Ren Kockwell?

Aside from the ‘normal’ idiots like Trump and Piers Morgan, there’s a guy who manages to rub just about every level-thinking photographer up the wrong way – drumroll….Ken Rockwell.

Aside from having invented every known photographic process and owning particularly ugly kids, this jerk runs an ‘advert’ site where you can click to supposedly get savings on photographic material, oh and headphones (see the link? No me neither…)

His most recent article concernes the non-existence of the proposed new flagship NIKON mirrorless camera, the Z9. According to Kockwell « …the Z9 is a unicorn because while we all know what it’s called, and what it looks like, it doesn’t exist. »

Here, need a laugh? Click on this to read the original article:-

« If Nikon ever does actually sell a Z9, it could be awesome – but since I can’t shoot anything today with it, I don’t care. » And in a fit of pique, he napalmed Cheltenham….The Gumbies, Monty Python

What a wanker – fairly clear to all concerned that Nikon haven’t been keeping him in the loop like in the old days because his web site is so full of shite, and so now he’s having to get all his info from the web….just like his dopey pal « The Angry Photographer » and everyone else – it’s the latest « guess-a-thon »…

The camera is slated for being available this year, which means that it obviously does exist – we’re way past pre-production, and I imagine there are a few well known Nikon ambassadors out there, with signed and sealed confidentiality agreements testing this little baby at this very moment. Visibly there have been three ‘stacked’ CMOS sensors proposed, 45, 50 and 60MP which all seem extremely high density for this kind of camera (I’m thinking shooting speed and low light sensitivity here) but with a redesigned processing engine (or two perhaps, like the Z6ll, Z7ll) and the fact that the ‘stacked’ sensor is demonstrably more sensitive/lower noise, it might work… Time will tell which sensor they finally choose.

Nikon Z9

I’m really keen to see what is finally presented when this becomes available – but I’m not going to stamp my feet and complain that it’s not available NOW.

It won’t replace my Z series bodies, for the moment at least, but if the auto-focus and low-light capabilities are indeed enhanced, this could be a VERY interesting insight how NIKON see the future of the Z mount.

A slip, an error, a lapsus?

Neither, as it turns out – although it did take them an hour to actually get going, the Company LAPSUS provided me with some interesting work to photograph last week.

« Nos Vertiges » Cie Lapsus

This was part of the sequence « Magma » and was a treat to photograph – no lighting, people moving all over the place, black background and floor…!

« Nos Vertiges » Cie Lapsus

This was another sequence – Cie Lapsus often use this triangular wing in their spectacles, and todays was no exception.

Hopefully there’ll be a presentation this coming week and I’ll be able to see the different sequences in context. More as it happens.

UPDATE Well I must have done something right – I was actually quite pleased with the album I produced for the company – visibly they were too as they’ve just purchased 6 of the shots! Thanks guys.

For the technically minded, this was lit with four tungsten floods at low intensity – the idea was to create a dark environment on stage – and it worked. The Nikon Z7 + 24-70 f/2.8 handled this very well – both the above images were at 6400 ISO – I stopped down to f/4 just in case – the extra few centimetres of depth of field are very useful when the artists are constantly moving. Aside from cooling down the white balance to round 3000°K from nearly 4000°K there really isn’t a lot of post processing.

Backing-up your camera settings

This sounds pretty obvious, and easily done – until you discover that NIKON very thoughtfully HIDE the settings to do this in the setup menus of their mirrorless cameras…

I use the three user programmable ‘U’ settings on my Z series mirrorless cameras – with a growing stable of camera bodies, I like to make sure they’re all using the same values, so I want to back up my settings to the memory card, put the card in another camera body and read and install the settings from the card.

Easy-peasy…or so you would think. Except that when you check the SETUP Menu (the one with the spanner logo) there is no mention of the SAVE/LOAD settings option.

Nikon decided to make this visible ONLY when the mode dial is set to a PSAM (not U) setting! After this, it’s plain sailing – pretty much every setting is copied to the memory card so having duplicate bodies with duplicate settings is easy to do. Until they change it….

Holy Trinity

Nikons ‘Holy Trinity’ of f/2.8 lenses are now all finally available in ‘S’ variant form – and they’re VERY good.

I’ve specialized in photographing circus performances, and frankly these lenses make a difference to the quality of the images I can make. The mere fact that they’re all f/2.8 means three possible ways I can improve the chances of getting a shot:

1 : I can increase the shutter speed – 1/125s shoots up to 1/500s – capture movement

2 : I can increase the aperture – f/2.8 goes up to f/4- more depth of field

3 : I can decrease the ISO value – so 6400 ISO becomes 1600 ISO – less noise

As I have a tendency to shoot wide open, this is a real gain. It’s true that the current EXPEED processor and post processing can reduce noise (grain) artifacts, it’s nice not to have too much to start with…

In terms of weight, I find they are well balanced – they’re not light but I prefer a bit of weight as I find it better absorbs slight movements and is much easier to hold. The physical size doesn’t make the small body overbalance, so shooting, for me at least, is comfortable.

The tiny OLED screen showing focus point/aperture/depth of field is a bit of a gimmick, but doing a large amount of work in near total darkness I must admit that it has been handy a couple of times – the rear ring on each lens lets me change aperture easily, so seeing the value on the lens was nice…but in no ways vital.

The second lens hood (HB-97) on the 14-24mm now lets us put filters on this lens – albeit HUGE 112mm – this is useful too, particularly to be able to use a polarizing filter.

The proof is in the pudding – I’ll be posting some images soon.

Happy New Year

You’re probably lost if you’ve arrived here. Sorry about that.

A man I used to know (and who has a propensity for photographing local prostitutes) recently informed me that no-one reads this bollocks anyway, or indeed looks at any of my photographs, so what’s the point of putting a button to have access to all this dross.

In case you’ve been living in a cave, you’ll probably already know that we’re about to embark on our second year of « the » pandemic. You’ll probably be sad to know that, as yet, I have not been infected – again, my apologies.

I continue boring the rocks, sorry, socks off everyone with my photographs of circus performers. A couple of new lenses, and a new camera body (soon) but you’re not here to read about this nonsense.

If you were looking for McDonalds, it’s here – bon appetit.

Hello Jack!

Jack Bargot-Grandjean at 2 months

I’m very proud to announce the arrival of Jack, my grandson – he’s gorgeous and hairy (like his grandad) and was born on the 2nd of October 2020 – he and mummy (Leah) are doing very well and with a bit of luck we’ll get to see them at Christmas, confinement allowing….

Can’t wait!

Here’s another photo, taken by me when Jack was only 6 days old…

I need a job….

Ivanka Trump, 39, secondhand, own teeth

If you didn’t recognise her, or thought she might have been modeling tooth brushes, this is Ivanka Trump, the nearly past-Presidents daughter.

She’s not actually known for much more than being an attention-seeking bitch, but as she’ll soon be looking for a job, I’m warning LeClerc and Carrefour – don’t hire her – she’s toxic.

Remember – she’s the one back in July who suggested that people out-of-work should « Find Something Else » – well there you go darlin’ – time you looked for a real job no?

Oh, and if you do catch her filling shelves in Castorama, please let me know – I’d love to go and take a picture…

Season Two

Yes, the first season was so successful that they’ve decided to have a second one…

This is what I’ll be doing (within a mile of my house and for an hour per day, yes , yes we heard you)

Lockdown news, as it happens…watch this space…

Does it all really matter?

Hello again – we’re currently in our second week of our second season of lockdown, or ‘confinement’ as it’s called here in France. It’s not as restrictive as the first ‘season’ in that people who simply cannot work from home, are allowed to go into work.

We had a monster server crash at work, and so the past few weeks have been unusually busy for me, as in addition to a new server, we changed all of our computers – for the first ime since I took over control of the IT here, we all have machines using the latest operating systems.

Nikon have been busy too – a few of the previously announced lenses have finally begun to arrive on dealers shelves, and the ‘what’s next’ guessing-game was interuppted with the announce of the Z6ll and Z7ll mirroless camera updates. The bodies are essentially the same, with the addition of a second card slot and various software tweaks. Possibly the only really usefull addition was the new battery grip which is a real one this time, with buttons etc.

Nikon Z7 at left, Z7ll at right

Going back to the title of this article, « Does it all really matter » – does it? Will it make me a better photographer if I buy an updated camera body?

Er….no – oh sure, there are certain features which make the experience possibly more comfortable – a second card slot for the 5% of people who saw this as a HUGE ommision, a one-stop increase low-light focus performance…

For me , the most useful new addition is the new battery grip, the NB-N11 – however, while we thought the existing ‘battery box’ the NB-N10 was expensive at 199€, adding a thumb wheel and a couple of buttons has increased the price by 200€ to 399€ – yeah right on Nikon!

I realise that their financials are not exactly wonderful at the moment, and they’re not selling as many mirrorless as they had predicted, but if they think they will increase their market hold with overpriced accessories…

Don’t these people EVER do market research?

What is that smell?

In the open-ended list of nasty smells, the first one is mice shit. This is at the top, doesn’t smell too bad, but it ain’t roses either.

Going down the list from the top, things start getting worse…

At 5 there’s dog shit on the sole of your shoe…

At 37 there’s Donald Trump…

And somewhere in between the last two is Piers Morgan.

Morgan used to be a journalist, but now he’s become nothing short of the Daily Mails go-to superstar who intervenes trying to give some credibility to the worthless junk pedaled by the Mail. Doesn’t really work – most people who understand verbs can shoot holes in pretty much all of the rubbish he writes, but it can be mildly entertaining – emphasis on the « mildly »

He’s been busy slagging off the Donald recently – a thankless affair as despite all the criticisms, fact-checking etc. the man just won’t go away. But it does provide a relief from stories about Kim and her enormous arse, or Madonna and her saggy tits. But it smells.

This man has been photographed interviewing Trump, shaking hands with Trump, God knows what else with Trump…and I can’t help thinking it’s just another way for the Donald to get his name in print…

It’s fairly clear after the last 3 years or so, that’s all he’s really in this for, sadly.

« F**k the US, what’s in it for me » says Donald/Piers etc.