I missed last years Focus on imaging event at the NEC, I'd just got to much work to do to be able to justify taking a day off and going for a jolly to Birmingham. I could of gone on the Sunday but the thought of the huge crowds of photography enthusiasts with their bulging Billingham camera bags always puts me off that idea, plus Dave Lee Travis might be there that day! He was there this Monday, my mate Tony spotted him.
So I was quite looking forward to a day plodding around halls 9 and 10 packed to the gunnels with the latest cameras, lighting and gadgets. I was looking for some new monolights, so headed over to the Bowens stand to have a play with the new Gemini 750 Pro heads, I've been using Bowens for the last nine years and have invested a lot in the system so wasn't really looking to change to a different manufacturer, not that it stopped me looking at other kit. The Hensel portable kit look really great, well thought out, but strong and lightweight thanks to the Lithium batteries and the metal construction. Wasn't to impressed with the Elinchrom ranger kit, to much plastic for my liking, the brolly attachment on the head look downright flimsy. The Profoto and Broncolor kit just oozed quality and refinement but it comes at a hell of a price tag too match, maybe if I win some money on the lottery, sigh, I wish!
I sat in on one of the talks on the Phase One stand, which was interesting, learned a lot about the use of smoke to create interest and mood in the background of a photograph, I remember my old boss used smoke bombs on various calendar shoots twenty years ago and getting the same sort of results, there's nothing really new when it comes to ideas for shots in photography. Phase One were right across from Leaf stand, same company different embroidered polo shirts. Hasselblad didn't turn up this year, they've got their own road-show tours going on around the country, I'd think they'd get better results going to the pros, rather than hoping they'd come to them at Focus. At least they avoided the tyre kickers how are never going to part with at least £15K of Blad gear.
Popped over to Bob Rigby Photographics stand and had a chat with Simon and Garry, there's always someone buying something from them at anytime you arrive at their stand. We wheeled and dealed for a while about equipment pricing and came to an arrangement on said Bowens kit that I'm after. Later in the day saw Simon walking across the hall and had a quick chat but soon realised that the pained expression and foot dancing he was doing that he was in dire need of a restroom and let him go on his way.
Looking around the halls there was a strong college presence, but the biggest presence was for wedding albums, well sod that, I went looking for camera gear, taking in Nikon, Canon and a couple of other manufacturers too. Looked at all the lovely inkjet machines as they frantically ran print after print to prove their worth. Saw my old Fuji rep from the E-6 processing days, Martin, now game-fully employed at Pro Film and Digital in Manchester, it was nice to catch up, I've not seen him for over 8 years, they had a couple of Sinar P2's for sale, reckon they'll be taking those home with them. A lot of second hand Canon and Nikon kit, in nice condition also graced the stand.
Saw Ben at Minute Film, selling holga cameras and lots of polaroid film, it reminds me I've still got a roll of film in my holga, need to get out and shoot that soon. It must be a bit of a change for him after his years at Hasselblad but he certainly looked happy.
Well that was it will have to wait another year to take another jolly to the NEC, unless work prevents me, wonder if Pentax will be selling their new Medium format camera over here by then?