Friday, 21 July 2017

Free Lens Hood for Proper Cameras

Pictures via
A lens hood can improve photos in may ways, especially when the sun is low and bright and you seek some diffusion,

This quick and free solution was found on the site of this Helsinki Lomography dealer which also happens  to be a coffee shop.

Not just any old coffee shop, but the sort I would be proud to own. But only if it was on the seafront in a warm country! ... or Margate!

Friday, 14 July 2017

The Pilot

"An older gentleman called and reserved a one hour flight in our DC-3. At 73 years old he had enjoyed a long and impressive career in aviation.

But he wanted to fly a DC-3 and that was the only reason he was there. So, together we flew.

Although this was his first time in the left seat he handled the craft with smoothness and finesse, like this flight was one he had thought a lot about.

Back on the ground he produced his thick, black Pilot's Log Book and asked for my signature. The book was worn like his hands but it represented a lot of history and a lot of flight time.

I signed the entry line with the aircraft number - N143D, the date and the aircraft type 'Douglas DC-3'.

When I was done he took the book back. With a black pen he drew a diagonal line through all the remaining entry spaces on the page. I watched as he wrote the word END. He closed the logbook. Wrapped a rubber band around it, then shook my hand.

He said, 'This was my lifelong dream. I am all done. It's been a great ride. But it is too hard to keep my medical now and my vision isn't what it was. There is no better way to end my flying career than with this flight in a DC-3'."

Please don't wait until it is too late to follow your own dreams. Off you go now!

The sky is NOT the limit, so dream big!

Extract from interview with Dan Gryder in Together We Fly, Voices from the DC-3, by Julie Boatman Filucci.[2011]

Header photo from Hans Wiesman, author of The  Dakota Hunter and owner of PME aviation clothing Inc.

N143D Copyright Michael Prophet 2013

Friday, 7 July 2017

Photo Journaling Week 8

A photographer and journal creator can spot interesting angles from most unlikely sources.

Like these traditional Crittall steel window frames with unusual twist mechanisms to open and close the high level fanlights. There were so many layers of gloss paint around the hinges that they may never open again.

The main tourist spots are featured on postcards which is why I chose to grab these Italian pictures ... from the wall art in Costa Coffee on the High Street. Caffe Nero have a similar collection in their branch near the bus station, but this can be very noisy and crowded at peak times.

None of this will appear in the journal for this month, which brings me to the end of this series by answering the most common reason why people surrender their journaling resolutions within a few weeks: It is because the have insufficient editorial discipline and try to cram too much in, often more than one narrative can handle.

The answer is several slender and brief journals instead of one obese publication.

My 365 project pocket book has what it says on the cover. I have an A5 version for words and pictures about excursions and holiday themes and a paperback 'copybook' for fountain penned thoughts on family matters, feelings and other stuff.

I hope this series may have given you at least one idea that you can use. There are thousands more floating around the internet, so go exploring.

This Costa branch was excellent when we visited, unlike the Sandwich branch which looked as if the staff had given up even trying. So highlighting the problems of maintaining an established brand when it is weakened by too rapid expansion via franchising.

Maybe that's why Caffe Nero remain our first choice unless there is a queue or a screaming child in evidence.

Now Costa are about to open a large new branch just a few minutes from my home in what used to be Martell Press. Hope they do it right and prosper.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Now that it is summer

Konica Eu-Mini in red and Vivitar UWS

It would be unfair to expect great results from these simple old-time cameras in anything much less than bright sunlight.

So their time has come for another outing.

With real 35mm film. Wow! 

Now that July is here, this blog will be less prolific and I aim a maximum of just one posting per week - probably on Fridays - until Autumn.

Enjoy your summer.
A proof page from my 2013 book ...Viva la Vivi

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Happy Birthday America!

Photo by Liverpool photographer Alex Scott
I wish all my Stateside friends and readers a safe and enjoyable Independence Day.

As a small child in WWII I fell in love with all things American, especially Hershey Bars and comics.

A little later it was the accent and smart military dress uniforms that impressed as did my young visits to the movies.

I bought into the   American Dream while they were still dreaming it and whilst England was wallowing in post-war austerity of drab greyness. Later I learned to enjoy the crooners who sang 'The Great American Songbook' with patriotic pride.

I was 18 before I made my first of many visits ... and my last was to Manhattan just two weeks after the nightmare of 9-11.

United States of America, thank you for so many happy experiences over all those decades.

I still love you, even although you seem intent on making it so difficult recently. I pray that you will survive your current presidency unscathed.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Ramsgate Close Up

June 27 walked from one end of Ramsgate seafront to the other. 

Looked over the balustrade down to Military Road. 

Took a quick snapshot with this cheap old camera acquired for around a tenner on Ebay because it was a 'bit scuffed but works ok'. As usual it was set on Automatic.

 Yesterday I figured I could crop out the date and the van and concentrate on the girls  eating a 'full English' for their lunch.
 Then, flushed with this success, I cropped it again ... still using the free and simple PicMonkey software.
 Wondered if I could crop again and still have acceptable definition?
 And THAT'S when I noticed the 'tablet' and what looks like the inserts from a MidoriStyle Travelers Notebook.

Alas, one more attempt to repeat the trick was a step too far so I couldn't read the label on the cover.

Amazing what you can do with a basic camera and some free  software.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Photo Journaling Week 7

 No pictures this time - just a feminine take on a journal.

Pages from The Journal Keeper - a memoir by Phyllis Theroux.
all pages copyright 2010 Phyllis Theroux  with thanks

Monday, 26 June 2017

Instant Work for Idle Hands

 The Instax SQ10. A reincarnation of the Polaroid concept.

Looks like fun until you check price. £250 in UK.

Looked for another way to remind myself of 1970's Polaroids.

Found Load an existing picture. Looks like an old Polaroid print. Camera on screen sounds like an old Polaroid. Takes a few seconds for the image to appear, just like an old Polaroid.

Strictly for fun. Instructions on screen are vague. But hey. It's Free!

Instax picture via Patrick Ng @scription.

Poladoid picture via my June 19 blog.

Sunday, 25 June 2017


Dover Dock and Harbour Entrance from the Operation Dynamo Tunnels at the Castle
Wednesday June 21st 1315 Hrs          Canon Ixus 70 camera set on automatic

Last Wednesday we visited the Dunkirk Evacuation Tunnels at Dover Castle.

A great audio-visual presentation in the spot where the plan was evolved and from whence it was activated and controlled.

Too this photo from there.

The panorama of the harbour entrance and dock was beyond the scope of my baby Canon camera ... until I took two shots side by side.

Another guy was after a similar shot. He had a £2000 camera and lens in his hands.
Guess we'll never know if his result was, like his camera, worth 100 times more than mine.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Exactly one week ago

A business meet at Sands Hotel.

Of course I had my camera.

Bet the beach beyond was kinda distracting for these two guys.

Like the idea of a 'picture in a picture'.

The RNLI Lifeguards set up on Margate Sands
Seen through the window of Sands Hotel Terrace Suite

Friday, 23 June 2017

Photo Journaling Week 6

Time to consider getting the pictures into the photo journal. This maybe be the most time consuming aspect of your set up. The good news is that, when you have got it sorted, then you can just leave it ticking away in the background.

A reminder: My aim - to create a picture a day with around 40 words of handwritten text, for 365 consecutive days.

The format: pocket notebook sized Moleskine Cahier to hold a month of pages. Each page is 90 x 140 cm.

The strategy: to reproduce the photographs and stick them in the pages with no need for glue, scissors, guillotine or individually measuring each one.

The tactic: sheets of self adhesive address labels printed with standard computer software.
Two sizes: Same Idea

With so many options of computer program, printer and scanner it is impossible to describe them all here. To give you an idea, here is how I reproduce my chosen photographs on self adhesive address labels.

It is worth noting that it is OK to accept a slightly lower quality compared with usual photo printing stock which would add too much weight to the individual pages.

  In Word 2010:

Open new blank document A4

Select 'mailings' from menu
Select 'labels' from menu
Choose label size
Select 'Full page of same label'
Select 'New document'
Blank template of labels should appear
Cursor to first blank label
Click 'insert'
Click on selected picture
Move cursor to next blank label and repeat
When all labels have a picture, print sheet

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Happy Margate Beaches

 This accolade for my home beach is well deserved.

Of course, beaches for blokes are best when shared with an attractive companion.  If you don't have a good girl, then maybe take a good book about a bad one?

And wear sun screen.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Photo happenstance and stupidity

 Sorrento 2015.

Mid morning coffee break. 

Front door to main road. Back door on to the narrow street where a passing tourist guide leads her flock. They take less than a minute to pass by.

Like frames from an old movie. I make mono prints, put them in an album. 


Deleted memory card. 

Yesterday revisited the album. Scolded self for not storing original images or negatives.

Scanned prints for this post. Still enjoy despite loss of sharpness.

It took two years for me to appreciate the original idea of these happenstance shots made with a £10 pocket camera.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 18 June 2017


Canon IXUS 70 pocket camera from across the  room with added foggy frame effect
No flash - just yesterday's super sunshine streaming and beaming in Margate

Friday, 16 June 2017

Photo Journaling Week 5

Welcome back!

If you are new here, you should find the earlier articles on each of the last four Fridays.

Time to reveal my modus-operandii for my current 365 day photo journaling project.

Once I had decided on my format ... 3.5" x 5.5" ruled Moleskine Cahier Notebook ... I took a blank page, then, after trying several sizes, decided that my photos would be around 65 cm x 72cm and that the lower half of the page would be for words which might, or might not, be relevant to the subject of the photograph.

One of the reasons that many well intentioned photo journals miss making it beyond the first few days is that it is a task too far to make every photo match the words, or vice-versa.

Another reason is that the word quota is just too high. My dummy planning page was written in my normal every day writing and gave a rough count of 40 words per day or per page.Easily achievable!

If your eyesight is keen enough, you may decipher my scribbles in the picture panel above to see that I worked out a kind of target of around 14,600 words in a year, equivalent to around 58 pages of an A5 book. How many would I have written without this project? How much fun would I have missed?

Whilst typing this I had a notion to do a similar test using a larger page size for a totally different project, so if you'll excuse me [and even if you don't] I'll leave you here, for now.

Next Friday, a spot of trial and error. 

Wednesday, 14 June 2017


A good read for when you are in a mellow mood.

Probably even better for a long winter evening, but it just came my way and is already destined for a charity shop, so that's why it is here.

I was in New York a few weeks after the 9-11 Twin Towers atrocity. We felt it would be too much for us to visit the Twin Towers site because we were so moved by the roadside shrines and the one in St Patrick's when we went to Mass.

Phyllis writes about her memories of the horror being unveiled. It's not a long piece but I think it is good. That's why I have copied it here.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Photo Journaling Week 4

Instead of prattling on more about all the choices and options available for your photo journal project, I shall cut to the chase and describe my own 365 Day Project.

I came across the format almost by chance. As I was growing up, my father subscribed to a series of booklets about a self improvement technique known as Pelmanism. These little grey covered paperbacks were probably as near in size to Field Notes Brand notebooks of today. A similar format featured in the five years of my secondary school life as we learned questions and answers by heart from The Penny Catechism.

When I started this thread of posts a month ago, I was working on a book that would fit ideally into this 3.5" x 5.5" 48 page format. 

Then I discovered that, whilst there are hundreds of options for blank pocket notebooks , there are very few companies prepared to print books of that size, so I started playing with the idea of reverting to genuine home table-top publishing ... just as we did in the old days before home computers, using paper, scissors, glue and a photocopier to produce a 'zine'.

And so to my far.

My format would be Field Notes size, but not that actual brand. Instead I would use Moleskine Small Cahier Notebooks for four reasons; they are half the price, they are stitched instead of stapled - hence no rust problems, the last few sheets are finely perforated so that they can be removed without damaging the rest of the book and finally, there is a handy storage flap pocket inside the back cover.

Whilst reading a photo blog by Eric Kim I discovered his own self published booklets in Field Notes format. They are easily pocket-able, enforce succinct writing, can accept photographs and are easy to archive in minimum space.

As for actually getting the words and pictures on to the pages ... you'll have to wait another week for these revelations I am afraid.

Thanks for being here.