IRIX 11mm full-frame lens

I’m a fan of wide and super-wide angle lenses. I just like the effect (without distorsion) of the wide angle of view.

For those of you who don’t understand camera/lens talk, a primer:-

The covering power of a lens is determined by it’s angle of view, which changes depending on it’s focal length and the format of the camera sensor, but for some strange reason is always calculated with regard to a ‘standard’ 24×36 format (35mm)

A ‘standard’ lens has a focal length of 50mm with a diagonal of 46°. It’s all to do with the diagonal of the sensor/film. A 24x36mm film has a diagonal of 43,6mm, which for reasons best known to the experts, made a 50mm lens ‘standard’. A 6×6 ‘box’ camera has a film diagonal of 84mm, and the ‘standard’ lens for this format is 80mm.

Wide angle lenses start from about 35mm, telephoto lenses start from around 85mm.

For example, a regular 28mm wide angle has a diagonal of about 75°.

A 20mm super-wide is about 94° – and an even wider super-wide 16mm at about 107°

This 11mm lens, my latest baby, is 126° – this is humongously W I D E – and best of all, the distorsion is really at a minimum.

Of course, this is all well and good, but without anything for comparison, the ‘effect’ of this lens can’t really be measured – just click on the above images and enjoy – I’ll do a ‘real’ comparison when I have time…

Marathon Photo Déclic 2018

And we’re off! Today (no, it’s NOT an Aprils fool) we launched the inscriptions for this years Marathon Photo in May – the poster is gorgeous (I think)

Each year we chose (sorry, I choose…) an image taken from the previous years photographs, and I’m not sure why this one didn’t win it’s category, but I was so taken with it I sent it to our publicity chappy expecting all sorts of problems,  but for once he just did his job and created what you see here.

An automated mail is sent out to all the past participants on the morning of the 1st of April, and at time of writing (17h) there are already 9 people who have signed up! Fingers crossed we get a similar response to last year where we had 85 people who actually turned up on the day.

New Exhibitions

April seems to be the month for me – not only the CiRCa blog, but also 3 exhibitions, each lasting a whole month.

This exhibition is to coincide with a two week long period of circus activities destined at children – young children! The contents of the expo (link here) show the artists in different states of balance.

This exhibition coincides with the festival Welcome in Tziganie which takes place at the end of April, and is made up of images I made last year (link here). The idea is to promote the festival a bit – and as I’m the one who ‘controls’ the Espace Expo where I work, this is what is going up for the month of April!

And last but not least, the Mediatheque at St Clar have asked me to exhibit my « Imaginary Dancer Project » (link here) – I hung it this morning (29th March) and it’s nice to see it up on a wall again. Looking forward to some feedback on these images.

All in all, quite a lot of ‘exposure’ this month – sorry, couldn’t resist 🙂


CiRCa Blog

Since 2012 I’ve been involved with CiRCa here in Auch – the local association that develops circus in all it’s forms. I have taken photographs at a number of spectacles/performances but I concentrate on the artists ‘in residence’ who come and spend from a week to a whole month, in Auch, developing their art.

The CiRCa web site doesn’t actually have a ‘photos’ part – they just give links to my site! (Much easier for them – they have nothing to do – my site is, after all, fairly well organized for that sort of thing.) I also have a regular/permanent exhibition in the Cant’Auch, the restaurant on the CiRCa site.

Anyway…the people at CiRCa have finally decided to create a blog, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover an article…about me!

If you follow this link you’ll see what I saw…hope your French is up to it!

I’m sorry if this seems akin to trumpet blowing, but it’s so rare – and as it transpires, it’s actually the very first article on the new blog – praise indeed.

Oh, if you weren’t aware, the CiRCa site is actually something to see…


This is called a BS-1 by Nikon.

It slides into the flash grip on top of the camera and protects the contacts from water, muck etc.

I have just purchased a very expensive DSLR – and discovered that these things (which must cost about 1c to produce) are no longer supplied.

I thoroughly agree that it’s a good idea to limit waste, but this thing is actually useful – I could quite happily do without the umpteen layers of plastic bags, bubble wrap etc. inside the camera box, but this bit???


There are two major NIKON dealers here in the South-West (Toulouse) – Prophot and Numeriphot – as I have never visited Prophot  I’m going to concentrate on Numeriphot (who stock everything I shall ever need…)

Today was a momentous day – every day I welcome a new member to the stable of camera bodies is a momentous day! This has been on the books for a while, but a recent mail from Nikon announcing an open day at Numeriphot made me prick up my ears…in the mail, they talked about  an interest-free financing deal. Now this could be interesting.

I  drove over to Toulouse this morning to start the process…. The open day is the 15th (tomorrow) and  so I was the first client to try the interest-free credit thing, and boy did it take a long time – for some reason the credit agency and Patricia’s computer didn’t want to speak to one another – she spent an hour and a half toing and froing, telephones in both hands, before she got everything organised with the credit company…then I was finally able to get my hot, sweaty hands on what I had come for.

Can’t write anymore – I’m in mode ‘play’…

Finally, many thanks to Patricia (and top marks for keeping your cool!), George, Sebastien & Francis at Numeriphot.

Update: it now looks a bit like this…


Reporters sans Frontieres

You’ve just got to love living in a provincial town, here in France – life is so  S L O W.

Today is International Womens Rights day (International generally means everywhere) the 8th of March.

Reporters sans Frontières (Reporters without Borders) published one of their excellent albums to coincide with this day, and not surprisingly the images are….of women!

The only thing is, where we live we’re not considered part of ‘International’ in any shape, manner or form,  and the album will therefore not be available until tomorrow, or Saturday.

I wonder what would happen if we applied the same logic to Christmas…

No More Mister Nice Guy…

A couple of nasty niggling little events which have occurred recently are making me have second thoughts about photographing circus companies.

I’m usually pretty generous in A: the time I pass, and B: the rates I charge to photograph a ‘shooting’ but this has backfired recently and I’m wondering if it might be better to just stop all together.

The first company called me a few weeks ago, knowing that they were coming to Auch, and wanting to arrange a ‘shooting’ to be able to have a series of images to use for their grant demands, general promotion etc.

I told them my rates (which the chap I spoke to on the phone found extremely cheap) and we agreed on an afternoon shoot during their second week in Auch. I called in on them a few days before to introduce myself, and confirm that I would be there on the day, and that went well. I spent the afternoon with the company on the date agreed and sent them an album of over 100 images, some of which (in my opinion) made very suitable promotional material.

I heard nothing for four days, then, on the Saturday I received a call from the company asking whether it would be at all possible for me to come and repeat the exercise on the Sunday afternoon as while they were happy with the images, they didn’t like the clothes they were wearing. I agreed (reluctantly – it WAS a Sunday after all) and we re-did the shooting on the Sunday afternoon.

Over a week later, I received a mail explaining that they had selected roughly  20 images and asking what was the total number they could chose? I explained that as I had effectively done two afternoons work, that the total of 30 images per shooting would be doubled to 60. Very rapidly I received another mail explaining that as they only needed about 20 images, and that that would involve less work for me, couldn’t I not just forget the second shooting and charge for one?

I can’t help thinking that I’m being made to pay for their inability to decide anything – for instance, choose the right clothes for the photographs. I use a system of forfait – I charge a sum, finished images included, and you take it or leave it. I am not responsible for the fact they don’t think what they are doing.

I’m seriously questioning whether I will actually send the finished images at all.

The second event was another circus company who were well aware of the fact that I would come to photograph the artists working, but instead of a shooting this was just a regular ‘follow up’ of a new company coming to Auch – this is done to keep an archive of the people who pass by here, and the images are sometimes used for exhibitions etc. So I don’t actually get paid for the work, but at the same time, the companies generally get a couple of images.

In the event, knowing that I was free on the Monday, the director asked me to come on the Saturday – great. When I got there I felt the atmosphere was almost like a shooting, with the director moving me around all over the place and suggesting shots etc.

I finally managed to get away around lunchtime, and sent them an album the same afternoon. We had agreed in advance that I would offer them two free images.

The mail I received left me speechless – the wanted a whole mass of retouching on one of the images they had chosen, and on the second image I was supposed to use the body of the female artist from a previous shot!

I wrote back explaining that A: I wasn’t a Photoshop artists, that B: I had never suggested I would retouch to such an extent and C: that I never created ‘virtual’ images from various files, and that they could take it or leave it.

I think, in retrospect, that the fault is mine – I should have taken a written contract with me for both companies to read and sign so that everyone would be on the same page. If there are no boundaries, relying on people being reasonable just does not work – they are all out for as much as they can get, sadly forgetting that my rates are some of the cheapest around.

Oh well, live and learn.

Fairy Story?

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, a young girl lived in a nice flat, in a nice town. She lived her life, went  to work, went running – all the normal things normal people do, normally.

Since the time she had been living in the nice town she had been making lots of friends, and one couple seemed, on the surface, very warm and friendly and she got on well with them. One day the couple decided to get married – the preparations for the marriage went on for over a year and one day, she received an invitation to the marriage.

Shortly before she received the invitation she broke up with her boyfriend. The couple getting married had met him and seemed to like him, and she thought no more of it – until she received the invitation. The couple asked her who she would be coming with, and when she replied that she would be bringing her new boyfriend, they said no, that they didn’t know him and that they didn’t want him to come.

This made her very upset – were these people, who she had got on so well with, really trying to choose her friends? She decided to go alone to the ceremony, but to skip the reception as she would rather spend the time with her new boyfriend (who had taken the weekend off, just for the wedding).

Then she got to thinking – and a number of strange memories came back to her – wasn’t it this couple who, when they were invited to parties or for a meal and brought a bottle with them, left the evening taking back the bottle? Wasn’t it this couple who offered to make her a birthday cake – and then when they gave her the cake, also gave her the bill for all the ingredients?

Finally she decided to send them a message saying that, all things considered, they had upset her so much that she wasn’t really interested in their wedding – thank you very much.

Not an easy choice – but the best one for her, IMHO

Are you Square?

There’s something very appealing to me about square photographs. I’m not sure exactly what it is, and it’ll probably sound silly to any ‘real’ photographer, but there’s something both serious and reassuring about the format.

At work we’re hosting an exhibition by a local amateur photographer, and he has chosen to frame his 35mm format (24×36) images in a square format. It helps that they are essentially monochrome (snow etc.) but it works SO well.

In the ‘old’ days there were more formats available – 24×36 was the ‘go-to’ format for 35mm photographers, but also 6×45, 6×6, 6×9 etc. for roll film users.  But there were also the formats which had developed from the so-called ‘plate’ cameras of the turn of the century, with strange aspect ratios like 4″x5″, 10″x8″ etc.  Many of these are still in use today, using flexible film rather than rigid glass plates.

For a long time photographs were never ‘re-worked’ as they were simply contact prints – the negative (a light sensitive emulsion on a glass plate) was simply laid onto a piece of photographic paper and the light turned on to expose the paper. Eventually, as the film formats got smaller, ‘enlargers’ were invented to make the resulting prints bigger – but I digress.

I remember my father visiting the railway archives in Edinburgh where he was able to see the original glass plate negatives made when the Forth Bridge was being built (1882/89) – these were 20″ x 16″ (45cm x 40cm) – imagine the size of the camera!!

It’s not simply a case of choosing a square bit from a rectangular negative – there’s an ‘art’ to framing the shot in a square format. I’m used to using a 6×6 camera so the composition is easy – all you see is a square image – and I think this is possibly something that all photographers should try…

This image was taken from a 24×36 format, but framed for a square result. I think it works.