This Blog Has Moved

Monday, 30 March 2009

Feature Length Film on a Canon 5D MkII

Searching For Sonny: Elliot Teaser/Canon 5d Mark II from Andrew Disney on Vimeo.

Ok, must admit, I had the idea of shooting a full length feature film on a Canon 5D MkII a couple of months ago and toyed with the concept a lot.....but alas, it just stayed in my mind! Well, congratulations to Andrew Disney and Jeffrey Waldron for making it real!
It seems that the whole film, "Searching For Sonny", is not yet shot, but the trailers were released on April 15. I wish them the best of luck and can't wait to see the finished film.


Behind the scenes / "how to" info by Andrew Disney.

Flickr album of photos from the set

Skype For iPhone

Although I've been using Fring on my iPhone, I'm delighted to see that Skype will now be available on the iPhone and should be on the App store sometime tomorrow (Tuesday, March 31).
CNET have had a first hand look and a bunch of screenshots, so check them out.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Afghanistan's Failing Army by John D McHugh

Our good friend John D McHugh has his latest film "Afghanistan's Failing Army" on The Guardian's web site. Its a very interesting look at the subject of the ANA's ability to succeed as an army.

For further reading, check out the post on John D McHugh's blog.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Twitter - Follow Me?!

Twitter?? For those who have yet to discover it, its a very quick and abbreviated way of blogging, or as its called properly, micro blogging.
I've been using my iPhone a lot to update my Twitter feed with pictures and info, so if you'd like to give it a try, you can FOLLOW ME on Twitter.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

iPhone Saves The Day

The title may seem a tad excessive, but I assure you its not!
I had an assignment near Bristol a few days ago, involving a portrait of someone and several thousand trees they had planted. The best way to illustrate this was to get the subject in a helicopter and photograph them with the landscape below.
Photo taken in the air on the iPhone
I got onto the helicopter and we made our way to the subject's farm. As we got close to the town, the pilot realised that there didn't seem to be a grid reference for the location of the farm (although he did have one for the second location where the trees were).  Now anyone who has the slightest idea how expensive helicopters are to hire will begin to feel my panic!
I had a brain wave (instead of a heart attack) and got out my iPhone. Started up Google Maps and hit search, which found us (I have yet to see a faster moving icon!!). After typing in the postcode to the farm it showed that we weren't too far away and we managed to locate the correct field and land in it, just by following our location in relation to our destination on the iPhone's screen. Phew, the job was saved!
Now I've often resorted to using my iPhone when my car's built in and rather expensive Sat Nav fails to find where I want to go, have also used it when on foot, and even used it for cab drivers who get lost, but never in a million years did I think I'd use it in the air!

Update: Good news folks. The iPhone V3.0 software has just been announced by Apple and its now got the facility for developers to write "turn by turn" Sat Nav Apps for it; Tom Tom, bring it on!!

Monday, 16 March 2009

Unseen - The New BPPA Book

Anyone who knows me, will know that along with a few colleagues, I spent most of last year working on a book. After countless meetings with colleagues, calls to photographers, meetings with publishers and designers and our sponsor, its finally done.....and looks fantastic. I'm naturally talking about the new BPPA book called Unseen.
Its a collection of great images taken by our members over the years, which have remained unseen. As most photographers know, our best work is often not published, even from commissioned assignments. The reasons are wide and varied; from clueless picture editors and designers, to the image being the wrong shape, or it not fitting with political or ideological stance the paper is taking on a given story.
In this book we have gathered, in our opinion, the best of this work and would like to share it with you.

I'd also like to personally thank Canon who have again stepped up to the mark and supported great photography by being the sponsors of this project. My gratitude goes to Matt Beard and Nick Millen from Canon, who after a couple of conversations made this project a reality.

The book itself is being launched on March 25th, 2009, but is available for pre-order from Amazon.

*UPDATE* - Unseen now available at SnapperStuff.


In 2004 our ground-breaking retrospective book and exhibition Five Thousand Days underlined our commitment to bringing outstanding photography to the public. Since then we have been constantly working on new projects, and new ways to showcase our members’ work. UNSEEN is the culmination of one such project. It highlights one of the Association's every day frustrations: that huge numbers of brilliant pictures never see the light of day through too tight deadlines, design limitations or editorial indifference. The images in UNSEEN were selected by a jury of BPPA members, and offers a glimpse of the variety and extraordinarily high standard of the members work.

After spotting that the author Jilly Cooper had written a letter to The Times in June 2008 highlighting the lack of proper photographers bylines, the Association wrote to her to ask that she write a foreword for Unseen, and was delighted when she accepted. Here is an except:

"Thank goodness for Unseen. "The sweetest songs,” wrote Shelley, "'sing of the saddest thought", and these photographs are so beautiful yet compassionate that, despite their appalling images of death, loss, mutilation and destruction, one feels an overwhelming elation and relief that someone has drawn attention to such suffering. Without photographers invading the worse troublespots, armed only with their cameras, so much tyranny and brutality would go unrecorded."

Unseen - Photographs from The British Press Photographers' Association is published on 25th March by Skateboarding Duck and the project was sponsored by Canon.

It is a cloth bound 170x240mm book with 176 pages and 108 photographs (both colour and duotone) and was designed by Stuart Smith (Five Thousand Days - The BPPA, Personal Best - Elliot Erwitt, Inferno - James Nachtwey) the ISBN is 978-0-9561801-0-0 and has a RRP £19.95

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Norwegian "Pictures of the Year"

Some great photographs in the Norwegian Press Photographers' Club 2008 pictures of the year; definitely worth checking out.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Rode VideoMic

Rode VideoMic and 5D MkII in action during a Gaza demo
Those who read the second part of my review of the Canon 5D MkII will know that my microphone of choice for this camera is the Rode VideoMic.
I gave a little interview to Rode about my experiences with their products and why I have chosen the VideoMic as my preferred audio equipment. You can read it here.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Samsung SSDs In Stripe RAID = Speedy!

Ok, so this is pretty geeky, but it shows how fast a RAID 0 set-up using SSDs (Solid State Drives....basically using the same technology as your CF or SD camera card) can be.
I have an SSD in my MacBook Air and I'm a huge fan of these drives. They are solid, quick, dependable and silent. As they have no moving parts, they should last longer than traditional mechanical drives and more so, they are rugged as movement doesn't damage them.
This is definitely the shape of things to come.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Should The BBC Get Canon 5D MkII Cameras?!

It seems that the BBC have accused Daily Mirror photographer James Vellacott of ripping off their footage of a U2 concert and putting it on his blog. Actually, turns out that James was using a Canon 5D MkII from a nearby hotel room. The camera is so good (as is the operator), that the BBC can't tell the difference between what their crew (using much more expensive video gear) have shot, and a single photographer using a DSLR! Seems that after Mirror lawyers explained the situation, the BBC have left James alone!

Further Reading:

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Lights Almost On For Darkrooms?

Just saw a nice set of pictures by Richard Nicholson (via Ben Curtis' blog) on darkrooms, called "Last One Out, Please Turn On The Light"
As I looked through the pictures, I found that my eyes were slightly teary and that I was thinking of a more magical time in photography. When I started out in local papers, I was shooting Tri-X, using D-76 and making my own hand prints. In fact I can still remember how amazing it was to see my first print coming up in the dev tray, in the darkroom at my art just don't forget these things. Somehow, the sight of a print coming out of an inkjet printer just doesn't leave one with such fond memories or emotions.
I remember how I'd lock myself into the darkroom at around 9pm and eventually surface at around 4am having finally made the perfect print on Ilford Gallery paper. It was a place where magic was made, gossip was spoken, a place of refuge for journalists trying to hide from the news editor and a place where romances bloomed. A magical place indeed.

1000 Portraits

Thousand Portraits from Carlo Nicora on Vimeo.

two photographers - one camera
one weekend - a thousand people

A neat project by Carlo Nicora and Eamon Lane, looks at 1000 faces of London.