If you want to use any of my pictures - please ask first. I'm usually pretty accomodating as long as people have the good manners to ask me before using them.

May 2009 - PhotographyBB.com - this is a great site run by Dave Seeram - it not only has some great forums, but Dave produces a monthly online magazine. This is very professionally put together, contains some great content and no adverts or biased opinions. I've been a contributing author for the last 7 issues now - here's some of the articles I've written:

Issue 12: Photographer Spotlight
Issue 13: Understanding Histograms
Issue 14: Understanding Lenses, Focal Lengths, Crop Factors and More...
Issue 15: Choosing the right gear: Lenses and Lens Accessories...
Issue 16: Part 1 of Photography FAQ
Issue 17: Part 2 of Photography FAQ
Issue 18: Part 3 of Photography FAQ (due out end July 09)

If you want to take a look at this great free magazine: www.photographybb.com/magazine/

April 2008 - Creative Photography Web Site
Drop by and take a look! If you like photography and quizes - we've got a great one on there (120 questions).

The best photo reference website is up and running. This is a non-commercial site which MrPhilDog and I have produced and we will hopefully be adding lots of interesting stuff up there over the next few weeks/months/years. So if there's anything you want to know about photography, keep an eye on this site as it grows. And best of all, it's free.

20 October 2007 profile update:

I have started work on my latest project - a book on 'Creative Digital Photography'. Along with fellow Flickr photographer MrPhilDog, we hope to produce the definitive book on the subject. We might well be looking for a couple of people to proof read it for us and provide additional input so let me know if you might be interested via FlickrMail.

7 October 2007 profile update:

I finally did it - I went and got me a DSLR thanks to MrPhilDog who, after a little persuation, decided to sell me his old Canon 350D for a very reasonable price (he bought himself an EOS 40D the lucky sod)!

I am not abandoning my Fuji S9600 though (as I can't afford the lenses for the Canon to match the Fuji's zoom range). However the days of being infuriated by the Fuji's slow auto focus and poor ISO 800/1600 performance have gone. I just pick up Mr. EOS.

September 2007

For the last 6 months I had about 2 sentences written here in my profile but a fellow photographer who I regularly go on photo shoots with (MrPhilDog on FlickR) really put me to shame when I noticed he'd written a short novel for his profile. So as I have 10 minutes free between entertaining the kids and cooking their dinner, I thought I would update mine.

I first got into photography when I was about 13-14 when my older brother gave me his Chinon CE-4 SLR camera. I was so chuffed that I must have shot about 10 films worth in the first week. And then spent ages trying to convince my mum to pay for the developing. I got into it in a big way - and even bought a second hand power winder for it and a couple of extra lenses. Could not afford a zoom so I had a 28mm, a 50mm and a 105mm (this last one cost be a fiver since it made a grinding noise when you turned the focus ring).

That old Chinon was a good camera that lasted me about 4 years, until I upgraded to a Pentax P30T (the Chinon used the Pentax K-mount so it was a logical choice). For the first time ever I also had a zoom lens (35-105 I think!)

I still loved taking pictures but was always disappointed in the results when I got them back from the developers. I of course used to blame their quality control and now of course I realised I was right. Because of this, and the fact I lived on my own and had the space, I converted my loft of my house into a darkroom, and got into black and white.

A good friend of mine (the one referred to in paragraph 1 who can waffle as much as me) was studying A-level photography at the time so he showed me how to do a lot of the technical stuff, and in exchange I let him use the darkroom to develop pictures and practice his skydiving!!! (read MrPhilDogs profile to find out what that's all about).

Although this was rewarding as well as educational, I eventually bought my first digital camera in 1999 just prior to the birth of my first child. Kids already cost a fortune so it was handy being able to save money on film. It was a 0.7MP Fuji DX-10. Colour noise was dreadful, and there was no way it could hold a candle to my Pentax P30, but I loved the thing, and took on average 200 pictures of month of our newborn. Although every few months I would shoot off a roll of film in the Pentax just for the quality.

A 2MP Fuji A201 followed which could actually do pretty good 6x4 prints, although at the time it was too much of a hassle to actually bother with so they all just stayed on hard disk. I'll get round to it one day.

In April 2006 - the day before we were due to go on holiday to Scotland, we lost the camera. After spending about 5 hours seaching the house, we gave up and I ended up having to buy a new Digital camera at the only camera shop in Fort William (probably the only one in the Highlands). As you can imagine the choice was limited and they charged about 30% more than internet sites, but what choice did I have. I bought a Panasonic Lumix 4MP camera - which had a 6 times optical zoom - something I had specifically wanted as the Fuji had no zoom at all bar the digital zoom but that's the work of the devil.

Of course within hours of returning from our holiday we found the little Fuji in a bin bag - our 1 year old son obviously decided 2 megapixels was not enough for his baby pictures.

The Panasonic rekindled my interest in more creative photography and a decided that I needed something with more manual control. After a bit of debating with MrPhilDog on whether I go for a DSLR or a decent bridge (prosumer) camera, I opted on the grounds of cost for a Fuji S9600. The long 10.7x zoom with a 28mm wide end and all the normal features of a DSLR (PASM, continuous shooting, hot shoe, RAW mode, 3 AE modes, AE lock, CF card slot blah blah blah) for £280 - a Canon 400D with an equivalent zoom range was over £600 at the time.

Although I sometimes wish for the faster auto focus of a DSLR and the lower noise shots at high ISO, these are about the only 2 things I miss not having a DSLR. Of course now that my interest has been rekindled, I'm sure a DSLR will be next on my list. If anyone wants to donate one, you know where I am.

The Wirral Bells. Get yours at bighugelabs.com/flickr

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  • Liverpool Daily Post  by Mickmac37
  • A Wirral Bell... by MrPhilDog

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Colin Bell
November 2006
Wirral, near Liverpool
Wallasey, UK
I am:
Male and Taken
Environmental Scientist
Creative Photography