Happy 17th Birthday to Me

Work Experience 1993


Kettering, February 1993. The floppy hair, the youthful skin, the charity shop clothes, ah, it’s all just a distant memory. Apart from the charity shop clothes…

Break out the cake and the candles, I’m 17 today. Sort of.

On the 1st of February 1993 a very fresh faced and keen 15 year old went along to the Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph on Northfield Avenue in Kettering to start 2 weeks of work experience in the photographic department. With the exception of a couple of very bleak moments during my assisting years, I’ve never looked back since!

Besides treating myself to a small tipple this evening in celebration, I thought I’d share the love a bit with a little photographic cheat I’ve just discovered. I know how no matter how much I go on about professionalism, business and creativity, all anyone really wants to hear about is technical stuff, so here you are. You soulless, nerdy lot!

A while back I spotted these rather natty straps from America, and thought, like a lot of people “what a good idea”. I seem to go through straps fairly regularly shooting as much and in the manner that I do. Plus I’ve never found one that’s really comfortable and doesn’t result in getting 3kg of camera in the guts if I ever run anywhere. I initially thought of buying one of these straps, but at the time they weren’t shipping to Europe, and ordering things from the states is just too much hassle for me.

Improvised Shoulder Strap

There it is, a very natty, and considerably more comfortable new strap. Cost to me – effectively £0.

Then a few months ago I was in Calumet, as I often am, and spotted one of these. Very tempted was I, all that put me off was the £50 price tag. I mean, it’s a nylon strap and a clip for crying out loud! I’m on a mission to cut back on buying that sort of thing, as I’ve a nasty habit of putting a few “bits and pieces” on my account, then wondering why my monthly bill is so hefty!

In a manner very similar to putting together the Credit Crunch Softbox, I had a sudden flash of inspiration yesterday afternoon. I realised I’d got a few old straps lying around in bags (several as it turned out) and at least one spare manfrotto quick release plate. 10 minutes later I had a very comfortable camera strap that will undoubtedly be more useful when I’m shooting action stuff.
Spare Straps

Where do they all come from? I haven’t even taken any off my camera bags, just rummaged through my gear cases!

Now don’t get me wrong, I realise mine’s not as good as either of the 2 proper ones, but it’s easily 75% as good, and just like the softbox, it’s effectively free, as I already own all the bits. I’d wager that most people will have a couple of the straps knocking around from an old camera bag or two, and a quick release plate costs all of £13. That means more money to spare to spend on my Birthday Celebrations!


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