Category Archives: My tip for the week

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!

Tip of the week – getting closer

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Interesting stuff last weekend. If you follow me on twitter @GeoffWilkinson7, you will know that while the sun was shining outside and people were sunbathing and barbecuing, I was in my little studio crashing out dozens of still life’s. Actually it was quite a challenging project, lots of things to be photographed ranging from very small to about A4 size. With so many to do how to go about it with the minimum of fuss and lighting changes ? Continue reading

Tip for the week: Now zoom in…

Tip for the week: Now zoom in.. 

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… and I’m not talking about the camera lens either. I suspect one of the most neglected features and least known features of modern digital cameras is the zoom tool. As I said it’s not the zoom on the lens but rather at the other end of the camera, the back bit where the screen is. I have seen people squinting or holding the camera just a couple of inches from their nose trying to see the detail in the image on the screen. It’s not always easy to look at a picture on a screen that may be just 3 inches across, and much less than that on an older digital camera. It’s easy to spot detail on a 15 or 27 inch computer screen, you can easily spot the half hidden car in your beautiful landscape or a blemish on your subjects nose if your prefer portraiture.

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So what to do ? Chances are unless you have an older digital camera that lacks a zoom function on the screen itself, you can actually zoom in on your masterpiece to check the finest detail. The zoom button may vary from camera to camera, for instance on Nikon DSLRs it’s just by the screen marked with a plus sign in a magnifying glass shape logo. On compact models it’s quite often the same function or button you use to zoom the lens.

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World © Geoff Wilkinson – All rights reserved

So take a little time to find it and more importantly use it, better to find any hiccups on location rather than later back at home.

Technical info: Nikon D80 handheld in Aperture priority mode, with a Nikon f2.8 60mm Macro lens. The exposure was at 1/60th of a second at f3.3 for the pictures of the screen and 1/25th of a second at f4 for the close up of the button. the ISO was 200 for all pictures.









My tip of the week – camera and tripod plates…

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Following on about tripods here’s one last thing, it’s only a quickie so bear with me. When I first started photography the camera body or telephoto lens screwed directly on to the top of the tripod, seemed fairly simple to me. Now on most tripods you need to screw a plate onto the camera and then the plate ‘clamps’ into a mount on the tripod. Is this a better solution than screwing the camera on directly, I don’t know but it seems the way it is these days.

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World © Geoff Wilkinson – All rights reserved

As far as I can see this system has two downsides, the first being that if you don’t clamp the plate securely home in the mount on the tripod your camera can take a tumble. The second is that if you forget to take the plate when you are going on location basically you have a problem, you have no way of attaching the camera to the tripod.

So here’s my solution to both problems. 1. I always make sure the camera strap is around my neck when I fix the camera to the tripod. That way if it is incorrectly fitted and takes a tumble it’s not going to go very far. Maybe just bruise your chest a little! 2. buy spare camera plates and keep one in each of your camera bags in addition to the one on your tripod. I take it one step further. I keep camera plates permanently attached to both my Nikon camera bodies and another on my Nikon f2.8 80/200mm zoom lens, hopefully now I never get caught out, paranoid or what.

 I know what your thinking and your right, I was once caught out!

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World © Geoff Wilkinson – All rights reserved

Technical info: All photographs taken with my Nikon D7000, handheld in Aperture priority mode, the lens was a Nikon 50mm F1.4. The aperture for all pictures was f2.8 and the shutter speed varied between 1/100 of a second and a 1/50th of a second. The ISO was 200



Tip for the week – Wait for the sun


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World © Geoff Wilkinson – All rights reserved

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World © Geoff Wilkinson – All rights reserved

I really like cold, clear winter days with a blue sky and a low sun, perfect for photography.

I took these two pictures just before Christmas, it’s of Christ Church, Wanstead looking across Evergreen Field, not remarkable images in themselves but look at the difference between them, look at the light. They were taken just a minute or so apart but what a difference the sun on the church makes, look how much warmer and better the stonework looks.  It brings the whole picture alive. So whether you are shooting landscapes or cityscapes try it on a day when the sun is out, if a cloud comes along just be patient.

Tech info: Leica D Lux 6 hand held with 28 to 90mm zoom (35mm equivalent) The exposure was 1/2000th of a second with of f2.3 aperture. Both these images straight out of the Leica, no Photoshop or other adjustment.


My tip for the week – Batteries..

Leica camera battery

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Not so much a tip more of a thought. There’s been a lot of news recently about the latest Nikon firmware update. It would appear that it gives a more accurate reading of battery status, the same update, so I have read, makes it more difficult to use batteries from independent manufacturers in your camera. Continue reading

My tip for the week – the self timer

Close up of self timer symbol on Nikon D7000

Close up of the self timer symbol on my Nikon D7000
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Mmmh…. Should have mentioned this with my tripod story really. If you don’t happen to have a remote release to hand there is another option and it’s already built into your camera. It’s the self timer ! You may well have used it to include yourself in a family group photo, you know everyone posing on the beach while on holiday. Just think about what you did, you let the camera take the picture by itself, fantastic.

If you use the self timer, they can usually be set to either 2 or 10 seconds, I generally prefer 10, it means you can press the shutter button, take your hands off the camera, the camera will ‘settle down’ from you pressing on the shutter and hey presto no camera shake. It makes sense doesn’t it ? Simple.

Here’s an extra little bit of information, make sure if you are going to shoot a very close up picture of an object be sure to clean the item before you do. As you can see from the picture above it’s worth the effort.

Technical info: Leica D Lux 6 handheld, 1/8th of a second at f1.4, the ASA was 200 using available light.