Tuesday, 30 August 2011


Due to difficulties in getting a passport for our little one this year, we decided to take our holiday in Switzerland.

I've travelled lots in this country due to my job but have rarely have I ventured into the Italian region known as Tessin. We booked a week's stay in a guest house in the village of Vellano. From here we had easy access to the major cities of Lugano, Locarno and Bellinzona.

Vellano is a tiny village of stone houses and bumpy streets. It is accessible by winding mountain roads and has stunning views of the mountains.

View from the hotel window

Typical street in Vellano

The big cities hold very little interest to me photographically except perhaps for Bellinzona which has three castles and a massive city wall that you can explore both inside and out.

In Lugano, I only took one small series of photos. These were of a typical (to me anyway) Italian style delicatessen.

Italian Deli in Lugano

More of interest to me personally were the old villages, churches and stunning scenery which abound in Tessin. I love old world / mediaeval scenery and buildings and in Tessin, I was amply rewarded.

Not really knowing what to expect, I took the following gear with me:

Eos 5d
Eos 7d
16mm fisheye
50mm f1.8
17 - 40 zoom
28 - 135 IS
70 - 200
420 EX II Speedlite
Benbo tripod
G-clamp mini tripod

This stuff weighed a ton and my back started hurting me.

At the end of the third day, I was looking at my images and realised that the vast majority were taken with the EOS 5d and the 17 - 40.

For the rest of the holiday I left all the other stuff out of sight in the boot of the car and only took this combination together with the Speedlite and the mini G-clamp tripod with me in a small
rucksack. My back feels normal again.

You've probably read this far and are wondering why this blog entry is titled "200@f13". The reason is this. The weather in Tessin was beautiful. Blue skies and lots of sun. When I have these conditions, I always set my camera to 200 ISO with the settings at... you've guessed it, 1/200 sec @ f13. Later when I am converting the RAW data I can select all images taken with this setting and apply the same small corrections to all of them. Normally the settings are a tweak of the highlight control to bring out any white puffy clouds and maybe a nudge of the shadow control to prevent the shadows going too black when I've been shooting in the midday overhead sun.

That's the technical bit done. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Tessin, I would heartily recommend the following places to visit or take pictures:




If you want to see any more of the images that I took, you can check out this link which shows the ones that will be included in Google Earth

There are of course many more places to see, explore and photograph and I know for certain that I'll be returning.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Make use of what's available

Last week I was making close-up images of various lighting products. It was a baking hot day and I carried all my gear over to the building where the lights are located. After getting everything ready I discovered that I'd left my Benbo tripod back in my studio.

I couldn't be bothered to go all the way back to fetch it so I scouted around and found a stepladder which did the job (together with a couple of books) perfectly.
 The setup

The image will now be used over a double page spread in a brochure.

The result
Thanks for reading.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Here at last

It took a full two weeks after ordering it, but my new photo rucksack has finally arrived.

As mentioned briefly here, I decided to get myself a rucksack to save my back from aching as it did when I was recently in Tessin with my normal Tamrac bag.

Fresh from the postman

First impressions are that even though it feels heavy when I pick it up, it still feels a lot better when it's on my back. The Katoomba 190 RL bag that I bought can be worn on the left or right shoulder  (hence the RL in the name)

The bag can also be swung around to the front where easy access to the insides is granted.

Instructions included

For now I'm still getting used to it but will write a bit more about it when I've used it in the field.

In the meantime you can read more about it here.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Not so disappointing this year.

After last years lacklustre Streetparade, I decided to give the event one more chance.

Beautiful sunny weather with temperatures in the low thirties (Celsius) ensured that party goers were in a great mood. The costumes were imaginative (and often very skimpy) and the atmosphere was generally very good.

 Skimpy is good

One thing that struck me though,  was how even more commercial it was this year. There were stalls everywhere and even "pay to use" toilets. I know that the Parade must try and recoup some of their costs but it seems a shame to me that it's getting too money oriented. My son Nicholas who came with me also commented that there seemed to be almost no youngsters his age. (he's sixteen).

Eos 7d with 70 - 200 f4

 Cooling off in the mist shower

One minus point. I was walking through a very crowded group of people. I noticed in my peripheral vision an elder gentleman eyeing the Eos 5d that I had around my neck. I thought to myself that he will surely approach me and ask me a question about it (as folks often do). He didn't approach me so I kept walking through the crush of people. About two minutes later I looked down and saw a hand trying to make its way into my camera bag. I grabbed the person's wrist and turned around. It was the old guy.

"If I catch your hand in my bag again, I'll cut your throat". I told him whilst staring into his eyes.

I realised later that I'd spoken in English but he seemed to get my message. He pulled his hand away, mumbled something and slunk into the crowd.

One small minus point on an otherwise enjoyable day. If the weather's good, I'll go back next year for the 21st.

Sunny outlook

To see more of the images that i took, please go to my homepage here.

Thanks for reading


Friday, 12 August 2011

Preparing for the Streetparade

This Saturday sees the 20th annual Streetparade in Zürich.

I've been quite a few times although lately I seem to be getting a little jaded by it all. Last year's effort really disappointed me.

The weather this year promises to be a scorcher so apart from my two camera bodies and maybe three lenses plus ear-plugs, I'll also be packing some water and sun cream.

I've decided to travel light because I really can't be bothered to be weighed down with gear. I was originally going to take my stuff in a camera rucksack that I'd ordered online a week ago but it hasn't arrived yet. It would also have given me a chance to write about testing it "in the field".

I decided to buy a rucksack because my back was really aching whilst on holiday this year from carrying my stuff in a Tamrac bag. I ended up leaving most stuff in the back of the car and venturing forth with one body, one lens (a 17 - 40). Actually, I could have taken just the 17 - 40 with me and I wouldn't have missed all the other stuff.

I'll be posting some pics from the southern (Italian) region of Switzerland some time soon but it the meantime there's a selection of them over at Panoramio.

Bye for now.