Rummage through this blog

Saturday, 11 January 2020


No not that sort of flashing.

I am trying to learn how to use the flash on my camera more effectively and this stems from a lifelong avoidance and being able to see the effects of adding flash on the production of so many pictures I see online.

I am not expecting this to change my photography radically, after all I think I am still the weak point in both the technical and artistic areas, not my kit, but I like to try things.

I have been experimenting with my Neewer NW400 flash unit. It's a speedlite by any other name but at a much more appealing price point for experimentation. I am impressed. Initially  I thought my results were disappointing and that the unit perhaps overstated its guide number by a long way but it turned out that I had dialled down the output and indeed at full power it does pack a punch.

In the Summer I was try some experiments with flower photography (note, none to show, highly experimental, early deletion) and discovered that I can remote trigger the flash using my on camera pop up (Olympus E-M10 mk2, its a great little flash unit when not running on auto) but in bright summer light, without drowning my subject, even at close range it was not triggering the off camera flash.

I had a look at radio triggers a couple of days ago and the Neewer N1T-o was £19.99 on Amazon so worth a try and Amazon reliably delivered next day.

Does the wireless trigger work? Well for the first 45 minutes no it didn't. The manual for the flash unit is in English. The manual for the trigger isn't. I finally found this video on You Tube from Robert Hall Photography which goes a long way to making some sense of the functions but still didn't answer the basic "how to make it work" question.

All the while this isn't helped by my degree of confusion when talking about groups, I've only got one flash so why are we talking about groups and a nagging concern that the flash manual states that a firmware update may be necessary to use the wireless functionality. It helpfully says that the usb port can be used to update the firmware but then the company provides no firmware update information of any sort on their website.

Armed with fresh batteries and a healthy dose of common sense I try again and discover it's dead easy actually and leaving the trigger on default settings but setting the flash to wireless slave....remember I had one flash so was using master. I was being rather slow on the uptake there but slowly learning.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Friday, 29 November 2019

Broken Glass

There we were sitting down at dinner and there was a thump from upstairs. Not a clue what that thump was so dinner was enjoyed by all.

Sometime later I went upstairs to discover my desk top a mess and my camera on the floor, all looking like signs of a cat quickly exiting the scene.

This is more worrying, I can see pieces of plastic on the floor. So I carefully turn the camera over and see that the newly applied L-Bracket has a couple of newly acquired chips on the paintwork so has taken some impact. Oh dear, the lens cap is where that missing plastic is from and it is very wedged into the lens, takes a bit of tugging before I regret doing so because of the shower of glass released over the floor.

I can see now that the UV filter, and hopefully only the UV filter, has taken the brunt of the impact on the floor - it has taken the impact from the edge of the lens cover and taken all the force and shattered the glass and filled the gap between the filter and the lens itself with shards.

Devil of a job to free it, luckily I have a filter wrench that eventually loosens it up enough that I can hold it facing downwards and start to release the shards and finally unscrew the filter.

Ten minutes of careful cleaning with an air brush, a brush and then lens wipes shows that I cannot discern any damage to the lens surface. A couple of minutes of testing of the camera appears to show, at different distances, that the camera is doing what it should as expected.

The final damage :

replacement cost  for the same item, a Hoya pro-1 digital uv(0) filter,  £17.99 on Amazon, will be here in 2 days time - which gives me ample time to test how the lens performs with no UV filter in place.

Why would I do that? Well having just completed a quick google survey of which model filter to purchase the conclusions appear to be that the hoya filter is good value for money but more importantly the debate about having another layer of glass on the front rages on.

Me? Well unless I discover something miraculous before I screw the new arrival on, I will be doing so because I get a strong feeling as how tonight's events went that the < £20 on one layer of glass has avoided necessitating a £400 replacement.

I know that some pundits make an argument that would this one off saving is not worthwhile compared to a potential reduction in image quality all of the time but I, as an amateur photographer who refute that as I tote my kit around in a rucksack, up and down hills and mountains in all weathers, along country lanes on my bike and all those normal uses and I've had a couple of scratched filters, one a UV that was replaced, I've trashed a hoya polariser (dreadful quality, the coatings rubbed away the first time I cleaned it)  and my B&W polariser has a scratch and hasn't been replaced because it simply cannot be seen on the final image. More importantly though, I remain convinced that the capability of the person standing at the rear of the lens has a much greater impact on the final image than the reduction in image quality at the front of the lens caused by the filter at my skill level.

I would like to think I will come back here in years to come and review this and change my mind but it feels unlikely.

Sunday, 24 November 2019