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So it’s my birthday today and my wife has bought me a D7100 body to go with the D800 I already have and with that, I think my transition from Olympus to Nikon is complete. My remaining two Olympus bodies, the E-30 and the E-1 together with their battery grips and lenses will be packed away, probably never to be used again. It’s sad, I have loved those cameras but with 4/3 now giving way to M4/3, it’s not the route I want to take and so earlier this year I decided to move to Nikon.

An abortive liason with the D600 because of copious amounts of oil gave way to a D800 and now the D7100 has also arrived. It’s a good deal smaller than the D800 and so will be easier to take on holidays without my better half moaning about the weight of the camera gear I am taking. It will take me a while to build up the pantheon of lenses I want from within the Nikon marque, but the deed has been done.

Au revoir Olympus.

I must admit that I have never been one to use a monopod. I use a tripod for landscape work, but for general photography I have never really used a monopod. Why? Well because I found that they actually caused problems with camera movement rather than solve it. I always found that the camera wavered around a bit and I felt that I could hold the camera steadier myself without any aid.

Well I now think that like a lot of things in photography if you use the right technique, then you will benefit from that growth in expertise. In the case of a monopod, then it is about setting it up properly.

The first thing to do is to make sure your tripod is sturdy enough. you will be extending it out, so you don’t want it to be too flimsy and bend. That defeats the object. Ensure you have a ball head on the top of the monopod, as you will need to angle your camera once you have set the monopod set up. The next stage is to ensure that we make the monopod as steady as a tripod. We do that by making a tripod using our own legs and the one leg of the monopod.

Place the monopod foot about four or five feet in front of you, so that when you tilt the head back to bring the camera to your eye, it forms a 45 degree angle with the ground.  Note that you will have to increase its length by quite a bit to get the 45 degree tilt and still have it at eye level.

Monopod Stance

Monopod Stance

You now have a sturdy tripod created from the monopod and your own legs.

I’m ashamed to say, that despite living in the area for my whole life, this day was the first time I had ever been to Draycote Water. A Severn Trent Water reservoir, it is a popular place with those people who have a penchant for ‘messing about in boats’. There are also a lot of ‘twitchers’ (bird-watchers),bird photographers and fishermen who make regular trips to the water in order to indulge their hobbies.

We took a walk around on a Saturday morning when the sun was out but low in the sky and there was a cold wind blowing across the reservoir. Before we started the five mile walk around the lake, we indulged in a sausage batch (that’s a bread roll to you southerners) and a cup of coffee in the restaurant situated near the car park. I took the D800 and a couple of lenses on the walk and basically just shot those things that were happening on the water and off it.

Draycote Water

Draycote Water – Nikon D800

My brother was walking through his home town early on Armistice Sunday taking pictures of buildings and streets scenes from public roads and paths,  testing his new Olympus OMD EM-1, when a small Police van drew up alongside him and an officer got out. My brother was asked what he was doing (I think the camera should have been a clue) to which my brother told the officer he was just taking pictures around the town. The officer then asked to see the pictures he had taken. When he was asked why the policeman said it was for the prevention of terrorism. My brother showed him the images on his camera, after which the officer got in his van and went without another word.

So, once again a photographer has been victimized for no reason. For goodness sake, if they wanted, surely  terrorists could get all the information on streets from Google and I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be using a conspicuous DSLR if they were taking pictures.

This made my blood boil. It ruined my brother’s shoot (he immediately went home) and it was another example of the lack of freedom in the so-called mother of democracies. So I decided to have another look at the law, to refresh my rights.


Photographers Rights with Police

Police can…

  • Stop and search you if they reasonably suspect you to be a terrorist under Section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
  • View images on the camera you’re carrying if you’re being searched under Section 43.
  • Seize and retain your camera 
if the police officer reasonably suspects that it may contain evidence that you are a terrorist.
  • Question you if you appear to be taking photos of a member of the police force, armed forces or intelligence services.
  • Arrest you for taking pictures of the police, armed forces or intelligence services under Section 58A of the Terrorism Act 2000, if they have a reasonable suspicion that the ‘information’ is designed to provide assistance to a person committing or planning an act of terrorism.

Police can’t…

  • Stop and search you under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (which doesn’t require any suspicion of an offence having been committed).
  • Prevent you taking pictures 
on the public highway (although you could be charged with obstruction or a public order offence – breach of the peace, for example).
  • Delete or ask you to delete digital images at any point during a search under Section 43 (although they can do this following seizure if there is a court order or similar that permits it).
  • Arrest you for photographing police officers involved in the course of normal police duties and incidents (unless they have 
a reasonable suspicion that the pictures will be used for assisting terrorist activities).


Photographers Rights with Security Guards

Security guards can…

  • Ask you to stop taking photographs if you’re standing on private land without permission or a permit.
  • Use ‘reasonable force’ to remove you from private property if necessary.

Security guards can’t…

  • Prevent you taking pictures 
of private property if you’re standing on public land.
  • Take your camera equipment.
  • Look at your photographs.
  • Delete, or force you to delete, any of your shots.


So, as I read it in my brother’s case the inference was that because he was asked to let the policeman look at the images on the camera, he was being treating as a suspect under section 43. If this was the case then surely he should have been told that what was happening and an official stop and search report made by the officer.
Be aware though that teh Police can obviously make things awkward for you if they wish and also detain you under the pretext of checking your details. From what I’ve read, this time of detention for bona fide photographers picked up by our guardians of liberty has varied from 1 to 5 hours. It’s also probably best not to question an officer’s intentions on your own as the courts are more likely to believe the police if a complaint develops. You need witnesses. In this circumstance, my brother, I believe, acted sensibly.

I think it is ironic that the possible reason for the terrorism check was that the memorial parade was happening that day. Considering that those servicemen and women celebrated in the parade gave their lives for freedom, it all sucks. By curtailing and stepping on our rights, the government has given the terrorists a victory by proxy

Today saw us driving up the M1 to Chatsworth House. It had been a couple of years since we have been there and if I remember correctly we didn’t actually go in the house.
The weather was very sunny, but very cold. There was supposed to have been a large bonfire party on the 2nd November, but it was cancelled due to heavy rain. Instead it was being held on the evening of the day we were there and there were hordes of people busy everywhere on the estate.
Some of the garden was cordoned off a round a huge bonfire  and from what looked like hundreds of dangerous looking fireworks being set up alongside the lake, ready for the display in the evening.

Again I took the D800 and the low sunlight and deep dark shadows posed some interesting problems when taking images.

The image below is of the lake and some ornamental slate paving by its banks. I turned the image on its side, and liked the way that the green and the slate fragments looked like a cross-section through a plant stem.


Stem – Nikon D7100

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