Over exposed!

This is intentionally over exposed but how would you know that if I didn’t tell you?
If I didn’t tell you, would you think it was a badly taken photo?
Now you know it, do you still think its a badly taken photo?IMG_0158

This image is Viv The Spiv who I met at a vintage fare whilst on a project.

As part of the project I took a more widely acceptable exposed image. Once I had ‘the safe’ image it was time to play.

Here I have been able to produce an image pretty much as I had anticipated.

I’m not the first person to play with different exposures and I am pretty sure I will not be the last.
I think its important to experiment and learn from experimenting.

Every now and then, every photographer should step outside of the norm…

its fun!

I’d like to thank viv the spiv for agreeing to be photographed. Please take a look at his website: Viv The Spiv

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Faulty Canon Camera (Part 1)

It all started with a point and shoot.

Actually it all started with a very serious motorcycle accident and a long slow painful recovery. Lets ignore the accident and move on to the recovery and The Canon S100.

I spent a bit of time looking through magazines, looking at old photos and seeing photos being posted on facebook and flickr. I thought it would be nice to have a reasonable point & shoot camera. Something small and subtle that would be really discrete and easy to carry every day.

I thought about how few photos I had from the past and what a limited selection of family photos I own. I thought it would be nice to get a proper camera but then decided a good point & shoot would be the place to start.

So, my recovery process nudged me that step closer to getting a camera that wasn’t a cheap disposable single use thing.

After getting advice from friends and reading a number of reviews I thought the Canon S100 would fit the bill; small light, looked easy to use and has a variety of settings.

Here is the thing, I thought if I shoot in auto and then looked at the settings within the info menu, I could then start to use the camera in its manual mode. So a great little camera that is small enough that I would carry it and has functions that make it easy to use and has potential to be a very useful learning tool. Decision made!

My beautiful wife brought me the camera as a christmas present. I took a few photos with it and looked at the auto settings and started using the manual settings as I had planned. However, the camera was quickly put in the draw because it had a notable lag between pressing the shutter release button and anything happening.

At first I thought it was me and I reset the camera but it was still happening. I was missing shots and getting a little frustrated with it.

Electronics are usually made so well now; they are certainly more reliable than when I was younger and I just didn’t think the camera was faulty. I assumed it was a natural lag and had to put up with it.

In one way that shutter release lag did me a bit of a favor because I am really enjoying photography and it prompted my to buy a Canon 600d, then upgrading to a full frame Canon 6d with an number of L-series lenses.

I am a Canon user and am extremely happy with the quality of my semi-pro camera and great lenses. However I am really disappointed with the after care I received from Canon with regards to the Canon S100 that I later realised was actually faulty.

I wanted another small camera to carry as a back up or just something easy to carry; something like the Canon S100 only more responsive!

As I started to do a little research I found that the Canon S100 has a known lens fault particular to cameras within a serial number range and my camera was within this serial number bracket. Canon UK, Europe & USA were offering free repairs. Fantastic!

The camera was driven to a main service centre in Elstree. The guy behind the counter was super polite and helpful. So much so that I tweeted Canon to complement the staff member.

I’d much rather complement good service and I am normally rubbish at complaining. My preference would be to let it go.

After some time……….

I’m told they want over £100 to repair the camera.

£109 to repair a camera that has never worked properly!

£109 to repair a camera that cost my wife in the region of £300.

The S100 has been upgraded with two further versions and is on sale for roughly £184. So I asked for the camera to be returned from Canon.

How on earth could I justify paying that much for a repair when I could get and updated and new camera for an extra £70-£80.

I also didn’t see how Canon can justify wanting to charge that money for a product that was faulty from the outset.

I had wrongly assumed the lag in the camera was just the model and it just wasn’t as good as the reviews suggested.

I did not mention it to my wife because I didn’t want her to think I was disappointed with her gift and thought I’d buy a DSLR. (As already mentioned, 600d now upgraded to a full frame 6d).

Okay, so, the camera has a known fault but they want £109 for repairs… The return note with the camera stated that there was a damaged top fpc and it was not as a result of the known lens error.

I had to look up fpc and it stands for floppy print circuit. But how can that be damaged?

The camera has never been dropped and this is evidenced by the immaculate condition of the camera housing and rear lcd screen.

The fpc can become damaged by humidity and extremes of environment…. I live in London and I have not had the camera in a swimming pool or a sauna so it shouldn’t be environmental damage.

When the engineer from Canon opened the camera they would have seen that the camera has not been exposed to an environment that might cause corrosion or other damage.

That leaves me with one logical conclusion; I hope you would agree that the part must have been faulty at the time of manufacture or became damaged at the time of assembly.

That is the only logical thing I can think of. Please feel free to educate me if you can think of any other way the fpc could have been damaged.

A bit more digging around and time reading forums including The Canon Community who were really helpful revealed/suggested that my camera has a fault that Canon USA has acknowledge but Canon UK / Europe have not.

It seems that my cousins on the other side of the pond complained to The Better Business Bureau in the US and Canada who got involved and resulted in Canon USA carrying out free repairs to The Canon S100.

Another email to Canon and I got a lazy standard reply to which I responded to with another email asking them to read my original contact and then my further follow up.

Now they responded to my follow up email with a response that confirmed they had actually read it rather than sending out an automated response. They still did not tell me what the fault with the fpc circuit was but as a good will gesture they offered to repair the camera for £52 instead of £109.

They also advised that I return to the retailer, John Lewis and ask them to handle the fault under the sale of goods act. (More on that later).

On the face of it, Canon’s gesture to repair the camera at the reduced rate is a generous offer and one that has not passed by unappreciated.

But it is still niggling me that I should have to pay to repair a camera that has never worked correctly.

If the forums are correct, it also bugs me that Canon would treat UK customers differently.

I have since emailed Canon asking them to provide me with full details of the fault/damage that they found and to suggest how it may have occurred when the physical appearance of the camera clearly shows it has not been abused.

As I have said, I would normally just walk away from making too much of a fuss but as this was a present from my wife, I am not really in the mood for letting it go.

I have also asked Canon to provide details of how to escalate this complaint within their organisation.

I’ve spent a lot of money on Canon products and expected more from them.

But then I guess they think I am just an individual with a point and shoot camera rather than a photographer who has a portfolio that has had tens of thousands of views.

I guess I’ve blown any chance of becoming a Canon ambassador or getting any sponsorship!

I’m also sure there will be very many happy customers but this is how things have panned out for me.

Do comment on your experience, good or bad.

Update to follow……

Kind regards,



I made a submission to the Taylor Wessing Photographic Competition to be exhibited at The National Portrait Gallery.

The images were portraits from my City and Guilds submissions but printed on higher quality paper and delivered directly from the printers that I used.

Note that I said to be exhibited and not to win a reasonable some of money.

I had hoped that I would have at least had one image short listed to be shown and yes there is always the smallest of chances that someone might see a piece of work and commission a further project.

I got knocked back……… I am very disappointed. I’m pulling a very disappointed face as I type.

Non the less, the people that I collected the image from were complementary of my efforts. Hmmm, maybe they were just being nice because I’m fairly certain I was pulling a very disappointed face as I collected my photographs from the depths of South London.

Actually I went there two days on the bounce. I work near to where they were stored and popped in to see how they were packaged and I had to return the following day with appropriate packaging, that as it turned out wasn’t large enough!

The staff were great, friendly and helpful.

So I’m looking forward to seeing the final selection that make the exhibition and shall try to keep an open mind.

After all my efforts and stressing about edits, where to print, what size and on and on and on…….

…..In keeping with my usual train of thoughts, typing ‘on and on and on’ reminded me of The Ariston Advert. That is completely unrelated to anything I intend to document here. However, there it is!

So, yes. After all my efforts I might just as well have printed and entered one of these snap shots taken on my phone…..

Ladies and Gents may I introduce Adam.



Just incase you are wondering about his name, when his cheeks are puffed out he looks like someone I work with.

Sooooooooo what next?


I have a couple of projects I want to do and I have signed up for the next level in City & Guilds. I have a sneaky feeling this level is going to be a tad more demanding and with recent changes to my shift patterns at work my entries here may become a little more add-hoc, but hopefully you will still find something of interest.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Busy but still plugging away.

It feels like ages since I last posted anything.

I’ve not gone away, I have just been busy with those life things (like work) that get in the way of us doing the things we want to do.

I have also been loosely planning a 50/50 project. 50 images on a 50mm lens in 50 days. I’d like to give this a go but need to have a few ideas in my head and maybe even a note book. Otherwise I will just be taking random shots and not learning from the challenge.

I have also been helping an artist with a long term project of theirs. They studied at St Martins and is still moving forward with a long term project with particular links through differing themes.

This time in the style of ‘film noir’. He had seen my work and asked me to take part.

I am not in a position to show any shots that might make the final selection but I can show you a couple of images taken on location while checking exposures and looking at the background environments.


This is a man made beach in Brent Cross. Situated along the A406, near the M1 and A41. It has a huge shopping centre and the local environment is fairly industrial looking. Not wanting the surrounding area to spoil the aesthetic of the images was a really good exercise in composition.


This image does not tie in with the overall feel and theme of what was being shot on the day but does link in with my previous noir images. I took the opportunity to make this image while the next shoot was being set up.

I’m normally pretty critical of my own work but I actually really like this photograph.

I think the position the image was taken in, the simplicity, contrast of the main subject against the sand and cleanness of the shadow give it a movie still feel that I like a lot.

However, for me the key element is the tension I feel as a viewer. As the photographer this surprises me but I look at the image and find myself asking what is going on just out of the frame.

This feels like one of my most rewarding photographs I have taken. So based on that, for once I am not going to ask for any critique from you.

I have also visited a couple of exhibitions and popped into a handful of shops.

Tailor Mark Powell has some great portraits on his wall at the moment. They were taken from a photographer local to The Soho area of London.

I have also visited Getty Images and been to The National Portrait Gallery to see Audrey Hepburn portraits of an icon. 

So I haven’t been far. Just busy but still plugging away.

Thanks for visiting.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Book Review #6

Speedlights & Speedlites: Creative Flash Photography at Lightspeed. (Sec Ed). By Lou Jones, Stephen Ostrowski & Bob Keenan. Published by Focal Press.

First off, the disclaimer!

At the time of purchasing this book I knew nothing of the authors. I do not know the authors & I do not personally know anyone that has published books on photographic lighting.

This review is based on my own opinion and no payment has been received.

I was looking for a book on lighting because I was undertaking a film noir project & wanted to learn more about getting the best results from my flash gun. (now guns!).

The title and the rear sleeve suggested to me that this was going to be an instructional book. A very brief look at a couple of pages showed some lighting diagrams, so I assumed this book would be suitable for getting me started.

I was quickly disappointed as I realised the book was not going to meet my expectations.

I think the title is misleading in that I found the images uninspiring and for the most part not particularly creative. However, although the images used may not be considered masterpieces, they do illustrate the authors intensions. Combined this with the lighting diagrams and the overall layout, I can see why some may find this book useful.

The book was a little repetitive in telling the reader to get the flash off camera and stating how convenient ETTL/TTL is to use.

There are a couple of pages on batteries and light modifiers that were interesting but this felt very much like an add on to fill a couple of pages at the end of the book.

I can’t say that I read any groundbreaking tips and hints in this book.

The big question is: Would I recommend it? To be honest, its one of those yes & no answers.

Its not what I would call an essential read and I would suggest asking your library to get a copy rather than buying one.

It certainly wasn’t worth the £23 I paid for it and I’m not sure I would consider it value for money even if it was only £8.

My money would have been better spent if I had put it towards the fee for a one day flash lighting course.

While the authors may well be competent photographers, have a wealth of knowledge & experience, regrettably this is not a book that I will be keeping for future reference.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy JamesB

Blue Moon (& Other things in the sky!)

Not the song but the thing up in the sky that is responsible for tides and stuff like that. The big thing in the sky that mankind has supposedly flown to and had a little stroll on.

I’m not into astrology but I’m told tonights moon is special and is known as a blue moon.

You might have heard of the saying “once in a blue moon” and like me not actually realised that we do have a blue moon!

I’m told it is when we have a full moon twice in one month; very rare!

Those that deal with the public on night shift, nurses, paramedics, police and so on will have had a very special two nights as the full moon reportedly affects peoples behaviour.

I thought I’d try and photograph this second full moon tonight.

I didn’t do too well. Partly because I only have a 200mm lens so the moon looks tiny.

It was however a good opportunity to try something new. What did surprise me was that the better photos were taken on faster shutter speeds. That was not what I expected. Neither did I expect a smaller aperture to make a big difference.


There is a very obvious lack of detail in this moon although I still like it. Other images were blown out even more and lacking any sharpness. The second image taken with a narrower aperture has slightly more detail


Now onto the other things in the sky……… As a kid in primary school I would sit for ages looking at the clouds, seeing faces, horses, all sorts of things. My mates and I had good imaginations. This is something I suspect and hope most of us have done at some stage of our life.

When I uploaded my blue moon photos onto my lap top I immediately spotted this head silhouette. Made me smile & reminded me of happy carefree days.


Thanks for stopping and looking at my photos. Now pop out and look upwards at The Blue moon & other things in the sky.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

City & Guilds Photography, Level Two, Part Two.

So my first submission was based on portraits.

For part two we had the same options again, portraits, landscapes, still life and so on…….

I don’t like labels and am aware that the gig photography or portraits are my stronger areas.

Although portraiture was a complete accident and a total surprise to me that I enjoy it.

Anyway, I wanted to move away from these areas and try something a little different. I also wanted to really challenge myself to learn about lighting.

So we are in class and the teacher asks people what they want to do. So far he hasn’t really questioned anyones decisions and then he gets to me.

“How about you Jim, what are you thinking of doing?”

Really I want to do a mix of things, I am happy with my first submission and confident that whatever I pick, if I screw it up, the first images would be strong enough to at least guarantee a pass grade.

Being me (Apparently a typical Aries…If you believe in that stuff) I don’t want to do one thing…. My reply was more of a question; because with tutor approval you can step outside of the suggested genres.

“Can I do some landscape/cityscapes, portraits and still life?”

The poor teacher has had to put up with me for two terms and I can see him thinking to himself ‘where is he going with this’. He asks me how I plan on tying the different images together.

I suggest ‘Film Noir’. I get a smirk from the lecturer who says “Go on then, lets see what you can do”.

Instantly I think I have made a huge mistake. But I have to say I loved this project so much and had a massive learning cure.  Not only technically with the camera and lights but with UK firearms regulations, having to be creative and getting organised.

Due to time constrains I was unable to complete all the images I had planned. I was finding it difficult to find particular props and rather than rigidly sticking to the 1940s and 50s film noir props I had to improvise and settle for the overall mood and feel of those classic movies.

Due to the time of year I was unable to arrange for friends to get city scape shots. Yes cityscapes don’t need people but this is Film Noir, I need shadows, silhouettes and so on. I guess I could have taken some without people and they would have added an element of suspense and danger but I had my plans…… So the long days and light evenings defeated me with regards to that aspect of the planned cityscape submissions.

Budget also played a big factor. I would love to have time and a budget suitable to tackle this project again.

One or two of the still life images may have been posted earlier; prior to making my final submission. Some of the images didn’t make it into the final submission because I wasn’t happy with them or I had stronger images.

As with my portrait post I am going to post two examples of the work produced:


The image above did not make it in to the final body of work. I do like it and think it has all the right touches of Le Femme Fatale from the era. The silhouette of legs going up the stairs only add some mystery and intrigue to the image.

I was torn between this and another image, my C&G photography peers helped me select a couple of images.

You can see the stronger image that was chosen from this shoot on my flickr page.


As you can see from image one and two (Along with other images taken in the series) lighting was an important element for the project. I learned a huge amount and feel like I have only just scratched the surface of how to sculpt an image with light.

I hope you like these enough to visit flickr and see the other images.

If you are wondering what grades I got; it was a distinction for submission one and…….. distinction for submission two.

I’m not really sure how the grades work to be honest. I have seen some people call it a ‘double distinction’ but I think the overall grade is just a distinction. Thats good enough for me.

One last thank you to everyone that modelled & provided props. Without you it would not have gone so well. Thanks also to everyone that provided feed back and encouragement. Especially Mrs.M. PJ. & my working photographer friends, Teacher & Classmates whose blogs and work and be found by clicking the links: PJ, Caz, Seb, Ian, Tim, Matt, Hannah, Paul & Sara.

As always, thanks for looking. Constructive feed back and your thoughts on my photographs are welcome.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James