November 2002

Battle of the Beanfield: incident near Stonehenge on BBC Radio4

You might be interested to know that I’ve contributed to a Radio 4 program recently on the Battle of the Beanfield. It is part of the ‘In living memory’ series that has started on wednesday mornings.

Glad some caught the Radio 4 prog. I helped with background material, notes, videos, interviews etc. They were with me for 2 – 3 hours of interview, and I only got a very short mention. That’s ok, except I went off at length about how it was ‘different’ for many of us, other than the way it came out. Still, that’s editing and the BBC for you ….!

I think they misunderstood a fair chunk of our motives though. So much was about pagans etc…. There are not that many Pagan travellers, festival goers etc…. They did not arrest 420 pagans! but so many of us are about ‘gathering’, so would like that to have been better covered.

Still, ’twas worth doing. I’ve not forgotten that day, and hope the world doesn’t.

Here is the link to play the mp3 I’ve made from the program [on the stonehengeentertainmentsdiscussion group site


The show on the Beanfield, events back in 1985 was Transmitted yesterday:

BBC Radio4 on the 27th Novemeber at 11.00am.

You might find it interesting. Below are a shed-load of links, that informs the background to these events.

an earlier entry on blog at:

and the festival in particular:

For further background on all this, check out:

The story so far – history in context &

summary of beanfield bit

My ‘cell notes’

Photo-gallery of the day in field

diary I kept of my operations later year

Assorted legal hassle, [for context]

So much more on my main website at: since this was not an ‘isolated incident!’

My Grandkids: Ebba and Leon

Hello dear readers. I thought I would introduce my grandchildren to you!

Ebba – A little girl, born in Feb 2000, so nearly 3 years. And the other one, a boy Leon. He appeared in Feb 2002 and is thus only 9 months old.

Have just been to City of Bath last week, to visit. All seems well and they were cute!

Self Portrait early 1990’s

I have just scanned this image for a project. Originally shot on 120 film on a hasselblad. Done in the studio at Nottingham Trent University. 1992, I think. Scary!!

Edward S. Curtis’s North American Indian

Some critisise this chaps work, for being to ‘idealistic’. Me, I’m so impressed with the volume of his work, his appeciation of thier life, and the portrail of a proud people. I look up to him.

Edward S. Curtis’s North American Indian (American Memory, Library of Congress)

The North American Indian by Edward S. Curtis is one of the most significant and controversial representations of traditional American Indian culture ever produced. Issued in a limited edition from 1907-1930, the publication continues to exert a major influence on the image of Indians in popular culture. Curtis said he wanted to document “the old time Indian, his dress, his ceremonies, his life and manners.” In over 2000 photogravure plates and narrative, Curtis portrayed the traditional customs and lifeways of eighty Indian tribes. The twenty volumes, each with an accompanying portfolio, are organized by tribes and culture areas encompassing the Great Plains, Great Basin, Plateau Region, Southwest, California, Pacific Northwest, and Alaska.

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also, on the same site as the above work:

American Memory Collections: All Collections

A fantastic collection from the Library of Congress, of photographs, documents and recordings.

Don McCullin – Olympus kit user

This chap is one of my first heros in the field. He ‘showed’ an audience many ‘truths’ about war and conflict, that had previously been sanitised. I mention him now, because he used the same Olympus kit, an OM1 and 2 as i described in previous post. Really, if it was good enough for him, it certainly is for me!!

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A product of one of north London’s tougher slums, Don McCullin came of age during the WW II blitz. Later, he joined the RAF (where he acquired an interest in photography), the author sold some shots of local gang members to The Observer. Further assignments resulted, and McCullin was off on a globe-trotting career that over three decades would take him to 120 foreign countries and more than two dozen wars–in Biafra, Cambodia, the Congo, Cyprus, El Salvador, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Northern Ireland, Uganda, Vietnam, etc. During the years that he made a name for himself bringing home to newspaper readers the horrific realities of battle for noncombatants as well as front-line troops, the author narrowly escaped death on countless occasions. At once drawn to and repelled by the bloody violence whose heart of darkness he so graphically captured on film.

Amazon Books :

Unreasonable Behaviour

Sleeping With Ghosts: A Life’s Work in Photography

“Our once great newspapers, which told us what went on in the world even when we couldn’t affect it, have become instruments of a promotional culture, little more than catalogues advising us what to consume. This is not a great age in which to be a photojournalist.”

Don McCullin

British Journal of Photography. 10 September 1997

Olympus Kit

I enjoy using the Olympus OM2. It is a remarkably small and unobtrusive SLR camera.

Link to my main Nikon Kit

Olympus OM2n SLR

The electronic Olympus OM-2 was first seen in a prototype form at the 1974 Photokina, that was two years after the debut of the original OM-1 which was a mechanical SLR. The OM2 was only began to ship and market in late 1975. The addition of automatic exposure functions of the OM-2 extends the OM system quest for functionality to a new level.

Despite the fact that it is an automatic-exposure version, it has the same body dimensions virtually similar to the mechanical OM-1 and is only slightly heavier (dimensions of the camera are exactly the same as those of the OM-1- 136 x 83 x 50 mm without lens). The few external differences are mostly confined to the film speed setting dial and the meter system on-off switch, which has four positions on the OM-2. But within the camera was a different beast all together when compared with the mechanical counterpart, in fact, both the bodies have, for the first time positioned Olympus Optical Co. firmly on the driver seat as a forerunner in innovative camera technologies and enjoyed a hugely successful product cycle commercially.

The auto exposure refines a new level of control to camera handling, where it enables a photographer to be more confident and responsive, and most often with much more accuracy to handle the many photographic situations. The TTL OTF flash metering, in particular, opens up a lot of photographic possibilities which previously involves tedious exposure calculation. The original method used in the OM2 introduced way back to 25 years ago has, today evolved into a mainstream flash exposure control method used virtually by all camera manufacturers.

Spec: [5 parts]

Reference Map:

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Zuiko 28mm F2.8

Composed of 6 air-spaced elements, the 28mm f/2.8 provides high contrast and high resolving power. This is the only 28mm Zuiko lens that can stopped down to f/22 instread of f/16. Combined with the uncharacteristic nature of the compact SLR design, this lens when combined with tany OM body is particularly convenient for traveling and all round photographic applications.

Zuiko 50mm F1.8

The reduced weight was achieved via redesigned of the lens with a new optical construction of 6 elements in 4 groups over the older version’s 6 elements in 5 groups. Thus, unlike many other manufacturers that went through cost reduction methods of using polycaronated materials, the Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 lens still retains its high built quality which is apparent once you get hold of one in your hand. Further, the reduction of weight also improves handling and portability.

Zuiko 135mm F3.5

The maximum aperture enables its extraordinarily compactness which is only 73mm and weighing a 290g (10oz). It is a popular and modestly priced among the few telephoto lenses Zuiko lens series.

Using the minimum necessary elements – five elements arranged in four groups. This lens is also one of the smallest and lightest of the Zuiko telephoto group and it takes 49mm filter accessories. A practical design and utmost portability plus a very reasonable price make this lens the perfect substitution and good companion if your budget runs low.

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Some ‘Political Observations’

It is obvious that with many of the subjects I deal with in these pages, that some are pretty upset, with the state of politics.

“Whoever you vote for, the government gets in!”

Tom Hunter – photographer @ Manchester Art Gallery

Not sure why sticking ‘modern’ subjects in the frame of old masters works. But it does.

’tis then ‘art’.

Anytime I try to exhibit, I don’t say I’m an artist, I say I’m a ‘documentary photographer’. Suddenly I’m too political, and I never hear from them again. Strange eh?

Saturday 9 November 2002 – Sunday 26 January 2003


Tom Hunter

Tom Hunter’s sumptuous photographs are inspired by Pre-Raphaelite paintings. For this exhibition, he has created two stunning new works inspired by paintings in Manchester Art Gallery’s collection – Hylas and the Nymphs by John Waterhouse and Autumn Leaves by JE Millais. The show also includes four other works inspired by paintings in the collection, including The Hireling Shepherd by Holman Hunt.

Hunter re-uses existing compositions by Pre-Raphaelite artists but casts contemporary figures as the protagonists, set in a post-industrial wilderness. His subjects are travellers and squatters who have generally been viewed as outsiders in society, but Hunter celebrates their colourful lifestyles and gives them new dignity.

The exhibition is sited next to the Pre-Raphaelite display within the Gallery and offers new ways of looking at much loved historic paintings by seeing them through a living artist’s eyes.

Tom Hunter is a British artist who regularly exhibits internationally.

On a Photographer, Giving Away Pictures

So, I have found this quote below that really shows that I’m not alone, or, being greedy 🙂

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“Every professional photographer, at one time or another, has received a phone call or letter reading as follows: “Our organization would like to use your photograph in a brochure [or advertisement, or magazine, or audio-visual presentation]. We are a nonprofit organization that has no budget for the purchase of the photograph, and we hope that you will provide the picture without charge.” My standard answer is an emphatic “no.” I am tired of the exploitation of creative people by nonprofit organizations. You may think this a crass and overly commercial response, but let’s consider it for a moment.

What about the person who wrote that letter or made that call? Does that person get paid for his or her job as the editor or art director of the publication? What about the rest of the staff of that nonprofit organization? Do they get paid for their efforts? Does the paper company charge for the paper used: in the brochure or publication? Do the typesetter, color separator, half-tone maker, printer, and binder get paid? The answer is a categorical “yes.” So why should the photographer be the one who is asked to contribute the work without compensation?

My position is that if everybody is donating their services, and no one is getting paid for a project that is altruistic and idealistic, then, and only then, should a photographer ever consider donating the reproduction rights to his or her photograph.”

Chapnick, H. (1994) Truth Needs No Ally: Inside Photojournalism.

Columbia: University of Missouri Press. P334-335.

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Now, I’ll take advise from anyone, who can tell me what I can do about any of this ……

Bloody Students!

Get a lot of students asking for info/advice/help/work exp – you get the picture.

Anyway, I do try to help if I can but draw the line at writing their coursework for them. Got this yesterday:

“hi. i am currently studying A level photography, and as a part of my course i have chosen to do a in deph study on your work, which is original and of a very high quality. I would be extremly grateful if you could tell me a bit about yourself and your style of photography.

thank you for your cooperation”


Which I felt was a bit too close to “do my homework for me” and responded thus said:

“I don’t mind helping students but would ask that you narrow it down to specific questions, that don’t require an essay as a reply.”


Ok, it’s a little brusque on my part I admit but even so I wasn’t expecting:

“forget it i’ll study someone who is less obnoxious and arrogant thanks”

Been a while since I was called ‘obnoxious and arrogant’ so I thought I’d share the moment.


this is, of course, the sort of thing that led to a conversation on th EP-UK photo lists, lately:

From: “Alan Wylie”

Subject: Bloody ‘students’!

“Don’t ask for help or advice as a smack in the mouth often offends!” . Alan Wylie, Photographer

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He’s gone off about them asking for help, doing work cheap, for free, and sometimes, me thinks, he has a point.

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This is what’s happening to me!

So, have now contructed the following response

“Yes, well, there you are!

I currently get between 70 – 100 messages a week asking for work for free. Students, mags, media and individuals, non-profit making organisations, all expect me to support everyone else’s projects. Very few have the thought on what might be involved for me to accomplish this. I just get told about their own problems.

I know no-one I’m likely to deal with has much money, but I resent the assumption by people, that I have! Further, because of my continued commitment to these subjects, means that I remain ‘unemployable’ in ‘ordinary’ work. This is all I get.

Further, my bank and suppliers are not at all interested in any of the above.

The first twenty years of my work, I’ve taken it on the chin, the last ten years, as this has continued, has been a downright pain. It is a shame that people cannot see the value of the work and what it costs me. Hence the liabilities remain with me!

‘Sustainability’ is a watchword of the environmental movement. I look for advice on how I should sustain my work, when I have liabilities to others:

· Equipment costs

· Equipment maintenance

· Photographic materials

· Processing

· Computing for scanning and the website

· Website maintenance fees

· Running of a small office

· Servicing of overdraft

· Still paying for my student loans from university

· A wish to continue supporting charities involved with travellers, their education, law and medicine

· My family doing without, ‘cos of the above.

So, in sum then, I quite understand your situation, but few understand mine.

The project has cost me thousands over time, I have borrowed and still owe (including my student loan). For being an expert in this field, I do feel poorly treated. Hope this explains the situation.”

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On sending the above, it usually means I don’t hear from them again ……. ! Shame really, since in many cases, in time, they will be in a similar situation.

Film and Materials

These are the specification of most of the 35mm film I use. Almost exclusively Fuji for colour and Ilford for Black and White. There are thousands of sensible materials, available for use. But, after some experimentation, it is best to settle down, and get to know a small selection, at some depth.

Fuji Film UK

. . Fuji Provia 100F Colour Transparency

. . Fuji Provia 400F Colour Transparency

. . Fuji Superia 100 Colour Print

. . Fuji Superia 200 Colour Print


Ilford Black & White Products

. . Ilford HP5 Plus Black and White

. . Ilford FP4 Plus Black and White

. . Ilford PanF Plus Black and White

Nikon Kit: the system I prefer to use and its specification

Nikon FM2n

An upgrade of the original FM2 in 1982 with refinement in its top sync speed from 1/200 sec to 1/250 sec. After the debut of the revised shutter design in the electronic Nikon FE2. It still holds an distinction as being one of the fastest mechanical SLR available. Further, the much advertised vertically traveled honeycomb pattern shutter curtain has been replaced with the textureless aluminum blade-type curtain in 1989/90. Thus, there are a total of three versions of FM2. It was indeed a long serving model within the Nikon SLR camera series that has sprung across the 80′ to the late ’90.

FM2n – ‘reference map’ here:

Nikon Magazine Article – FM2n

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Nikon FE2

Also 1982, the upgrade of the earlier FE in 1978. It has all the basic essential elements to easily label it as a classic camera: compact, simple to use, features riched, flexible – most of all, extremely well made and a reliable companion. It comes with both black and chrome versions. It was the world’s fastest sync speed in a commercial production SLR during its launch. A set of three newer types of focusing screens. More significantly is its ability to handle TTL OTF flash exposure control with dedicated Nikon strobes, including multi-flash setups. It also provides with a fail safe M250 as mechanical back up in case of battery failure. In addition to that, It shared virtually all the system accessories designed for the mid-compact Nikon like motor drives, focusing screens, Databack etc. Despite after one and half decade since its debut, it is still an extremely attractive system SLR camera. I am a fan!

FE2 – ‘reference map’ here:

Nikon Magazine Article – FE2

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MD12 Motor winder:

MC-12: Remote cord for MD-12

Depending on the application, I have a range of Nikkor lenses:

20mm f2.8 : 24mm f2.8 : 28mm f2.8 : 50mm f2.0 : 85 f1.8AF : 200mm f4

Out of these, I use the 20mm most! It is great for fast focus – great depth of field. It is as useful, half way up a mountain, or in the street with riot or ‘public order’ situation.

20mm f2.8 lens:

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More stuff on the Nikon system:

[no use for the ‘digital types’, but for ‘proper photographers’, a good reference 🙂 ]

For those interested in a Nikon ‘history’, here is a description of some of the previous models

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Mecablitz 45 CL-3 Flashgun

As with all the Metz flashguns the first number refers to the guide number basically the power of the flashgun.

The flashgun is a standard hammerhead unit with the battery pack fitting into the handle, a rechargeable Nicad battery pack is available or you can use 6 AA batteries.

The flash unit can be attached to the camera using the tripod socket and the bracket that comes with the flashgun. The bracket attaches to the bottom of the flashgun by a bayonet type clip and a locking screw this enables the flash to be removed from the bracket quickly.

The Metz mecablitz 45 CL 4 is a powerful flashgun designed for both professional and amateur photographers.

The mecablitz 45 CL 4 and 45 CL 3 models are fully integrated in the SCA 300 adapter system and – in conjunction with an SCA 3000 C connecting cable – in the SCA 3000 system, thus supporting all leading cameras.

The Metz AF adapters of the SCA 300 system and the SCA 3000 C connecting cable of the SCA 3000 system enable the user to take full advantage of practically all functions of his AF camera and flashgun within a range of 0.45 – 9 m and in complete darkness.

Self Portraits: Using Digital Cam

Photographers & Video activists and the law

From Nick Cobbing:

Legal question and answer session at Doughty Street Chambers, 27th of November

It’s a legal briefing/ discussion about the implications of photographing in ‘public order’ situations in the UK. Earlier this year I was awarded damages against Thames Valley Police. Phillipa Kaufman and Keir Starmer QC were the two barristers who advised us, following that case I’ve persuaded them both to share their knowledge and take some (hopefully hard) questions from photographers.

I’ve given the Barristers these eight scenarios:

* Hand over the lens – obstruction of view by police or security

* Threat of arrest for obstruction

* Being asked to leave property under threat of trespass

* Being dragged or pulled from the job by police or security

* Forced to work from a designated area (press pen)

* Being detained with protestors surrounded by polic

* Confiscation of film/tapes -no arrest

· arrest but no charge

· arrest and charged

* Accompanying activists onto property with and without prior knowledge.

Please DO recommend working photographers cameramen/women and journalists that would benefit from this and offer personal experiences. I’m especially interested in those who work for Beeb, ITN, Channel Four, Reuters -please forward any contacts to me if you have them.

The date is now set for the 27th of November, hope you can make it.


Nick Cobbing

also, check out:



Legal assortment:

Dealings With The Police And Arrests At Demonstrations

Breaking News: Police launch plan to control news

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