#566. The Monday Post (6 March 2017)

#566. The Monday Post (6 March 2017)

Celebrity photographers are probably a bit less visible than they were a year or so back. Then, it was hard to trawl the Web, open a newspaper, or read a book without being confronted by some kind of publicity for some snapper, or other.

 

They’re still around and my mailbox continues to play host to several of their messages, but the edge has definitely gone.

 

 

 

 

 

Is that because of the now worrying (to the manufacturers) decline in camera and lens sales? Perhaps it’s over exposure (ouch, sorry), seeing everything everywhere. Maybe we’ve all improved our vision, technique and post processing with state-of-the-art equipment that has made top flight photography available to everyone.

 

I don’t have an answer to that. I look at what interests me and ignore the rest – of which there seems to be lots.

 

So, given my (almost) life-long interest in steam railways, you won’t be surprised to discover that I spend quite a lot of time here.

 

Scene of the '50s - Summer Saturday excursion trains wait at Minehead

Scene of the ’50s – Summer Saturday excursion trains wait at Minehead

 

David Hey started this site some years ago, with a few pages built around individual contributors and their railway stories and recollections. Hey’s net caught railway workers, retirees, enthusiasts and just plain old railway photographers. It’s a satisfying mix of memories, tales, incidents and facts.

 

I’ve read and re-read the site, always chafing for more – especially during our long winter afternoons when weather and idleness keep me inside and I need something to interest me and at the same time, remind me at turns, just how good and awful those childhood days could be.

 

David has added lots of pages in recent times, each dedicated to a specific topic and delightfully for us, most of them are railway photographers.

 

I can’t recommend it highly enough as a site of historic importance. Some of the photographs are poor, but given the time they were shot, that shouldn’t be a surprise. Some are truly wonderful, full of life, interest and history.

 

If you’re planning to visit, make sure you have at least a full afternoon to lose.

 

On a similar topic, I spotted Football: the golden age on Amazon a couple of years ago. A surprise really, because I’ve never enjoyed the game, played at school under sufferance and haven’t been to a match since my father took me to see Fulham lose to Bolton Wanderers sometime late in the 1950s.

 

 

Amazon describes the book (a bit breathlessly) thus: Featuring extraordinary images from 1900-1985, “Football The Golden Age” is a unique collection of over 275 star-quality images from football’s golden age in a lavishly illustrated history and celebration of a long and rich period for Britain’s favourite sport. The range of the photographs collected here – the players, the grounds, the fans and the bizarre – is truly remarkable. And between them, these images articulate all of the emotions, from agony to ecstasy, that football is capable of producing. Guaranteed to inspire feelings of pride and nostalgia in any football fan.

 

Well, I’d go along with most of that, but add that it is the most extraordinary collection of photographs, many taken by absolute nobodies. A visual collection that I found absolutely spellbinding as a reminder of a different time.

 

I bought the softback book, which seems to be out of print, but notice that Amazon is listing the hardback for as little as 1p. I’d go grab a copy PDQ if I were you.

 

 

 

Bloody buggering bollocky bags. I’m now down three batteries. Two for the X-Pros and the most recent for my X100T.

 

You know the gig; prep, pack cameras, lenses, SD cards and drop a couple of batteries into a handy camera bag pocket and off you go.

 

Well, that was me too. Except that I never recovered any of them, it’s as though they simply vapourised. Those for the X-Pros sometime in the middle of last year, the X100 spare quite recently, as I recall. I’ve since replaced the former, the latter is still in the wind.

 

And, I just know that you have as many (maybe more) camera bags than me and are already well familiar with opening every tiny compartment seeking the elusive and expensive to replace cells.

 

Wanting the security of a spare for the X100 for my run into Cape Town last Friday, I once again hauled out every single bag and rifled through every compartment, every pocket, every tuck, fold and corner. In one of my (several) ThinkTanks, the tiny compartment under the carrying handle revealed two almost brand new Fuji batteries – the (very) long lost pair for the X-Pros, since replaced. I now have a total of eight. Most times, I use less than two.

 

And, I suppose that was a win, but the X100 unit, in it’s Pacamac-like white plastic sleeve continues to elude me. It’ll turn up, but not I suspect, any time soon.

 

Latest score: Batteries 1 v PP 2

 

 

 

Meanwhile, DigLloyd (Lloyd Chambers) is having a Nikon moment with his new GFX50s as it seems to be marooned in Continuous Shooting mode, with no exit in sight.

 

At theme of writing, Fuji has yet to offer advice, which is a pity because one of the Susans is waiting for positive news of available stock, credit card in-hand. He’d rather remain anonymous at the moment and I wouldn’t want to be the one to tell Pascal to wait a few weeks to let the initial creases shake out.

 

Meantimes, DS regular Bob Hamilton has had his hands on an X1D, with initially poor then increasingly gratifying results. More of that shortly.

 

To say the new medium format battle will be fought between these two established (but industry-small) names goes without saying. Canon, Nikon and Sony have done little more than make MF noises to date and my guess would be that they will opt to stick to 24×36 and simply push up the pixel density, claiming to out-quality deliver against MF even from a significantly smaller sensor.

 

We’ll see. In the interim, the Fuji/Hasselblad race is on and it’s likely to become an increasingly contested sector as market share elsewhere in the industry continues to dry up.

 

 

 

Today’s pictures were taken in a nearby German/Namibian hostelry one afternoon late last year. Known for beer, great schnitzels and eisbein, Im Eimer (In the Bucket) is a worthwhile stop if you’re in the area of Sir Lowry’s Pass on South Africa’s N2 – our major road artery up the east coast. All shot with the Fuji X100T.

 


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3 Comments

  1. Avatar
    jean pierre (pete) guaron March 07, 2017

    Love your close ups, Paul. I did trains years ago, when a couple of my school friends from college days and I used to hang around together, and they were both train buffs. We still keep in touch, and the younger brother of the pair lives in London – he obliged me by popping across to Paris, when I married my wife, so that he could be one of our witnesses and read out hilarious messages after we tied the knot – and when I packed up to move to this house, some years later, I shipped all the railway stuff to him. I believe his collection now runs to nearly 300,000 photos, and a huge library of books & other memorabilia as well. He & his friends also used to ask me to print all their enlargements, and even provided a top of the range B&W Durst enlarger to do it for them, at the expense of one of his friends. That was fun – and saved me thousands of dollars – so I rather like rail fans! 🙂

    Sorry about your batteries. I imagine most of us have done something pretty awful from time to time.

    I went on a night time shoot a couple of weekends ago with a cam I’d not used for a few weeks, while I played with the others – what I did NOT do, and should have before I set out, was to run through the various settings to make sure it was set for the night, which it wasn’t. In the dark, I had to fool around to find WTH was wrong with it – eventually finding I’d left it set on “mirror up”.

    Another friend SMS-ed me a while back saying she’d done even worse – gone on a shoot at night, by herself, and terrified of mislaying anything, set the cam up and got ready to take her shots. After about 10 minutes of blank images, changing settings to get a better exposure and still getting nothing, she eventually found the problem when she went to abandon the shoot and put the cam away – when she went to put the lens cap back, she found it had never left the front of the lens! So much for being ultra careful where you put things!

    The perennial quest for the ultimate gear? I’m not even going to fill out an entry form, for that one. As soon as you have “the best”, someone brings out something “even better” – and sets off a stampede from all the other manufacturers. Then I read the reviews – work my way through all the listed pro’s and con’s, and get left despairing. A common criticism seems to be that you can’t use a DSLR as a video camera – I might be rather dense, but I would have thought it more sensible to use a video camera instead. Never mind – there are heaps of other pluses and minuses to work through, and I end up thinking why would I bother changing what I have?

    Yes I’d love a medium format – oh, and yes I’d use it – I’ve been there before, and after I got hold of my 60cm square roll film cam, I’m afraid I left my 35mm in the cupboard, for ages afterwards – I’d undoubtedly do the same all over again, if I got my hands on Fuji’s or Hasselblad’s offering. But to be perfectly truthful, I get the quality I actually want, right now, with the gear I already have. I didn’t buy it on a whim – I chased down what I really wanted, for the photography that I actually do, and bought stuff I knew I would enjoy using. In fact it’s turned into an addiction, because it’s such fun to get out there and blaze away at anyone or anything that isn’t fast enough to hide, first. 🙂

  2. Avatar
    PaulB March 07, 2017

    Paul

    Be sure to check in your coat pockets for the missing battery.You know the coat that you were wearing several months ago when you bought the battery.

    If it is not there, then look under the seats in the car, or in the fusion of the sofa.

    These are some of the most common places I have found things I have lost. Then there is the last best place to look, and that is in plain sight. There are times that I still swear that the item I was looking for just turned up there, even though I was certain I looked there five minutes earlier.

    Good Luck.
    PaulB

    • Avatar
      paulperton March 07, 2017

      Yup. Agree 100%.

      There’s also that moment of sparkling clarity when you think you might recall where you put whateveritwas and as you go there (the car for example), your mind starts to replay you doing just that. Open the door, look in the cubby and sure enough…

      Still no sign of the X100 battery though.

      Yet.

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