A Day, An Image…2

Todays image involved a little planning…

This is the Vasco da Gama bridge which spans the Tage river basin on which Lisbon is built. The older Western part is more important in terms of it’s size, but the Eastern edge of the basin is fast developing and the 12klm long bridge linking the two sides was opened to the public in 1998.

Before visiting Portugal I had seen a photograph of this bridge taken in the early morning, and it looked worthwhile to visit. I checked the time of the sunrise (6h11) and the approximate angle relative to the bridge (thank you Google Maps) and decided that it would be feasible. What I hadn’t counted on was the scale of our map of Lisbon – what I thought would be a half hour walk from our hostel was in fact an hours bus ride plus a half hour walk!

With WiFi available everywhere in Portugal, we checked for buses, metro, trams and sure enough there was a night bus that ran every hour – so I left the hotel (alone I might add) at 4am to walk down to the bus stop, where I caught the bus with a surprising number of other people (most of whom got off at the airport, presumably shift workers) and thanks to my bus pass, paid 1.30€ for my hours trip. When I arrived at the terminus, the dawn was breaking so it wasn’t too difficult to decide which way to orient myself and I walked along the riverfront to the bridge.

Interestingly I was not the only photographer there that morning – there were at least 3 others. Anyway, I think it was worth it…of course, when I go back to the hotel, it was just in time for breakfast – that’s planning!

A Day, An Image…1

In the unlikely event anyone is actually interested, here’s a little of the history surrounding some of my recent images. One a day…

This is the Place Luís da Camoēs in Lisbon, facing West. Our hostel overlooked this very animated square, with an ebb and flow of people and activity virtually 24 hours a day. One morning, as we were leaving the square to explore Lisbon, an elderly lady (Why is it always elderly ladies who feed wild birds?) poured a large amount of corn on the ground for the pigeons.

Pigeons eating infront of a monument really isn’t anything to write home about, so I decided to liven things up a little. Take the focus and frame the shot, finger on the shutter button, stamp foot – marvelous!

Style Update

I wouldn’t want any of my fan (no ‘s’ – there’s only one) to think I’d forgotten one of my favorite people – haven’t heard much from her (thankfully) recently, but she’s still here, sadly in France, scaring the locals around her hotel in Paris.

Who can this be? Well, from this photo who would you think?

Canadian Super Mario? No, it’s Celine Dion – apparently just been called out to fix a blocked sink somewhere. Frankly anyone who thinks rubber dungarees are ‘in’ is either an overpaid Canadian singer or has just returned from an extended stay in a far away galaxy.

Luckily she’s sporting her plumbers glasses – equipped with LED’s so she’ll be able to navigate under the worktop and sort out those nasty drain issues.

One could be mistaken thinking her choice of shoes somewhat odd for a plumbing job, but I’m led to understand this is actually her skin – all those years of  playing with René-Charles and the twins have taken their toll.



With any luck, this should arrive tomorrow…
(referring to blog post from March 2017)

It’s the new IRIX 11mm f/4 Full Frame – and I have to admit this is great news. Being a fan of extreme wide angle lenses, this lens is very interesting as it’s a genuine full frame (24×36) and not a fisheye. It’s a manual focus lens, which is not really inconvenient to me, and has a ‘hard’ infinity stop – which is VERY useful when taking night shots.

The downside is the huge domed front element which prevents using filters – however, IRIX have designed-in a gelatin filter holder behind the rear element.

The angle of view of my existing extreme wide angles (14mm – 114°and 16mm – 107°) is pretty wide and fairly distorsion free, but this 11mm is a whopping 126° – can’t wait to start using this…

Watch this space for examples

Back Home…

Yes, we’re back from a superb time spent visiting Portugal – what we saw we liked (particularly the bridges!!) and the people and the food were excellent.

The difficulty now is to come back down to earth – the over 2000 images I made have been sorted with a first pass on the site as an album – there are far too many images, but I’ll reduce this as time goes on.

Since arriving back I have also photographed the Fête de la Musique AND a presentation at CiRCa – I’ve decided to rest now…

This is the Vasco da Gama bridge which joins the West and East parts of Lisbon – getting up at 4am and taking the night bus, to get there in time for the sunrise, was an experience! Hopefully I’ll have time to post more images in the next few days.



Nice sunny day, so we decided to visit Villeneuve-sur-Lot – not just a random thought, as there is an exhibition of the work of Jean Dieuzaide at the Musée de Gajac until the 18th of June.

The exhibition is not huge, but the images are interesting – very varied. Aside from the fact that several seemed to be hung slightly ‘wonky’ on the walls, and the smaller prints had dreadful matt boards (cream coloured – made the frames look very old) – the exhibition was well spaced and lit.

This image was probably our favourite – a true work of art in my opinion.

At the moment it’s the ‘Mai de la Photo’ at Villeneuve and a number of expos are available all over the town. Sadly as it was a Sunday, not all were open but we did manage to visit the Tour de Paris where a young photographer was exposing her ‘glamour’ work. Can’t say we were really convinced – but it takes all sorts!, and above all it was worth the trip to see everything.

Be careful now…

Today, it seems, we have to be so careful what we say, or write – particularly on Internet. People seem to have adopted the American attitude of suing everyone for the most ridiculous reasons. So much for freedom of speech.

I mention this simply because if I were to publish the following on a public forum I’d no doubt be banned (again) !

This was brough home to me recently when I was reading some posts on the Nikon Rumours Forum and realised that I simply couldn’t reply or comment.

There are a few very reasonable photographers who post their ideas and desires, and a whole host of people who really shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a camera who post all sorts of totally unremarkable dross.

One of them (« With more than 55 years experience » according to his FLIKR profile) only posts images taken three or four years ago – thus prompting the thought that he still hasn’t quite got used to his latest DSLR purchased two years ago – interestingly, despite the fact we never actually see any of his more recent rubbish, sorry, images, he’s the first to be « waiting for the revised edition » of his current camera. WTF.

I rest my case…

Anyway… after reading a few posts from largely ignorant (but visibly quite wealthy) people who consider themselves ‘experienced photographers’  I came to the conclusion that the large majority of these people relied entirely on the camera to take/make their images, seemingly forgetting that the camera, in my opinion at least, is simply a tool to record what the photographer wants to portray.

More than one of these amazingly ‘experienced’ people made the comment that despite having recently purchased a recent digital reflex camera, that they were eagerly waiting for the next model – but why? The current model does about 3000 times more than they will ever need or understand, so does this mean that the fact that they are incapable of using it and creating decent images mean that the next model will do this any better for them?

I can better understand the camera manufacturers marketing now – they aim everything at these idiots, knowing full well that they will buy every new model, not for it’s capabilities, but because they think they will suddenly take better pictures!

Great strategy!

Brief Encounter

For the past three or four years I’ve come across a man standing in the from row, taking photographs of the artists at Welcome in Tziganie. We never really had the opportunity to talk until this year when we actually spoke a little, and after the festival it dawned on me that it was Jean Jaques MOLES a photographer based at Maubec in the neighbouring department Tarn-et-Garonne.

He has most recently exposed work at the Abbey de Flaran in the Gers, and I remember really liking some of his work when we visited the exhibition earlier this year (before I realised who he was).

We exchanged a few e-mails after the festival, and this exchange has left me a little confused. He made a comment regarding the photographs he’d seen on my site :

« I found your images very ‘harmonious’ with respect to the lighting – and it’s for this reason that I think you ‘treated’ them before publishing. I don’t treat my images »

I really don’t know what to say –  yes, I ‘adjusted’  the exposures it’s true – this is inevitable in a concert situation where the lighting changes as the artists move on stage. Does this mean he doesn’t like anything that has been ‘adjusted’? I find this a little old-fashioned, frankly.

Sad really – I’d hoped this friendship might develop.

Welcome! (In Tziganie…)

It’s been a while but I’ve had a lot on my plate just recently – what with the preparations for our Marathon Photo, and a new workshop for school kids, it’s been all systems go. To top this off, the annual Welcome in Tziganie festival was this weekend – three days of gypsy music (and photographs!)

Welcome in Tziganie – 2017 – Day 3

This was one shot I was particularly pleased with – this is Stochelo Rosenberg one of the worlds top jazz manouche guitarists – he played with a group with two of my friends, Yannis Constans (guitar) and Camille Wolfrom (double bass). I wanted to try to convey the fact that the important aspect was this mans hands – I think it works.

This is the main tent set up in the ‘arena’ at Seissan – the first night was completely sold out (over 3000 people present) probably due to this man…

Welcome in Tziganie – 2017

Goran Bregovic played his only French date for this year – and was well appreciated.

A good festival this year, photographically speaking, but I can’t help feeling that a few more dancers would have helped – these kind of bands can be incredibly ‘static’ and someone like Nuria Rovira Salat would have really got everyone going. Apparently there’s a rumour that she’s being invited for next years festival…

See what I mean! This was from 2015

Nikon D7500

« You don’t actually need another camera body, but here’s one anyway » say Nikon.  Add this one to the other 14 digital reflex cameras listed on their web site – three ‘pro’ bodies, and the rest. Some would say this was more than enough – but visibly not Nikon as today they announced the D7500 – a ‘prosumer‘ body using the same 20.9 MP sensor as the professional D500

Looks like any other Nikon camera to me. It has a tilt screen and all sorts of other ‘useful’ stuff (although, strangely, only one memory card slot…) which will no doubt get the ‘fan boys’ sweating.

However there are a few very  retrograde steps too : no AI feeler for older non CPU lenses, no electrical contacts for an accessory grip, a single card slot etc. which all make me think that this is aimed for a strictly amateur market.

Whether or not all the updated gubbins is actually useful or not rather largely depends on the photographer,  but I feel sure all the forum squatters who know everything about everything (but who rarely actually make pictures) will be singing it’s praises before too long, and of course criticising all the really useless stuff that Nikon have decided not to include.

For some very strange reason the advertising blurb from Nikon makes a lot of the fact that the camera can shoot at 8 frames per second. What possible use this could be to 95% of users, I simply cannot imagine. This seems to be a trend dating back a few years now – the importance of the frame rate – but who actually uses this rubbish? Most of what we see in terms of images on the photography fora is total nonsense anyway – will shooting it faster really help?

The new body is made of a Carbon Composite which reduces weight, which I suppose is a good thing – although I sometimes have doubts about extensive use of plastics…

The release of this new model fits into the renewal sequence of the D7*** series, the D7000 – 2010, the D7100 – 2013, the D7200 – 2015, then we skip the D7300 and D7400 to arrive at the D7500.

*Prosumer – this is a model pitched to be between the ‘amateur’ and ‘pro’ range of camera bodies.