We are not afraid

Today a massive march took place through the centre of Barcelona in response to the terrorist attacks of 17th/18th August.   It was a demonstration showing the bravery of ordinary people in direct contrast to the cowardice of those perpetrating acts of terror.   I would have loved to have taken part but we were waiting at El Prat airport for the return flight to London having spent the intervening week in Barcelona.   I want to thank the people of Barcelona for the wonderful stay we had in their fine city.   It was good to be there in the aftermath of the attacks to demonstrate our solidarity.



When a friend tells you their lens just suffered a catastrophic failure you really feel for them. I know it’s not like they’re ill or have had a death in the family but any photographer will feel for another when this kinda bad happens. Sadly, replacing cameras / lenses is not cheap.

In the modern world it seems that the role of the camera is dead – who needs a bulky piece of expensive equipment when a mobile phone can do the same thing? And thereby hangs the first area of debate. Does the mobile phone do the same thing as the camera? You know, it’s all about what you expect when you take a photo. I have often expressed the opinion that for simple portraits and family snaps you don’t need a top range camera any more. I get tasked with award night photos at the football club each season but I’m sure that someone with an iPhone or a Galaxy could achieve perfectly acceptable results on the night.

The reason why the mobile phone camera works so well in so many scenarios is the proximity of the lens to the sensor which gives good depth of field. Additionally, the simplicity of the lens reduces weight, size and manufacturing costs – which is ideal for a pocket camera. It’s probably fair to say that the modern camera-phone merely emulates what the Kodak Box Brownie did so well a century ago. So why would you buy a ‘real’ camera? My answer is ‘I’m not sure!’ If your photographic portfolio consists of shots of friends on a night out or selfies to prove you went to the great wall I’m not sure you need one.

I think that one of the things that camera phones have taken away is the ‘seeing’ of a real photo. Let’s not kid ourselves here – the vast majority of photographers out there are family picture takers. They were the target audience for the Box Brownie and are the target of the Camera Phone. These photographers have never sought to see more than the ‘family moment’ and yet have often created something special. Occasionally their images of the kids paddling in the sea, the ramparts scaled, the punch and Judy crowd, will find favour in a local paper. Actually, that’s a bit sad because those images carry so much and deserve wider circulation.

What does a ‘real’ camera actually give you? Well – a lot of heartache as you look to understand why the settings you chose didn’t work 😉 Jokes aside, it gives you a lot more control over events before you take the photo – which is something the camera phone doesn’t. You can vary your exposure to control what is in focus or to make sure that there isn’t (or is) motion blur. These are not the normal things that camera phone users will be playing with. You can hook up a different lens to magnify the shot or widen the angle. There are now some clip-on accessories for a mobile phone to do this too but… doesn’t sound too professional does it 😉 Without those clip-on’s you’re reliant on the electronic zooms – I think we all know they are a compromise compared with a glass option. If you’re not sure why – think sensor noise.

Some areas where the ‘real’ camera stands out as the necessary choice are sports, landscape, art, nature and transport. For all of these you need a lot of control to achieve the best results. Enough of my waffling – it must be a Sunday or something… 😉

Closing the Season Out

The normal Ryman Football League season ends with today’s matches and brings to a close one of the strangest seasons I can recall. Both ends of the table see teams bunched together on similar numbers of points, especially at the bottom. I don’t think we’ve ever gone into the last match with only 2 relegation spots confirmed out of the 4. And things are so tight amongst the lower teams that it has become a perm any 2 from 6 situation!

I recall chatting with the Metropolitan Police’s kit man Chris only 6 weeks ago and the prognosis then was that 52 points were needed to stay up. Recent results have left 3 teams in the relegation battle with 53 points including the Met! It seems that the safety line was 54 points this season which is unprecedentedly high. Chris is a friend so I wish the Met luck today.

Sitting in the prime relegation spots to join already relegated Grays Athletic and AFC Sudbury, are Canvey Island and Burgess Hill Town. Both have games that on a good day they’d expect to win but it’s out of their hands because if they do win they’re still reliant on the results of the matches involving the teams immediately above them. It feels a little strange to see Grays and Canvey in this position as both are battling sides that normally can be found in the upper mid-table. Putting the final nail in Grays coffin fell to us on the 1st April but, in truth, they were already gone. It was a sad day but despite their woes they brought along a good loyal following of fans – Respect!

The top end of the table see’s the automatic promotion spot still undecided with Havant & Waterlooville currently in the box seat having knocked Bognor Regis Town off the spot in a derby between the two sides last Saturday. The roles could still be reversed again depending upon results for the sides today and it will be interesting to see who takes the league title and who gets the poisoned chalice of the top playoff spot.

The remaining play-off slots are occupied by Dulwich Hamlet, Enfield Town and ourselves, Wingate & Finchley. Dulwich are safe with 77 points. The two spots below the playoffs are occupied by Leiston and Needham Market – both of whom have been in the top 5 at times with Needham occupying a playoff position for much of the season.

At this end of the table the permutations are simple – if we get a point or win against Dulwich who we play today then we are in the playoffs. If we lose then it depends on Leiston’s result – they need a win to have a chance to overtake us. Needham are unlikely to challenge for a playoff spot now – they would need to win and overturn a goal difference of 8 which is a ‘mathematical possibility’ that will get you very long odds at the bookies! So we know what we have to do – let’s get out there and do the business…

#Enemyfor90 – ex-W&F Skipper Marc Weatherstone backs into W&F frontman Rob Laney – the two are good friends off the pitch and will meet in todays final match of the season.

C’mon you Blues!