Monthly Archives: April 2015

Holidays and airports…

If you follow my daily blog, Wanstead Daily Photo, you will know that for the last few days I have been posting Spring themed pictures. What comes after Spring? Well Summer of course and what does Summer mean….holidays!

I have spent decades traveling all over the world by aeroplane both for newspapers and magazines. One of the questions I am asked by students and at talks is ‘did you check in your camera bags to go in the hold’, Well no never is the answer, the cameras always traveled with me as hand baggage inside the plane, lights, tripods etc were checked in to go in the hold. I don’t think any airline would let you take eight to ten cases on board as hand baggage. If you carry your camera with you then it’s safe, it doesn’t matter if the rest of the equipment doesn’t show up for a day or so as long as you have your camera you can take a picture..

So when you’r packing for this years holiday don’t pack your camera in your suitcase carry it with you.

In case you need more convincing check out this link to a YouTube video by 01Bowfin which shows how checked bags are handled at some airports. I don’t know at which airport this is filmed at but those poor cases….

Check those SD cards!

World © Geoff Wilkinson - All rights reserved

World © Geoff Wilkinson – All rights reserved

I always make a point of checking my SD cards from time to time. It’s arguably the most important thing in your camera, if its corrupt, not saving or recording your pictures everything else is a waste of time. I have heard stories, I’m sure you all have the internet is full of them, of photographers snapping away quite happily with the camera appearing to be working fine only to find at the end of the day the card is blank. It’s a nightmare scenario, all that creativity and hard work for nothing.

I probably pop my SD cards in and out of the camera more than most, I never download from the camera, I always put the card into a card reader to transfer the pictures.I just think it’s quicker and it’s one less thing for your expensive camera to do.

As you can see from the picture above the last time I checked my cards I discovered I a problem.  Some of the plastic in-between the contacts had come adrift, now I was lucky I discover it in time before I tried to use the card the camera . Not only would it probably not have saved the pictures but if one of those tiny slivers of plastic had come adrift in the camera it could have meant a pricey fix.

I have no idea how the card got damaged, I store them carefully in a hardened case designed just for SD cards, its a mystery.

Anyway before it happens to you check those cards!

A germ of and idea…

Branches overhanging in a churchyardWorld © Geoff Wilkinson – All rights reserved

I think this picture is becoming one of my favourites,  in fact I’m sure it is. It first appeared on my blog Wanstead Daily Photo as the post for Easter Sunday. It is also probably one of the quickest pictures that I have ever taken. I was looking for an Easter photograph that involved a church but wasn’t to obvious so I headed off to St Mary the Virgin in Overton Drive, Wanstead. This is a lovely church designed by the architect Thomas Hardwick in the late 18th century. The foundation stone was laid in 1887 some 70 foot north of the original medieval church and today the church still retains the original 1790 pews.

The churchyard lies behind the church, it’s one of my favourite places, and as I wandered along one or the paths it passed under the the branches of a low hanging tree with new growth on them. The contrast  struck me immediately  between the new shoots on the branch and the old gravestones behind, I knew I had a picture.

I knew however that I needed some separation between the two, because the branch was only about two foot from the camera and the gravestones were much further it would be easy to throw the background out of focus. I chose an aperture of f2.7 that combined with a focal length of around 50mm would give me a shallow depth of field. I focused on the shoots of the overhanging branch and framed the churchyard behind them, I took two pictures in quick succession, one upright and one landscape, the landscape composition won by a mile. The whole process took under a minute, I  concentrated thinking of three things, light, composition and depth of field.

So I started with a germ of an idea not really knowing where it would lead me and just by looking and a little thinking I ended up with a favourite. I thinks it’s quite subtle, not to obvious but it conveys what I was trying to illustrate for Easter Sunday..


Technical stuff: The camera was a Leica D Lux type 109. The shutter speed was 1/100th of a second and the aperture was F2.7 which gave me that lovely out of focus background. The ISO was 200 and the picture style was set to vivid. The focal length was appx 50mm equivalent on 35mm format.