Film or Digital?
Working on our latest project, which will be one of our A5-sized photo albums – more details in early-2016, it has been a case of working with scans from 35mm negatives and slides.
Ah, they were the days. My first camera was a Cosmic Symbol, but then progressed to an Olympus OM10 - I did have a period using an OM30 but didn’t like the over-exposed results.
Most of my 35mm work was initially in black and white, as through the 1970s and 1980s that was the preferred medium for media work. Most magazines at the time used black and white illustrations, but did have colour pages. For colour Kodachome 25 was preferred, but its slow speed made it somewhat unsuitable for most press work. I did use colour print as well at times and even experimented with the APS-format.
What I do recall was the care and attention given to taking the images. It was important to get it right first time. At a push maybe two shots at different exposure but there was still the wait to see the results.
When I became a full time photo journalist in the late 1980s, the nature of the job meant that films could be developed immediately after covering a job. This was as instant as it got. It also meant that for other work it was possible for clients to see the results by the next day, or even later the same day. This was a fast-paced business but little did I know it would get quicker.
Enter digital photography. Initially equipment was expensive, write time to memory cards was slow and for some early cameras there was a noticeable delay between pressing the button and the shutter being activated. Fine for still items but requiring some mental calculations on when to press the shutter for moving subjects.
Now digital is the only way, but it brings with it demands from clients - and news editors - to get the images they want instantly. It means that on many occasions clients want to see the images on the camera as soon as they are taken and before any editing.
Today we may use software such as Photoshop to improve the image, but improving the photograph is nothing new - when printing negatives ‘Dodging and Burning’ were the Photoshop of the day.
So which do I prefer. It has to be digital. Images can be monitored and viewed in ‘real time’ and changes to both exposure and composition made instantly. A typical shoot may see upwards of 50 images taken whereas perhaps there would have been less than ten if taken on negative/slide film. But, and there is always a but! Digital images still need care and attention. They need archiving in a way that will preserve them - I would recommend using an archive drive and backing it up as well. But archiving is the easy bit - we must also ensure that these archived images are adequately catalogued. How many of us just put the images in a folder and leave the file name as the one the camera created. This can be fatal, it is amazing the number of images that are sent to us for possible use in our books that have the same file name - from different photographers. Most cameras allow the default file name to be changed and if it can be done then it is something that should be done. If the file name is left as default, or as it came out of the camera at least ensure that the date and time set are correct, at least that way there is some certainty on when the image was taken.
Virgin Trains announces £21 million refurbishment for East Coast fleet: first train to enter service in December 2015
Virgin Trains has announced a £21m train refurbishment programme for its fleet of 45 trains on its east coast route. The refurbishment programme comes on top of a rebranding exercise and means that the company will have committed more than £40 million to improving its train fleet since it launched its east coast franchise in March this year, as part of its plans to invest £140 million over eight years.
The £21 million investment will be spent on the complete refurbishment of the train’s interiors. A total of 401 carriages will be overhauled with 24,123 seats replaced along with refurbished toilets, new carpets and curtains. First Class accommodation will benefit from the fitting of leather seats.
Virgin Trains will carry out the work will be carried out at its’ Bounds Green depot in London and its Craigentinny depot in Edinburgh, where it will also fit 35 new engines to its diesel High Speed Train fleet as part of a £16 million contract with engine manufacturer MTU. Further work to the exterior of the fleet takes the total investment to more than £40m.
David Horne, Managing Director of Virgin Trains on the east coast route, said: “Since Virgin started running this railway, the bar has been raised by customers who rightly demand a high quality customer experience, something which they would expect from a Virgin business, as well as getting great value for money.
“And that’s exactly what we’ve been working hard to deliver, with this multi million investment in our trains not only one of the biggest investments of its kind ever seen on the east coast route, but also three years ahead of the introduction of new Super Express Trains as part of the Government’s InterCity Express programme.
“We’re investing now so our customers can benefit from new seats and a great new on-board environment before we get a new fleet of 65 trains from 2018.”
The first fully refurbished train will enter service next month (14th December 2015) when Virgin launches its new service between Sunderland and London.
Showbus gets a new home for 2016
I was highly critical of the organisation at this year’s Showbus Rally at Woburn Abbey. I don’t intend to dwell on the failings of the Rally this year again. The gut reaction of the organisers back in September was that the future of Showbus could be in doubt.
Those feelings are unfounded as a few days ago came the announcement that Showbus will be back in 2016 with a new venue in the East Midlands.
Showbus 2016 will be held at Donnington Park and the organisers have made the following announcement.
“The venue for Showbus 2016 is Donnington Park, the first permanent Park Circuit in the UK and home to the largest showcase of Grand Prix racing cars in the world. It is also home to an extremely popular Sunday Market.
“The venue for Showbus 2016 is not the race track itself but an adjacent purpose built site owned by the Park and immediately to its west. The site boasts over 4000 square metres of tarmac and separate entrances for cars and exhibitors which should overcome the shortcomings of the nonetheless beautiful setting of last year's Woburn Abbey display.
“Coach operators will be able to combine a visit to Showbus with the nearby shopping centres and attractions of Nottingham, Leicester or Derby.
“Building on the success of last year's new format brochure a similar brochure, with more pages will be available for 2016. Feature articles will include travels by Megabus and the story of Crusader Holidays. All entrants will receive a free limited edition version, but for those buying the standard edition it will have a lucky number linked to some exclusive prizes.
Showbus is an event that has, and always will be, run for enthusiasts by enthusiasts. We aim to stage an event that is unrivalled and hope that the new venue will offer our visitors value for money as well as a new range of displays and attractions”.
We wish the organisers all the best and hope that they can overcome the disappointment faced by many exhibitors at this year’s Woburn event. They will no doubt have lost a number of exhibitors but the new location may open up the opportunity to attract entrants that have previously given Showbus a miss due to its location.
Steven Knight is a Transport Specialist who has over 40 years experience in the bus and rail industries as well as in specialist transport journalism. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists.