Above – The finished picture converted to B&W and split-toned in Lightroom Left – As taken Right – Converted to B&W with no other enhancements

This blog post contains a variety of different things currently buzzing round in the back of my head. They aren’t in any preferred order or importance just that you might find one or two of them useful or interesting maybe?



“The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them.”

― Anton Chekhov


Photography for me becomes much more interesting when the photographer poses a question rather than giving a question and then the answer. Very often this type of picture will be created with inbuilt ambiguity at the taking stage. To quote the art historian EH Gombrich “the viewers share” is the aspect of the picture that makes it interesting. The viewer shares in the process of deciding what the picture is about.

What is the picture above about? Your answer to that question will be a product of your sex, age, education and worldview. There are no right or wrong answers.

Answers on a postcard in the Leave a Reply box at the bottom of this post. Let’s see if we can get some interesting and imaginative reasons for who these people are in the car, where they’re going and why.


28 September 2018
A few places left


  • Back by popular demand
  • Learn street photography from 2 masters
  • Learn to recognise the photographic moment
  • Max 10 Places
  • Fitness Level 1 of 3

If you have been following me on Instagram over the past 9 months and wondered why the pictures have stopped. The answer is very simple – Instagram has stopped allowing posts originating in Lightroom and switched off the connection.

The current official way to add pictures to Instagram is to down the App and use that. If I want to add a picture to my Instagram page I need to email it to myself so it’s on my phone and then post it to my Instagram page. Personally I not sure I can be bothered.

As a note, Instagram is owned by Facebook this move is another example of the contempt they have for users and a choice that is outside of their control.


Mon 12 – Fri 16 November 2018 
Rotterdam – The Netherlands 
  • Discover how to plan a successful photo shoot
  • Be in the right place at the right time
  • Photograph exciting industrial and modern architecture
  • Excellent for colour and mono photographers
  • Free copy of the ABC of CameraWork Manual worth £25
  • Great value for money + On-going email support
  • 6 Places
Firmware upgrade

I thought all my cameras had up-to-date firmware in them however on checking yesterday I found that they were all one update behind. So, it is worth going to your camera manufacturers websites to see whether you have the latest firmware updates. I heard yesterday that only Fujifilm provides new features for existing cameras within firmware upgrades, apparently, other camera makers don’t offer this benefit. All the Fujifilm cameras I have bought and upgraded the firmware have ended up far better and more user-friendly by the time the next version is released. This is certainly true in the case of the XT-1 and the XT-2.


“The more pictures you see, the better you are as a photographer.”

Robert Mapplethorpe

Separating stuck filters

All of my Samyang prime lenses have two screw-in filters on the front. This is because even with the Fujifilm electronic shutter the fastest shutter speed of 1/32000 s it is still possible to run out of shutter speeds in very bright light at f1.2. I always use a four-stop Neutral Density filter on the front of each lens in front of a skylight filter.

Very occasionally, these two filters can be difficult to separate, a top tip suggested by a client is to put the stuck filters in the freezer for a while and this will allow them to separate easily. This happened last week I put the filters in the freezer and low and behold they came apart after 15 minutes with ease.

Give it a try if you need to.


How To See Photographically
26 Nov – 2 Dec 2018
Andalusia – Southern Spain
2 Places
  • Discover your ability to see photographically
  • Suitable for Colour and Mono Photographers
  • Extra Free 1 day Introduction Workshop worth £99
  • Free copy of the Workshop Manual worth £25
  • Accommodation included – no single room supplement
  • Participant picture reviews
  • Only 4 participants with 121 tuition
  • Fitness level 1 of 3
  • On-going email support after the workshop
  • Excellent value for money
Fotospeed Printer Profiles

My sponsor Fotospeed offers free printing profiles for all their own branded papers. It may not be widely known they have changed the system they use to make printer profiles. The most important benefit for the photographer with the new system is customisable profiles for colour and black-and-white. In the case of black-and-white you may have a very slight colour cast even after profiling, it is not a perfect science. With the new Fotospeed profiling system it is possible to tweak the results to get a perfectly neutral black and white picture. It is a two-stage process, you print out the standard test chart (left) and send it to Fotospeed as usual, Tim will then email you back a profile. If the standard profile does not give you the expected perfect result it is possible to download a second different test chart and go through the same process. The second test chart is a refining process based on the first. As a slight aside, I use the Adobe Color Print Utility to print Profile Test Charts. The stand-alone utility is free, easy to use and should improve the quality of the test chart and therefore the printer profile.

Fujinon 8-16mm lens – first impressions

Yesterday, I got my hands on a preview version of the Fujinon 8-16mm f2.8 lens at Wex in Bristol. The weight and size of this ultra-wide-angle lens don’t appear to be too excessive for the type of lens that it is. I have been waiting for this lens as the Fujinon alternative to the Sigma 12-24mm on full frame for four years. The Sigma wide-angle was my favourite lens when using Canon camera bodies. I will be trading in my Fujinon 10-24mm f4.0 lens to help pay for the new lens. After an initial concern that the 8-16mm lens is not image stabilised this is now been countered with the XH-1 body with – In body stabilisation (IBIS) so that concern is now a non-issue.

My other concern is still current for my type of photography, the lens has a bulbous front element and therefore neutral density filters cannot be attached to the front of the lens. With the old Sigma 12 to 24 mm Mk 1 lens, it was possible to use a gel filter at the back of the lens. Having checked yesterday there is no facility to use a gel filter at the back of the Fujinon lens.

7 – 11 December 2018
3 places
Hartland Quay – North Devon 
  • Discover new directions for your photography
  • Dramatic Hartland Quay – North Devon
  • 4 nights B&B at the Hartland Quay Hotel
  • A free copy of The ABC of CameraWork Manual worth £25
  • Great for both colour & mono workers
  • 4 Places for individual guidance
  • Fitness level 1 of 3
New Epson Sure Color P800 Printer

For the past nine years, I have been using the Epson A2 3800 printer with the Fotospeed art papers and refillable 4K ink cartridges. I may have had my money’s worth from this printer by now! The time has come for this printer to go to the appropriate recycling centre in the sky and a new A2 Epson Sure Color P800 printer with Fotospeed refillable cartridges is on its way. Hopefully, by the time you read this, the new printer will be installed and working.

UPDATE a problem and a solution

Critical Information

If you are thinking of buying an SC-P600 or P800 I very strongly suggest you as a first action download and install the latest versions of the Driver 6.71 C Europe and Firmware OR2014 dated 22 May 2018 or later.


Without the latest Driver and Firmware, the P800 is effective a very large paperweight, not of merchantable quality. The driver and firmware supplied on the CD in the box only produce a whole range of error messages that are impossible to correct. The main one being “Remove Paper” when there is no paper in the machine. Another favourite was it got confused with the paper in the Auto Paper Feeder and Roll Paper. These are just two examples of why the latest Firmware update will make the SC – P800 useable. The updated Driver and Firmware are not the perfect solution to all the SC P800 ills but it is far more usable than without them.


I must thank Tim at Fotospeed Support for all his help in not allowing me to throw the printer out of the window before the latest firmware was installed.


This printer has the same ink set as the old 3800 printers and for all intense and purposes, it is a 3800 in a slightly different badged box. For black and white, a neutral grey is achieved when the red, blue and green values measured from a print (with a Color Monkey Photo) are all the same. For example, medium grey is R 128, B 128, G 128. The 3800 printers always had a slight deficiency in the blue channel, so does the SC-P800.

Book Sales

As many of you will know I sell my books at camera club talks. Occasionally someone would like to buy a copy of one of the books but does not have the relevant cash with them. Being kind-hearted and entrepreneurial I give the customer the book and asked them to send me a cheque. This system works well, the customer gets the book they need and I get the cash, eventually.

The Dark Art 

Part One – Strategic Photographic Thinking Part Two – Preparing to Print Part Three – A Photoshop Black and White Workflow Part Four – A Lightroom Black and White Workflow Part Five – The Output 180 pages, A5 Landscape printed, coil bound to stay flat. Many before and after example illustrations of post-processing workflows.