Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Unobtainable

The limits of photography are always being move forward. In the days of film these advances were very small – today digital technology moves forwards faster and this can be seen in the story below.

Late one evening our hound wandered up the backyard and by chance my eye was drawn to a bird flying to a rest in a tree nearby – illuminated from the indirect light of a flood lamp 20 meters away. Around here a bird flying at night can only be an owl and with a quick trip inside I grabbed the first torch I could see – a cheap LED unit – and went back out. There it was perched in a tree – surely it would be gone by the time I’d gone back in and got a camera and lens…

So armed with a 5Dmk3 and a 400mm f2.8 IS I had the best chance technology could just about give me…

ISO:           25000
Aperture:  f/2.8
Shutter:     1/6 sec
Lighting:   cheap LED torch

…and to add a bit more of a degree of difficulty didn’t have time for a tripod or any other support…


Now I can’t say technology is perfect since the image below shows the difficulty the camera and I had in focussing in such low light – about 20 missed shots. But the one at the end is something that 30 years ago would have been utterly unobtainable.



Posted in Uncategorized

Packing List


All the best for your trip to Europe. I hope you enjoy all the 6 or so months you have there. You asked for my packing list so here are my thoughts. They may not be the best of thoughts but a useful collection of things to keep in mind.

I’d start with the basics….

  • your 5D (I think yours is the mk2)
  • a good collection of CF cards – each one labelled with e-mail and numbered so as not to cause confusion
  • 24-105 f/4 or 24-70 f/2.8
  • a fixed big aperture lens – 50 f/1.4 would be good – for shooting at night, in galleries and isolating parts of a scene.
  • if you have something wide then take it as well something like the 17-40 can be good
  • a small telephoto (you are not going to use it much but it can come in handy when walking the streets of a city
That’s 4 lenses above. Carrying all would be a chore but after a week or so you’ll have an idea what 2 you are going to pack into your bag for any particular day.
  • A small discrete camera bag. For security something you can put at waist level rather than on your back. Think of something that will take your body and two lenses (one fitted). It can also be used to carry souvenirs and other nick knacks.
  • A polariser for getting those deep blue Grecian Skies.
  • An ND400 filter to have some fun.
  • A cable release (the ND 400 will need to be used with one).
  • A “bag” for support – perhaps find a small zippered cloth bag – I’m thinking a small clothes delicates bag that you can fill with foam packing peanuts when you are over there – you can use a Velcro strap to attach it to your camera bag strap when walking around – total weight a few grams.
  • Steal a hotel shower cap – it makes a good impromptu rain cover.
  • A spare battery.
  • Your battery charger – don’t forget to pack it when you are moving between hotels.
“Maintenance” things:
  • Rocket blower stored inside a clean plastic bag.
  • A small microfibre cloth.
  • Something to transfer photos to and cloud storage to keep them safe.

Other tips

  • Leave the battery grip at home.
  • If your camera bag gets wet let it dry thoroughly over a heater – any foam in it will retain moisture.
  • If something happens you have a credit card and places to shop.
I think that’s about it. Have fun and I look forward to seeing the results.
Posted in travel