Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The shape of things to come

Firstly, a big thank you to all of you who have taken the time to visit this blog over the last year. I started this blog for my own amusement and as an important part of my learning process. If anyone else has found my journey interesting or useful, so much the better.

I can only apologise for my sometimes less than stellar grammar and spelling. All I can say is that I do proof read my blog before I post it and it looks fine then.

As we reach the end of 2014 it is a good time to think about the coming months ahead.

At my local photographic society we have end of year social(a.k.a Pub session). This year a lady member came along and asked the question that you should never ask in a photographic society.

"What camera should I buy?"

If you do ask this type of question the problem is not that you will not get any response. In fact the opposite, you will get many opinions, but members will suddenly revert to their tribal loyalties . i.e Nikon users will push Nikon cameras and Canon users will say only Canon cameras will do the job.  (As a Sony user I can usually duck out of these sort of discussions.)

However few of the members will ask what you want to do with your camera. Most of the most vocal commentators are semi-professionals who get very animated about lens choice. However if you are someone who only wants a camera to take family and holiday photos, lens choice is not the most important criteria because you are highly unlikely to want to carry around a selection of lenses. Instead you will want one lens with a good focal range like a super-zoom. More important (I feel anyway) is factors like low light performance, weight, size and ease of use.

I suggested the Sony A6000. Not because I am a Sony user, but I think it provides the best value per buck out there, and is the perfect take anywhere camera if you wish get great results in almost all conditions.

However I could see that my opinion was rankling some of my more esteemed and experienced colleagues, who no doubt felt I should bow down to their greater years of experience. The truth is I am never likely to reach the photographic heights of some of the members since time and money is always going to be a limiting factor and I do not have their many years of experience in lenses and cameras usage.

However there is one area of cameras which I will always back myself with, and that is technology.

I have worked in technology industry for over 30 years. I have also taken a great interest in the way technology grows and supersedes older products. For example, I could of easily told Microsoft were going to be in trouble in the tablet space and why they will always be a niche player in that area (If you are interested I highly recommend the gorilla game by Geoffrey Moore ).

Not that I have always got it right. For instance I remember having a argument 15 yeras ago with a colleague that digital cameras will never supersede film, but generally I have a good idea of the way technology is heading.

Therefore since it is the start of the new year I am going to stick my head over the parapet and make some technology predictions on the way photography will go over the next 12 months. I am fully aware of how wrong this can go. For example, I am still waiting for my personal jet-pack and flying car, but here goes

My 2015 Camera Predictions

1. Mirror-less cameras will continue to make in-roads into the professional market, taking market share from DSLR's, even at the top end.

2. Nikon and Canon will produce their 1st full frame mirror-less cameras. Nikon's especially will not gain much market share due to commercially driven design compromises.

3.There will not be much increase in maximum pixel counts in cameras. Instead efforts will be made to increase the sensitivity of existing sensors by going full frame with fewer pixels on mid-range cameras

4. Sony will continue to indicate their continued support of the Alpha series  DSLR's, while doing bugger all to actually back up the claim by filling out the product range with a model between the A57 and A77II. In the meantime they will produce 2 new mirrorless cameras, the A7S II and the A7R II.  

So there you are, my predictions set in stone(well virtual stone anyway). If you have any better ideas, or just disagree with mine, please comment.

Update 31/12/2014

As Mark Abeln reminded me

5. High end cameras to use more smart phone technology in their OS. Not only the ability to upload photos via mobile networks, but also download apps to add new functionality to the camera. Also it would be great if cameras opened up their SDK so allowed programming of new functionality. Why limit yourself to 5 stop HDR where you could expand your camera to do 10 stops aand focus stacking at the same time. Preferably using some sort of graphical programming environment.


Tuesday, 23 December 2014


Now it has to be said that I am not a great fan of video in DSLR's.

While I am sure some people find the video function on their camera useful, I generally don't use it and worse once in a while it gets in the way, when I inadvertently press the movie record button by mistake (on my camera the video button is too close to the exposure compensation one and although I have disabled the button, so it is only active when I am in video mode, it still gives me a dialog saying I have pressed it, disabling anything else until I have cancelled it )

Some people say that to be a photographer today, especially if you do events like weddings, you need to master both photography and video, or as they like to phrase it videography.

The problem with that is that most DSLR's are not really the right form factor for good videoing. While they may take perfectly adequate video's, to get to the quality of a good dedicated video camera you need to add dedicated mikes, lights, handles etc. After that you might as well not have bothered and bought a decent video camera.

So why do camera manufacturers make a big thing about the video capabilities of their products. Well, it is just another differentiation factor that they can use to get sales. Why buy two camera , when you can get one which does both jobs? They argue. (Of the course the answer is because by doing so you degrade one function i.e the photography, why producing an inferior product for the other, when you could be spending the money making a better stills camera)

However once in a while I too get the urge to take some videos. One such occasion occurred recently when I was taking some more shots of the local power station at dusk and I noticed what is called a murmuration of Starlings occurring over a local field.

Now for those who don't know, a murmuration is a phenomena where Starlings in winter flock together in huge numbers. Just before they roost for the night the flocks dance about the sky in huge patterns, creating one of natures more impressive spectacles.

I realise that still photography was probably not going to really do justice to this, so I tried to video it, to mixed results.

Anyway here is link the YouTube video that resulted from it. Enjoy

Saturday, 20 December 2014

He's making a list, and checking it twice...

It's that time of year....

As I have stated before, one of the reasons for writing this blog was to prove (to myself as much as anyone) that the quality of photography is more than just a function of how much money you can spend on equipment or locations. Instead it is more about making the best use of what you have around you and utilising the equipment to hand with imagination and skill.

However even I must admit I am not immune to camera envy. 

So as we run up to Christmas, I thought it would be a good opportunity to play camera fantasy football and think about if I won the lottery tomorrow (ignoring the basic requirement that I would actually have to buy a ticket) what camera I would get if I had the chance. (You never know maybe I've been a really good boy this year and Santa will look down fondly on me [unlikely - Ed.])

The cameras

As I have said in previous blogs, I am a Sony user.

Now the reason I bought Sony is largely lost in the mists of time put it is partly because it gave me good price per buck at the time, but over the years I have come to appreciate it's strengths (and bemoan it's weaknesses).

For example I really like the EVF (even though I think Sony could do far more with it). Many photographers say it will never be as good or as clear as the OVF. While this may be true (and they are getting better all the time), the ability to provide the information such as histograms via the eye piece, makes up for this and more. It would be something I would sorely miss on a purely optical viewfinder.

Also I like the fact I am getting live-view all the time, allowing me to see how the photo I will get in real time. In consequence, there is no need for me to constantly switch between back screen and live view. All the information is there at my eye level, so taking much of the guess work out of photography.

One of the biggest advantages is that I can use the camera almost totally without needing to wear glasses. My eyesight is not bad, but it is not as good as in my youth. I now have to wear glasses when reading,  but because I can see everything via the EVF, I can generally leave my glasses in my pocket. 

Sony has also done some interesting things in the camera sphere recently. Don't get me wrong, Nikon and Canon are fantastic camera marques, with a great history, but you wonder whether that very history is stopping them progressing.

Now dyed in the wool Nikon and Canon users may disagree with this, but I'm not the only one who thinks maybe having won the battle of the DSLR's, they are losing the next battle ground, that of mirrorless cameras.

Sony on the other hand has less to lose by shaking up the DSLR market, and they have produced some great mirrorless full frame cameras recently . The A7 range seem almost too good. Small to hold with high resolution, they have a lot to recommend themselves to photographers.

However Sony still seem to be trying to work out, what is best specification, using the same basic camera shape and configuring it for a number of different uses.

Firstly we have the A7R, with its insane number of pixels, Then the A7 with fewer pixels, but faster focusing  and frame rate.

However the most intriguing of all is the A7S. While in modern term it has a measly 12 Megapixels, each one of them is used to trap more light giving it unbelievable low light performance. The A7S fixes two things that I find irritating in cameras. Firstly, the need to use a flash in low light situations and secondly the noise the shutter makes. Because of the limited pixel count, the A7S has the option of using a full electronic shutter, which is totally silent. This is a great camera for any indoor work where you wish to be discreet, or at night when you need maximum low light performance.

Also people should not be put off by the number of pixels either. 12MP is pretty great for most situations and the photos don't seem to suffer .

The low light performance is insane, with a 3 stop performance difference against say the Nikon D810. What that means in practice(apart from the ability to take photo's virtually at night)  is that you can increase your shutter speed or uses lens with smaller maximum apertures and still get great shots.

One of the perceived weaknesses of Sony is the number of available lenses available. Sony have addressed this by offering adaptors meaning a Canon, Nikon, Leica etc user can transfer their whole lens collection to the A7 camera.

So if I had the choice, which one would I buy. Like I said, the A7S intrigues me, but in reality it is designed for video photographers where the reduced resolution is not an issue. The A7R is a great landscape camera, but not general purpose enough.

So that leaves the A7....

Except it doesn't.

Sony recently announced the A7 MkII. This combines all the good bits of the A7 (full frame, contrast and phase detection) with 5 axis optical stabilization, so improving focusing and low light performance in one step. If I had a choice this would be the camera I would get. Any one want to lend me £1600?

Also I would throw in in a Sony A6000 just for those days when a full frame mirrorless is just too bulky.

Oh darn it,  because it's Christmas, lets just throw in a A7S just for those dark winter days when a maximum  25600 ISO is just not enough.

The lenses

Of course a camera is no use without decent lens. At present I have a small range of lens, from a 50mm pancake, to a 70-300,mm zoom. However there are some significant gaps in my inventory. For example for wildlife 300mm is just the minimum, but really we need 400 or even 600mm lenses. A lens like the 150-600mm Tamron would be great, but is £1000. Even nicer is the Sony SAL70400G 70-400mm with it's F4 aperture, but now we are talking close to £2000. However until the inheritance comes in. I may just have to look at getting a 1.6x teleconverter.

At the other end, a wide angle lens would be great for landscape work. Something like the Tamron SP AF 10-24mm f / 3.5-4.5 DI II Zoom Lens would be a steal at £400 (hah!)

Of course we are not even touching the surface when it comes to lenses. If you go to the Sony Gold series lens you can end up paying upwards of £1000.

And herein lies a problem.

The A-series lenses are not compatible with the new mirrorless full-frame cameras. OK they offer an adaptor, but that means you are being treated like Canon and Nikon user, rather than a loyal  Somny user.

The truth is the success Sony has achieved with the mirror less range has put the present DSLR range in doubt. For example when I bought my camera, there was a clear upgrade path from the A37 to the A57 - to the A65 to the A99. Now there are is only the the A55 and A77 II. The A55 is entry range and the A77 is high end, so there is no clear upgrade path.

Put it another way, when I was younger I used to listen to Chris De Burgh. His songs were quirky and had good tunes. Then he got to number one with Lady in Red and spent the rest of his career writing slushy love sonnets. Sony having found professional success with there full frame cameras mirrorless range, but they haven't been showing us much love recently to us A-Series users, providing no clear strategy on where they are going in that arena

Something Else

Something else I've always had a hankering to try is infra-red. Now almost all DSLR's can see infra-red, but filters are put in place to remove that light from the sensor. But you can get your camera converted to allow it to capture that wavelength. The images produced are surreal and almost other-worldly I would love to give it a go. I also have a theory that Sony A-Series cameras are the perfect camera for this sort of conversion, because they have permanent live view due to the SLT. So when one day I do upgrade, I would seriously consider changing my present camera to shoot infra-red.

Anyway it just leaves me to wish you all a great Christmas, have fun with your photography and a happy photographing new year

Saturday, 13 December 2014

A different viewpoint

Not a photo taken with film..

One of the things I enjoy about being a member of a photography club is the talks from guest photographers.

Whatever you may think of the guests actual photographs, I find I always pick up something new from the talks, whether it be a new viewpoint on taking photographs, new techniques or just a different philosophic take on photography.

In the last couple of weeks at Melbourne photographic club we have had two talks which very much represent the different ends of the photographic spectrum.

First in the blue corner was Barry Payling. He is a photographer from Rotherham, Yorkshire and and  it would not take you long to work it out. Barry very much represents the purist view of photography.

Mr Payling eschews all modern photographic aids. He uses a old Hasselblad medium format camera, slide film and does no post processing on his photographs, He doesn't even use filters on his cameras or a light meter to gauge exposure, relying on his experience to get the best photos. Even his presentations are even done using a monster of a slide projector that clanks like some mechanical beast when switching slides, resulting in a bit of a shock to audiences used to digital projectors.

Barry's attitude is that modern technology is a unnecessary complication to the art of photography. He contends that while digital cameras can fail, the purely mechanical Hasselblad is virtually bullet proof, being immune to the damp, easily dis-assembled and most parts replaced or repairable. Also by not using modern post processing you concentrate more on scene and composition and learn how to make better use of the available light.

He also believes that despite the advances in digital cameras, you simply cannot get the same quality of images than you can on film, especially images of reflections on chrome (I must admit that I have some doubts hers since digital technology is a moving target and some of the high end full-frame cameras such as the Sony A7 have been favorable compared to the medium format analog versions). However the quality of his images were excellent, and I can see the merits of stripping photography back to basics

In the red corner were a pair of photographers from Worcester called Chris Haynes and Martin Addison, who very much represent the opposite end of the spectrum.

While Barry Payling's show was something that would not be out of place from the 1970's, Chris and Martin's was bang up to date using all today's modern technology including digital projectors, audio visual presentations and even 3D images.

Their attitude was very much anything goes when it comes into photography. While most of Barry's photographs would have a landscape photo judges purring, some of Chris's and Martin's would leave many judges confused. Chris' philosophy is that if a judge does not like the way you have processed your photo, then they are at fault for being behind the photographic curve. Rather than you change, your ways, you should just wait for them to catch up!

That said some of Chris's photo were abstract in the extreme, to the point where it was not possible to actually see the original image in the final processed artefact. He had one sequence where he had a number of images which he said they looked like images of various imaginary deities, created from the heavy processing of an old boiler. Another were where he could see images of stars and alien suns from images of flower pots. While entertaining, this is not a man to serve breakfast too, in case he starts seeing images of Elvis in his toast :)

So two very different phiosophies, with all the photographers being masters of their craft and ending up producing stunning images.

The question is then, which one did I relate to most.

Firstly I have to state that I greatly appreciate the uncompromising purists in this world. They provide a bench mark in which you can compare yourself with. However I don't think I would like to follow their lead. Eschewing technology for technology sake is too much like wearing a hair shirt, so that people are impressed by your dedication.

Technology is there to help us achieve things easily that in the past were hard. Unless there is a good reason why the old ways was better, it should never be dismissed just because it is new. If you do go down that route, where do you stop? Mr Payling chose to use slide film, but why not use photographic wet plates or the Daguerrotype process. Also why travel by car, use a mobile phone,  have a website. Barry would probably reply that he still feels slide film still provides better images, but the truth is slides produce different types of images. It is a bit like saying that music today is not as good as in my youth (which is true, but lets move on).

Today there are photographers who have never taken a film photo. I still remember my days of film photography and that disheartening feeling, when after a day out with your camera, you send a film off to be developed with high hopes, and 2 weeks (and £5) later you get rubbish back. Of course by that time the moment has passed, meaning you lost that ability to learn from your mistakes.

This is why I like digital. I can play with it to my hearts content, knowing that all I am wasting is my time. Not a cheap commodity, but better than spending money.

For one thing I would of liked to have known what Barry's reject rate was. The truth is I would only ever consider going back to film once I was sure that at least 50% of my photo's had some merit. But by then, there would not be much point because I would be wedded to digital.

That is not to say I did not learn some things that I will want to incorporate into my own photography.

One thing that particularly stood out, was the way that he chose his lighting reference point when composing the photo and set the camera exposure to that level(remember he has no light meter, so this is done by guess work and experience)

So what about Chris And Martin. Well my problem here is something I have grappled with for a time and that is, when does a photograph stop being a photograph and become a purely artificial creation?

Some of the images, while visually stunning, had been processed so much that it was impossible to discern the original photograph that it was formed from. I remember making similar images in the past using computer programs, the difference being that this required no photography element at all.

For me a photo has to retain the essence of the original image to be a photo, otherwise we might as well sell our cameras and just spend all day hacking on our computers. That does not mean however none of the techniques they use are without merit. Chris's photos of the Indian dances where he swirled the back ground to produce a photo of high energy, while retaining the essence of the subject stood out. As he said, before he did this the photo contained a boring background, but the techniques added new life to an otherwise ordinary image. Similarly the process of taking multiple shots and combining them in-camera, produced some great dynamic images of otherwise static structures.

Again I got some great ideas for taking different images  which hopefully I can add to my war chest of possible techniques, ready to use when the need arises.

The truth is all 3 are great photographers, who have learned there craft and trade. The difference for me is that Barry's photographic journey takes him to places well visited, and how ever well driven he will always end up at the same destination. Chris and Martin journey however is a mystery tour. Most days you will end up no where interesting, but with luck you may end up in somewhere wonderful that no one else has ever seen before.

In the meantime I would gladly pay to see all 3 photographers in a debating chamber. That would be true entertainment :)


One of the techniques Chris and Martin use is multiple exposures while putting the cameras at different angles. For example, taking one photo and then moving the camera 180 degrees and taking a photo of the same scene. The effect is very much akin to taking a photo of something with a reflection.

Unfortunately my camera does not support multiple exposure functionality. However I thought I could do the same thing in Photoshop.

Basically you duplicate the layer, flip it vertically(do not rotate 180 degrees since we want a mirror image). Move the  new layer  where you want and then set the Layer mode to exclusion.

It is possible you may want to remove some of the bottom layer and new layer to get rid of artifacts but the result is a picture looking like you have taken over a flat calm lake or  sea, which in reality does not exist.

Here's an example of the result

Monday, 1 December 2014

Gerr' off my land

Recently I reviewed Julia's and Joel's rather excellent book on black and white architectural photography, and I was inspired to give it a go. I have been playing around with welding glass as an ND filter alternative, but eventually I gave in to the inevitable and purchased 3 ND filters of various stopping powers(Question: why do ND filters insist on have at least 3 naming conventions?).

The next problem was what to photograph?

Unfortunately I do not live close to any major metropolis areas with soaring skyscrapers, nor close to the coast for those pictures of the sea turned to milk. However I do live rather close to a  major coal fired power station.

Now I know power station cooling towers are not everyone's definition of beauty, but to me they are the ultimate form over function. Also because they tend to be built in flat areas, close to rivers they dominate the landscape. Best of all for the kind of photography I wanted to do, they produce their own clouds which is useful on a cloudless autumn mornings.

So armed with the filters all I had to do was to wait for 3 rather unlikely events to occur simultaneously. Firstly the weather needed to turn from the uniform gray which we have been suffering from recently to the clear blue skies. Secondly this needed to happen on a weekend. Finally that weekend needed to be free from other pressing family matters. Amazingly this Sunday morning, all three occurred (which to me is  equivalent to winning the  lottery), so grabbing my bag, tripod and camera I set off for the 10 minute drive to the station.

The 1st thing I have to say about this sort of long exposure photography is that it is quite cathartic. It basically involves finding a good position, setting up the tripod, arranging the composition, taking a few light measurements, fitting the ND filter and then opening the shutter. You then have 5 minutes (using Joel's 5MF8 rule) to wander around, examine the scenery ,and look for your next shot, which is much more relaxing than most photographic experiences where you are rushing around trying to get a good shot

Things were going well, but in the corner of my eye I did notice a pick-up trick within the station perimeter, and the driver taking a interest in what I was doing. Now to be clear  I wasn't exactly skulking around. It is difficult not to stand out,  when you are carrying your SLR, all your kit and a large tripod. But sure enough it wasn't long before the same truck came out and the security guard driving it pulled over to ask what I was doing, with the clear undertones that they would rather I stop it.

At this point, it is important to explain where exactly the power station is situated. It is just off  a major thorough fare between two cities and there is a road next to it that leads to a major inter-city railway station. So the place I was standing and taking photos was very much open to the public.

I explained that I was just trying to get some shots of the cooling towers for my own use  and offered the guard my business card (I work for a company that is major producer of electrical  generation equipment, so I offered this to prove that I was not some eco-warrior in disguise). He seemed satisfied and moved off. However 5 minutes later his boss came out(again in a pick up truck ) and asked me similar questions with the same result.

Now to be clear here, both times the guards were polite and made no attempt to threaten me or stop me taking photos. Also I have a lot of sympathy for them. The power station has over the years been the target of friends of the earth and green peace, with protesters invading the site. So they are being paid to be vigilant. Also having a job stopping a power station being nicked is probably not anyone's 1st career choice, so anything that breaks up the monotony, such as investigating someone taking photos outside the perimeter, probably provided the most excitement that they had had for weeks.

However it is at such times when you realise knowing the laws governing where you can take photographs and your rights would be useful.

So the following is what as far as I can tell is the laws governing where you can take photo's in the UK

The legal bit

OK before I start, just the usual blurb. I am not a lawyer and have no legal training. So if you get arrested taking photographs, using this blog is not a valid legal defence. Also the following only applies to the UK, and other countries probably have different rules (i.e. don't follow this if you reside say in North Korea)

With this in mind, this is what I understand to be the case.

The most important point is that if you are in a public place you have every right to take photographs and no one has the power to prevent you from doing so.

There are a some of exceptions to this, such as Trafalgar square and Parliament square, London. But even there, this only applies to professional photography. Tourist snaps are fine. Also if you like taking photos of celebrities sun bathing on their balcony, you can still be done for a breach of privacy (and also pretty shoddy moral standards). But generally the rule is that no one can prevent you from taking what you want when standing in a public area.

For example, one security guard suggested I needed to get written permission to take such photos, but I am pretty sure this was incorrect (and anyway there was no indication where such permission could be obtained)

Private land is different, and generally you need the owners permission.

Of course one of challenges is working out what is public and what is private land. Because I was on a road to a train station via a public highway, I was pretty sure the land was public. If I was on the slip road to the station entrance itself however, it would be a gray area. Unfortunately land does not need to be sign posted as "private" for it to be private.

Although photographing from a public area is a general right, like any such right, there are some government legal get out clauses. Firstly if you are causing an obstruction, you can be asked to move on by the police and arrested if you refuse.  However this is only likely to apply when you plonk your tripod in the middle of a busy thoroughfare.

The 2nd get out clause is if you are taking photos of anything that could give aid to an enemy. This law has been around since 1911, well before anyone thought of satellite photography or even Google maps and is only likely to apply to military installations and even then only the most sensitive ones, but it is something to keep in mind if you like taking things like plane photographs. Taking pictures of soldiers around barracks is also likely to get you into trouble under this category.

The 3rd category is the most wide ranging and the most open to abuse. The 2000 terrorism act has given the police wide ranging powers to stop and search  when in doing so could result in the prevention of a terrorism act. Unfortunately this is a catch all, and you could see how such powers could be brought into force around something like a power station.

This brings us to who has power to do what. The first thing is that civilian security guards, whoever they are employed by, have no powers of stop, arrest or confiscation. This means they cannot arrest or detain you, demand access to or confiscate your equipment.

However they have the power to make your life difficult by calling the police, who for an easy life may well take their side of the argument, until it can be sorted out at the police station. So my advice is always be friendly and polite, however ludicrous their questions are. Secondly like most security staff they are specially selected for there lack of sense of humour or sense of irony. So phrases like " I was just casing the joint to steal one of the cooling towers" however funny in your head, will not help your situation.

However if you are in a situation where you are on public land and someone does question your rights, I suggest the following
  1. Smile, be friendly. Explain you are a photographer, just carrying out your hobby.
  2. Carry some sort of ID. Like I said I gave them a business card, which seemed to help (even though it could be easily faked). A photography club card could be useful in these situations. You are under no legal requirement to prove your identity when asked, but there is no reason not too and any card will probably end in the bin anyway.
  3. If they do ask you to move on, you can then ask them why and if necessary explain to them politely of your legal rights. Phrases like "make me, copper" are unlikely to help the situation. If they insist, ask for their name and their supervisors name.
  4. If they try to confiscate your equipment or delete your photos', warn them you will ring the police. If they continue to try, do so.
  5. If the situation starts getting heated and they won't back down. Pack your stuff, and walk away. It is after all a hobby, and really not worth chaining yourself to the railings over. By all means complain to the company involved (plus any local news papers for effect)

In truth it is unlikely to get past point 2, unless you meet a very inexperienced guard with a Napoleon complex. Remember also that their bosses are unlikely to welcome any adverse publicity such an event would occur.

In my case we did the usual British dance where I answered  politely his questions and restrained myself from reminding him of my legal rights, and he did enough to make me uncomfortable about being there, without actually suggesting I was in any way wrong. After both of us had fulfilled our roles, we both went back to our jobs in hand.

However some of the questions did confuse me. He asked whether I was a professional. That is always a difficult question for me. Does he mean in my outlook? Does the fact I have sold 2 photos in my career count? Anyway what difference does it make legally?

The 2nd question was whether I had a Flickr account. Maybe he was trying to a trick question to see I really was a photographer on the basis that Al Queda  only use snapchat? (I lied here, I said no. I do have a Flickr account, but haven't used it for years.). Again legally it seemed a strange question.

Unfortunately as the world moves from crisis to crisis, and the paranoia levels rise and fall with them, it is easy to fall a cropper to such situations. The important thing is to be aware of your rights, but not to use them as a blunt instrument against any figures of authority.

Yes, right might well be on your side, but if you are not careful, it may only come to your rescue after a significant legal expense and battle. So you have to ask yourself, is it worth all that hassle to take a few photos?


2.  A very useful downloadable guide can be found here -
3. Advice from the UK Metropolitian police -