Oxford School of Photography

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Daily Archives: January 24, 2012

Studio Flash Repairs

All professional photographers have flash units, studio based or portables that are the means by which they can take photographs, when like today, it is grey and wet outside. I have used a range of different flash types in the past but the make I always had in my studio cabinets and in my travel bags were Bowens. These were not the most expensive but were the best value of all the makes out there and the most robust, and now since 1982 they have been my choice. The problem is that when things go wrong where do you turn. I was fortunate to discover a repair service and a very nice and helpful man called Brian Chapman. He recently joined us in the 21st century and now has a website where you can contact him.

“Repairers of Bowens – Monolights, Quad systems, Quadmatic, Esprit, Estime etc, Courtenay, Multiblitz, Prolinca and Elinchrom photoflash lights for over 40 years.

I have worked for companies such as Bowens and Courtenay so I can look at any type and age of Bowens Flash Lighting and Courtenay Lights.

All repairs are guranteed and equipment is repaired by a highly experienced ex Bowens technician with over 40 experience.

All equipment considered for repair and refurbishment, plus servicing of any lighting system whether at our workshop or at your studio. We also offer loan equipment as a temporary replacement while your equipment is being repaired.

A 24hr repair service is available on request subject parts availability.

Plus supplies of replacement parts and secondhand flash lights for many brands including older and rare bowens and other manufacturers. We hold stock of a huge range of parts to keep your systems operational.”

If only I had found Brian before I had skipped all my old Bowens Quad boxes and heads, as you can see he repairs all sorts of flash heads not just Bowens. Here is a link to his site and contact details

Canon Powershot G series new G1 X

The G series of compacts from Canon have been very popular with the more discerning and let’s be honest professional end of the photographic community. One of the few compacts with a viewfinder but also with exceptional image quality and complete technical and therefore creative control. The G9, 10, 11 and 12 were standbys, spare or back up cameras for many professionals. I have a G10 and as a camera it is perfect to have around, it isn’t ever my first choice, that is my 5D but as a backup and quick grab camera the G10 has been great.

Now Canon have re-worked that standard and produced the G1X which has significant improvements based on the reports. Here Author: Olivier Laurent writes in the BJP

“The Powershot G1 X, which adopts the same naming convention as Canon’s new EOS-1D X digital SLR, packs a 18.7x14mm CMOS sensor – representing a significant boost from the G12 7.44×5.58mm CCD sensor, but still short of Canon’s usual DSLR sensors (22.2×14.8mm). The sensor is said to offer the same pixel size and structure as Canon’s EOS 600D DSLR.

“The increased sensor size allows photographers to have greater control over the depth of field, with increased potential to creatively and artistically isolate a subject from its background……..The PowerShot G1 X will be available from late February, priced at £699.

There is an in depth preview article at the excellent DP Review site here

“The Canon PowerShot G1 X may look like the company’s existing G-series compacts, but is a very different prospect. It’s a large sensor camera with a flexible 28-112mm-equivalent, 4x zoom lens and extensive manual controls. The company says it sees it as a camera for photographers who already have a high end DSLR such as a 5D Mark II or 7D, but at a price of $799, we think it’ll appeal much more widely than that. After repeated waves of cameras aimed at point-and-shoot upgraders, it’s heartening to see a camera really living up to the billing of a ‘serious compact.’

Sounds like it is time for me to buy a new camera

Mamiya and Leaf join forces in medium format digital cameras

“Mamiya and Leaf Imaging, two companies controlled in part by Phase One, have announced the creation of a new brand – Mamiya Leaf, to help streamline development and “establish more efficient customer sales and support.” writes Olivier Laurent in the BJP

A camera that can use up to 80 mega pixels, so producing a file up to 240mb is something to wonder at. I so miss using my medium and large format film cameras, their size and difficulties of use changed the way I shot; I do love my digital cameras but always shooting with my eye to a viewfinder changes how I create images. There is no mention of cost in this article but I would guess between £10 and £20k so a specialist camera.

Drool here

Self Portrait every day for 12 years

 By the time you read this, Jeff Harris will have taken considerably more than 4748 self-portraits. For New Year 1999, rather than resolve, to write a diary for the year, Jeff set himself the task of taking a self-portrait every day. The result is an incredible record of his life through the ups and some very significant downs, not just for a year,but for the last 12 years.In his own words, at first his shots were somewhat boring and repetitive, but using photography as a tool, he found increasingly interesting and creative ways to portray his life. The initial focus on the project was to attempt to show his life as not being a mundane 9-5 existence but to show him enjoying life to the full. As well as getting friends and family to take a shot, one of the more unique aspects to his visual diary is getting celebrities to take his picture. His creativity particularly shines through in some of these pictures, as he tries to convey the character of the celebrity through the portraits they have taken of him. In one particularly interesting series of shots, he poses as if to avoid being photographed. The photographer is Michael Moore, the renowned documentary filmmaker.

The fluidity of the story is another theme running through Jeff’s pictures. In one shot, he can be seen leaping high in the air on a rock band’s stage. In the next shot we see him the emergency room being treated for a fractured foot sustained during the leap. Further daily images show Jeff’s daily routine barely changing despite being on crutches.


Architecture Photography – some very unusual buildings