Is My Camera Any Good?

What lens have you got on that?

I hate talking about gear when I am using it. As a long suffering wedding photographer I used to dread the approach of the serious looking old gentleman with a scuffed brown leather cased, 50’s vintage, camera round his neck. Usually he had just been fiddling with for at least ten minutes to take one photograph of his rather overweight, and definitely bored, wife in her best hat. I knew the inevitable question was coming.
‘What sort of lens have you got on that?’

‘That’ was usually a 6×4.5 Bronica film camera. We used to use medium format cameras because no one believed you were a pro with a 35mm SLR
My reply was often a completely genuine, ‘I don’t know.’
I could see him debating as to whether to rush off and exclaim to the bride that she had booked a complete idiot to take her wedding pictures, or whether to tell me not to be such a sarcastic bugger. Continue reading

The P51D Mustang

Old Flying Machine Company’s P51D Ferocious Frankie in the colours of the 374th Fighter Sqn, 361st Fighter Group Civil Reg G-BTCD

P51 Mustang – Brief History

The P51 Mustang was the first single engined long range fighter able to escort USAAF bombers all the way to Berlin and back. The first version was designed and built for the RAF in 120 days in 1940 but was not an instant success. Fitted with an Alison engine it was faster and more manoeuvrable than any other US fighter at low altitude. Unfortunately the power of the Allison engine decreased at higher altitudes leaving the Mustang under powered. To exploit their low-level performance Mk1 Mustangs were initially successfully used by the RAF and later the USAAF in tactical reconnaissance and ground attack roles Continue reading

Captioning Aircraft Photos

Nigel Wilson and his Yak 52 G-BXJB at Old Buckenham

Captioning aircraft photos can be a bit daunting especially if you are not an aircraft nut and barely know the difference between a Boeing and a Bolkow. Continue reading

Musa Calil (Dzhalil) Tatar Poet

I took this photograph of The statue of Musa Cälil, Tartar poet and resistance fighter, which stands outside the Kremlin in Kazan. There is an honour guard standing in front of the statue in the run up to Victory day (9th May  2017). Having never heard of  Musa Calil  I decided to do a little research.

Musa Calil (1906-1944)

(Also transliterated as Musa Dzhalil)

Continue reading

Qolsharif Mosque Kazan

Qolsharif Mosque Kazan
Qolsharif Mosque Kazan

Kazan is the capital of the semi autonomous republic of Tatarstan in the Russian Federation.The Qolsarif  Mosque is a relatively new addition to the Kremlin in the city. The mosque, one of the largest in Russia was completed in 2005 on the site of the original which was destroyed when Ivan the terrible conquered Kazan in the 16th century. It is named after Qol Sharif a religious leader, diplomat and poet who died defending Kazan from the Russian forces in 1552.

Sources. The Opening of Kazan Mosque in 2005

BBC News 2005

Kazan Tatarstan

 

If you ask the average English speaking person to name a city where Asia  meets Europe they will probably say Istanbul – if you mention Kazan the response is often, where? Standing on the banks of the Volga and astride the Kazanka rivers the thousand year old city of Kazan in Tatarstan was founded on the a junction of the northern silk road. Kazan is still a vibrant example of eastern and western cultures meeting and mixing in harmony; even the name means cooking pot or cauldron in the native Tatar language. Continue reading

Longing For a Full Colour Life

Longing For a Full Colour Life

She stands alone before sink and bowl
And feels the ache within her soul
The hand that once caressed her there
Rests on the arm of favourite chair

Continue reading

Diary – Reading A Hero of Our Time

Suffering a brain haemorrhage and a head injury that leaves you with double vison and the inability to concentrate on the written word, all be it temporarily, is probably the worse things that can happen to a writer and photographer. Let’s face it here is only so much Bargain Hunt and Antiques Road Trip that one person can stand in a month.
Recovery is slow and the continuing double vision has rather stymied the photography but now the brain can handle longer sentences I am back reading again. I have recently completed the advanced creative writing module of an open university course and my final assignment was to complete the first 4000 words of a novel. During the assignment my tutor suggested that I read the first 4000 words or 20 novels; a task that slowed down the writing but hopefully improved the standard.
Occasionally I meet writers who claim not to be readers but having the completed two creative writing modules and read or spoken to a lot of writers the most common piece of advice is to read. Not just your favourite genre but everything – good and bad. Continue reading