Month: December 2015


I think the internet is going to fill up with well wishers bidding one another a happy new year. So I am going to get in early….

Over the duration of this blog I have been amazed to have visitors from the following places:

Argentina,Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jersey, Jordan, Latvia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam & Zimbabwe.

Small numbers in comparison to many other blogs but none the less I still find that pretty amazing.

My most popular post seems to be A Cheeky Bum Flash. I hope I can come up with something a little more interesting in 2016.

For now I’d just like to say thank you to those of you that have liked or commented on posts publicly and via email.

I wish you all a happy & healthy new year.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Christmas Magic

Ingredients: Soft pink marshmallows & white tic-tacs.

IMG_0089  IMG_0092

Its christmas eve and I am off to work but before I head off I need to do a few things.

Find someone that believes in the magic of christmas.

Have them place some marshmallows onto a plate.

Then plant the the tic-tacs into the marshmallows.

IMG_0090 IMG_0093-2


Leave over night & if that person truly believes in christmas magic, this happens….. They grow into candy canes!!


Merry Christmas & Happy New Year Folks.

Jim Jimmy James

A very personal project

If you’ve been here before you’ll know that I have college projects to get done in very tight timeframes.

You’ll also know that I often pick assignments that could & should take months to plan and months to shoot.

I don’t make life easy for myself and friends think I am a typical aires that thrives on pressure. I’m not entirely sure I would agree.

For my next submission I could have picked product photography, landscapes and various other genres of photography but this will be a very personal project based on portraiture and the subjects, although not personal friends have influenced me in various ways over the years.

Some of the subjects will be in their mid 50’s and the eldest I hope to photograph is in his 70s.

Last night I took the first of ten to twenty portraits and I am very pleased to report that I am very happy with the result.

Everyone has a vulnerability about them and this person has an extreme confidence; for good reason as he is very talented as a performer & people display a lot of affection towards him.

As usual I did not take anywhere near as many frames as I should have but I believe I have caught more than this persons public persona and that was intended.

I was also able to confirm another two sitters that I had already spoken to. I have an idea how I’d like to light and shoot them. If I am successful I think I will capture a blend of their personal self & the personality they publicly display.

Regardless of getting good grades at the end of this project it is important for me to get this right purely because of what these people mean to me.

I also tried to get some band portraits last night with some success but as things had over run at the sound check we had a bit of a distracting audience which made things harder to direct. Added with the time constraints for the venue opening the doors to the venue it was a bit of a rush. I had hoped to get about four different images that the band would be able to use and I’m sure they’d be happy with the results but the reality is I have one that I would personally be happy to share.

The gig last night was fantastic and I made a point of not taking lots of photos. As far as I’m concerned that was a good decision. I had a cracking night and the management of the venue offered me free entry to another gig that I was planning on going to. Result!

I got to play around with the camera last night. I wanted to try some things out so that is what I did…..

The 100 club are selling a locally brewed lager which is great to see them supporting a brewery that produces a rather fine lager.IMG_0093

Do be aware though that too many pints may cause the following results…


That was a mild attempt a humour, like me, I am sure both The 100 club & The Camden Brewery would promote ‘sensible drinking‘.

The gig was very rowdy which made it difficult to get clean shots last night but fortunately that was not what I had intended.

I like a particular female photographers work. I’m not going to mention her by name because of “Google statistical gold” or what ever its called.

(Okay, if you really want to know… follow this link)

I love the look of images caught on film but its expensive. Digital just does not produce the same texture but I thought I’d try getting the settings a little wrong and see what I could come up with.

I’ve pushed the ISO a little, selected what would be an incorrect shutter speed if I wanted to freeze motion and I opted for a depth of field appropriate to put the exposure triangle into what would ordinarily be less than perfect.

The two bands I photographed last night are energetic and pretty intense. I wanted to show that in the images by capturing some movement with only a little blurring. So no flash & I made no effort to correct the white balance in camera or in software; with the intention of making adjustments to contrast, whites, blacks & luminance.


Info Riot – 100 Club – 18th Dec 2015


Info Riot – 100 Club – 18th Dec 2015


The Last Resort – 100 Club – 18th Dec 2015


The Last Resort – 100 Club – 18th Dec 2015

I am sure that there will be some software out there that would get me closer to the intensity I wanted to produce but maybe I am just going to have to invest in a film camera, film and a home dark room!

As always, thanks for stopping and taking a peek at my images. Please feel free to comment.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Book review #7

Actually I should maybe change this title to book review number 7 & 8.

I am going to review two books in a series by the same author; Henry Carroll.

Read This If You Want to Take Great PhotographsRead This If You Want to Take Great Photographs of People

First off, I do not know the author and to the best of my knowledge I have no friendships or interests within Amazon or Waterstones.

I guess I should also point out that there are other book stores and online retailers.

If you are an established photographer then these books are probably not for you.

If you have done a couple of short courses you’ll find these books useful as revision because they are made up of all those notes you should have taken but for one reason or another you didn’t put pen to paper.

If you are new to photography and have just signed up for a course I would suggest these books would be a valuable addition to your reading list. I certainly wish I’d had them early on in my learning.

They are a great introduction to the things you do need to know. Presented in a clear and logical order with good example images and suggestions of where to find other good examples.

IMG_1728 (1)

I’ll be keeping these two books and if anyone I know takes up photography near to their birthday or christmas, they’ll be getting copies as a gift.

Now Mr Carroll, if you happen to see this, when are you going to publish a book about off camera flash / speed lights that is this easy to understand?


The above is a personal opinion and if you want further reviews go and search them out. Thanks for stopping and reading.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James


Faulty Camera (Part 2)

A while ago I wrote ‘Faulty Camera (Part 1)’. The short version of the story is that I had a camera that I though was too clever for itself and that made it slow.

I started to look for another compact camera (just because of their convenience of being carried day to day). I had pretty much decided on The Canon S120 as the reviews suggested this camera would meet my needs & the other Canon products I have (6D & L-series lenses) are excellent.

However, I had the S100 purchased for me as a present on the back of reviews. Yep you guessed correctly, it was the faulty camera mentioned above & I had some concerns that the S120 would not meet my expectations.

Looking further into this I discovered that there was a fault with my S100 camera……… Lots of emails backwards and forwards with Canon and a little research, along with some helpful advice from the Canon Community forum, led to Canon very kindly offering to carry out a repair at a greatly reduced price. They also provided me with some valuable UK consumer advice.

On the back of this advice the camera was returned to John Lewis.

I’ve always had a positive shopping experience with John Lewis and found the staff knowledgable within their working area, they have also been incredibly polite and helpful. So it was a bit of a shock when I visited a department to discuss the camera and any options for obtaining a repair or upgrade. If I was typing this within an hour of leaving the store it would be full of expletives. The air would be as blue as a blue thing could be!

So it began, a few emails, then they wanted to “send the camera to Canon to get their own report”. Not a problem and finally some movement.

A phone call was received asking me to pick up my S120, then my lap-top! It was very clear that I was not getting any form of  customer service that anyone would expect from John Lewis who really do have a good reputation.

Eventually a qoute was received…… funny thing was that it was to fix something completely different and the camera never went to Canon.

I again had some correspondence with Canon who kindly confirmed that the company that John Lewis had sent the camera to, are not associated with Canon and are not a recognised repair agent for Canon and were wanting to charge for repairs that were not required. Tut Tut!!

John Lewis did end up sending the camera back to Canon to have it repaired at full cost and at the expense of the department.

The ridiculous thing is that I would have been happy to pay the difference between the Canon quote and the cost of the S120. As far as I was concerned this would have been a win win for all involved.

One member of staff not taking two minutes to engage in a polite conversation resulted in what has been a long old, totally avoidable kerfuffle.

I’m pleased to say that I do have the camera back and it is everything I had hoped it would be.

I would point out that Canon were extremely helpful and John Lewis has a good reputation for good reason & I believe my experience was out of the ordinary.

The one bit of advice I would offer to anyone in a similar situation is to make sure you get the right consumer advice for your country/state/provence. Keep accurate records of events, take down names and contact details of people you deal with. Especially if they are helpful. This way you can send a letter/email of thanks rather than just being a moaning mini.


Taken with a Canon S100. Kaleidoscope telescope inside John Lewis.


John Lewis shopfront window linked in with their christmas advert.       “Man on the Moon”


The Canon S100 is convenient & great for ad-hoc composition practice.


As if by magic and a little reminder that despite a thundery rainy moment, the sun comes out in the end! Looking east along Oxford Street, my beautiful city…. London.

The John Lewis advert “Man on the Moon” supports age UK.

All images taken with a Canon S100.

Thank you for stopping, thank you for reading, thank you for looking at the images. Feel free to comment and do come back again.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James.