Les Wilcockson – Photographer

…a man with too much free time and not enough coffee

Why Cartier-Bresson’s photographs suck.

Bold statement or stupid statement?

Dead simple really;

‘No IBIS? It’s a deal breaker.’

‘Only 25,600? It’s a deal breaker.’

‘EVF? It’s a deal breaker.’

‘Only 4.5 frames per second? It’s a deal breaker.’

‘It’s too (insert one the following…big, small, light, heavy, ugly, slow) It’s a deal breaker.’

‘It doesn’t look (insert one of the following…pretty, macho, professional, discrete, understated, around my neck) It’s a deal breaker.’

‘It’s not good enough to swank around a trade show with it around my neck. It’s a deal breaker.’

HCB didn’t have any of theses features on his cameras so it follows that his photographs must suck.

And what about Lartigue, Brandt, McCullin, Bailey, Avedon, Penn, Weston, Egglestone and Adams to name but just a few? More sucking.

How on earth could they be expected to be classed as proper photographers?

We’ve been conned…or have we?




Red Light, NYC

Red Light, NYC

Red Light, NYC

Statue of Liberty

I’ve been suggesting that DSLR’s with flippy-flappy mirrors could be slowly on their way out. How slowly I couldn’t possibly know but there’s a lot of new mirrorless cameras hitting the market now and (allegedly) in the near future (Sony full frame?).

For the moment I’ve still got my D3 and pro glass but I recently added a Sony Nex 7, with the standard zoom, to my collection.

I also bought a cheap Canon FD adaptor to attach my old Canon 200mm f4 FD lens to the Nex and a couple of spare batteries. An old battered Domke F803 completed the outfit for my first ever trip to NYC, the Nikon gear stayed at home…and I never once missed it!

I didn’t use the 200mm much (300mm with the crop factor) but when I did the focus peaking made it easy…can I have focus peaking on my Nikon DSLR and in the viewfinder too please…no? Anyway, enough of this, here’s a shot I took with the Nex/Canon combination of the Statue of Liberty…and I loved NYC!

Statue of Liberty                                                                                                                              ©Les Wilcockson 2013 All Rights Reserved

Brooklyn, NYC

Sony Nex7

Brooklyn, NYC

Get rid of your old flappy-mirrored cameras while you can!

I think digital cameras with mirrors are doomed.

Why? Because all you need is a good lens to place an image on the sensor, job done. You don’t need a big clanky flappy mirror bouncing up and down in-between, what’s the point of it?

Mirrorless and SLT cameras let you see the image that’s actually on the sensor, adjust the exposure on the fly, adjust white balance, check critical focus, see exactly what you’re going to get BEFORE you press the button.

NO CHIMPING after and thinking, ‘I need some exposure compensation so I’ll add some then take another shot then CHIMP again…ooops too much, better crank it down a bit then I can have another CHIMP’, now I’ve taken 3 shots instead of one…what’s the point of all that nonsense??? STOP MONKEYING ABOUT!

It’s at this point that the self-appointed experts will say something like ‘it’s not a problem if you knew what you were doing in the first place’…the point is that I know when exposure compensation is required, or not, and to be able to apply it and see the exact effect before I press the click button sounds like a good/obvious idea. (I said ‘click button’ to annoy the same people).

Shoot movie on a DSLR but you can’t do it through the viewfinder…what the f—-!!! It’s a stupid way to work.  You paid for the viewfinder but you can only use it some of the time???!!!!!

It’s ridiculous..

…can you imagine if the DSLR manufacturers told you ‘Hey, you can only use our viewfinders’ for still images, they don’t work for movies because our viewfinders are still employing old technology’

I reckon I’m right, do you?

Woodland light

Early morning light © Les Wilcockson 2013

Early morning light © Les Wilcockson 2013


In deep thought?

In deep thought?Market day in Chesterfield.

©Les Wilcockson 2013

I’ve built my own camera!

This post is based on one I wrote a few years ago. However, in view of the recent shocking news that a huge number of photographers around the world can’t use f6.4, I thought I’d revisit it and bring it up to date… and it goes like this…

Following recent events at planet Leica where they’ve brought out a camera with a zoom lens that’s only f6.4 at the 70mm end, I thought the best way to get around this disaster would be to make my own camera.

However, before I divulge my recipe to you of my delectable delight, I needed get my head around the f6.4 thing. This is what I found out and I have to say…I’m really puzzled.

Here’s why…

…I’ve got some lenses with ‘other’ apertures, such as f8, f11, f16 and even f22…why I’ve even heard it said that there used to be a ‘Group f64′ in America.

(Group 64 allegedly consisted of eleven photographers, Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, John Paul Edwards, Preston Holder, Consuelo Kanaga, Alma Lavenson, Sonya Noskowiak, Henry Swift, Willard Van Dyke, Brett Weston, and Edward Weston…whoever they are).

However back in the real world, I found out that you can take photographs using these ‘other’ mutant apertures!

It’s amazing! It seems you just need to be a photographer with the merest idea of what you’re doing…there’s a novel idea.

I know you’re thinking I’ve made this rubbish up, but get this…I tried f11 this morning and do you what?…

…It worked!!!

Yiphee, my lens works at f11. Even now while typing this I feel so emotional, I may…..even… have…….to……stop……typing…….while………….I wipe……..a tear……away……sniff……that’s better……where was I?……oh yes…

…back to my camera recipe..

Having trawled the trolls on the camera forums, I fed everyone’s camera choices and desired specifications into my Nintendo DS and after much groaning, and soul-searching, it computed that the ultimate camera design, based on all the available data, would be…

…a Licen-Canikkor- MK6.4 with a double centrifugelknockometer switch and an integral fu-fu valve…sounds great doesn’t it!

It takes film, clingfilm, super 8 film, glass negatives, plus negatives, minus negatives, digital film, film digital, eight-track, and vinyl too….Retro or what?

It also has a built-in two-legged tripod and you can send it out to take photographs while you’re getting sloshed at the pub…all this in something just the size of a small family car.

It’s even got a removable red dot on the front…you can also leave it in place if you’d sooner cover it with a roll of black gaffer tape…useful when pretending to be a member of the ‘street photographer cult club’ .


It also has a special Henri-Cartier Bresson button for those rare magical moments…now I’ve got your attention!

You can programme it to take the dog for a walk (if you don’t have a dog it’ll even find one for you)

I’ve written to the Ansel Adams trust and asked them if they would send me one of the crappy f64 lenses he pretended to use.

Once this arrives I’m going to put it straight into production. For the body I need a cardboard box…now where did I put my old Hasselblad camera pakaging?

Because of the Hasselblad ‘connection’, and their association with the fake moon landings, I shall call it…Lunar Module 6.4

Even Magnum have ordered one for Martin Parr.

Will it take great photographs?

Well, according to those forums mentioned earlier, it seems that actually taking photographs is not really the priority of most photographers…it’s more a question of having something around your neck, without f6.4, that makes life worth living.

Jarden de Tuileries, Paris

Jarden de Tuileries, Paris

Jarden de Tuileries, Paris    ©Les Wilcockson 2013

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