Monday, 27 September 2010

Compact Elinchrom Quadra end cap by Les Wilson

I was going to blog a little more about Photokina but Photographer Les Wilson came round for a cup of tea and showed me a really great little mod he has made for his Elinchrom Quadra flash heads

When these Excellent heads first shipped for some inexplicable reason they had no protective cap(they now have a white plastic cover which goes over the reflector)

Now Les, a photographer who I worked alongside at the 'Sunday Telegraph' is a real 'doer' and has taken matters into his own hands and had these very cool end caps made out of tough plastic

This enables them to be packed very neatly into his small rucksack which he takes all over the world

Les with his bag

If you are interested Les is just planning a run of them right now and is selling them at £8 plus postage and packing

If you are interested please drop me a line and I will pass your details on

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Photokina TV interview

The show is smaller than before.

With Adobe and Apple being notable by their absence


One can only guess, but perhaps they figure their money is spent in other areas

I feel it is a shame they are not here

Photokina is a manufacturers way of giving back and showing commitment, despite it's expense

Nothing beats face to face contact

I spoke to a few show goers who were very disappointed

I was collared by Photokina tv for a quick interview regarding my HD-DSLR DVD 'Stills in Motion' which went ok I think

My favourite part is when the guy in the background tries to get in on the action a minutes in....

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Photokina 2010 with the Manfrotto School of Xcellence

So here it is

The sprawling monster of Photokina is with us and for the fourth time I'm lucky enough to be there, this time with the Manfrotto school of xcellence, where I will be reviewing portfolios and doing 'one to one's from today until Saturday, if you are at the show please come and say 'Hello'
Needless to say I will not be alone, Joe McNally, Bill Frakes and Roberto Bigano and many more too in attendance,sharing their knowledge

The show is normally the place where the big name camera makers announce their latest and greatest products.

With a few exceptions it does not seem to have happened this time round, with most announcements being made prior to the show.

I'm not really quite sure what to make of it, but needless to say I will be reporting on my show favourites and market trends.

It took very little time for me to get here by train and I strongly recommend that if you can get here before the show ends it will be very much worth your while, as it is a great barrometer of the industry

See you there

Friday, 17 September 2010

ND filters...Love and hate

Followers of this blog will know I have advocated the use of variable ND filters, particularly when it comes to shooting moving images

A very useful thing to have, or so it would seem

Too good to be true?

In a word -Yes

Katherine Holley and I were using filters made by brand 'X' during the South African township project, predominantly on the Canon 'L' series 24-105mm lens

They certainly did the trick when it came to cutting light down, allowing us to use wide apertures in very bright condition, its just the footage always seemed a little 'soft' at best

Our confidence was dented to the extent that we stopped using them.

So blaming brand 'X' (and a manufacturing defect they had been suffering from) I tried brand 'Y'

Using brand 'Y'for moving images does seem to be a step forward, sharper images for sure but then Lucinda Marland and I stared to use them on a very exciting stills project (which I can't talk about at the moment)

When using the Canon 'L' series 85mm F1.2  or the EXCELLENT Phase One 110mm F2.8 Schneider lens wide open there was was a lack of sharpness that was simply unacceptable, both lenses can be very difficult to focus wide open but this was shot killing stuff

We removed the filter and bingo, tack sharp stunning image quality was back with us.

So we wanted to use an ND filter, what to do?

We tried a low tech old school solution

The 0.9 ND by LEE Filters (which allows exposure to be cut by 3 f stops), along with the fancy but very effective bellows hood

The only problem was getting hold of one, sold out everywhere.

An exhaustive search did turn one up

Boy was is worth it, even wide open sharpness was unaffected

We were back in the the land of 'Sharp' once more

For a fraction of the cost of a Vario ND filter (well not a fraction but cheaper when you consider just the filter alone)

Yes, some are better, some are worse but it is a scientific fact that when you put two polarisers together image quality will be affected

Will I use one again? Perhaps for moving image work, but for stills I doubt it

Old school has proved to be the way to go for me

Now, just to get more of those LEE filters

Check this guy out -What a shirt!

I heard on the grapevine that this guy a certain Michael Zelbel on Smoking Strobes had a mini review of my DVD Stills in Motion

Thanks Michael

What a shirt!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Thank you for Drobo Comments

So, thank you one and all for all of you comments which I will be taking into account when I replace my Drobo Pro which maybe sooner rather than later as I cannot afford the chaos that it brings all too often

I have just been sent a link to Team Chase's solution to dealing with data

A server is indeed the way to go, join me on my journey to find a reliable cost effective solution

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

End of my tether with Drobo-iscsi kernel panic

Readers of this blog will know of my long running issues with my Drobo Pro

And how Drobo sent a 4th unit from the USA

And how I hoped against hope that all would be well

Picture this, 350 images on my Drobo Pro which I converting to CMYK on deadline for a client

Half way through I get...the Apple grey multi lingual screen of death telling me need to hard reset my Mac Pro

So restart then same again


So I switched to my iMac, attaching the Drobo Pro

And guess what happened?

I get...the Apple grey multi lingual screen of death telling me need to hard reset my Mac

This time I take the time to read the Apple crash report and behold what do I see.....(I think you know what is coming)

Now I'm a humble photographer and know little of how to interpret-ate crash reports but I saw the fateful words 'Data robotics'

So did a Google search and what did I find? 

So it would seem a conflict between OSX 10.6.4 and the Drobo iscsi controller

Causing a Kernel panic

I have just finished from a phone call with Drobo and they say they can offer 'no solution' as the issue is 'complex'

So that leaves a Drobo Pro rammed with Terabytes of my data which I no longer dare plug into any of my Mac's

I have enabled my Mac Pro as a firewire target disc so I can try to fix it from my iMac

When I did this Apple's disc utility said the damage could not be fixed and I need to reformat my Hard Disk and reinstall everything, I thought I perhaps was being harsh when I called my Drobo Pro a 'time vampire' but right now it is living up to its name

Yes, I understand such things can happen when a new OS can upset drivers for devices like the Drobo but I was talking to some VERY knowledgeable industry experts at my workshop in Belgium and they were urging caution with my reliance on the Drobo for my storage as it uses a propriety software not used by other backup solutions which use industry recognised software

I'm no expert but I feel this lies at the root of the matter

If you have lots of time and feel like taking a chance do buy a Drobo but be sure what you are letting yourself in for 

In Drobo's own words

They can offer 'no solution' and the issue is 'complex'

That leaves me with 20 years images stuck on a Drobo Pro

And a day's reinstallation on my Mac Pro after reformatting the drive

Happy days are here again