Little Drones

I recently purchased a DJI Spark drone. I’m having loads of fun working out how to fly it, and get those fantastic cinematic shots.

So far, I haven’t really got the hang of shooting with it, but damn it’s fun. However, finding somewhere to fly it, legally is troublesome. Your not supposed to fly within 50 meters of any person or property. My first flight didn’t obey that. We have an area in Harrogate called the Stray. A huge grass area, I played about scuttling the drone around, up high and just working out how it all works. My second flight was amongst the walkers, cyclists and dog walkers on Bilton fields. I found a nice quiet area and sent the drone off on its merry dance. All fine until a dog took an unhealthy interest. Watched the owners chase it about for ages until they caught it.

As I’m not using Windows anymore, finding a Linux based video editor that ticks all my boxes is a little complicated. I’ve settled for kdenlive at the moment. But time will tell if I settle with it. The cache editor built into the DJI app is quite good for quick edits.


I picked up my trusty Nikon for the first time in ages, and headed out to the deer park at Studley Royal.

I thought the deer may of started rutting. They hadn’t, but I found a few deer, and they where play fighting for a while.

I had mounted my longest zoom, mounted it on a monopod as the weight of the lens and camera make hand holding almost impossible.

I think this image worked better in B&W, I had difficulty getting the exposure, as they where sat under a large oak, giving plenty of shade.

Hunting the Hunter

Thats a better hold!
11000 • f2.8 • 50.0 mm • ISO 100

I really enjoy catching other photographers in the act. The moment the eye is at the view finder, nothing else matters. Hundred things rushing through the mind. Is it in focus? Is it at the right shutter speed, aperture? Then the gentle squeeze on the button, and that glorious clack as the mirror flips. The world could be ending around you, but it does not matter until that mirror slaps up. Looking through that view finder, you are no longer part of it, you are simply a viewer, an onlooker looking at the subject, distant. It’s a strange mindset.

I am very guilty of judging people with their cameras. I see another photographer and I instantly look over their gear. I just can’t help it.

All sorts of people are out there with their cameras. Some big DSLR users, photographing the Minster, with the DSLR, and the in built flash pops up, and they have the same kit lens and uncomfortable next strap on the camera as the day they bought it. I have a want to help these people, show them what they, and their camera is capable of, but that would be so wrong of me.

04082013-DSC_9460So hears to everyone with a camera. Go out, use your cameras however you see fit. Enjoy it, use it, love it. Live for that clack.

Dont worry about other people, just enjoy your photography. 🙂

More photographers in the act:


1160 • f8.0 • 85.0 mm • ISO 100

Chimping. This is the habit of looking at your LCD every time you take an image. Its a bad habit.

It distracts you from your surroundings, you may be missing that shot, what ever you just took a shot of, may be doing something your missing.

Have you ever had an engaging conversation with a friend and then suddenly your friend gets a text message? What happens? Your friend says “sorry one second” and checks their phone, sends back a text, and slowly adjusts their focus back to you and says “Oh sorry–what were we talking about again?”

When taking photos, enjoy the act. Don’t put pressure on your self by inspecting each image.

LCD’s are not the best viewing platform either for looking at the image. What your seeing, is the JPEG, which has been rendered by your camera software, and passed through its various filters. What you see when you get home, may not be as exposed, vibrant as you see. And depending on the reflection your seeing on the LCD from ambient light, will fool you.

If you do look at the LCD, look at the histogram. This will always show you more than viewing the actual image.

And please don’t delete images from camera. It may look blurry, out of focus. But when you view it at home, there may be something about it, something you love. There are photographers who make their name with photos like that.

Just wait til you get home to inspect your photos, or wait until your in a coffee shop sipping on a mocha.

This is of course coming from the point of view of someone that primarily shoots street. And of course, macro, landscape and model photographers have an excuse. But not street. Enjoy being out, keep your eyes open and never miss a shot.

Of camera bags

Camera bags are as unique as the person carrying them. Everyone has their idea of the perfect bag.

For me, being primarily a street shooter and heading toward photojournalism, my needs are simple. The bag needs to be comfortable, easy and quick to access.
This pretty much rules out anything except shoulder bags. Of all my bag s, the two that I use most are Domke F2 and the Think Tank Retrospective 10. Each has strengths and weaknesses. But they both serve their purpose brilliantly.
I started with lowepro bags. I fell into the trap of more padding to protect my SLR. Over the time I have been photographing, I realised the massive amount of padding is in needed, and just wasted space. I’ve never damaged a camera in a bag, but I don’t throw my bags about. And when you think about the camera, they are built to last, and can take some punishment. Just ask any pro 🙂

The Domke is a monument to simplicity and intelligent design the F2 is the ideal bag for on the go photography. It’s light, comfortable, extremely well made, The F2 is nothing more than a heavy duty canvas shell. It has none of the thick padding that makes most shoulder bags stiff, bulky, and heavy, but just enough to keep your equipment from beating itself up. It uses an interchangeable insert system that allows you to custom fit the internal chambers, I have seen no need to alter the default 4 chamber insert that comes with the bag.

I keep the insert shifted to the back of the bag, which gives me enough room at the other end to house my DSLR with short to medium length prime attached.

The top cover is very flexible and can easy roll out of the way so there is no need to set the bag down to remove or insert the camera or change lenses. Once open, you have a work area to change lenses, or other tasks. I find that I treat the bag like a holster. I can pull the camera out, shoot a few photos, and slip it back into the bag without a thought. Another feature I fell in love with immediately is the front pockets. Unlike most bags, the F2’s front pockets do not have separate zippered or velcro closures but are simply covered by the lid when the bag is closed. Although this may sound insignificant, it is an amazingly useful feature when you’re in a hurry. The F2 also has two large side pockets that hold tons of accessories and have large, easy to manipulate canvas flaps in keeping with the brilliantly simple design of the rest of the bag.

But it does have some negatives. One of those is that when I’m shooting I like to work light and carry just what I need. The F2 is a little to large. Not to large to be impossible, but just wasted space when out. The other one is water proofness. While the canvas is waterproof, and even more so when wet as the canvas expands, the large open pocket at the back of the bag just fills with water if your not wearing the bag.

The domke is used if I have more than my normal kit to carry about.

In normal everyday street shooting my bag of choice is the Retrospective 10. Its just the right size for my street kit.

The Retrospect 10 has a lot going for it.

I’m not really one for looks over function, but hell, the retro is a gorgeous bag. I have the pinestone and I love the look.
There are more than enough places for your gear to go. This can be a issue as well as a blessing, as it could mean hunting to find the item your looking for. As opposed to the F2 with its simple minimal design. I have the bag set up with two main dividers, essentially how it comes, and I store the lenses in the sides, with camera lens down in the center. The huge front pocket is perfect for shoving items in that you just want to dump. I regularly stuff a bottle of drink in there.

The Retro really shines with smaller amounts of gear.

The Retro is certainly a comfortable shoulder bag, It hugs the body very well, but this can overly deform the internal structure making it difficult to access. Also I find the shoulder strap slides off my shoulder to easy, and having to move it back up the shoulder really gets to be a pain. Wearing it across shoulders shorts this however. The shoulder strap however is very wide and the pad helps avoid fatigue. Just that slipping, despite the anti slip material.

When I head out, the Retro 10 Is the bag I reach for, very closely followed by the Domke.