on the other side. I guess I will stick them with my stock collection in any case, but I enjoyed taking them during a 10 minute coffee break.

The best camera

The best camera is the one you have with you. These days that usually means a phone with a built in camera-in my case an iPhone 4s. This was taken today during a coffee break after shopping in Kettering town centre. I liked the way the reindeer stickers on the window seemed to be floating in the air. Problem is that I find my iPhone's camera very difficult to use for street photography and capturing a moment. I hate the lack of a viewfinder in any camera. Also the shutter lag and the incredible 'pull' on the volume shutter button. Lack of control on focus and shutter speed-etc,etc.

There are good things about the smartphone camera though. Number one of these is they are so ubiquitous that nobody takes the slightest interest in what you are doing. The quality is good enough for web use. If you are into filters there are tons of them to give 'professional effects'. We pro's will probably turn our noses up at these filters, but if it helps people enjoy photography then that can only be good news in my book.

Many newspapers are sending reporters out with smartphones for video reporting and even to take stills pics. That is always going to be second best to doing the job properly with a trained pictures person and decent gear, but in these 'good enough' times I don't see anything changing soon on that front unfortunately. 

It often amazes me when I see other photographers work on smartphone cameras. It can be very accomplished unlike my humble effort above.I have no idea how they do it with so many limitations. Perhaps I don't use mine enough to be familiar with work-arounds. I think I'll wait until somebody makes a real pocket sized digi camera that produces lovely files and has a great viewfinder. Hopefully before I retire ;-)

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