February 28, 2004
Let there be light – and let Michael Jennings buy a Canon A70

Once again, the fact that photography is all about a machine reacting to light, is punched home to me by these three pictures, two of which I took, and one of which someone else took of me and my speaker, at my Brian's Last Friday meeting last night.

Start with the one with me in it. This was taken in my living room, where the light is rather dim. But you can still make out Jacky D and me, me wearing my serial killer glasses, the ones I use for computer work. But the lighting is not flattering, is it?

brijack.jpg

Sadly, Jackie D has just announced that she is having a hiatus with her au currant blog (i.e. that those two links are liable for a while to take you to the exact same place), on account of having other things to attend to. I hope having to give the talk last night wasn't the last straw that temporarily broke her blogging, and I hope that the pause is indeed temporary.

Veteran libertarian and regular Brian's Fridays attendee Chris Cooper, on the other hand, is back blogging again after a long gap, so blogging comebacks do happen. His latest posting was put up as recently as February 12th.

chrisern.jpg

Talking of serial killers, that's Chris on the left, with the bread knife. But he only had designs on a swiss roll (I think it was) so Ernie doesn't need to look so disapproving. But the light in my kitchen is a lot better, isn't it? Bruce the Real Photographer wasn't impressed with the excess of diversioary business in the background, but I rather like all that.

johngar.jpg

This, making better use of the light in the living room, what there is of it once again all being on the wall rather than in the centre of the room, is a study of John and Gareth, looking as if they are about to have a duel, but they're just talking to different people. I must do something about that bit of wire hanging down.

More seriously, what this shows me is that, now that I can do indoor portraits without too much bother, the difference between this level of domestic light and that rather better level suddenly looms large.

The smartest move I ever made with this camera (as I think I may have said here before), other than buying it I mean, and learning how to use it indoors, was getting a 256MB Flash Card. This turns me from a careful, mustn't-waste-it amateur into a pseudo-pro who clicks away so much that people stop noticing. Now, taking a portrait, as I said to Peter Cuthbertson last night while snapping away at him, reminds me of that thing you do when buying shares, when you spread your purchases over a predetermined period rather than doing it all at once. Click-click-click-click-click-click regardless of what the subject is doing. Your chances of one being good are good. (With shares you can't just delete the bad purchase decisions. With digital photos, that's exactly what you can do.)

I'm learning. When I next try taking pictures of Important People at an Important Event, my chances of success will be that much greater.

As soon as Michael Jennings (now of oh you're Michael Jennings fame) has a proper job, which he now says he is optimistic about, we must start a campaign for him to get a Canon A70 also, so that he can be our user group Guru, in addition to taking better pictures himself. It occurs to me that Antoine, Patrick and I might actually throw a couple of tenners each at him to buy the A70 rather than another camera, so helpful would it be for us to have him actually reading – and even making some sense of – the A70's baffling manual. Seriously, the London bit of the blogosphere would be a photographically far more expert place if Michael had the same camera as the rest of us.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 06:07 PM
Category: Photography