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johnriley1uk’s latest blog : remnants of a previous life

johnriley1uk's latest blog : cool activities on the streets of manchester

Remnants of a Previous Life

25 Nov 2020 3:54PM  
Views : 97
Unique : 82

I was just musing, and there’s plenty of time to do that in Lockdown, that considering I was involved in Dentistry for most of four decades, there were only a few random fragments of that left around. I used to sell materials and equipment to the Dental Profession and as a consequence samples and demo items accumulate. I don’t throw things away, so I wondered what was left. There are a couple of Espe Elastomer Spatulas, used for mixing impression materials, that have been used as butter knives for many years, but they don’t count as they are still in daily use.

The Kurers, highly respected Manchester based dentists get a couple of mentions. This is an over-size model of their Kurer K4 Anchor, a post sytem for restoring teeth.

and this is the Kurer Ceramicolor Contact Point instrument, used with composite materials.

It’s a random and maybe interesting fact that Hans and Peter Kurers’ aunt, Margaret Stone, was my first primary school teacher.

I still have a few dental instruments, in a nice leather folder that was obtained for me by the distributer. It’s too good to throw away!

Models of crowns and bridges for demo purposes.




Some gorgeous catalogues of instruments and rotary instruments that again are too good to dispose of. Here’s three of them.

And finally an advertising campaign for exciting false teeth in the form of a postcard sent out to dentists in 1954. It’s an odd one, printed of course but pretending to be hand written and both daring and cutting edge and yet quaintly old-fashioned, all at the same time. This predates when I was working by many years, but was given to me by one of my customers as an item of interest. I still have it, so the gesture was clearly appreciated.


Meanwhile, I could do with a couple of replacement Espe Elastomer Spatulas (aka Impregum Spatulas) as my two “butter knives” are wearing out, so if anyone is listening…….Smile

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Low key

dudler's latest blog : mirrorless - and why they?re (arguably) better

Low key 1

Let’s start with a definition: a low-key picture which has predominantly darker tones. It isn’t just underexposure: most successful high-key pictures have a few small areas of brightness –…

Low key 2 Low key 3 Low key 4 Low key 5

Low key 6

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The top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76)

The top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76)

However good your camera or lens, quality accessories are also a really important part of the photographic equation. Here are our top 50 favourite accessories for a range of budgets – you may find some items are further discounted as part of Black Friday week deals. With Christmas coming up, accessories can make great stocking fillers too, or a well-deserved present your yourself. Here is part one, with accessories ranging from £7 to and £76. we will be running part two tomorrow.

Under £30

NiSi Clever Cleaner for square filters, £7 
If you’re a regular user of square filters, you’ll know how it easy it is to get them covered in fingerprints from sliding them into the holder and removing them after use. This handy device springs open to reveal a rectangular felt cleaning pad, to help keep their surfaces clean and in perfect condition. Packed up it measures just 8x4x1.5cm, so will slip easily into a pocket in your bag.

The top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76) 7

Spudz Microfibre lens cloths, from £8
These high-quality microfibre lens cloths are available in a large range of patterns and sizes. The cloth is attached inside a small neoprene pouch that comes complete with its own hook for attaching it to a zipper in your camera bag. Well suited to cleaning lenses, they’re also great for sunglasses and LCD screens, and can be refreshed by washing in mild detergent. The smallest 6x6in examples start from £8, while 10x10in cloths are around £14.

The top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76) 8

Think Tank CF/SD + Battery Wallet, £9
Keep your camera refuelled and ready for action with this handy dual-purpose pouch. On one side there’s a pocket that will hold most types of camera battery, while on the other you’ll find a clear slip pocket for a spare memory card that’ll hold SD, Compact Flash or CFexpress. It also sports a handy loop for attaching it to a bag or strap using a carabiner. Olympus E-M1 series users should note that the BLH-1 battery won’t fit.

The top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76) 9

Eneloop Pro rechargeable batteries, £14 (pack of 4)
Fed up of having to buy packs of fresh batteries for your flashgun, triggers or other photo equipment? Eneloop Pro batteries are ideal for devices with high power consumption and can be recharged up to 500 times – great for protecting both your wallet and the environment. Available in AA and AAA sizes, they’re known for their low self-discharge rate and can be topped up using a standard NiMH battery charger.

The top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76) 10

Canon Remote Switch RS-60E3, £15
You might wonder why we’re highlighting a remote release that’s been on the market for 30 years. But with many manufacturers now adopting the same 2.5mm connector, it’ll fit a surprising number of cameras, not only from Canon but also Fujifilm, Olympus and Pentax too, including many of this year’s top models. It’s small and cheap, and the cable is designed to wrap neatly around the unit when it’s not in use.
The top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76) 11

OpTech Envy Strap, £15
Ignore the ridiculous name: owning this strap probably won’t make you the envy of your fellow photographers, but it might just make your neck and shoulders happier. It features a non-stretch design with generous memory foam padding, which means it’s extremely comfortable to wear for extended periods. Its low-profile design is ideally suited to the latest enthusiast-focused mirrorless cameras. The neck pad can even be unclipped to allow use as a hand strap.

The top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76) 12

Camera cufflinks, £13.29
Look sharp and express your appreciation for cameras from the past with a pair of smart camera cufflinks. We’re partial to these TLR-shaped designs from Onyx Arts, but others are available celebrating SLRs, rangefinders or even old 35mm films. You can also get some natty camera badges.

The top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76) 13

VSGO Imp, £13.50 
Bulb air blowers are invaluable for keeping your camera’s sensor clean of dust, which will otherwise leave unslightly blobs on your images. This 10cm tall version counts as a particularly fine example, thanks to a range of unusual features. Firstly it filters the air that it draws into the bulb, and the filter can be easily removed for cleaning. It also employs a soft silicone tip, rather than plastic or metal, so it shouldn’t damage your sensor. A weighted base means that it always stands upright, which also helps keep the tip clean.

The top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76) 14

F-stop Gear Dyota Ag+ Ion Mask, £19.50
The coronavirus pandemic has turned life on its head this year, but it’s now clear that wearing a mask is one of the best tools we have for reducing transmission. The Dyota mask from camera bag maker F-stop Gear is a cut above most others you can buy. It employs a triple-layer construction with a water-repellent outer, dense non-woven middle layer and soft liner, making it unusually comfortable to wear for extended shoots. It’s available in a choice of three sizes and eight colours.
The top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76) 15SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO UHS-I SDXC Card, £24
With high-speed UHS-II SD memory cards becoming more popular, there are some great deals to be found on older UHS-I versions. If you’re after a reliable SD card, but your camera doesn’t support UHS-II, or you’re not worried about shooting long, fast bursts or 4K video, then you can’t go wrong with SanDisk’s 64GB Extreme PRO UHS-I SDXC card. It offers a write speed of up to 90MB/s and read speed of 170MB/s. It’s also available in larger capacities all the
way up to 1TB.

The top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76) 16

Pixel Oppilas RW-221, £25
If you’d like to be able to fire your camera wirelessly from a distance, for example when wanting to include yourself in the shot, this simple radio-frequency unit will do the job with the minimum of fuss, operating over ranges of up to 100m. Both the transmitter and the receiver run off pairs of AAA batteries, with single-shot, continuous, timer and bulb modes available. If necessary, it will also work as a short wired release. It employs interchangeable release cables and is available for almost any brand of camera.

The top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76) 17


Hoya Ultra-Pro Circular Polariser, £27-£179
Hoya’s premium range of circular polarisers is available in 13 sizes from 37mm to 82mm. These filters boast the toughest glass and use 16 layers of anti-reflective coatings to provide excellent light transmission. They’re also designed to repel water and oil while being scratch and stain resistant. An ultra-thin aluminium frame prevents vignetting when used with wideangle lenses. If you’re on a tighter budget, it’s worth looking at Hoya’s more affordable NX-10 range.

The top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76) 18

Think Tank Emergency Rain Cover, £30-£55
There’s a lot to be said for having a camera cover that you can pull from your bag to protect your gear in a sudden downpour. This example is designed to fit DSLR or mirrorless cameras and is available in three sizes to accommodate a wide range of lenses. It features a large window to view your camera’s screen and controls and compresses down into a compact carrying pouch for convenience.

The top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76) 19Benro Arca Smart 70, £40 
This clever dual-purpose device can act as either an Arca Swiss-type quick-release plate for your camera, or as a clamp for holding your smartphone on a tripod. With a neat folding design, it’ll securely hold phones from 5.5cm to 9cm in width, which covers pretty much any sensibly-sized device. It even has a miniature cold-shoe for attaching a small video light or microphone. Fold the clip down and you get a 7cm-long camera plate.The top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76) 20

NiSi Compact Filter Kits, £42-£85
Users of compact cameras have rarely had the option to use filters creatively, so it’s great to see NiSi address this with a specially tailored and inexpensive range of kits. They’re available for Fujifilm X100-series cameras, the Sony RX100 VI or VII, and the Ricoh GR, GR II and GR III. The starter kit includes a holder, polariser and Neutral Density gradient filter for just £42, while the Pro kit adds Neutral Density and Natural Night filters for a £11 premium.

The top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76) 21

RØDE VideoMicro, £55
RØDE is well known for its high-end microphones. Its VideoMicro is a directional microphone that primarily picks up sounds from in front of the camera, and is designed to match small mirrorless cameras. It’s short and light, at 8cm and 42g, thanks to its use of ‘plug-in power’ that’s supplied by most cameras, rather than an internal battery. It’s supplied with a Rycote mount to suppress any handling noises, along with a large furry windshield.

The top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76) 22

Wacom Intuos Small, £69 
If you spend a lot of time editing your images and want to take more precise control of the cursor, a graphics tablet can be an invaluable accessory. This entry-level model provides a battery-free pressure-sensitive pen and represents amazing value for money.

The top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76) 23

Mophie Powerstation XXL, £70
With most cameras now capable of charging their batteries via USB, a portable charger can be really useful for making sure you don’t run out of juice. This hefty example packs a 20,000mAH capacity, which should be sufficient to recharge most camera batteries ten times, and can charge three devices at once.

The top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76) 24

Novo Mantis T3 tripod, £70
Small tripods can be really useful for low-level macro shooting, or when you simply don’t want the inconvenience of carrying around a full-size set of sticks. This latest model from Novo weighs just 500g and folds down to 21.5cm, but thanks to its 2-section carbon-fibre legs can reach a height of 27cm. It pairs perfectly with the MBH-25 ball head (£60), while the optional ET25 extender column can add another 35cm height for £30.

The top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76) 25

Hähnel ProCube2, £70 
This dual battery charger is built around a sturdy metal shell, with interchangeable clip-in plates that each accept a pair of batteries. A backlit LCD display on the front helpfully shows how much charge has been fed into each battery, while an in-car adapter makes it easy to top up your batteries when you’re on the road. It even has a high-power 2.4A USB output for charging phones or tablets once the camera batteries are full. It’s available for Canon, Olympus, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic and Fujifilm batteriesThe top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76) 26Pixel G1S RGB LED light, £70
LED lights have progressed remarkably quickly over the past few years. This smartphone-sized unit offers an adjustable colour temperature over a huge 2500-8500K range, but can also output coloured light covering the entire spectrum. Its powerful rechargeable battery promises 2.5 hours of use, while a folding arm support allows it to be positioned either above the lens, or off to one side revealing a cold shoe for a microphone. It even offers an array of special-effects lighting modes.

The top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76) 27

Cullmann Rondo 460M RB8.5, £71
If you want a fully featured tripod kit on a budget, this is a great choice. Four-section aluminium legs deliver a maximum height of 159.5cm, while packing down to 43.5cm. It’s rated to support a 4kg load, weighs 1.46kg, and one leg can be detached and combined with the centre column to form a monopod. The head adjusts smoothly and locks down without shifting, while the legs are remarkably stable, even with the column extended.
The top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76) 28Vanguard Veo Range 36M, £74 
This might look like just another traditionally styled canvas bag, but it stands out for its sheer versatility. Thanks to a full-width fold-down horizontal divider, it allows a travel tripod up to 33cm long to be carried internally, with enough space above for a compact mirrorless kit. Alternatively, the bag can be reconfigured to carry a larger DSLR setup, with a tripod strapped on front. There’s also space for a 13in laptop, while a pair of foldaway end pockets can accept a water bottle or umbrella.
The top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76) 29BlackRapid Delta Camera Sling, £75
Cross-body sling straps are the most comfortable way of carrying a camera while providing instant access for shooting. BlackRapid leads this field, with its Delta model sporting a large shoulder pad with a symmetric profile that works equally well over either shoulder. The camera connector screws into the tripod socket and attaches to the strap via a carabiner, with a secondary tether provided to give additional peace of mind.

The top 50 photo accessories: part one (£7-£76) 30

Vallerret Markhof Pro2 Photography Gloves, £76
While you can use any gloves you like when out taking pictures, if you find yourself shooting in cold winter conditions there’s a lot to be said for specialist ones that let you use your camera’s controls easily while keeping your hands warm. These superb gloves boast magnetically secured fold-back tips for your thumb and forefinger, along with non-slip grips. The water-resistant shell is complemented by a comfortable Merino Wool liner and a warm Thinsulate mid-layer.

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johnriley1uk’s latest blog : places – shropshire union canal at ellesmere port

johnriley1uk's latest blog : cool activities on the streets of manchester


Places – Shropshire Union Canal at Ellesmere Port

24 Nov 2020 11:46AM  
Views : 90
Unique : 77

There was a period of a few years when Sue and I were exploring the canal system. There were many disused and derelict places to see and these were a fantastic source of images. If we travel along the Shropshire Union canal main line, eventually we arrive at the basins and locks that lead down to the Manchester Ship Canal, and it is here that the Boat Museum found its home. It’s a while since we did the canals, so on the agenda after lockdown ends is some canal walking, and also hopefully another holiday on a narrowboat. Last time we did Llangollen and back within a week, perhaps something else next time.

Meanwhile, as a taster, I’ve reprocessed some images from our last visit to the Boat Museum.










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dudler’s latest blog : remote shooting part 2

dudler's latest blog : mirrorless - and why they?re (arguably) better

Remote shooting part 2

24 Nov 2020 7:04AM  
Views : 55
Unique : 43


Yesterday, I spent an hour in a Zoom meeting taking remote pictures of Vampire Princess: it worked rather well, I think. It’s important that she is techie-minded, and understands what she’s doing with the Zoom link, so that I didn’t really need to. Because she’d shot remotely before, she was right on top of her technology, and had her Canon camera linked to her computer: all the controls were available on my screen, and I was able to adjust the camera with the aid of my mouse.

Yes, there’s a delay with everything, but with a good model – like Kay – it isn’t a big issue. And the delay isn’t great, in reality. Most people don’t shoot terribly fast, in any case… More thought, fewer frames is a pretty good maxim.


I shot at a rate of slightly more than one frame a minute, and that’s fine: I was learning as I went. And I feel that with several really good frames in the bag, my costs were well justified. But I would normally take rather more frames, with slight variations. For direct comparison, a one-hour shoot with VP in June, at an outdoor location, gave 141 frames, even after deducting walking time from cars to the location and back.

The wonders of modern Broadband meant that I had the RAW files downloaded around 20 minutes after we finished shooting. In some ways it’s a disadvantage shooting with a strange camera and lens, of course: VP’s Canon is rather different from my Alpha 7, though working with live view reduces the apparent differences.


VP was shooting in her bedroom, which has the advantage of black walls – at least, it’s an advantage for my preferred sort of low-key work. Lighting was a single Rotolight, supplemented by a little daylight for most shots. With the camera on a tripod, the necessary slow shutter speeds aren’t a big deal. Speedlights complicate matters, as you can’t see the effect you’ll get, though studio flash with modelling lamps will rock it (as they usually do).

My usual style of shooting relies on fine adjustments of camera angle and focus point: obviously, that’s not possible with a camera on a tripod. It was necessary to allow a larger ‘dead’ area all round the subject – though I caught myself out once or twice, and have sub-optimal framing in one or two shots.


A big issue could have been that I was shooting with an 18mp camera and a standard zoom, and I’m used to using a 42mp camera with an 85mm lens on the front. Did it matter? To be completely honest, not really. Most pictures succeed or fail on the basis of their content, rather than absolute technical quality: and while I reckon 24mp is where film starts to lose out to digital, once cameras reached 12mp, quality was usually perfectly adequate for any shot that doesn’t require fine detail to be beautifully sharp.

One thing I missed until we altered the setup – if you’re using a relatively weak artificial light source like a Rotolight, it’s important to kill all other light sources. The drama of our setup increased markedly when I saw that the curtains were open, as the daylight was providing a significant additional light source!

Would I do it again? Yes, I would. Should you? Very possibly: though you need to be sure what you’re getting in technical terms. The deal I had meant that I got RAW files rapidly, and with virtual links that worked well: I can vouch for the Zoom/Digicam combination. And it’s worth being sure that your model understands what she’s doing with her kit, and that you are happy with what’s on offer. I know of at least one other model offering similarly sophisticated hardware and an incisive mind of the sort this needs at the model’s end to make it work.


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johnriley1uk’s latest blog : models in repose

johnriley1uk's latest blog : cool activities on the streets of manchester

Models in Repose

23 Nov 2020 2:50PM  
Views : 142
Unique : 105

I suppose we all have certain shots that it’s worthwhile using again and again and one that has always appealed to me is the model in repose. The Granddaughter previously Known as Sophie (now Jordan) has been particularly good at pretending to be asleep in various locations. Other variations are endless, but the lying down poses can be very attractive.

I’ve found a few examples to show you, not many as it’s not something I shoot all the time, but just when the location or situation suggests it as a Good Idea.

Jordan finds a perfect place to pretend to snooze in.

Jordan just in the middle of the restored floor at a previously ruined house

Tyler just relaxes, which is fine for making a great shape to the pose.

Jordan feigning sleep out on the cobbled bridge at Worsley.

Jordan ar Arley Hall on the Woodland Walk.

This time Jordan in the boot of the car.

A totally different reason for the pose. I am on a ladder looking down at the model and the images has then been turned through 180 degrees to make the effect stranger.

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raxyryan’s latest blog : 1866>


Exclusive Offer – 20% Off Mitsubishi CP-M15E Printer Bundle!



23 Nov 2020 4:59PM  
Views : 17
Unique : 16


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Scottish Highlands Sunrise Wins ‘Photo Of The Week’ Title

Scottish Highlands Sunrise Wins 'Photo Of The Week' Title

A colourful sunrise landscape full of Autumnal tones has won our ‘Photo of the Week’ accolade.


Rise and Shine

By chris-p


A beautiful landscape image that’s captured a stunning sunrise over a loch in the Scottish Highlands as won our ‘Photo of the Week’ (POTW) title. 

We love so much about ‘Rise and Shine‘ including the tones, colours and how the silhouettes of the Swans contrast brilliantly against the amazing surroundings. The mist rising off the Loch adds atmosphere as do the clouds streaking across the sky which is just beginning to be lit by the sun as it rises to bring warmth to another beautiful Autumn day. The air of calm is palatable and in a time when we’re all looking for ways we can practise a bit more mindfulness, this image gives you the perfect excuse to stop, breath and just enjoy the amazing landscape we have around us here in the UK – simply stunning. 

All of our POTW winners receive an EVO Plus 64GB MicroSDXC card with SD Adapter courtesy of Samsung. To be in with a chance of becoming our next POTW winner, simply upload an image to our gallery where you’ll also find all of our past POTW winners.




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Key Photography Accessories – Digital Photo Pro

Key Photography Accessories - Digital Photo Pro

They’re the unsung heroes of your photography gear collection. They’re your dependable workhorses, your trusted friends when you head out for a shoot. They hold your precious photography cargo and lend support to your cameras and lenses when they need it most. They’re steady, reliable, always at your side, and ready to stand up for you and your photos.

They’re your loyal tripods, trusty photo bags and indispensable accessories, and, as photographers, we never seem to have enough of them. That’s why every year, manufacturers churn out more and more of these photo products, hoping to entice us to buy “just one more.” But, as we all know, not every camera bag, tripod or photo accessory is created equal. Some we buy and use every day until the threads on the shoulder straps (or tripod mounts) begin to wear out. Others end up at the bottoms of our closets after just a few shoots.

In this guide to the latest tripods, bags and photography accessories, we’ve chosen nearly a dozen new products we think you’ll want to keep with you through thick and thin as a photographer. Whether you’re looking for a portable tripod that’s perfect for travel or a camera pack with enough urban style to blend in with the crowd during street photography, we’ve picked a range of handy gear you’ll surely want to accessorize with.

Supporting Your Gear

Key Photography Accessories - Digital Photo Pro 32
3 Legged Thing Bucky

3 Legged Thing Bucky

There’s something delightfully oddball about 3 Legged Thing’s tripods. For one, this British company’s unconventional but memorable naming methods for its products is liable to put a smile on your face. And secondly, 3 Legged Thing isn’t shy about adding dashes of color and eye-catching design elements to its tripods, giving these typically all-black products a refreshing dose of style. When it comes to performance, though, 3 Legged Thing’s tripods are all business.

The company’s Bucky tripod is named after legendary skateboarder Bucky Lasek, so it’s appropriately part of 3 Legged Thing’s “Legends” line. Bucky’s got five-section legs and a three-section column with a maximum height of over 6 feet and a load rate of 66 pounds, providing functionality, support and stability. At the same time, it folds down to 16 inches and weighs just over 3 pounds, making it small and light enough to travel with comfortably. Bucky’s made of eight layers of Japanese carbon fiber and aerospace-grade, anodized magnesium alloy.

It also has three detachable legs and a removable and reversible center column, letting it transform quickly into a tabletop tripod. Meanwhile, that detachable center column can be used as a monopod. You’ll want to pair Bucky, which comes in Earth Bronze or Metallic Slate Grey colors, with a matching AirHed Vu ($169) ballhead. The AirHed Vu is not only lightweight, it’s also the first ballhead to feature a window-like vision panel that lets you see the internal mechanism lock into place. List price: $399. Contact:

Key Photography Accessories - Digital Photo Pro 33
Benro Tortoise Tripod

Benro Tortoise Tripod Collection

Benro also got into the fun naming game with its tripods, announcing the Bat, Tortoise and Rhino lines this year. Of the three, we like to keep things steady with the small but tough Tortoise tripods, which punch above their light weight.

There are five Tortoise models for photography. All are made with carbon fiber and start at just 1.27 pounds, with the largest in the lineup boasting a weight capacity of 44 pounds. (Benro also offers two Tortoise tripods for video, which have a ball leveling device to mount the head on.) Since it has no center column, a folded Tortoise tripod has a diameter of just 3.1 inches, which is perfect for stuffing in a backpack for location shoots. Tortoise tripods feature spring-loaded 1/4-20 and 3/8-16 attachment threads, making them compatible with a range of tripod heads. There are also three 3- x ¼-inch threads to attach accessories into the main casing. To ensure quick setup, you can adjust the angle of the Tortoise’s legs with one button while three-step self-adaptive feet add ground stability. List price: From $299 to $449. Contact:

Key Photography Accessories - Digital Photo Pro 34
Manfrotto Befree 3-Way Live Advanced Tripod

Manfrotto Befree 3-Way Live Advanced Tripod

Videographers should take a serious look at the Manfrotto Befree 3-Way Live Advanced Tripod. Featuring a three-way fluid head that allows you to smoothly pan and tilt your camera when shooting movies, this aluminum alloy tripod can reach a height of over 59 inches with a maximum load capacity of 13 pounds. Despite those serious specs, traveling with the Befree is easy—the legs can also be folded up around the head for storage and transport. When you’re ready to shoot, just pull it from your bag and use the tripod’s QPL Travel level leg locking system for fast and secure setup and adjustment.

Designed primarily for use with the current crop of full-frame mirrorless cameras, Manfrotto Befree 3-Way Live Advanced is also a solid tripod for still photography. It has a plate holder compatible with both photo and video plates and three bubble levels for aligning your camera on three planes. But it’s Manfrotto’s Fluid Drag System in the head that works on both the pan and tilt axes that makes this a great hybrid tripod, whether you’re tracking athletes for still images or sports cars for fast-action video. List price: $279. Contact:

Key Photography Accessories - Digital Photo Pro 35
Platypod Platyball

Platypod Platyball

Tripod heads haven’t changed much over the years, until now. The Platyball from Platypod offers a dare we say revolutionary design for ball heads. Featuring an inverted configuration that puts the ball portion of the head on top, Platyball gives you an easier and more precise way to control your camera on top of the tripod. The device’s one-touch controls are probably what we like best. For starters, there’s an Arca twist locking collar on top of the Platyball with a 360-degree indicator that allows you to smoothly pan your camera while keeping it level. Meanwhile, a quick-release safety on the collar and a panning lock on the side give you additional control. Two buttons on the front of the Platyball let you unlock or lock it, allowing a wide variety of fast adjustments, with the added security of total lockdown of your camera.

With a forged and machined aluminum unibody construction featuring internal steel components and polymer brake pads, the Playball is solidly built but small and smooth with no protruding parts that might get snagged in your bag. Platyball comes in two varieties, the standard Ergo grey version, and the Elite red version that features a very cool LED-based electronic leveler on back. We say spring for the Elite—the digital leveler is worth it. List prices: $325 (Elite); $249 (Ergo). Contact:

Carrying Your Gear

Key Photography Accessories - Digital Photo Pro 36
Wandrd Duo Daypack

Wandrd Duo Daypack

If you’re looking for a do-everything photo backpack that doesn’t scream camera bag, the Wandrd Duo Daypack features a smart design and a sleek, professional look. Wandrd made a name for itself a few years ago with its award-winning PRVKE pack, which has a distinctive, expandable roll top. The Duo Daypack borrows some of the PRVKE’s snazzy urban style but trades the roll top for a more classic, rounded zip top. Made to move easily between work and play functionality—hence the Duo name—the all-black pack will look great on a street photography shoot or at a meeting with clients.

While the exterior of the bag is clean and minimal, the inside features a well-conceived organizational system of padded, stretch and zip pockets and a collapsible “pop cube” to stash and grab your camera. The Duo Daypack’s InfiniteZip system makes it easy to get to your gear from a variety of sections on the bag, including convenient dual side access. There’s also a fleece-lined tablet sleeve, a padded laptop sleeve and a hidden passport pocket. Along with its weather-resistant zipper system, the Duo is made of coated, waterproof nylon, so you don’t have to worry about your photo gear if you get caught in a sudden downpour. List price: $219. Contact:

Key Photography Accessories - Digital Photo Pro 37
Think Tank Photo Retrospective Backpack 15

Think Tank Photo Retrospective Backpack 15

Going on a bushwhacking photo adventure through the Australian outback or just want to look like you are? The Think Tank Photo Retrospective Backpack 15 is what you’ll want to wear to haul your gear. A classic-style rucksack that looks like it fell off the back of the jeep of a National Geographic photographer, the Retrospective Backpack 15 is made of rugged yet soft, form-fitting cotton canvass treated with a durable water-repellant coating made to withstand the elements.

Available in natural-hued pine stone or black colors, the Retrospective Backpack 15 offers top and rear access to your camera gear with 20 liters of capacity. That’s enough room to fit a standard DSLR body or mirrorless camera system with a 70-200mm ƒ/2.8 lens attached. You can also slide in a 15-inch laptop in a dedicated padded sleeve and still add a collection of additional lenses and accessories ranging from a 24-70mm ƒ/2.8 to 50mm ƒ/1.4 and a flash. With a variety of additional pockets—some of them zippered—for your phone, batteries, passport, cords and other essentials, you’ll be able to bring everything you need on your next backroads shoot in rugged style. List price: $249. Contact:

Key Photography Accessories - Digital Photo Pro 38
Spider Holster Hand Strap V2

Spider Holster Hand Strap V2

We’ve spent a lifetime searching for the perfect hand strap for our camera, and with the Spider Holster Hand Strap V2 we just might have found it. Made of proprietary nylon core material that “remembers” your hand shape and conforms to it with repeated usage, Spider Holster Hand Strap V2 fits like a glove while providing a secure grip on your camera.

This latest version of the Spider Holster Hand Strap is designed to fit both DSLRs (even larger models with vertical grips) and mirrorless camera bodies and adds a wider memory foam interior for improved hand support all day long. A new three-snap attachment feature lets you quickly install the main hand strap to your camera while an extra wrist strap adds another layer of comfort and security. Before you buy, you’ll want to visit the Spider Holster website to make sure the strap is compatible with your particular camera. Once you’ve confirmed that, pick from seven color options, including a new carbon fiber-like graphite option. List price: $70. Contact:

Simplifying Your Workflow

Key Photography Accessories - Digital Photo Pro 39
Datacolor SpyderX Photo Kit

Datacolor SpyderX Photo Kit

One of the most intimidating things about color management for many photographers is where to begin. The folks at Datacolor have the tools to get you started on the right path with their SpyderX Photo Kit. The kit includes three key devices, the SpyderX Elite, SpyderCHECKR 24 and the Spyder Cube, all bundled together in an attractive metal carrying case.

The SpyderX Elite is an easy-to-use device that lets you color calibrate your computer monitor in under two minutes. The Elite works seamlessly with a variety of monitors (just dangle it across your screen like a, um, spider), can handle different resolutions and color gamuts, and is 64-bit ready. The SpyderCHECKR 24 is a 24-color patch and grayscale target that lets you color correct your camera and adjust for different visual combinations to give you accurate color across your post-production workflow. And lastly, the Spyder Cube is a portable, cube-like device that assists you in setting your white balance, exposure, black level and brightness to help you capture crisper detail and beautiful depth in your images. This kit has everything you need to take control of your color management. List price: $399. Contact:

Key Photography Accessories - Digital Photo Pro 40
Loupedeck CT

Loupedeck CT

If you’ve ever wanted more hands-on control over your editing adjustments when working on a photo or video in post-production, Loupedeck CT is for you. Loupedeck CT is a powerful and adaptable custom console device that lets you quickly adjust your editing software via physical buttons and knobs on the console rather than by clicking virtual tools on your screen.

Out of the box, the device offers native integration with a variety of programs, but photographers and videographers will be most interested in its seamless and deep control over Photoshop, Lightroom, Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro. There’s a bit of a learning curve with the Loupedeck CT, but that’s mostly because it offers you so much finetuning via its assortment of knobs, buttons, dials and touchscreen options, allowing you to precisely and quickly make your photo and video edits with your fingertips. After a few days of exploring and customizing Loupedeck CT to meet your workflow, you may never go back to making edits with your mouse and keyboard again. List price: $549. Contact:

Originally Published November 20, 2020

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dudler’s latest blog : remote model shoots

dudler's latest blog : mirrorless - and why they?re (arguably) better

Remote model shoots

23 Nov 2020 7:16AM  
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Unique : 76


Models have had a thin time of it this year, with restrictions that prevent most of them shooting with most photographers. I contacted Vampire Princess, who I’ve worked with a few times over several years, and asked her about her experience of remote shoots.

What does remote shooting involve?

Remote shooting is literally being able to shoot with anyone anywhere. From the model’s end it requires a DSLR, laptop or PC, tethering cable, tethering software (personally I use Digicam control), Wi-Fi and Zoom. It works by tethering the camera to the laptop and using the software to remotely control the camera settings, then I’m able to share my software screen via zoom so the photographer can then control my camera.

From the photographers end it requires zoom (free to use) and a good Wi-Fi connection.

I know that you take pictures yourself – does this make remote shooting easier?

My experience as a photographer helps when setting up lighting for a specific look, or helping new photographers with camera settings.

Are there any special problems for you as a model with remote shooting?

I’ve not really had many problems other than the tethering cable breaking mid shoot and my Rotolight batteries dying.

How have photographers responded to remote shooting?

It has been a mixed response. Some photographers don’t understand the concept and don’t want to understand it, for others it’s a chance to work with models anywhere in the world, models they would likely never get the chance to work with in person.

What sort of lighting equipment do you use?

I use a Rotolight and a speedlight with honeycomb, snoot or dome attachment depending on desired effect.

What would you say to a model who wants to try remote shooting, but hasn’t got any experience behind the camera?

Personally I’d say a model needs at least some experience behind the camera.

What’s the best image you’ve had from a remote shoot?

There’s a few. If I had to choose it would be between a fine art nude shoot with John Patton from a long distance tethered shoot (West Midlands, UK to Wyoming USA) or there’s 2 horror themed portraits taken by Rikki Singh.

How do the costs compare with an ordinary shoot?

Cost wise I shoot at a discounted rate purely for the fact I don’t leave my home so there’s no travel costs involved.


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