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The Photography Show NEC 2017

I haven’t been to the Photography Show at the NEC for a few years… there is always way too much temptation regarding kits to buy, but actually, I came away today having not spent anything! I am very happy with the kit I have at the moment. I love my Canon 7D MrkII and 100-400mm combo, along with the 100mm 2.8 macro and do not really feel the need for anything else to add to that at present! I do not manage to do enough ‘proper’ photography at the moment to warrant any additional kit and I feel it is often better to have less and learn how to use it to the best of its capabilities!

One of the reasons I went this morning, was because I was lucky enough to be chosen to be part of a Canon Professional Services (CPS) photography critique session with some of the Canon Ambassadors; Lara Jade, Clive Booth, Sanjay Jogia and someone I have known for many years now, Andy Rouse.

I had to submit 5 images and, from these, some would be chosen for critique. I submitted 5 quite contrasting images:

Image 1: Otter photographed in Shetland (shortlisted in BWPA 2016)

Image 2: Gannets & the sea, photographed in Shetland June 2016

Image 3: Leopard, photographed in Zambia in the South Luangwa National Park

Image 4: Crested tit silhouette, photographed in Cairngorms 2017

Image 5: Cockchafer take off.  photographed in my garden (in homemade studio)

The team worked their way through lots of images from the gathered audience and none of us knew which of ours (if any!) would appear!

The first to appear for me was my Crested Tit image, photographed this year on a trip up to the Cairngorms with Pete Walkden and Andy Howard. This image was well received, with the recommendation that I warmed it up a little and shot -2 stops at least to ensure the silhouette was really black with no detail.

Later, my leopard image appeared. Andy really like this, but would have liked to have seen a little more space at the bottom of the image. I have a print of this image at home. I won Safari Trip to Zambia, some 4 years ago now and this encounter will remain with me for ever. It was totally unexpected. As we drove along on a rough track, we turned a curve and on a small out-lying track this leopard was crouched, almost perfectly camouflaged. I touched the driver’s shoulder and he stopped. I swung the camera around and, for a brief moment, she stared right at me. She is quite the most beautiful creature I have ever seen and that moment will stay with me forever.

Sometimes a picture means a lot to a photographer as it represents much more than an image. For me, this is one of those images. When I look into her eyes, it brings back all of the incredible moments I had at that very special part of the world. It has to be one of my all time favourite shots!

Following this session, I had a stroll around all the stands, looking at all the new kit around and listening to some of the free talks.

One bit of kit really caught my eye after I watched a presentation about it in one of the side arenas. It is the new Kodak Extra Camera (with  phone) rather than phone (with camera)!!

The new Kodak Ektra looks impressive and I had a play with it on the stand. I find myself using my phone more and more and I hardly ever have my ‘point & shoot’ in my pocket that I used to use for my blogging and Twitter images. The iPhone camera is great, don’t get me wrong, but it is primarily a phone… with a camera. This Extra felt more like a camera… with a phone and I was impressed. Approaching Charlie Henderson, the Chief Brand Officer for Bullitt, I spoke to him about the work I do. Bullitt  are the company responsible for the design of the interface which wants to make it easier and more intuitive mostly for taking pictures. They were keen to send me a sample to have a play with. I could see that the pupils at school would love it and it would be a great way of introducing them to the more technical sides of photography… not just shooting in automatic!! It would also be great to use for photographing the projects and wildlife that I encounter and write about on a daily basis.

Hopefully, I will be experimenting with and writing a review about this camera in the near future!

I really enjoyed the morning. The show is open until Tuesday, so worth a visit if you can make it along to the NEC!

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