To commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the end of the 1914-1918 war this special heading was created. It includes an image of the Royal British Legion 'There But Not There' installation in Penshurst Church, Kent, of 2016. Acknowledgement to the Remembered Charity. Other images by Marion Gatland and Peter Flower.


Peter Flower

This edition of the Newsletter is a very full one, packed with information about the exploits of some of our members, reports on two interesting talks and announcements of many new cameras coinciding with the recent Photokina Exhibition.

In Newsletter 94 (2 June 2017) an article entitled 'Blue on Brighton beach' gave details of Jill Flower's project to create a lengthy cyanotype print, with exposure carried out by sunlight on the beach in Brighton followed by development in the sea. Fast forward to 25 August 2018 when an article 'Story of the blues' by Angela Chalmers appeared in Amateur Photographer explaining the way in which she used the cyanotype process to create photograms of flowers. I suggested to Jill that she should write to Amateur Photographer about her project of the previous year. This email obviously intrigued the staff at the magazine who suggested that the details in it could form the basis of an article.

Sincere thanks are due to Hollie Latham Hucker, Technique Editor of Amateur Photographer, who collated the information on this project from Jill and condensed it into the interesting article that appeared in the magazine of 6 October 2018.

When news of the publication was sent to members Ian Hunt sent Jill a congratulatory message to which he added his own recollections of working with cyanotypes during his time in the print industry. His article is also published below. He added a final comment - 'I know cyanotypes well and congratulate you for splashing about in the sea as a way of developing. It's a good job our company was based in the Cotswolds and not at the seaside!'

Photokina marked the announcement of several new cameras, some of which we reported in the previous Newsletter, and yet more that are included in following articles. Following the introduction of the new Canon and Nikon mirrorless models it was interesting to read reviews that regarded the inclusion of only one card slot as one of the most significant shortcomings. As will be seen from the following articles, Panasonic have avoided this potential criticism by including two card slots, but the Zeiss ZX1 has NONE!

Amateur Photographer

Peter Flower

My first encounter with this weekly magazine was many decades ago when my father, a keen photographer, use to buy it regularly. This was in the days when it was limited to black and white printing. I have only vague memories of the features in those times, but do remember a person writing under the pseudonym of Ricardo who appraised reader's photographs, marking them with triangles, circles, leading lines, and thirds to show the strong and weak points of their composition.

There then followed many years when I read it on a casual basis until recent years when I placed a regular order with my local newsagent. The attraction for me has been the wide variety of topics covered, plus the fact that it publishes on a weekly basis. In the past I read other magazines but found that their tendency to concentrate on a particular aspect of photography soon resulted in a loss of interest.

Recent topics, such as those on cyanotypes, historic cameras, use of filters, post-production techniques, large Polaroid prints, rephotographing Tutankhamun artefacts, equipment reviews, wildlife photography and the problems for professional photographers in working with local newspapers are indicative of the variety of interest provided in each edition.

These are difficult times for printed media, but hopefully Amateur Photographer will continue to provide its mix of news for the keen photographer.

Note: The magazine is also notable for its membership of EISA (the European Imaging and Sound Association). It was one of the originating members in 1982 when the editors-in-chief from five European photo magazines came together to select “The Camera of the Year” for the first time. This organisation expanded, both in membership and the products tested each year, to become what we now know as EISA.

Working with Cyanotypes

Ian Hunt

In the 1960s Cyanotype paper was available commercially in rolls of various sizes and lengths. It was commonly used in the engineering industry for recording technical drawings. In my 'own' print industry it was a pre-print proofing medium. We would just cut it from the roll to the size we needed. Rather like domestic wallpaper. However it was pre-coated with a light sensitive chemical and thus used under 'safelight' conditions.

Our print projects used continuous tone negatives for illustrations and Lith film for text/captions. These negatives were the results of photographing original oil paintings/watercolours/engravings etc. in the studio on Gallery Cameras and Stand Cameras.

Negatives as mono and/or colour separations and text negatives would be sellotaped in specific positions on the lightblock paper (Golden Rod). Book work was usually 8 images to view on a 30" x 40" sheet. Postcards might be 36 or 42 to a sheet. The whole sheet was flipped over and holes cut out of the paper to allow the light to pass through the negatives both image and text on a mono (black) printing job.

If we were using the four colour printing process we would also prepare sheets for the separations of yellow, cyan, and magenta printings. Any extra colours required would have their own separate sheet. Registration pins and trim (cut) marks would ensure each sheet fitted on the print plate and at the printing press. We would always apply a tonal step wedge to each colour separation sheet for assessing correct exposure of the negative to the final printing plate.

In the early days of using blue prints (1963/64) the negative sheet would be loaded and sandwiched in contact with the blue print paper under yellow safelight conditions in a glass and wood framed box. This will seem very 'Heath Robinson' but the box would be taken into what looked like a green house, flipped over and all the negative holes covered with dense cardboard piece larger than the negative.

Using Daylight - whether it be spring, summer, autumn or winter, and having determined the density of each negative, an overall assessment was made of how much exposure each negative needed for the blue print and then printing plate.

Individual heavy card covers would be removed from each subject image during the exposure. At the end of two hours in high summer or a day and a half in the depths of winter.... When the overall exposure was complete and the frame with negs would be moved from the 'green house' to back under safe light conditions.

The box would be flipped back over, lid removed and the blue print paper taken to a large sink for developing. The exposed hydrogen peroxide allowed the images to appear. The blueprint would be stopped and fixed by running water. When done it would be hung in a drying cupboard with fans to assist the drying process.

This was a long drawn out process. Wooden bars, wooden wedges and a carpentry mallet were used to compress the sheet of negs and blue print paper under a second sheet of glass, so a deft touch with the mallet was needed to ensure good contact as well as avoiding catastrophic consequences of uneven pressure breaking glass and ruining the lot.

Get the exposures wrong, or needing an alteration to a neg or text, and it was case of repeating the whole thing again. This was 1962/63.

Needless to say it didn't take long to decide this was a long winded and potentially time consuming process especially when the weather was cloudy! Remember the blueprint constituted a first proof. If it was deemed O.K. the whole process was repeated but using a printing plate coated a light sensitive collodion solution took the place of the blue print paper. Exposure was geared to the results of the blue print.

Developing the glass printing plate (30x40 x 1/2 an inch!) was done by water washing out the light sensitive solution out of the gelatine. Then drying out the plate.

Our friends across the water in the USA had started using carbon arc lamps for exposure and vacuum frames to do the job in minutes rather than hours and days.

We said we'll have some of that as well as the thin aluminium printing plates they were using in both rotary and flat-bed applications! No more 'Superman' muscle work-outs every day.

We progressed from hazardous carbon arc to more user friendly daylight balanced tubes, then bulbs as a consistent non flickering exposure source.

The blue print system first proof was used for a good ten years before I left the company in 1975 where I'd gone from apprentice to plate-making department manager.

Our company products and endeavours - postcards to fine art prints were renowned around the world. We reproduced paintings from the major art galleries, and educational institutions. Did the nature drawings from Cook's voyage to Australia, Dead sea scrolls, Reproduced Leonardo Da Vinci drawings from HM the Queen's Collection at Windsor Castle to L S Lowry paintings.

Traditionally the UK printing industry was slow to adopt new technology but by the early 1960s it's general advancement accelerated.

Fox Talbot photography inventor and experimentalist from the mid nineteenth century would have recognised the chemicals and methodology in our and the wider print industry dark rooms of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Even with more efficient processing and modern materials that had been adopted our artisan methods were not enough or economically viable to satisfy the accountants and the company closed in 1981.

I've scanned a few of my Kodachrome 35mm transparencies which date from 1974.

This one illustrates the hand retouching of a colour separation negative. The artist's original oil painting was matched to obtain a facsimile reproduction at press. Up to 12 different colour plates could be produced for a totally faithful result. Printed on handmade paper, proofs would be commented on for alterations and then signed off, in person, by the artist. L S Lowry was just one of a number of famous artists, authors and even royal visitors to our factory.

The next stage showing the way the continuous tone negatives are mounted on light block paper. If one substitutes unexposed 'Blue print' paper for the coated plate shown, the principle is the same as making a 'same size' contact print with negative and bromide paper under glass and safelight conditions in the old hobbyist's darkroom.

The last photo shows the exposing process under UV lamps. The lamps above the vacuum exposing frame are in banks and had to be monitored daily to ensure a consistent and even illumination.

That was checked with the equivalent of a light meter set on the end of a pole. Readings would be taken from edges and centre of the flatbed. The lamps took a short time to warm up. The hinged panel would be lowered for exposing to start, then raised to stop.

You will note the timer clock and boards on the glass surface. All negatives started off covered and then removed at intervals determined by the density of individual negs.


Peter Flower

While Canon and Nikon have entered the full-frame mirrorless camera market, soon to be joined by Panasonic, other manufacturers are adopting a different strategy. Fujifilm has indicated that it will concentrate on development of its existing X series (APS-C) camera range, but has already taken the leap into medium format with its GFX 50S and 50R models. This seems to indicate that it will not enter the full-frame sector which is likely to become increasingly crowded when Canon and Nikon release second generation models. In discussion with Digital Photography Review Toshihisa Iida, General Manager of Fujifilm's Optical Device and Electronic Imaging Products Division said “We don't see any point in Fujifilm entering that market. If we entered full-frame [our systems] would just start cannibalising each other. We're happy to stay with two completely independent systems”.

Pentax already has a medium format camera, the 645Z announced in April 2014, but this brand has seen little activity in more recent times. Unsurprisingly, Hasselblad with models like its X1D and H6D, and Phase One have been in the medium format sector for some time. Leica had a foray into medium format with its S2 model, announced in September 2008, but this is no longer listed. In its place is the SL3 (as reported below) which is due for release in spring 2019.

Notably absent from the list of major makes to be involved in either full-frame or medium format sectors are Olympus. Rumours are circulating that this company has plans to launch a significant new product to coincide with its 100th anniversary on 12 October next year. This will almost certainly be a flagship model in the M4/3 range. Olympus has been renowned for its compact camera body size, starting with the OM-1 film camera introduced at Photokina in 1972. It is likely that it will aim to retain the size advantage of the M4/3 body, but will concentrate on developing features that will allow it to compete with the larger format cameras from competitors.

Meanwhile, Leica continues to plough its own furrow, expanding its partnership with other companies whilst continuing to produce quality, and very expensive, cameras that retain many of the traditional manual control functions that are valued by their enthusiastic followers.

Panasonic S1R and S1 cameras

Peter Flower

Panasonic S1R and S1 cameras (these are photographs of pre-production models at Photokina)

In Newsletter 111, dated 12 September, we posed the question - Panasonic to unveil a Full Frame Mirrorless Camera? We didn't have to wait long for confirmation. On 25 September Panasonic formally announce two new cameras. These were the 47 megapixel S1R and 24 megapixel S1. It was explained that these new models are aimed at use by professional photographers as well as serious amateurs. The most interesting fact was that the two cameras would use the Leica L-mount found on that company's SL. In addition there will be three new Panasonic lenses available, with the first three being a 50mm F1.4, 24-105mm and 28-70mm. Panasonic plans on releasing more than ten lenses by 2020. Users can also use Leica's expanding L-mount collection, and Sigma will also be producing lenses for the system. Together, the three companies have formed the 'L-Mount Alliance'. This means that the new models will start with the advantage of a number of 'native' lenses without the need for adapters. An additional factor is that the Leica L-mount allows an almost limitless array of options in combining different interchangeable lenses with cameras featuring different sensor formats. Leica Camera, Panasonic and Sigma are set to offer a user-friendly solution that will allow photographers to ‘mix and match’ any of the three manufacturers’ APS-C and full-frame cameras with any lens from each other’s product portfolios. Regardless of which combination you might choose virtually all functional and qualitative characteristics of each respective system will be fully retained.

The S1R and S1 will support Panasonic's Dual IS technology, which combines in-camera shake reduction with optical stabilization built into select lenses. Both camera will be able to capture 4K/60p video, which Panasonic says is a first for a full-frame mirrorless camera.

The S1R and S1 will have a three-axis touchscreen LCD similar to the one on the Fujifilm X-T3. It will have dual memory card slots: one XQD and one SD slot. (A feature missing from its Canon and Nikon rivals)

Panasonic says both cameras will be weather-sealed and will feature 'high resolution' electronic viewfinders. Both feature top-plate settings LCDs. They include the dual-hinge tilting rear LCD panels that Fujifilm has used on its recent high-end models. Both cameras will use Panasonic's Depth-from-Defocus system for autofocus. This takes information about each lens's out-of-focus characteristics to help the camera assess the distance to the subject, to support its contrast-detection AF system. Perhaps tellingly, this description closely matches the way Leica discusses the autofocus in its SL.

Deliveries are expected to commence in the first quarter of 2019.

Comment: For many years there has been considerable co-operation between Leica and Panasonic, with Panasonic's compact model cameras forming the basis for many Leica models and Leica providing their optical expertise for Panasonic's compact and Micro 4/3 models. The adoption of a common lens mount, plus the addition of Sigma to the alliance, will provide a formidable challenge to the existing manufacturers of cameras in this market segment.

Details of the new models can be seen at this link -

Details of Leica's models and involvement in the alliance can be seen at -

Sigma lenses

Peter Flower

On the 14 October 2018, Barney Britton of DPReview posted a report on an interview with senior executives of Sigma, including CEO Kazuto Yamaki, at the recent Photokina show., This followed the announced L-mount alliance. The question was asked - 'Do you have any predictions for the proportion of your lenses that you expect to sell in mirrorless mounts versus DSLR mounts, in the future?' The reply - 'Within three or four years I expect our mirrorless mount lens sales to be much bigger than for DSLR. Maybe 70% to 30%.'

Zenit M camera


Zenit M camera

On 26 September 2018 there was a further announcement of a partnership; this time between Leica and Zenit. A day after the company announced it was teaming up with Panasonic and Sigma on the L mount, Zenit took the wraps off the 'M', a Zenit-designed, Leica-manufactured rangefinder camera which has a lot in common with Leica's last-generation M Typ 240. Leica is currently assembling the 24 megapixel full-frame Zenit M rangefinder alongside the M10 at its Wetzlar plant in Germany. According to Russian news sources production will be limited to 500 copies, to be sold exclusively in Russia and Europe.

The Zenit M will be available in a black or chrome finish, and will be shipping 'later this year or early 2019'. There is some confusion about the prospective cost. According to one source it will cost 'between 4,000-5,000 euros' kitted with the Zenitar 35mm f/1.0 lens. This conflicts slightly with a Russian news report which puts the cost at between 5,000-6,000 euros. While the M is manufactured by Leica, the Zenitar 35mm f/1.0 is designed and built entirely in Krasnagorsk.

Zeiss ZX1 camera


Zeiss ZX1 camera images showing the unusual curved back and distinctive yellow lettering

Zeiss has unveiled its first-ever digital camera, the interesting ZX1 compact. It has a full-frame 37.4-megapixel sensor and a fixed 35mm f/2.0 T* lens, putting it into exclusive company with Sony's RX1 and the Leica Q. The boxy body is distinctive with a triangular grip and bright yellow lettering on the lens and dials. Notably, Zeiss teamed up with Adobe to build Lightroom CC into the camera, letting you shoot, edit and share images.

The ZX1 has a large 4.3-inch 1,280 x 720 multi-touch display with an unusual curve to help you not just shoot but edit photos afterwards. It's also equipped with a full HD (1,920 x 1,080) OLED electronic viewfinder. Unusually, there is no card slot, but it has 512GB of internal storage that Zeiss said can hold up to 6,800 RAW files in the DNG format. On the connectivity side, it has WiFi, Bluetooth and USB-C.

It can shoot at 3 fps. Autofocus details are scant, but it works in both continuous and single mode. Zeiss said it designed both the lens and high-resolution sensor to work in harmony with each other to create images "with that typical Zeiss look." The ZX1 can also shoot video at 4K 30fps, and full HD at up to 60 fps.

Availability is anticipated in early 2019.

Leica SL3 (Typ 007)


Leica SL3 medium format camera

This has been an especially busy time for Leica. In addition to the projects listed above there was the announcement of an updated model in this medium format series, due for release in the spring of 2017. Specific details of the new model are scarce, but the following details are quoted from the official Leica information.

'The Leica S CMOS sensor provides the necessary leap forward (unique to medium-format cameras) in terms of resolution and dynamic range, whereas Leica ProFormat in 3:2 ratio gives the pixels the space they need to produce the high quality results required by professionals. This level of performance is not only reached at basic sensitivity but can still be attained when you are dependent on the ambient light. Although it was previously assumed that you had to compromise on format for the sake of fast image sequences, the Leica S has rewritten the rule book. The lightning fast shutter mechanism, the CMOS sensor, the Maestro II processor, and predictive autofocus all come together to ensure that the Leica S combines the image quality of a medium-format camera with the fast responses of a 35 mm model. Its strengths not only become apparent in still photography, as the imaging quality of the S-Lenses and the sensor also come to the fore when recording video footage.

The Maestro II processor, which has been specially developed for Leica, is four times faster than its predecessor and, with a frame rate of 3.5 fps, sets a new record in the medium-format category. The Leica S possesses all the proven qualities of the S-System, in particular the innovative, 30 by 45 mm Leica Max 37.5 megapixel CMOS image sensor in Leica Pro Format. This sensor is more than 50 per cent larger than that of a 35 mm camera. It is large enough to deliver significantly higher imaging quality and shallower depth of focus than 35 mm and is suitable for a broad spectrum of photographic uses that go far beyond conventional medium format photography.'

Leica M10-D

Peter Flower

Leica M10-D camera

This was yet another model which has just been released by Leica. It is the third model in the M10 mirrorless full-frame range, following the M10 (January 2017) and M10-P (August 2018). It should be explained that on this rangefinder-style camera focus and aperture control is totally manual. In appearance it is very similar to the preceding models, except that it now lacks a rear LCD screen, as can be seen from the following image.

In addition to the lack of a screen (a feature on the almost identical M10-P) there is what appears to be a film wind lever. In fact, as can be seen, this lever is used as an effective thumb grip for the otherwise very smooth body. Quite apart from the question of why anyone would want to work with a modern camera lacking the ability to review images there is the question of cost. Both The M10-P (with screen) and the M10-D (without) are priced exactly the same, currently £6500 at Park cameras. The M10, the older model, is discounted to £5699.

The only way that you can review images, when out and about, is via a smartphone using the Leica FOTOS App (which also enables remote control of the camera) or by purchasing the optional Leica Visoflex finder, currently priced £370 at Park Cameras. The final shortcoming that I am aware of – it is not possible to format the memory card in the camera.

This is obviously aimed at a niche, likely to appeal only to true Leica enthusiasts with deep pockets. I have witnessed a rave review of this camera (on the Leica site) by just such an enthusiast. but other comments by review sites have reservations about Leica's logic for introduction of this particular model.

Leica Q-P camera (Typ 116)

Peter Flower

Leica Q-P camera (Typ 116)

In Newsletter 111 I commented on Don Morley's Leica Q camera that he had brought along to the Saturday Natter event. Coincidentally, Leica has just announced an upgrade to this model, the Q-P. Significantly, it now loses the distinctive Red Dot on the front, replaced by the classic script logo engraving on the top plate. A new paint finish in a high-resistance flat matte black gives the camera an even darker 'stealth' look and subtle textured feel. Minor changes have also been made to the controls.

The price for the new model is currently £4100, compared to £3650 for the older model, but you do get the benefit of an adjustable-length high quality brown leather strap and a second rechargeable battery included in the price.

Zeiss Batis lenses


The latest new lens in this range has recently been announced – the 40mm f/2. This range of lenses is renowned for superb optical performance. An unusual feature which aids creative photography is the innovative OLED display on the lens barrel which shows the distance and depth of field to ensure the focusing range can always be perfectly set.

Zeiss Batis lenses showing OLED display

Lumapod - The World's Fastest Tripod

Peter Flower

I am a person who very rarely resorts to the use of a tripod. I like to travel light and hate the encumbrance of a tripod which weighs more than the camera. I appreciate the views of others who are happy to spend more time setting up their viewing point and enjoy the certainty of pin-sharp images even at slow shutter speeds. Even carbon fibre tripods are generally bulky, although lighter than models of old.

Lumapod addresses these problems. It is an ultra-compact and lightning-fast tripod solution for those who enjoy exploring freely. Unlike traditional tripods, which rely on three legs attached to a centralized column and mounting point, the LumaPod is essentially two tripods in one that folds down into a single tube that looks something like the handle of a light-sabre. The base of the LumaPod is similar to a standard tripod in that it uses three rigid aluminium legs to keep the thing upright and steady. These low-profile legs serve as the attachment point for a telescoping column and three kevlar cables that hold the central column in place using tension. The important difference, and the way it gains its speed of operation and lightness, is this use of tension rather than compression of a conventional tripod.

Lumapod tripod, showing how it relies on tension of the kevlar cables for stability and its compact measurements when folded

Deemed the 'world's fastest tripod,' the LumaPod is a compact tripod that uses patented tension technology to stabilize your shots without weighing a ton. It comes in two models — the Go85 and Go120 — for varying camera sizes and can also be used as a monopod and selfie stick. The Go85 LumaPod weighs just 400g/0.88lbs, measures in at 85cm/33.5in and can hold 1kg/2.2lbs of camera equipment. The larger Go120 weighs 690g/1.65lbs, measures in at 120cm/47.3in when closed, and can hold 2kg/4.4lbs of camera equipment.

LumaPod is currently available to back on Kickstarter. (Note: It has already reached its target)

Underwater Photography – 17 September 2019 – Linda Pitkin

Report by Peter Flower

Linda started scuba diving in 1979 and took up underwater photography a year later, in 1980, joining the British Society of Underwater Photographers (BSoUP). Diving usually with Brian, her husband, she has travelled to many parts of the world in search of a wide range of underwater subjects, from immense whale sharks to tiny shrimps, and scenic views of reefs and wrecks.

She is the author and photographer of four books and a number of articles. Her stock photography features widely in books, newspapers, magazines and journals, including Professional Photographer, BBC Wildlife, Nature, and leading diving magazines. Other uses of her photographs include calendars, brochures, cards, advertising, and in an IMAX multi-screen presentation. She also undertakes commissioned photography.

In the early days, using film, her previous cameras were Nikonos V and a Pentax LX in Hugyfot housing. She used these with a range of lenses, particularly NIKKOR 15 mm for wide-angle and Pentax 50 mm for macro. The film stock was mainly Fujichrome Velvia 50, Provia 100, and Sensia 100. Her switch to digital came in 2007 and she currently uses a Nikon D90, in a Sea & Sea D80 housing, plus two Inon Z240 flashes (strobes). Lenses include Nikon 60 mm, 105 mm, 20 mm, and 10.5; Sigma 17-70 mm and Tokina 10-17 mm.

We have had talks on underwater photography in previous years but Linda's pictures were in a very different category. There were scenes of wrecks and other divers accompanying shoals of fish but the majority of images were what I would refer to as 'underwater portraits'. These were beautifully composed close-ups of individual fish, or small groups, and corals, rather than record shots of the underwater world. There were examples from many different parts of world, illustrating the sheer variety of marine life.

Examples of these carefully composed close-ups are included in the following collage.

© Linda Pitkin – Masked Butterfly fish: Emperor shrimp on sea cucumber, Sulawesi: Lionfish, Red Sea: Collared Butterfly fish,Thailand

Linda's travels have taken her to many parts of the world. There is a tendency to think of far-off locations as the best for marine photography, but as two of the examples in the next grouping shows there can be interesting subjects found nearer to home.

© Linda Pitkin – Manta Ray, Maldives: Basking Shark, Cornwall: Blue Shark, California: Grey Seal, England

Another strength of Linda's images was the careful composition applied to images that put the presence of divers into the marine environment. Such images are fairly conventional when dives are taking place on wrecks, but here we saw them with banks of coral, underneath the support boat and with other marine life.

© Linda Pitkin – Divers on Sulawesi coral reef: Diver, Brian (Linda's husband), on Red Sea wreck: Whale shark with divers: Divers beneath the boat, Norway

The images of the fish shoals illustrate the need for provision of lights on the camera to counteract the drop-off in natural lighting at depth, and where it is filtered by the water to a blue colour. The central image shows an attractive composition taking advantage of the speckled light from the water surface.

© Linda Pitkin – Bluespine Unicorn fish, Red Sea: Bigeye Trevavally shoal, Borneo: Guelly Jacks, Canary Isles

Linda explained that the camera had two lights attached by long arms that enabled the lights to be angled inwards towards the subject. This was unlike the normal positioning of a flash unit, either inbuilt or attached directly to the camera, which would cause reflection back of any murkiness in the water. This could be a problem, especially in British waters. The use of lights was essential to reveal the bright colours of coral and plants, as seen in the following examples.

© Linda Pitkin – Jewel Anenomes, England: Coral reef: Orange Cup coral, Bonaire: Feather Star, Sulawesi

Towards the end of her talk Linda brought us back to Surrey and underwater photography that did not involve the requirement for scuba gear. She described a couple of projects that involved photographing frogs and toads in freshwater ponds, at Doods Place in Reigate and at Coldharbour.

© Linda Pitkin – Common toads, Coldharbour: Common toad in a pond

Summing up, Linda presented us with an interesting commentary on her underwater exploits as well as showing us a wide range of photographs from locations around the seas of the world. The quality of the images was superb. This article has presented just a random sample of these. Many more can be seen on the gallery list of the web site at the following link address -

Without Gloss - 1 October 2018 - Krystina Stimakovits

Report by Peter Flower

Originally from Vienna, Austria, Krystina moved via Paris to London in the 70s and has lived in London ever since. After completing a sociology degree in the School of African and Asian Studies at the University of Sussex in the mid-70s she had a long career in the voluntary sector. In the early 90s, she studied Fine Art and Photography at Camberwell School of Art in South London, and returned to work in an urban regeneration project before taking early retirement in 2006. Since then she has pursued her passion in photography, shooting in both colour and black and white.

Krystina was introduced by Stephen Hewes who had met her on a workshop in London some years ago.

Compiling this report was not an easy task. The title of her talk was an enigma. Fortunately the diary entry for this talk contained the following detailed description in her own words - 'In the cities change is constant. We pass by road works, demolitions, constructions, refurbishments, repairs or places of neglect: man-made and organic forms exist side by side or intertwine in often incongruous and chaotic fashion. I am interested in the layers to be found in these sites of transition and like to hone in on space dividing structures such as glass, mesh or fences and on the traces left upon them be they by human action or the forces of nature'.

The opening image gave a flavour of what was to follow.

© Krystina Stimakovits

On the face of it this is a simple record of some twisted rope and faded green strapping. But a more careful look reveals the link to the green wall in the background, virtually identical in colour. It was this careful observation of detail and relationships of objects within the frame that is indicative of Krystina's method of working.

We have our own members who specialise in photographing close-up detail such as rusty doors and ironwork, gleaming parts of shiny car bodywork, abandoned wrecks in Arizona, hinges and locks on doors, or working parts of steam engines, but Krystina takes this genre to a new level. We have also had a talk by an UrBex 'warrior', a photographer of derelict and abandoned old buildings from the past. The challenge for them is to gain entry to buildings where access is not obviously evident. In the case of Krystina she is able to identify opportunities to photograph neglect and dereliction without trespass. However, she is likely to be subject to the same curiosity by the general public in the street (that we all experience) expressing puzzlement at why she is closely photographing some obscure object.

When I asked Krystina (as I do to all our speakers) for a few images to accompany this article she was keen to find out what I would choose. This was a worrying dilemma, but I hope that the choice is representative of some of the themes that ran through her talk. One of the themes is obviously 'shadows'.

© Krystina Stimakovits

A rather more complex version of this theme is shown in the following image. It is extremely difficult to figure out what we are looking at and how it was taken. As I recall it, even Krystina was unable to recall the method used.

© Krystina Stimakovits

The composition includes reflections, another theme that ran through many of her pictures. This is just one example of this type of image, where interior objects are overlaid with the reflection of the street scene behind.

© Krystina Stimakovits

There was another subject matter that drew her attention on numerous occasions. The whitewashed windows of closed shops provided a wide variety of images. The random way in which the paint had been applied gave rise to many different patterns, some of them that might have raised a high price if exhibited in an 'arty' gallery! This particular example is enhanced by the random remains of corners of posters that have since been removed.

© Krystina Stimakovits

Although the majority of her photographs were of detail there were many that included pedestrians. The following is an example of one that shows superb timing in framing the mothers pushing buggies in the opposite direction to the figures on the board behind, with the combination of cranes above.

© Krystina Stimakovits

This was a most interesting evening. The 'vision' that Krystina brings to the photography of otherwise mundane objects and scenes was a revelation. More details about her and a gallery of her photographs can be found at the following links -

Ricoh GR III camera


Ricoh GR III camera

Ricoh announced the development of this third model in the GR range on 26 September, at Photokina. The forthcoming GR III will feature an updated 24MP APS-C sensor, which should improve upon the rather old 16MP sensor used in previous models. The new sensor brings with it phase-detection autofocus and in-camera stabilisation. The magnesium alloy-bodied GR III is virtually indistinguishable from its predecessors, the GR and GR II. The 28mm effective focal length of it 18.3mm F2.8 lens is unchanged, but it has been redesigned. The new lens features six elements in four groups, including two aspherical elements. The GR/II's lens was made up of seven elements in five groups, also including two aspherical elements.

The GR III does not include a built-in flash - partly, it is understood, because it would have taken up too much space in a body that now incorporates a stabilised sensor. There is also a change to the GR III's screen which is now 3:2 aspect ratio (as opposed to 4:3) but the diagonal length is the same and resolution (1.03 million dots) is unchanged compared to its predecessor. The difference is that the GR III's screen is touch-sensitive.

Pricing and availability has yet to be confirmed.

Kodak Ektachrome film


On 27 September 2018, following the limited shipments it initiated in August, Kodak Alaris announced that it is now distributing its new Ektachrome film products to global stock house dealers and distributors. It is currently shipping the Ektachrome Film E100 product, which will initially be available in the 135/36x camera format.

Starting on October 1, Eastman Kodak Company will also offer the Ektachrome 7294 Colour Reversal Film in Super 8 format. Additional Ektachrome film products in 16mm format will be available later this year. According to Kodak, both the Ektachrome 7294 Colour Reversal Film and E100 feature "extremely fine grain," as well as a neutral tone scale and "clean, vibrant colours." Prices have not been announced.

Saturday Natter – Denbies Vineyard – 6 October 2018

Peter Flower

It is always difficult to report on all the discussions that take place at these meetings, but I received the following information at a later date in an email.

Stephen Hewes

At the last Denbies meet, which followed the Welcome session on shutter speeds, Jan and I got into a conversation with Don Morley about the best shutter speeds for panning shots and 'just how low can you go'. The next time I saw Don, he had dug out these examples of his panning shots from his archives and put them on a CD, many with the shutter speed in the title. I've put the images in a dropbox folder – let me know if you have difficulty accessing.

Please take a look and enjoy! And many thanks to Don!

© Don Morley

The two images of runners show the difference that shutter speed can make. Although both images were taken with a panning motion on the runner there is very different motion blur in the legs. Photos taken at 1/80th second and 1/500th.

© Don Morley

These images show the even greater blur, especially of limbs, obtained at 1/10th second.

© Don Morley

It takes a lot of practice to keep the image of fast-moving motorcycles sharp with slow shutter speeds, but Don has achieved this. Note that although the riders are pin-sharp, motion can be seen in the wheels of their bikes.

Annual Exhibition – Reigate Community Centre – 27 October 2018

Colin Hodsdon

© Nick Rogers – Views of the Annual Exhibition

Massive thanks to everyone who provided help and support with the Annual Exhibition on Saturday.

In particular, my thanks to those members of the 'hanging' team, Carol and Steve, who helped me sort out all the prints into matching pairs; for all the efforts of the helpers who gave up their time on Friday to set up the exhibition; all the stewards who did a great job meeting and greeting our visitors on Saturday, and taking it all down, in record time.

My special thanks to Peter Tucker for his unstinting work in putting together and distributing all the publicity across the various media outlets.

This year's exhibition attracted more visitors than last year, which I think was largely due to the other events taking place in the Centre on the same day. Also, it was great to see quite a number of our own members who came along to support us.

One final thank you to everyone who entered prints into the exhibition competition. Without those we wouldn't have an exhibition! I look forward to doing it all again next year!

For those of you who were not able to make it to last night's meeting, you may be interested to know the results of the public vote for the best image on display at the exhibition.

The joint winners with 18 votes were: Dave Lyon - 'Sunset at Herringfleet' and Nick Rogers - 'Bee-eater and dragonfly'

16 votes: Nick Rogers - 'Migration'

13 votes: Stephen Renouf - 'Musical Spoons'

9 votes: Paul Renaut - 'Wigeon over Long Pit'

8 votes: Dave Lyon - 'High and Low' and Dave Lyon - 'The Marshes'

Many congratulations to Dave and Nick for two fantastic images.

Saturday Natter – Denbies Vineyard – 3 November 2018

Peter Flower

About a dozen of us turned up for this meeting. The restaurant was buzzing with runners and cyclists but we were able to gather at a group of tables in a side alcove. As always there was plenty of discussion about cameras. Stephen Hewes arrived with a mysterious bag, which turned out to contain the dismantled remnants of his Pentax lens that had been attached to a camera that fell down a ventilation shaft. Stephen had taken the lens apart in order to see what the internal mechanism looked like. (Read Stephen's separate report which follows in this Newsletter)

Photograph by Peter Flower

Mike Weekes had brought along his recently acquired Sony a6000 camera. He said that he was very happy with this choice, but was still attempting to get to grips with the large number of operational facilities. (A dilemma that will be familiar to most of us, given the complexity of menu items on modern cameras!) After the meeting I did a search on the web and found a lengthy video that covered many of the points that Mike queried. I passed the link details on to him.

Don had a look at this camera and said that this was a camera that he had considered acquiring. On a different topic, elsewhere in this Newsletter you will see my comments on the announcement of the new M10-D camera from Leica. Knowing Don to be an avid Leica enthusiast, and owner of many models over the years, I asked him for his opinion. Don agreed that the logic of this variation on the M10 model was difficult to comprehend. We agreed that one of the principal reasons for expenditure on costly Leica cameras was the access to the superb quality lenses. I asked if it was not possible to adapt Leica lenses to fit on other makes of camera, but Don explained that not all lens variations would perform adequately in this scenario.

Ian Hunt was sitting at the far end of the table with his bulky Nikon D610 and 28-300mm zoom lens. I was talking to Mike about the advantages in size of the M4/3 camera such as my GX8. To demonstrate, I took a photograph of some bikers at a distant table with my Panasonic 45-200mm zoom lens (equivalent to 400mm at its extreme zoom range). I then asked Ian to take a similar photograph with his camera. The results (without any cropping) are shown below. (It should be noted that the difference in frame appearance is because the Panasonic produces a 4:3 ratio image as opposed to the 3:2 ratio of the Nikon) Without disrespect to Ian, or image quality comparison which I am sure would fall in favour of his Nikon D610 fullframe image, I know which outfit I would prefer to carry around!

© Peter Flower - photograph at 400mm equivalent with GX8 camera          Ian Hunt – photograph at 300mm with Nikon D610

Rescued by TfL / accidents will happen

Stephen Hewes

At a Denbies natter earlier this year I’d mentioned to Peter how I’d had an accident with my camera and tripod. My recent PDI entry helps to set the scene.

The shot was taken looking down on the Victoria line platform at Euston from above. Obviously not the normal sort of view you get on the tube network, I was in a service tunnel looking down a deep ventilation shaft. It was very dark, very grimy and a confined space. I’d just taken the shot below with a wide-angle lens on my Pentax K5 on a tripod a bit further along the tunnel which also perhaps helps set the scene.

I was on a Hidden London photographic tour of Euston’s old tunnels. The format was 8 photographers split into 2 at a time in 4 areas for 20 minutes each – i.e. 80 minutes in total, plus a bit of time as a group of 8 in other areas. So working against the clock… a bit too quickly…

I’d put the K5 and tripod to one side of me on the planked floor, and when taking a close up shot with my K1 knocked one of the tripod legs which promptly fell through a gap in the dimly lit planking. Aware that there was a safety railing around the top of the ventilation shaft, I certainly didn’t expect the camera/tripod combo to be so top-heavy that it would somersault over the railing – but that’s exactly what it did! All I was able to do was utter an expletive very loudly. The drop was probably about 4 metres down to a narrow concrete ledge next to the grill, the camera and tripod just visible in torchlight.

A short while later I was introduced to the TfL duty manager at Euston in another part of the station you don’t normally see. Contact details exchanged I glumly returned home in the knowledge that one of my cameras was left abandoned beside a grill metres above the live rail.

I was then most impressed when just 36 hours later I got a call – would I like to collect my camera from the station manager’s office? Fortunately, my daughter was not far from Euston so she brought it home. The lens was in a bad state – glass smashed / zoom mechanism broken. One of the tripod levers had also taken a heavy blow – an 8mm solid metal shaft bent to an angle of 30° illustrating the force of the blow. But as remarkable as TfL’s swift rescue, when I switched the camera on not only could it read the memory card, it was fully functioning to live another day as the shot below from our subsequent motocross trip testifies.

Here’s a selection from Euston:



And finally . . . . . . . . . . .

A photograph submitted by Stephen Hewes entitled 'Eye wear for a champion tog'. Turned round the other way it could produce the highest possible quality 'selfie'!

(P.S. Tog has nothing to do with warmth rating of duvets. It was a term used by Terry Wogan who referred to his radio programme listeners as 'Terry's Old Geysers')

© Stephen Hewes – image taken with Pentax K-1, the one that didn't fall down a ventilation shaft!


Postscript - 11 November 2018

In memory of all those who died or suffered as a result of the 1914-1918 Great War. This photograph is of the torch-light display at the Tower of London, taken on the evening of 10 November 2018.

 © Peter Flower