Getting Tough

I've had my first 'tough' camera. The idea was to find something suitable to take sea kayaking, so waterproof, generally rugged and easy to operate. The camera chosen is the latest model in the Olympus Tough range, the TG-5.

What came before In looking for waterproof cameras I've tried a few different approaches over the years. At one stage I had a waterproof housing for an old Canon Ixus and that worked quite well at the time. However only a few cameras have the option of a dedicated housing and they can be expensive.

More recently I took the approach of buying a non-waterproof camera and placing it in a waterproof case. The idea was that would give me a wider choice of cameras and would give a lower overall cost. I chose a Panasonic Lumix.

Panasonic provide some good electronics in their Lumix range and the camera benefited from a Leica design lens. It was easy to find a waterproof case.

However it proved tricky to operate the camera through the case, care was needed…

Some magazine suggestions

Over the years I've tried various photography related magazines, subscribing to some while just picking up odd editions of others. There's been very few I would recommend, for the most part I avoid kit reviews and technical based articles while preferring examples of contemporary  photography.

My latest subscription has been to The Hand who state that:
"The Hand Magazine is dedicated to being the world’s premier forum for innovative and experimental uses of reproduction-based media. We are interested in how artists include their own hand in the art object while utilizing mechanical or reproduction-based techniques." It's a wonderful eclectic mix of prints, not all photographic, made with a variety of techniques including straight and toned cyanotypes which are of current interest to me.

A regular read of mine for several years now has been Hotshoe, which is:
"Published four times a year HOTSHOE is repeatedly the first to sp…

Scanning some old family slides

Whenever any old family photos are up for grabs I usually try to get them and over the years I've accumulated numerous old prints and slides. Recently I had another couple of batches of slides which I wanted to go through.

The snag is that I don't have an easy way of viewing them. Somewhere in the attic I have an old Bell & Howell slide projector, the type that takes one slide at a time but I don't know if it works. With one of the slide batches there was a Halina slide viewer.

However the viewer did not work. Opening it up I found the original batteries were still inside and very corroded. These were replaced but it is still not working. Possibly it may need a new bulb or there may be a problem with it making a circuit, more diagnosis needed. So for the moment I'm holding the slides up to a light for an approximate initial idea of what is on them (may soon be time for a diy lightbox).

To share the slide photographs with family I wanted to be able to scan them. For…

My last Lightroom upgrade

I can't remember when I made the move from shooting in camera jpg to shooting raw but it would probably be around ten years ago. At a similar time I started with Adobe Lightroom, the two going nicely hand in hand. Lightroom has scored for its overall combination of library and development modules, allowing convenient raw processing. Over the years I've gone for each major Lightroom release, the easy option of just buying an update license at around £50 every 18 months or so, and staying with the desktop version.

However for some time it's been clear that Adobe's preference has been for monthly subscriptions and for cloud based options. Now with release 6.13 it's been the final update for the standalone version and it's missing some of the functionality of the 'Classic' version. The subscription model would work out more expensive and so it prompts me to review my options.

Lightroom certainly has its shortcomings; performance is terrible, even on high pe…

Ardnamurchan Winter

After spending a week in Ardnamurchan here is a condensed selection of my 'best' photographs taken. I'll start with my personal favourite, an image of Loch Shiel with the M.V. Sileas in the distance, I've used negative space to emphasise the cloud pattern as a reflection in the calm water, taken at the southern end of this popular loch (Glenfinnan and the 'Harry Potter' viaduct are located at the north end).

I never seem to be as satisfied with colour images but I did like this one which is shot slightly contre-jour to reveal the cold winter branches along with the warm colours of the old ferns in the foreground.

Having very carefully framed this image I found the resulting composition graphic but possibly a little too busy with this photograph of Loch Shiel, which proved my most popular on social media

For EXIF data on these photographs and for other photographs taken in the Ardnamurchan area please see my Ardnamurchan Flickr Album here:…

Exposure approach for the Nikon FE

Almost time to load the film and get started so I need to understand my options and have a practical approach to setting the exposures on the Nikon FE.

Invariable The first thing I have to remember is that I can't change ISO. The old films I plan to use are ISO 200 so that will be my ISO value in all cases (let's ignore any options to pull and push the subsequent processing for the moment).

The second thing I can't change is white balance. The film packaging doesn't appear to show any white balance recommendation so I'll assume they are daylight balanced (e.g. maybe 6000k). The traditional way of handling this would be to use warm up or cool down filters but for the more casual photographer they probably wouldn't bother. Like many (mostly) digital photographers I don't have a set of colour correction filters so won't worry.

Ambient manual The simplest option is to set the camera manually. Aperture is set on the lens and shutter speed on the body. The wa…

Getting flashy with the Nikon FE

Along with the Nikon FE (see earlier post: From Voigtlander to Nikon) there was also a flashgun, the Nikon Speedlight SB-10 (factoid: Nikon use the term Speedlight but Canon use the term Speedlite).

When I opened up the battery compartment I was pleased to find the flashgun had been stored without batteries so no leakage. However when I put new batteries in I sadly found the unit was dead. I'm guessing maybe the electrolytic capacitor had failed sometime in the 36 years since the unit was manufactured.

So what would make a good alternative to deliver a similar lighting effect to the original unit? Well the SB-10 worked as a manual unit (and also had a limited auto option).

The Guide Number was a very modest 25. My nearest equivalent is a Yongnuo YN560 which offers manual power setting with a max Guide Number of 39.

Sorry, now the maths bit!

The basic calculation is guide number / f-stop = max flash distance.

As an example with the SB-10 at ISO 100 with guide number 25 (metres) an…