Tag Archives: Photography

Fixed one thing, broke another

On Friday I blogged about the autofocus on my camera packing up. I fixed it last night and the autofocus now works perfectly again. Unfortunately there is another problem now; the LCD display on the back and in the viewfinder is not working. Everything else is functional but I can no longer see what settings I am using and don’t have any visible light meter. This may be due to the latch of the ribbon cable connector on the back breaking when I opened it, or it could be something else. Luckily I work with a bunch of electronic engineers so I’ll ask one of them to take a look at it. I’ll also keep hoping that somebody gives me a new camera body for my birthday, which is only three weeks off.


Well my camera is anyway. I was fiddling with it last night and discovered that it will no longer autofocus. The cause is a pin that raises and lowers the sub-mirror assembly that casts light on the autofocus sensors having broken. For some reason Canon made this small pin from plastic and its failure is a common fault on the Digital Rebel range. Fortunately it seems quite an easy repair to do. I have found a nicely documented series of photographs that lead you through the procedure. It will simply take time and patience for me to repair it myself.

A Visitor’s View of Cape Town

Someone at Outdoor Photo pointed out Skip Hunt’s South African Photo Tour, a blog with well written stories and some excellent photographs, documenting a visit to South Africa, and Cape Town in particular. It’s well worth taking a look at.

Creative Commons Photos

I used to post my favourite Flickr photo each day to my blog as a photo of the day but haven’t done so in some time. I decided that I would prefer to present only my own photographs here. However, I often come across beautiful photographs that I would like to showcase so I have started another blog, Creative Commons Photos, that I will use to post beautiful photographs, taken by others, that I find on Flickr and elsewhere around the web. As I am a supporter of publishing one’s works under open licences I will be restricting the images I post to ones that are published under a Creative Commons licence.

Creative Commons at work

I got feedback from Caroline thanking me for making Flying The Flag available under a CC licence. She used it in a SoulCollage she made for Reluctant Nomad, who blogged it with accreditation.

This is only the second or third time that someone has told me they used one of my images.  It makes me wonder how many times they have been used without the user letting me know.

Tripod Rage

I came really close to throwing my tripod in the ocean this morning. I have a Manfrotto 390 Junior tripod with integrated pan and tilt head. It was a pretty good buy at the price I paid but I have come to realise that it is not quite stable enough for my needs. More importantly the head is virtually impossible to position and lock accurately, which is why it nearly ended up in the ocean today. I was trying to take some close-up shots of a piece of seaweed and everytime I tried to lock the tripod at the elevation I wanted there would be just enough play for it to drop to just below what I wanted. So it was a fight to guess how much too high to set the elevation to cater for this. So I think that my next photographic purchase will be a better tripod and a good ball head.

Not What It Sounds Like

I just came across afuckaday, which sounds like a cheap and nasty porn site, but is actually a blog showcasing some pretty nice artistic nude and erotic photography. Check it out if you’re into that sort of thing.

A Lucky Find

Last Sunday we went for a drive to Hermanus having heard from Faith that there was a good bookshop there; so after the obligatory lunch at nino’s we popped into Hemingway’s. This place is not the kind of used book store where you pick up ragged copies of trashy novels for a few bucks. They have a wide variety of books including out-of-print collectables and in a section containing erotic and nude photographic works I saw a number of Sam Haskins’ works and an old copy of David Bailey’s The Lady Is a Tramp: Portraits of Catherine Bailey; a beautiful book but very expensive at R1,200, particularly since Exclusive Books lists it for R408, but perhaps it was a signed copy or special for some other reason.

I was looking more for technical and historical photography books though, rather than photo essays. Visiting stockists of new books these days is depressing because South Africa is such a small market that all they ever seem to have is a selection of books that rehash the same info about digital photography, and usually begin something like “Let’s assume you’re a moron that has never seen a camera before”. If you want to buy better, or more advanced, books you need to buy online and then you have no opportunity to browse and page through books to get a feel for them. I was pleasant therefore to browse through the small selection of older photographic books. Some were very old; yearbooks dating back to the 1960s,for instance, while others were a little more pricey than I was hoping for. I did buy four books though at just R220 for the lot.

The first two interested me not only because I want to become more profficient at working with models but also from a historical point of view. They date back to 1984 and were published under the Squire magazine banner and feature all South African models, including some old favourites from my youth; like Vanessa Wannenburg, Miss SA 1977. I have only a vagure recollection of Squire magazine and had never seen these guides before. No doubt they did not appear on the shelves of your local CNA and I was also not very interested in photography in those days in any case.

There were some other books on photographing and lighting nudes but as I have still to graduate to photographing clothed models with any regularity I gave those a miss and settled for a book on technique and one that might help me earn some pocket money from my photography and also contains some beautiful photographs to look at.

I’ll definitely be visiting Hemingway’s again, but I think I’ll wait for winter when it isn’t stiflingly hot in there amongst all the beautiful books.

South African business needs to wake up

I was idly looking around for product info on the web and had a look to see if I could find a web site for the Photo Connection chain. I couldn’t despite going to their sister brand Incredible Connection‘s site and from there to the parent company Connection Group‘s site. I couldn’t find any link to a Photo Connection site. Their group profile page doesn’t even mention that the brand exists; strange considering the length of time that the brand has been trading, at least one year, perhaps even two.

Noticing that they have a Customer Feedback page I tried to leave the following comment.

Just wondered why there does not appear to be an Internet presence for your Photo Connection brand. This seems strange to me considering the fact that photographers are so tightly hooked in to the Internet in this digital age. Almost all investigation and a lot of purchases are done on-line so if you don’t have a presence there you must surely be losing out.

but when I submitted the form I got this error

Microsoft VBScript runtime error ‘800a01ad’

ActiveX component can’t create object: ‘CDONTS.NewMail’

/feedback_complete.asp, line 98

Sadly this type of haphazard approach to the Internet as an interface to customers and potential customers is all too common amongst South African businesses. A great number of businesses have no Internet presence at all and when they do these are often outdated, broken or written to work with only certain web browsers.

Companies, I’m tired of…

  • being unable to easily find information on your products
  • being forced to contact you by phone
  • reading in an advertisement that I can visit your web site at an some e-mail address
  • being forced to use a certain web browser to view your site

It should not be easier for me to buy products on-line from foreign vendors than it is to do so locally. The Proudly South African campaign would have us use local businesses to stimulate our economy. This would be a wonderful idea if only local businesses made it easier to do so.

Welcome to the blogosphere

Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir, Flickr‘s most popular photographer, now has her own web site and blog. She has posted a number of the photographs that she shot for a Toyota advertising campaign, work she got on the strength of her body of work on Flickr where she is known as _rebekka.