Malahide Sea Scouts Centenary Photograph 2019

It's not often that you get to photograph a Scout Troop that dates back a hundred years but that is precisely how old the Malahide Sea Scouts are. Ten years ago I was the official photographer who captured the 90th year celebrations and with the advances of technology they opted to capture an aerial view for their official Centenary photograph this time round.

So this year I joined the hundreds of parents and relatives who were assembled and decided to go for detail rather than quality as I had no way of communicating my wishes to the assembled troop of over 500 people. Using a Gigapan Epic Pro and Nikon 7000 with 100mm Tokina 2.8 lens, I captured this remarkable 300+ megapixel image while the drone was attempting to photograph them from the air. Unfortunately the drone was in front of the mid-day sun and most struggled to look at it and others shielded their faces, but still it makes for an interesting photograph. There are one or two anomalies which I intend to correct but see if you can see them? Click here to see the full 300+ megapixel image.


Picking a Paper!

Finding the correct paper for printing photographs on inkjet!

It is one thing to have access to wonderful papers on which to make beautiful photographic prints but unless we have some guide lines as to what images look great on what papers we can find ourselves waisting a lot of valuable paper and ink before we find the right one. Googling "What is the best paper for my photograph" will bring up tons of answers but none of them express a method that helps you analyse a photograph to help you to match it to a suitable paper.

After years of experiments and recognising images that work better on certain papers I have finally put my own thoughts down on how I choose a paper. I showed this recently to a gathering of about 60 photographers and the majority found it very easy to understand and very useful.

It works great about 90% of the time and I have attached a downloadable version of the "Sheldon Method" cheat sheet here.
If you agree or disagree with my findings then please do comment below or leave a positive not in my guest book on the site. Like all rules in photography, they can be broken.

Take credit cards with ease!

I'm a firm believer that if you found a product that works for you, you should talk about it. Well when I was looking for a portable credit card solution, my old friend and customer, David Monahan suggested that I look at SumUp. After a brief look at the terms and conditions, I signed up and have not looked back since. That was over 2 years ago.

It cost me €79 for the device which you link to your smart phone (i-phone or Android) and a few clicks later you are taking payments. SumUp take 1.95% straight off the sale and deposit the rest into my bank account in about 2 working days. There are no other monthly or hidden fees. Those that know me and have seen me talk around the country at the PhotoExpo shows with Derek Balfe and Podge Kelly will have seen me publicly promote SumUp as tool to help grow your business. My general quip is "show me a credit card and I'll show you how it works"! It should be said that I have no affiliation with the Sum Up people or company and previously never received any payment for recommending the device. Both Derek and Podge signed up after seeing me with it.

Well enough said, as SumUp are finally going to reward me too by giving me €20 for every new customer that signs up through my referral. Good for you I hear you sarcastically say but there is good news for you also. If you sign up using my link you too will save €20 off the buy price, making it a once off fee of €59 (no monthly fees)........And the link is:

Have a nice day!

Sales are going UP!

When Mike, an amateur photographer (who takes professional quality photographs) contacted me with a view to updating his Epson R3000 (A3+) with a printer that could produce larger prints for a forthcoming exhibition he was planning I assumed he meant an A2 printer.

However, that could not have been further from the truth as he quickly explained that he wanted to print BIGGGG! So without much hesitation he settled on the New Epson Surcolor P8000 printer capable of printing on 44" rolls, but that was the easy bit! A quick site survey of Mike's penthouse apartment high up in fashionable Malahide revealed that Mike's plans might be hard to realise. You see Mike wants to print from home and although his apartment has modern wide-door access and a lift to his front door it was never designed to get a P8000 delivered. The lift was too short (only by a few inches) and the stairwell twisted and turned like a python around it's prey. Putting the printer into the lift and raising one end would not work as the depth of the printer was millimetres too large.

No the answer was simple, if Mike wanted a printer in his penthouse it was going up vertically! Either by the twisting stairs or the lift? So with out much fuss the machine (measuring 73" long without the packaging) was delivered and man-handled into the corridor, then un-packed, packaging left on one end (extra 3") tilted vertical onto two sheets of gloss MDF boards and slid into the lift with less that 2" height clearance. My son Thomas accompanied it skywards where we, having run up the stairs met him and we simply rotated it back down onto it's trolley and wheeled it into it's new location inside Mike's spacious apartment. Simple!

Delighted to say that Mike is now up and running and printing beautiful  44" wide images on Canson fine art papers.

All in a days work!!!!

Note to myself!  Do not attempt this on the hottest day in Ireland in 3 years (30c) and if possible convince the customer to buy the P6000, a 24" version of the same printer. If all else fails let the competition have the sale!!!!

Sitting with Constable and Turner!

Yesterday I was privileged to be part of an Epson trip to the UK along with the Daniel Rafferty and Julieanne Houghton from Epson's offices in Dublin. The venue was the Royal Academy Schools in London for the official launch of the new Epson Surecolor P6000, P7000, P8000 and P9000 series printers. Epson has had quite a long history with the Royal Academy going back prior to the launch of the Stylus pro 11880 and during the presentation we were given a brief history tour of the Academy. Of particular note was the fact that we were in the Life Drawing Room and seated in the same seats as once occupied by the great British painters, John Constable and William Turner. The various sinewy statues bore testament as to the authenticity of the claim and 18th century softbox shone intensely on the 21st century products on display.

The new printers although similar to previous models have two major leaps forward in technology namely HDX Ink and the new Precision Core print head. Epson's latest ink, HDX Ink, extends the range of the colour gamut and the Precision Core print technology further reduces the size of the ink droplet with improved nozzle monitoring and more custom cleaning options. The confusing names however take a bit of getting used to with the 9 colour non violet, orange or green ink models being the even numbers P6000 (24") & P8000 (44") and the odd numbers P7000 (24") and P9000 (44") holding the 11 inks including orange and green inks with the option at the time of purchase to choose either a Violet or Light Light Black option depending on your needs. Prices are as yet to be confirmed but should be in line with the existing current models. Shipping probably around mid November!

Keeping up with Google!

A few years back I found myself driving in the wilds of Kilkenny, lost. I reached for my map to find I had left it at home and now I was really lost. My new Android Samsung phone had navigation built in so I activated it, type in where I wanted to go and..........nothing happened! Just and update icon appeared. I drove on till I reached a crossroads and my phone belted out "At the junction turn right". I was amazed that suddenly my phone was a GPS device, mostly thanks to Google.

Move forward 7 years or so and I find myself taking pictures in Sligo. Late at night on the new quayside by the Garavogue river and I decide to do a panorama type image, hand held of the various bars and lights across the river. With auto backup of images set to upload to Google+ I was amazed to see that Google recognised my poor panorama attempt and stitched the images for me to create the image you see below. All without me asking or doing anything! Frightening and amazing at the same time.


Getting ready for Banbridge

Looking forward to our next PhotoExpo roadshow in the Belmont Hotel in Banbridge, Co. Down on the 31st of March next. This time around we are asking people to register using the Eventbrite booking system and I must say it's a joy to use. If you are holding any kind of a function I would suggest you give it a try. You can also browse through other events that they are taking bookings for which you might not have heard about.

So Santa is about to set off!

So Santa is about to set off, just one more sleep!

Follow him here on the Santa Tracker:

I also have a few other good links too:
Proving Santa Claus Is Real
Wonders and Physics of Santa Claus
Santa Claus Is Real and Here’s the Proof
Get a video from Santa here:

Merry Christmas one and all. has a complaint!

I was somewhat surprised at this spam email that I got today which went as follows:
Hello, I am writing in an unusual case ... Some time ago, I used your services, and one of your employees face was familiar to me. At dinner with my wife, it turned out that he was a burglar, who 5 years ago broke into our home!!! This is ridiculous!!! How you can hire criminals? I found at least 3 bad entries for him at website for background check!! I am sure there are more!!! Please do something about it, things like that are ridiculous!!!

This message purported to come from and after reading it I knew it had to be spam. It would appear that one of my employees has a criminal record and being such a small company I know this is not true. Secondly I am surprised that Kathie has a wife!. Strange that there was no link either but I can only assume that if you made contact with them that you would then be blackmailed or something. Anyway it's another one that is going in the bin and if you get it I would suggest that you too do the same too......

Sheldon sues and wins £25,000stg..........

Sheldon sues and wins.......
Now before you all believe that I've come into money let me say that it's not me! A photographer in the UK who had his photograph used without his permission and was lucky enough to spot it got his just reward, and his name is Jason Sheldon. Check out the story here.

Gigapan Possibilities!

When I demonstrate the Gigapan system to my customers most are not sure where it fits into their style of photography. Most assume that unless they do large-scale landscape panoramas they have no need for it.
Well I have had the system for a fortnight now and already I have discovered a whole range of applications for the system and some of them are listed below.

1. Did you know that you can take wide-angle and ultra wide-angle images without noticeable distortion and for less than the price of a high quality wide-angle lens! It is easy to take images of 180 degree scenes and indeed complete 360 degree panoramas and all angles in between.

2. The obvious, large-scale landscape panoramas to be used as art pieces. These are ideally suited to being produced on canvas and stretched on custom made frames. This does away with problems with maximum sizes of conventional mount board, glass and backing board and means that they can also be transported in kit form and assembled on-site. If you own a large format printer and print for others why not buy a Gigapan to rent to your customers and encourage them to print large?

3. Web based imagery. With Gigapan's unique hosting service it is possible to have your images hosted for free on the Gigapan's website where they will allow you to generate html code to embed a flash operated image directly into any other website allowing the viewer to dive into the depths of the Gigapixel image. This feature will help draw customers to the client's website, encourage the viewer to stay and browse longer on the page which can help search engines rate the page higher. The view from Mrs Murphy's Bed and Breakfast for instance.
A new feature which is also available is the ability to embed a fully working image directly into Facebook which means that the thumbnail of the image has a triangle player button over it which when clicked allows the viewer once again to dive into the detail of the image.

4. Banner images for websites. How many websites use the long thin panorama shape image for their banner headline. This is extremely easy to do with a Gigapan.

5. Have you ever needed a higher pixel count from your camera? No need to shoot hundreds of images but simply take the photograph with say 12 images and get up to about 10 times the pixel count (allow for overlap). Photograph a painting for example and see ever bit of detail!

6. Architectural photography. Works really well in this arena as the extra pixel count and the availability of an array of third party distortion software helps the photographer correct and align the image in a multiple of ways and with huge detail not available on most single shot cameras. It goes a long way to replace tilt and shift lenses.

7. Wide angle photographs with shallow depth of field. Most wide angle lenses have a very large depth of field making selective focusing impossible. With Gigapan you can place the wedding couple in the field of flowers, select a wide aperture (f2.8) focussed on them and shoot the scene. If needed you can re-pose the couple again and shoot them at the same lens/camera setting and still on the gigapan and simply drop them into the composite image.

GigaPanning For Gold........

It has been a long time since the photographic industry in Ireland has seen anything like a gold rush.

Photographers have seen a huge influx of competitors into the industry and along with a decline in the economy which inevitably lhas lead to a downturn in prices. Photographers today need to be able to offer services that others don't in order to stay afloat and many have searched for that special product that could set them apart.

Check out the Gigapan systems and discover a new niche for your business while it is still very new. As Gigapan distributors for Ireland we got our first delivery on Friday afternoon and less than 24 hours later we had figured out how to setup the Gigapan Epic Pro, take and process a picture and produce this stunning panorama of Malahide, North County Dublin. I know many of you will say what am I going to do with such a big image but apart from framing it as one huge panorama it could be chopped into a smaller triptych (dont know what a 5 panel image is) added to your's or a client's website to draw people in or used as an interactive image on a screen. My son even wants his bedroom wallpapered in one big image! However ther are more practicle uses too such as 360 degree images of indoor spaces, small 10 or 12 image composites of art pieces to reslove huge detail in paintings etc. I'm sure you have loads more ideas too so if you want to get into "Panning For Gold" just get in touch to see if Gigapan Robotic Heads are for you. Have a look at my first hi-res image here.

Always take a photograph with the sun behind you!

My mother was the person who got me into taking photographs and in the old days the film came with instructions. Basic instructions, but with 3 symbols for the light (Sunny, Sunny with Cloud and Cloud) and various f stops and shutter speeds.
My mum had the best instructions though and these were set the camera to f8 at 125sec exposure and try and keep the sun behind you. If you are photographing people get them to stand at about 45 degrees to the sun so the light is not right in their eyes.

So why all this? Well now we have a website that shows where the sun is at any given time of the day and is invaluable to anybody photographing landscapes or even trying their hand at Gigapan / Gigapixel images.

Follow this link to the Sun Calculator website. Thanks for the link Paddy.

Web images looking way too saturated on wide gamut monitors?

Have you suffered the same problem that when you view images on the web that they appear to glow with extra saturation. If so then read on as I hope you will find the solutions below.
Monitors today can be classed in three categories, namely standard, wide and ultra-wide gamut monitors. Standard Gamut Monitors which are by far the most common attain in or around the sRGB colour space (average range of colour). Wide Gamut Monitors attain around about 98% of the colours found in the Adobe 1998 colour space and Wide Gamut Monitors (very rare indeed) exceed the Adobe 1998 colour space and as I write that is about 8% extra colour.
The problem of images when viewed on the web first came to my attention when I uploaded some images and viewed them on a wide gamut monitor where they appeared to have gained saturation by an alarming amount. This happened to be an old Macintosh running OSX10.4 and a Lacie 324i monitor (attains about 98% of the adobe space) and viewing through Firefox. After googling for a bit I came to the conclusion that there were no answers out there for me although there were plenty of answers for the opposite where colours were loosing their saturation. This opposite problem is generally down to saving images with the Adobe 1998 or similar profile and not using the web standard sRGB space.
Back to the case in hand however and when images tagged with the sRGB profile are viewed on a standard monitor the images appear fine so why is it that on a wide gamut monitor images do they gain in saturation? This took on a greater degree of a problem when we installed a LaCie 724 Ulra-Wide Gamut monitor. We calibrated this monitor using a Datacolor Spyder3 Elite with the colour profile mode set to v4 profile instead of the older v2 profile.and although images in Lightroom and Photoshop looked great and printed very, very close to the soft proof image they were a mile away in both Safari and Firefox but once again on a standard monitor on a different computer they did appear fine. Up until now I had resigned myself to the fact that wide/ultra wide gamut monitors should not be used to view images on the web as generally the web is not really considered to be colour managed.
However I now have the solution:  Do not generate v4 profiles on older computers as some programs may not read them correctly and secondly you need to setup Firefox to correctly  use color management by typing into the address bar: " about:config " without the inverted comas, accept the warning, and then scrolling to " gfx.color_management.mode " and after clicking on it change the number to " 1 ".  Problem solved for me anyway and I hope this works for others too.

Daily postings on Facebook.

For over a month now I have been posting a post every day on Facebook. The numbers have swelled over that time and we certainly seem to be growing our "Likes". I'm not sure how that will relate to sales but at the moment a lot more people now know about us. If you are not already "liking" us and following us then you can do so here.

Jessops in serious trouble!

As Jessops, the Uk's major camera shop retailer goes into administration you have to ask what is the future for camera shops?
It would appear that Christmas 2012 showed poor sales for budget cameras as people move towards phones and mobile devices instead of cameras. Having spoken to one major manufacturer, sales in high end cameras still showed strength but overall camera sales were poor.
Jessops closed their shops in Dublin a few years ago and have relied on their shops in Derry, Belfast and Newry to service the Irish market. Jessops employ around 2000 people in the UK.
If their shops here were to close I believe that short term it would be good news for camera shops in the Republic of Ireland but long term closures of any camera shops cannot be good for the industry. More news on Jessops here.

Bren O'Neill receives his Licentiateship from the I.P.F.

As a member of the Malahide Camera Club it is always great to see new talent coming into the club. Recently we were joined by a new landscape photographer, Bren O'Neill and for the recent Irish Photographic Federation (I.P.F.) distinctions sitting in Thurles Bren approached us to help print his panel for submission. Having printed many of the submissions from the club previously Bren was the only applicant that went forward for this particular sitting.

With ten images on hand we experimented with different paper choices to suit the mood and feel of his images and finally settled on Canson Baryta 310. This paper has been receiving some fabulous reviews lately and combined with Bren's stunning images, I was never in doubt that his panel would succeed.

It passed with flying colours and Bren has been busy talking at various clubs and exhibiting his work since. You can check out his panel here and his website at this link.

Well done Bren O,Neill L.I.P.F. (How about the "A" for 2013?)

Malahide Camera Club wins the Shield

Malahide Camera Club wins the Irish Photographic Federation's National Shield as the overall winner for Ireland. The National Shield competition was held on the 11th of November last in Ballyfermot by the Satsun Photographic Group. This competition is open to all clubs in Ireland who are affiliated to the IPF (a good reason to join) and is based on work by the non advanced workers from the clubs. As a member of Malahide Camera Club I am delighted for all involved and proud that Sheldon Photographic printed their entry. In addition the overall winning Black and White print was one by Rob Weld from Malahide whose print we also printed. Cork Camera Club came second and Fermoy came third. It is worth mentioning that the Fermoy club is only a little over two years old too. You can check out some of the panels here.

Photokina here I come!

Going to Photokina?

It's Photokina time again in Cologne from the 18th-23rd of September. This year it seems cheaper than ever to get there so I do hope tha the show will be well attended. At the last show, two years ago, I was surprised how much smaller than previous years the show had become. In fairness I had missed a couple of years in between but even so there was no bunting at Dusseldorf airport, no airships with photo advertising, no boats sponsored and very few photosigns on taxis which were all part of tyhe buzz a few years back.

I am once again attending so I might see a few familiar faces in the Corkonian Irish Bar in the evening time and I look forward to seeing the latest and greatest inventions from suppliers to bring back home to Ireland.

100 Year old Sea Scouts

Saturday the 14th of April and while most people were having a lye in I was in Croke Park getting ready to photograph all the Sea Scouts in Ireland, for their centenary photographs. Initially it was thought that the numbers could be in excess of 1500 but thankfully for me numbers were quite a bit shy of this figure.
Despite the cold we managed to get some great record shots of the event, one of which I enclose here. Well done to all who attended and to those that helped put the shot together.

Trim Balloon Fiesta, good photo opportunity!

Trim Balloon Fiesta all set for the 7th-9th April next. Check out their facebook page for more information.

Ansel Adams video link.....

Ansel Adams video link.....

I just stumbled across this link to documentaries that are available to view free on you tube and there is a great  one on the life of Ansel Adams. Check it out here.

Back from Focus on Imaging........

Now that the dust has settled on "Focus on Imaging" it is great to be back in Ireland and picking up loads of sales from the show. The show was well attended by people from Ireland and One Photographic album supplier from Ireland even had a stand there, well done Tony Holmes from Photostorie. Our own friend and colleague Brian Hopper was on the Canson stand and had his worked showcased there. Michael O'Sullivan from Cork gave a fantastic talk on the Royal Photograpic Society's stand and Daniel Rafferty from Epson and Gary Ryan from Fuji were both working hard on their own stands. We managed to secure some great show deals on Epson and Canson so give us a ring if you are in the market for products.

Check out some pictures too that I took while in Birmingham.

Myself and Brian Hopper on the Canson stand with one of Brian's images.

Focus on Imaging

I'm off to Birmingham in the morning to the Focus on Imaging show. You'll catch me between the Hahnemuehle, Canson and Epson stands. We have one of our own, Brian Hopper from Dundalk showcasing hios work on various papers on the Canson stand.

Drop by and say hi and check out his website.

Nikon equipment stolen in Dublin!

It would appear that following the NPS roadshow in Dublin at the weekend that the van transporting the equipment was stolen. Among the items stolen were the new D4 and D800 cameras and a host of lenses. More details here along with serial numbers.

The New Fuji X-Pro1 Camera

I got my hands on the New Fuji X-Pro1 camera today a full 3 weeks before it's official launch at Focus on Imaging. Lovely feel to the camera, again with a similar viewfinder to the X100. The powers to be were not impressed that I took some pictures on my phone even though there are loads of pictures on the web already.

Got myself a mention in the Hahnemuehle Fineart Newsletter....

The January edition of the Hahnemuehle Fineart Newsletter had  a nice write up on me and the company. Read it here.

The weekend with the IPF in Athlone

I travelled down to Athlone on Sunday as Epson's representative at the Irish Photographic Federation, Print and Projected Image Awards. I believe that there were 701 images judged so well done to all who entered, judged and worked behind the scenes to put this show on the road.

Do you want to listen to photography radio while working on an image?

I often find myself working late on the computer and having recently discovered a podcast series from the esteemed photographers, Peter Cox, Neil McShane and Roger Overall, I find it interesting to listen to while I work. Check out their podcasts on the following link:

Sometimes the facts are unbelievable....

I came across this news item on the BBC recently and I still can't believe it. Check it out and remember I welcome comments:

We are giving away a free Nikon Digital Camera on our Facebook Page

One lucky person who likes our Sheldon Photographic page and puts a comment on this post will win a FREE Nikon L23 compact digital camera. We will even throw in a 4gb card and a Nikon case for good measure. Entry is restricted to postal addresses in Ireland and the closing date is midnight on the 26th of November with the draw taking place on the 30th of November, just in time for Christmas. Only one entry per person. Click here to enter on our Facebook page

Just launched our Facebook Page.......

Having been convinced for quite a while now of the benifits of Facebook I have decided to go with a facebook page for the company. I know that it all about getting members or likes on the site so to try and get this up and running as soon as possible we will be holding a draw for a Nikon Compact Camera  in about two weeks time. To enter all you have to do is "Like" our facebook page. Click here and make sure you like the page:

Steve Jobs a man who never gave up....

As Steve Jobs passed away earlier this week and news reports show how this iconic man shaped the history of the World in the computer age one has to ask will we ever see his like again. A visionary who saw the potential of the computer and probably more importantly the need for a mouse and an icon based sofware system. I still remember an early Mac advertisment which stated "Windows 95-Mac 85" when Windows adapted to an operating system similar to the Macintosh. Getting fired from Apple did not stop him but made him more determined to suceed with another great company Pixar Animation. Pixar a pioneering company with computer generated images gave us Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Cars and a host of other famous pictures. Having parted on such bad terms with Apple, Steve was man enough to accept a position back at Apple in 1996 and brought us the I-Mac, I-Pod, I-Phone and lately the I-Pad all under his leadership. Check out this speech that he made at Stanford University in 2005 by clicking on the icon below.

Visiting the Swords Photographic Group

Going back to the Swords Photographic Group this evening having being involved in it about 10 years ago. Tonight it is to judge their summer competition and while I'm looking forward to it I'm also nervous as hell.
Wish me luck!

Projector Fun

While doing a stocktake recently I realised that we still had some great deals on Epson EB-X10 projectors and that we should look at ways at increasing sales in these. If any of you creative types feel like putting a show like this together we have great deals on projectors. Check out this show link.

London's burning, London's burning, fetch the engine........

  London's burning, London's burning, fetch the engine........This line is taken from a popular children's nursery rhyme written about the 1666 "Great Fire Of  London"  but it could equally well be for the Blitz or the events of the last few nights. How gangs can be allowed to roam the streets of the UK's cities looting, burning and murdering is beyond me. Whether it is well known shops like Jessops and Argos or the humble Asian run corner shop these criminals seem beyond control as they destroy centuries old businesses and family dwellings with out a care in the world. Rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas work in most cities of the world but in the UK it seems these can't be used. A few pictures below symbolise to me what really is going on and I am heartened by the communities that have gathered together to clean up the aftermath of these riots. My sympathies and prayers go out to the parents of Haroon Jahan, 21 and Brothers Shazad Ali, 30 and Abdul Musavir, 31 who were murdered while trying to keep looters away from their neighbourhood.

Blue White and Red.....

Yesterday was Bastille Day, the national day for France and we had our own open day to celebrate our stocking of a new brand of paper, Canson, which is made in France.
We had on hand the esteemed photographer, Brian Hopper, to show us his wonderful work that has gained him notoriety around the world. Brian also exhibited prints that had won him many medals in many international salons and had some examples of single images printed on variety of different fine art papers. The subtle difference in the results had many of the guests debating their favourite papers and perhaps the French wine that we had on hand encouraged a little too much debate.
I had initially intended to have Blue, White and Red bunting in the colours of the French flag decorating our offices outside but after it was suggested that it could be misinterpreted as having a connection to the 12th celebrations in Northern Ireland we thought perhaps to curtail it slightly. 
Politics......still the people that turned up at our free event were treated to a fantastic and open talk by by Brian, saw a presentation on colour management which explained in a simplistic way how important this is to have correct and went away happy with some good deals.

Photo Ireland Festival July 1st -31st 2011.......

Ireland in July looks like an interesting place for photographers. Check out the Photo Ireland Festival for exhibitions, workshops talks and all things photographic. Check out what's on and where by ckicking on this link. Photoireland

The morning after the Podge worksop...

Well it seemed to go well at the Podge Kelly workshop last night and yesterday afternoon at our offices. With over 20 people in attendance Nik Software was firmly launched in Ireland. Podge's workshop outlined the benifits of this great software package, or should I say packages and his use of it certainly transformed the images that he worked on. Check out Nik Software for yourself  here and remember it is available at Sheldon Photographic.

President Obama lands at Dublin

For those that don't know our premises are within sight of Dublin Airport and about five minutes ago while downloading some pictures from my camera and listening to the radio I realised that Air Force One was about to land. I pointed the
camera out the window and managed to get this picture in the dark wet skies over Dublin.

The Vision of Ken Sklute 15th May

An interesting workshop on in the Red Cow Hotel and organised by Podge Kelly is on this weekend. Ken Sklute from America is giving a one day workshop and by all accounts this is one that is not to be missed. Check out Ken's website here and give Podge a call to book a space at 087 2212354, €40 if you pre-book or €50 on the day. Tell him Sheldon sent you!

Date with Data...

Datacolor, the colour calibration professionals have put together a series of Webinar events to help you understand the theory and practice behind the products that they sell and how they work. The next event is on the 19/4/11 and is on Lens Calibration so be sure to check out this link for more information.

Caught Speeding.....

I got quite a shock when I discovered that I had been caught speeding. Check out this site and enter your reg here to see if the new vans have got you. Works for Ireland and the UK

What a bum deal.......

A iconic photograph that most people my age and I remember as teenager has finally had the model's identity released. For some reason I expected that she would still look the same but I guess 35 years is quite a long time and you never did see her face in the original shot. The photograph graced cards, calendars and posters for the Athena company and over 2 million copies were sold. It turns out that the model in question, Fiona Walker never did get any payment for the shot.

Now that's what I call a bum deal.

Just been watching the news of the earthquake in Japan

I can't imagine what an earthquake of 8.9 feels like and the devastation that it will cause. The following tsunami that has followed is equally frightning. My thoughts and prayers to all that are caught up in it especially those at sea waiting for the wave to hit their ships and boats.Live coverage here

What a week.........

I do not propose to go into details here but many of you know what happened to me this week. As I expected I did not think I would be able to make Focus on Imaging in Birmingham and how right I was. Thanks to all who showed support.

Met with a Dragon today....

9.00am meeting with one of the Dragon's, Gavin Duffy from the TV program "Dragons Den". This was an event hosted by the Fingal Independent newspaper and held in the Carnegie Court Hotel in Swords to highlight and show the benefits of advertising and the various pit falls associated with it. It turned out to be very low key and targeted event with about five or six attendants and about the same number of Fingal Independent representatives. A Dragon's lair if you like! From his part Gavin (as I like to call him now) spoke honest sense and outlined the requirements to advertise more in a recession. I certainly have been guilty of breaking some of the golden rules in previous advertising campaigns and I hope that going forward my advertising will be more focussed.
However next came the hard sell. Your signatures been required on paper that day to secure the ultra special rates for a years advertising with the paper. You have to sign here so that I can ring you on Friday to discuss this further.......WHY!
Now I know there is no such thing as a free lunch (and there wasn't one anyway) but If you want my business sell the idea to me gently and don't put me on the spot to make an instant decision as I will always say no. That's been the case since the 80's when I joined Amway (multi level marketing company) and my the look on my Mother's and Father's face when I told them said enough. In this recession I will now always take time out before making decisions and at the investment that they were looking at, it will need more than four days thoughts!

Did you lose a film in Brooklyn's Prospect Park, New York?

Did you lose a film in New York? Check out this you tube video Here.

Photosynth, Seadragon, and Flickr and..............

If you're a Flickr user then be prepared to see your images pop up where you least expect them! I remember seeing this software product launch about 2 years ago but would you believe it was first shown in 2006! Check out what can happen to your images it you don't read the terms and conditions when joining and using social media sites. If you thought "Google Street View" was cool then check out Photosynth and Seadragon here. As I write the Flickr home page tells me that it has had 3,053 uploads in the last minute , 160,129 things tagged with morning and 3.9 million geotagged this month things . I'm sure you will agree that that is a lot of images. I wonder where they buy their hard drives?

Interesting feature on the BBC

I spotted this interesting feature on making money from your photographs on the BBC. Some of the new technology in compacts is demonstrated and a discussion where the lines between amateur photography and professional photography are being crossed. Check it out here.

Simple padlock alarm, alarm your camera gear

Some of you know that I am into motorbikes and yesterday I stumbled upon this padlock alarm. Now I already have a disc alarm but  thought this would make a good addition to my shed door or, and my reason for posting, for locking around a camera bag when stored in the boot of a car. It went on sale in Aldi stores countrywide on the 23rd of January so if you are reading this way in the future you are waaaay too late. €9.99  and it works.

What a hoot at the Malahide Camera Club...

The guest speaker at the Malahide Camera Club last night was one of Irelands best known photographers, John Hooton. From Mallow in Cork, John showed a huge selection of his images taken on both Velvia slide film and a Nikon D3.

A landscape photographer, John's work was amazing and his latest images exude an almost ghostly feel with ultra low shutter speed seashore images. John bought all his scanning and printing equipment from me (Epson v750 and Epson 3800) about 2 years ago and even though I spent a day in his house installing them, he was taken by surprise when I introduced myself and initially failed to recognise me. Too much Christmas pudding and Chinese meals I fear although John explained it by seeing me out of context and not as a salesman. What ever the reason it did not detract from John's quality talk and superbly printed images and I strongly suggest that you attend any seminar you can with this talented photographer and gently spoken man as the whole evening was a vision of a relaxing landscape imagery combined with real life quips surrounding each picture. Check out John's website or get your name down for one of his workshops in Dingle.

Vivian Maier, A photographer discovered.

I stumbled on this video of a previously unknown photographer, Vivian Maiers. A Chicago based collector, John Maloof bought a box of negatives for 400$ that could be worth over 30K$. He has since bought several other boxes of her processed and un-processed negatives. I find it interesting that he is scanning all the images on an Epson V750 scanner and what looks like an Epson 2880, both of which we sell. Follow this link for more information.

Got my ticket for Focus on Imaging.

Opened my post this morning and got my ticket for "Focus on Imaging". Now that's early! Normally I get it around the middle of February and the show starts the end of it. This year it does not start till the 6th of March and runs till the 9th. If you have not been before it is a good show to go to as it is based in the NEC in Birmingham and is right beside the Birmingham Airport. Just fly in on a cheap ticket and walk to the show but before you buy anything give the suppliers back home in Ireland a call. I don't know how many times I have met a customer in the airport on the way back who bought what they thought was a bargain only to discover that we or our competitors sell a similar or better product at much the same price back home. Support our own and all that, and give me a call if you are going and maybe we can meet for a coffee.

New Year and all that.

Well Christmas and the New Year are now passed and I trust that most of you made the most out of the Holidays to replenish the batteries and all that. From what I hear it seems that a lot of Families got a little extra for Christmas in the form of Flu/Swine Flu (A pig of a Flu) although so far our house has escaped. We did get the kids vaccinated last year for it so perhaps that has paid off. For anybody who was affected may I wish you and yours a speedy recovery.
A New Year is always a good time to review one's business model and we are no exception. Having been dealing with one supplier for over 13 years we both decided that it was time for them to get to know what we do. It brought to light some services that could be implemented that would in fact make life a lot easier for us but it also made me realise how hard other suppliers work with frequent visits, product launches and incentives which our long term supplier has long since forgotten about. In fact on "mature reflection" I realise that sometimes our business has been taken for granted and in some instances barriers have been placed with us that have stifled our growth. In these hard economic times I suggest that we all re-evaluate where we stand and who is deserving of your business for 2011.
To that end I personally intend to get out and about more to renew business acquaintances with my long-term customers which I had in the past and who's business continues without much contact from either party. In the past I found that this approach enhanced my product knowledge, enabled me to pass on tips for workflow etc, and gave me many an introduction to new customers via a referral. Referral business is probably the best way to grow any business and just because we now have an online website it should not be forgotten about. Give me a call if you want to set up a meeting on 087-2572688.

Happy New Year

Get a message from Santa and track him here.

You should try this out for your children. Mine loved it. Click here for the message my son got "Thomas Message" or click here to get your own.
You can also track Santa here.

Snow, snow and more snow, snow joke!

Well it took 4 days to get an Epson 9900 from Ballymount to the centre of Dublin with all the bad weather and such like but it finally made it.
Like everybody else, I got caught in a "Ground Hog Day" senario when I would clear away the snow and then have it build up again in minutes later. There seems to be no let up in it at all and yesterday I tried to make a purchase in a shop using a credit card and I had to wait over 5 minutes for the machine to get through such was the demand in last minute shopping on the payment system. No doubt the last few days have been bumper days for retailers with panic buying, but I am sure that they won't make up for the weeks lost in the run up to Christmas. Our online "Downloadable Gift Voucher" had some success but nothing like what it could have been if I had plugged it better. Still there is always the winter season next year!

Merry Christmas eveyone and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.


Stress Before Christmas.

I woke up this morning and it is -7C with snow everywhere. I have to intsall an Epson 9900 today and I have no idea if it shipped out and if it did will it get to the customer. More stress before Christmas.

At least we're selling equipment.

A dreaded call from the Alarm Company......

It goes like this...
Mobile phone rings and I hear that dreaded voice telling me of an alarm activation at Sheldon Photographic. Now as this alarm does not give false activations I race over to see what has caused it and when I arrive I notice the lights on upstairs and then to my horror the front door is missing, gone, shattered into a million pieces. I know the Gardai have been alerted but I stuggle to get my phone to dial the Swords Gardai as I feel the culprits might still be on the property and to tell them to get here quick. Number engaged, I try again and the same, over and over again. The alarm stops for a moment and suddenly erupts into action again as if it has just been triggered again. Alone in the dark with the possibility that I have foiled the robbery my wife rings to tell me that the alarm has gone off. Stress, stress and more stress, my heart beating like a machine gun when my wife yells down the phone...."don't go in, think of me and the kids".

Standing alone in the dark waiting for somebody to arrive my sister Hillary's boyfriend Martin arrives. How the hell did he know and how did he get here so fast. He's on the phone when suddenly my other sister Gillian arrives but still no Gardai. I arm myself with a piece of 4x1 timber and enter the building. As I move through the rooms I hear something behind me......It's Martin telling me to be carefull. I note again that he is behind me (Chicken) so what ever I come across is going to get me first. I check the obvious hiding places like toilets etc but nothing, nothing but broken glass and doors and a smashed up heater that was used as a battering ram to break one of those wire re-enforced windows. A discarded cash box lies strewn across the floor like a picture from the artifacts of the Titanic lying on the sea floor.

A screech of tyres marks the arrival of two unmarked Police cars who emerge as if  a murder has just been committed. Questions everywhere but I'm in shock. We check through the premises and find that apart from the damage the only things missing is a selection of Tokina lenses that were in a display cabinet. The gardai were confused by the names of Airside Enterprise Business Centre and Airside Enterprise Business Park which are about 1/2 a mile apart., Stupid to have such similar names.

It's -4 Centigrade outside and it's beginning to drop inside as well when I check on the internet for a 24 hour glazier and contact a Joe Doyle who arranges from "" to secure the premises for the night. About an hour later they arrive and fit a temporary sheet of plywood to the door to keep visitors and cold away.

What a night, but whoever the culprits are the serial numbers of the lenses will be circulated and although the stickers can be removed the numbers can be found elswhere.

If anybody else feels like breaking in please note that we do not keep stocks on the premises save a few display items and most sales are credit cards so no cash either. The monitored alarm also rings 6 different numbers and the Gardai now know where we are. Believe me when I say it is not worth risking a meeting with me with my blood boiling as it was last night as I certainly was not in control as my wife noted on her phonecall. As they say in America.....have a nice day.

Recent E-Shot

I'm coming to the end of an E-Shot that I put together over last weekend and quite frankly I'm amazed at the response. Loads of sales from people ringing up having seen the E-Shot but very little direct sales from the site.

So I have decided to go live with a blog......Must be mad!

I have had this feature on our website for quite a while but I have never had the courage to go live with it. Until today.
And the reason I choose to go live is to do with the help that I got from a fellow blogger with a problem that I had with Adobe Photoshop. A few years back our CS2 froze when opening or closing a file and after speaking to Adobe nothing could get it back except an upgrade to CS3. Well the same thing happened for the last 2 days and I found the answer on a blog. Removed a rogue CDR from the drive of the mac and hey presto it worked. Put the disk in again and CS froze again. I never heard of anything like it before and hope I don't in the future.

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