July 17th: No Photography Day

Photographer Becca Bland is promoting the idea of July 17th as a No Photography Day – a day to set aside the camera and enjoy the moment, rather than spending all of your time taking pictures of the moment to look at later. She told the BBC

When you simply take photos of something, without fully engaging with it, you’re assuming that all you can have and take is the actual appearance of a place – rather than other creative factors that exist in the place

Some good discussion followed on Gizmodo. Bender said…

I had a similar experience with a large building demolition. I watched the whole event through a video camera viewfinder. When it was over, I felt cheated. How was watching a live video image on a camcorder any different than watching it live on TV?

…but BWGunner countered with…

Cameras not only sharpen my own focus, they also provide a real memory jog that I can’t seem to get on my own, lending more reality to the experience later on than I can provide myself.

Me? Well, if I see anyone holding banners telling people to put their cameras down, I’ll be snapping pictures of them to put on Flickr.

What do you all think? Losing the moment, or capturing it for later? Taking away from the experience, or helping you to see the detail you’d have missed otherwise?

Will there be a Picture of the Day that day?

Straight Outta The Box – A Guide to Craft Kits

If you’re in the mood for trying something new, the best way to get started is by trying a craft kit. There are all sorts available that can start you off with papercraft, glass painting, even soap making (insert obligatory Fight Club joke here). The kits vary in price, but are generally good value as a taste of crafty goodness.

Here’s we’ll list some of the kits we’ve tried, and let you know how we’re getting on with them. But first, a word or two of advice about buying kits.

Kit Tips

Kid’s Stuff

Look at the kits for kids – some of them, especially the ones aimed at teens, are just as challenging and interesting as the ‘grown up’ kits and are often cheaper.

Keep it Simple

Common sense really – if you’re trying tapestry for the first time, don’t go for the huge one because it looks pretty. At this stage, less is more. If you go for something grand you run the risk of losing interest halfway through and getting frustrated.

Is it all there?

Make sure you’ve got everything you need. Some kits require extra tools that aren’t included in the box.

Take your time!

Half the fun is mastering the instructions and getting started. But if you get going and find it’s really not your thing, give it up and try something else – there’s plenty more fish in the creative sea. ;)

Kits We’ve Tried

Smiley Face Latch Hook Kit

Smiley Face Latch Hook Kit

I’m not gifted when it comes to anything requiring needles of any kind – be it sewing, knitting, tattooing… but for some reason I felt I want to give latch hook rug making a go, so I bought this bright little kit from Hobbycraft.

In the box you get your printed canvas, your yarn (in bundles of 6.8cm strips), and your instructions. You have to buy the latch hook tool separately. Once you’ve mastered the latch hook tool, you’re pretty much good to go. Just match the colours of the yarn to the colour on the canvas and hook away!

It’s a lovely relaxing thing to do, the ideal thing to do while watching TV (although I find it easier to do at a table) or while listening to music.

VERDICT – Good fun. Make rugs, not war. :)

QuickLinks: Tails, Vegetable Insertions, Pizza Ads and Statues

Another quick batch of linkage…

You don’t have to be mad to work here….

…but you’d better be wearing the right shoes.

This article on Reuters Oddly Enough explains how wearing flip flops to work can have damaging effects on your career as well as your feet:

Style gurus warn that flip-flops, which are worn mainly by younger women, could be harmful to a career.

“Shoes convey the mood of a woman. Wearing flip-flops conveys the mood that you are relaxed and on vacation. That’s not a good message in the office,” said Meghan Cleary, a style commentator who wrote the book “The Perfect Fit: What Your Shoes Say About You.”

WTF? What mood do my shoes convey? Well, if I’m wearing my sandals the mood I’m conveying is most likely “It’s too hot to be wearing my other shoes”. If I’m wearing my usual black lace-ups then the mood is very much a sense of “I’m here to do a job. Quit staring at my feet, jackass.”.

Does it matter what a woman wears on her feet during the working day? Am I going to miss out on all the high-powered, top-notch temp jobs out of a stubborn refusal to wear heels? Never mind my supersonic typing speeds, never mind my organisational skills. I have the wrong shoes.

Bah.

Cameras: Canon

Latest Update: Changed the SD700 / Ixus 800 into a full page.


Canon

As far as professional photographers go, there’s only one manufacturer of cameras out there. It’s just that they can’t agree on who it is – Canon or Nikon. Canon have a fairly strong lead now in sports photography, and are usually more popular with amateurs, but if you’re serious about photography you probably already know which side you’re on.

Me? I’m a Canon user. Having said that, though, we have a little Nikon compact that we’ve had for quite a while now, and we’ve loved it too. For the most part, I’m a bit of a Canon fan.

Current Models

Digital Compacts

PowerShot S Range

  • PowerShot S70 – nice solid-feeling camera. Not quite pocketable, but fairly small. Being replaced by the S80, so could be a good time for bargains ;)
  • PowerShot S80 – 8 megapixel camera, due to replace the S70.

  • PowerShot S2 IS – soon to be replaced with the S3 IS, most likely. Some good deals available at the moment, as they’re getting sold off cheaper to clear way for the S3. A very nice superzoom, with 12x optical zoom.

  • PowerShot S3 IS – should be an excellent camera – the S2 was already very good.

Ixus Range (PowerShot SD Range in the US, also known as the Elph Range elsewhere)

Pocketable, and good quality. You pay more for the small size of the Ixus cameras, but if you want to be able to take a decent quality camera everywhere with you, they do the job well. Most don’t have much (if anything) in the way of manual control, so they’re not ideal photographers’ cameras, but I’m happy to take that loss for the convenience.

  • Digital IXUS i zoom – the “glamorous” IXUS. I think that would be enough to put me off, but if you want a camera in a range of fashionable colours, go for it.
  • Digital IXUS 50
  • Digital IXUS 55
  • Digital IXUS 60 (PowerShot SD600) – 3x optical zoom, 6 megapixels. Reviews: Imaging Resource
  • Digital IXUS 65
  • Digital IXUS 750 – the camera I currently have. I suspect the IXUS 800 will replace it soon, but the 750 is still a very nice camera.
  • Digital IXUS 800 IS (PowerShot SD700 in the US) – looks likely to be the replacement for the 750, with 4x zoom instead of 3x, and image stablizing. This should make a really good camera – lots of flexibility in a pocketable casing.
  • Digital IXUS WIRELESS – a good pocket camera, with the addition of WiFi – depends if you think WiFi is a useful feature for a camera to have. Personally, I don’t.

PowerShot A Range

These are Canon’s budget cameras, but the quality is generally still good.

  • PowerShot A410
  • PowerShot A430
  • PowerShot A520
  • PowerShot A530
  • PowerShot A540
  • PowerShot A510
  • PowerShot A610
  • PowerShot A620
  • PowerShot A700 – a mid-range 6-megapixel camera, with 6x optical zoom.

Digital SLRs

Amateur

  • EOS 350D – base model DSLR, with plenty of quality and features for amateurs, but probably a bit lacking for professionals, or those who want a bit more from their camera.

Semi-Pro

Good for amateurs who just want a bit more quality, but also ideal for many pros. If you don’t really need the extra performance of the Pro cameras, these will do the job for a lot less money.

  • EOS 30D – a fair few extra features compared to the 350D – enough to be fine for most pros, and still fairly reasonably priced.
  • EOS 5D – the first full-frame DSLR at a relatively affordable price. Not affordable to me, but it’s certainly less than the really high-end models.

Pro

I could sell my car, and still not be able to afford any of these. If you really need the best, though, and you need a camera that will survive being dropped down a mountain side, these are the ones…

  • EOS-1D Mark II N
  • EOS-1Ds Mark II

General Resources

  • Canon Camera Museum – an online museum of all of canon’s old models – absolutely fascinating, if you have any history with these models. I used an AV-1 for years, so I loved this site.

Old Models

Digital Compacts

Digital SLRs

  • EOS 20D, EOS 10D – replaced by the EOS 30D.
  • EOS D30, D60 – the early 3- and 6-megapixel digital SLRs. Not quite good enough to replace the film equivilents for many people, but good upgrades from digital compacts. Don’t confuse the D30 with the 30D, which is a current model.
  • EOS 300D – replaced by the EOS 350D. Arguably the first really popular and affordable DSLR. See instructions for making a cable release and serial cable – the cable release at least looks fairly easy, if you’ve done a little soldering before. (Via Make:.)