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Your guide to the latest photography books, exhibitions and websites

Exhibition Home & Away

Brian W Matthews

Until 22 August. Bishop Auckland Town Hall, McOuinness Gallery, Market Place, Bishop Auckland, County Durham DL14 7NP. Tel: 01388 602610. Open Mon to Fri 10am-4pm, Sat 9am-4pm. Admission free

You may remember the gruesome image of a vulture feasting on a caiman's eye when we featured Brian Matthews in AP 7 February. If you don't, we've included it again here. It was for this image that wildlife photographer Brian was awarded runner-up in last year's BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. While the vulture image may not be to everyone's taste -excuse the pun - there are plenty of other impressive, less stomach-turning wildlife images in Brian's portfolio. Hartlepool-based Brian has travelled to more than 35 countries and photographed a broad range of species, including orang-utans in Borneo, tigers in Corbett National Park in India and ospreys in Finland. A number of these, and also images of UK wildlife, are currently on display in his latest exhibition. Gemma Padley

A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Jamaica is the latest in a range of handy little bird identification guides from A&C Black, a range which also includes guides to European seabirds and Mediterranean fowl, among others. For such a small island, Jamaica has an amazing number of bird species - it is home to more than 300 - and has become an increasingly popular holiday destination for avid bird photographers. This guide, as well as past titles like the Flight Identifications of European Seabirds, offers a concise photographic biography of each species, with text explaining the behaviour, habitat, mating and feeding patterns of the birds. If Jamaica or Europe don't top your holiday list, the publisher has a book for just about every photo location. You can also find a range of technique guides and tutorials, such as the handy RSPB Guide to Digital Wildlife Photography, for those looking to improve their skills and learn how to meter or focus on birds in flight, for instance. Visit the publisher's website at www.acblack. com and check out its full range of titles, which are currently available at a 10% discount at the time of writing. Jeff Meyer

Website

www.rspb-images.com

If it is bird images you are after, there is no better place to start your search than the RSPB picture library. The extensive collection of pictures includes UK bird species and bird photography from across the world. Every image is clearly displayed and captioned, and the site is bright, colourful and easy to use. On the homepage, there is a helpful 'Themes and Concepts' dropdown menu, which makes browsing straightforward and quick. Users can choose from a list of subjects including In-flight', 'Dawn and Dusk' and 'Cute and Cuddly'. The site also features photographer portfolios, including resident RSPB photographer Andy Hay and AP contributor Danny Green. Images of insects, mammals and plants also feature, so you may even pick up ideas for other areas of your photography. For information on how to submit images to the site, see the 'new photographer submissions' page under the 'About Us' heading. Whether you are browsing or buying, this picture library is a goldmine of images. Gemma Padley

A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Jamaica

By Ann Haynes-Sutton, Audrey Downer & Robert Sutton Photography by Yves-Jacques Rey-Millet A&C Black, paperback, 304 pages, £24.99, ISBN 978-1408107430

Flight Identifications of European Seabirds

Anders Blomdahl, Bertil Breife, Niklas Holmstrom A&C Black, paperback, 374 pages, £22.49, ISBN 978-0-7136-8616-6

RSPB Guide to Digital Wildlife Photography

David Tipling

A&C Black, paperback, 160 pages, £19.99, ISBN 978-0-7136-7185-8

David Tipling

Share your views and opinions with fellow AP readers every week

Letter of the week winsa 20-roll pack of 36-exposure Fujifilm Superia ISO 200 print film or a Fujifilm 26B media card (in a choice of CompactFlash, SD, xD or Memory Stick)*. The sender of every letter published receives a free roll of Fujifilm Superia ISO 200 36-exposure film worth £4.99

Getting down low

I have been catching up on a number of back issues of AP and fully agree with the comments by AP Editor Damien Demolder in AP 30 May regarding 'shooting from another angle'. I very much enjoy trying to get a new 'angle' on the pictures I take, and I have included one where I got down flat on the ground, lying on my tummy. I am pleased with the result and hope it will be worthy of space in AP

There is only one problem about 'getting down to it' and that is at my age. As a 79-year-old pensioner, I have trouble getting back up again1 Keith Hughes, Surrey

What rubbish!

In reply to Jan Enkelmann's letter, 'Boiling point' in AP 18 July, in which he comments on my letter, 'Health and safety' (AP 4 July), I take exception to his implication that I raised a trivial point and that my 'mindset', as he puts it, in some way would encourage more government interference and legislation affecting the freedom of photographers.

This is total rubbish. I didn't see 'potential danger in even the most innocent of settings'; my sole intention in writing a letter was to draw attention to the dangerous situation the two little boys were in, so photographers would think more about potential dangers when composing a shot featunng young children - nothing more.

DOES IT BOTHER yOU THAT yOU'RE ESSEN-TIALLy TRAINING VOUR FUTURE COMPETITION?

DOES IT BOTHER yOU THAT yOU'RE ESSEN-TIALLy TRAINING VOUR FUTURE COMPETITION?

Mr Enkelmann was right in saying I had no idea what instructions about the potential dangers of touching the machine the little boys were given. However, I believe any parent reading this would agree that young children don't always do as they are told. These children should not have been placed in a position where they had the option to disobey the parental instruction; the consequences would have been too horrific to contemplate.

He also writes that 'there seem to be other people standing by (the photographer among them)', yet the shot shows only the back of someone's legs, looking in the other direction, about 12 feet away. As for the photographer, well, he was taking the shot - hardly adequate supervision.

NOT EVERyONE UERE IS SOINS ON to BE a PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER.

NOT EVERyONE UERE IS SOINS ON to BE a PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER.

We don't need to encourage more legislation for this situation; legal obligation already exists, and it applies equally to the operator of the machine and the guardians of the children. It's known as duty of care. My letter made his blood boil, did it7 Well, that is a pity. Terry Clewes, Staffordshire

Flying high

I have been playing around with a kite and hanging a Ricoh R4 underneath for a couple of years now. While I was taking the above shot I thought of you - maybe it will lift your day1 Rob Deyes, Hull

Keeping it steady

Regarding the Olympus Pen E-Pl, you talk in your review (AP 18 July) of a traditionalist baulking at the lack of viewfinder and built-in flash. Well, I think most traditionalist like myself are far happier with a hotshoe than a small and potentially ineffective built-in flash. The lack of viewfinder, however, is another matter, and one I think you are way too dismissive of. Holding a camera at arm's length can never be as stable as the grip used when using a viewfinder, and I would be loath to spend in excess of £600 on a camera that is at a disadvantage in being able to provide sharp, shake-free shots before I even switch it on.

This is a great shame because the E-Pl is a gorgeous-looking piece of kit and I doubt that it would have been any less stunning with that all important built-in viewfinder. Nigel Cliff, West Midlands

http://www.whattheduck.net/

by the my, portfolio reviews i are finished.

http://www.whattheduck.net/

Write to Letters, Amateur Photographer, IPC Media, Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street, London SEIOSU fax to 020 3148 8130 or email to [email protected]

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Summary contradiction

I read Geoffrey Crawley's excellent article about image formation (AP 18 July) with interest. However, his summary contradicts the earlier parts of his article in that he states that film is an analogue medium.

Geoffrey writes that the incidence of light on a silver salt crystal alters its composition in such a way that it will decompose to metallic silver when subjected to a developer Each crystal in the lattice thus represents a bistable and is analogous to a bit. Graham Sumner, Lancashire

Although each crystal is a photoconductive unit, the density of final silver generated is continuously variable according to the strength of the incident light. There is no 'yes/no' option, so it is best regarded as an analogue process, I suggest - Geoffrey Crawley, photo-science consultant

Well done!

As a regular reader, can I congratulate you on the Unofficial wedding photographer issue (AP 11 July) as being first rate. It was full of gems and constructive ideas, well set out and very refreshing - just the ticket, 10/10' John KProsser, Kent

Back Chat

AP reader Richard Steele-Perkins recalls some of the disastrous wedding shoots he has witnessed

AS A RETIRED Church of England Minister with a wife who is ordained and still in full-time ministry, Steve Smith's 'Backchat' column in AP 11 July reminded us of a few horror stories regarding the antics of a thankfully small number of wedding photographers.

While most photographers we have met have been excellent, we have both had to grapple with some dreadful ones over the years. We believe that it is important that the photographer sees the vicar before the service to find out exactly what is and is not allowed. Not only is this good manners, but it also establishes a working relationship that can benefit both parties. Only recently my wife asked a photographer to remain at the back of the church during the service and to refrain from using flash. She told him that he could photograph the couple during the signing of the register and afterwards as they came down the aisle. However, he completely ignored her instructions and went running around all over the church, taking photographs and poking his camera into the faces of the bride and groom. Needless to say, my wife wrote to him afterwards and told him that he had been blacklisted and would lllk'l «1 never again be allowed to

Wnile most take photographs at any wedding for which she was responsible.

Like Steve, I too can recall some real photographic disasters. There was one wedding I conducted some years ago where there were almost as many pictures of the vintage car in which the bride and groom arrived as of the couple themselves. The bride's father was incensed! More recently, I attended a wedding where the bride's uncle had offered to photograph the happy couple with a camera he hadn't used for some time and which, as it turned out, wasn't working properly. To crown it all, he went to sleep in the church porch during the service and I had to wake him up in time to photograph them as they signed the register in the vestry. Recently, somebody showed me some awful efforts that were taken at their daughter's wedding. Without exception they were badly underexposed and out of focus, and to add insult to injury the 'professional' was demanding £900.

I have been the official photographer at quite a number of weddings and have always made certain that the couple know I am an amateur who only charges enough to cover costs. I would advise any couple looking for a wedding photographer to ask to see some of their work and, if possible, to speak to another couple who have previously employed them. If they do this they can be sure that their wedding photographs will adequately reflect their special day.

Your thoughts or views (about 500 words) should be sent to 'Backchat' at the usual AP address (see page 3). A fee of £50 will be paid on publication photographers we have met have been excellent, we have both had to grapple with some dreadful ones

Lack of focus

My routine trip to the supermarket became more exciting when I spotted AP's front cover featuring a review of the long-awaited Olympus Pen E-P1 (AP 18 July). However, excitement turned to disappointment as I _____

read the review. 'It's not a compact. It's not an SLR. It's a Pen' reads the strap line. So who, then, is this highly priced, non-conformist newcomer aimed at?

No flash, no viewfinder and £600 for the body alone makes this package close on £1,000 when adding in the extras to have a fully usable system. Then, by the time I have packed all the extras in a bag, I might as well have taken my DSLR in the first place, which Olympus has already made pretty small anyway!

The lack of focus in determining the role of this camera and where it fits into the market makes it look like a self-indulgent trip down memory lane to re-live former glory. Sure, the Pen was once a landmark product in what was then a much less competitive market, and at a time when building things small was a miracle, but time has moved on and many buyers today won't remember the Pen and won't really care anyway.

Don't get me wrong, I'm an enthusiast of the brand, having owned four Olympus cameras, and currently using two. I had hoped to find good reason for adding an E-P1 to my kit as a third, for those trips when I want to travel light but still have a more competent camera than a simple compact. However, I would find difficulty in justifying the expenditure in these difficult times, especially when the review flagged up a number of shortcomings that resulted in a mediocre score of just 79% with hopes that there will be a firmware update in the future, control positioning deemed 'disappointing' and a score of just 6/10 for focusing, which surely should equally apply to the company for being so out of focus with the target customers.

Sorry, Olympus, but after waiting all this time it's the Canon PowerShot G10 for me, at a far more affordable price, even if I can't swap lenses. At least I will have a viewfinder and a built-in flash. It's a brave company that goes against the mainstream market, so please, Olympus, don't stop innovating; just be sure that the end result is fully focused David Woodnutt, Buckinghamshire

Photo Insight "om Mackie

Wedding Photography Tips

Wedding Photography Tips

As a wedding photographer, you spend a lot of your time focusing on the business side of it. You want to provide your clients with the most beautiful pictures and you want to turn a profit for yourself. Beyond that, though, you should think about some other things. For example, as a photographer, you should know why someone should hire you over having his or her Uncle Vinny take charge of the photographs themselves.

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