Monday, 26 February 2007

On light and weather

One of the recurring mantras of photography is the need for interesting light. And its generally true. A stunning location on a dull day all too often means a dull shot, whilst fantastic light in an below-average location can still yield a stunning image. Having taken many thousand dull photographs one becomes something of a light snob. My camera rarely leaves its bag on an uninteresting day. In fact, in recent months I have tended to not even bother go out with the camera on an overcast day, unless there is some other reason to do so.

Last week, however, I had arranged to meet a friend to walk round the future site of the 2012 Olympic games, and as it turned out it was a very dull day. Despite that I managed some halfway decent pictures. I mostly stuck with the abstracts. Close cropped, minimalist shots with no sky. Some of these worked quite well.


Given the location I wasn't expecting anything noteworthy on a wildlife theme. So imagine my surprise when, halfway through the day, a heron graced us with his presence. Fortunately I'd just swapped my 17-85mm for a 70-200mm, but everything else was wrong. The camera was set up for one-shot, not the continuous auto-focus I'd normally select for flight shots. The IS on the lens was not in panning mode. Quite why the aperture was f/3.5 I confess I have no idea. Nevertheless, as the heron flew by I squeezed off a single shot. I wasn't really expecting anything, but when I got it back, I found it was pin sharp (got to love that EF70-200 IS!). And yes, the light is not great, but (for me at least) the photo still works.

Heron in flight

Maybe in future I'll be less of a snob...

Countdown to Falkands trip: 285 days to go

Sunday, 25 February 2007

On customer service

So I'm trying to find out flight information and I wander into Thomas Cook in Kingston. It seems like a reasonable move to me, after all they are a travel agent. Sadly, however, I am served by a dead-eyed Saturday girl, who is clearly dreaming of being elsewhere and who informs me "We've just got a new flight system, and I don't know how to use it". She takes my phone number - someone will call me later. Only of course they don't.

But then round the corner it is a different story. STA travel, and I am served by Jen. Smart, knowledgeable, chatty, interested in my requirements. Twenty minutes later I have the information I need. When I get around to booking my flights, I know where I'm going back to.

Countdown to Falkands trip: 286 days to go