A reader, Brendan, emailed me about 5 weeks ago with a question about the storage of digital images, and I thought that rather than reply to his email directly, I would do so here in the form of a Reader’s Question post.  I had hoped to get around to it much sooner, but circumstances got in the way – specifically the re-design and re-housing of the blog – but with a suitable image to illustrate the post finally captured, it’s time for me to  give Brendan the answer I promised.  Read on for his question and my attempt at an answer.

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A number of weeks ago I received an email from a reader of the blog, and I promised him in reply that I would answer the question he asked in that email in a blog post in the near future.  Well about 7 weeks later the “near future” has arrived, so my apologies to Brian for taking so long to get around to this, but I’m sure he, better than anyone, can understand the delay.  At the time that he emailed Brian was expecting his first child two days later – the same day that my first child was born.  And so I’m sure we’ve both been busy since.  That impending arrival (hopefully now safely enjoying the outside world) prompted him to wonder about what sort of photography kit he might find useful as a new Dad.   Read on for his question, and my answer.

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If you want to catch my attention with an email, then this is a good opening line: “Was wondering if you could advise me on a ‘spy’ camera”.  So began an email from Catherine at the weekend. While I’ve called this a reader’s question, I should clarify that Catherine wasn’t (to my knowledge) a reader when she emailed, but as I promised her an answer to her question on the blog, hopefully she’ll be a reader in the future.  She had attended a lecture I gave on composition the previous Wednesday and made contact following that.  And before you worry about her motives, it turns out that the quotation marks around the word spy in her question are there with good reason.

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From time to time I get asked questions from readers of this blog via email, comments on a blog post, Twitter, or sometimes in person.  It doesn’t happen frequently, but when it does, very often the question is a variation of that most frequently asked and most difficult to answer question – the Six Million Dollar question, so to speak: “What camera should I buy?”.  It’s hard to answer that question because what camera you should buy depends so much more on you than it does on me – your skill level, what camera(s), if any, you may already have owned, what you hope to do with it, how often you hope to use it, where you hope to bring it.  So the quick and easy answer is “it depends”.  A couple of days ago though, a reader called Mark got in touch essentially asking that same question, but with enough background information for me to take a stab at a slightly more useful answer – one that others might find useful too.  So Mark, to answer your question: it depends!  Actually no, I can do better than that this time…

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One of my posts last week resulted in a reader’s request via the comments.  Todd Eddy requested I write a post going through some of the photography books that I enjoy.  His dilemma is that “a lot of the books I find are geared towards beginners. I understand things like the exposure triangle, difference between spot and evaluative metering, aperture values and what they mean [and] even have a basic understanding of off-camera lighting.” Seems to me (and to him too, it turns out) that this is covering a lot of bases, so I’m not sure if what I have on my bookshelf will all appeal to him, but it’s no harm to run through the list for any of you who may be interested.  But before I do that it’s time for my blog’s first ever joke.  A chicken walks into a library…

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Last Friday week a regular reader of this blog, Bruce Elliot, asked in the comments on that day’s blog post if I might do a post on gels and it set me thinking about how I might construct a scenario that would allow me to put gels to use in a way that would be a good illustration of their potential.  Yesterday morning (as I brushed my teeth, actually) I had some inspiration.  The only problem was that my idea would require me to be on the wrong side of the camera.  Still, I suppose it’s about time I showed my face around here.  Read on for a “Flash-lit Friday”-style breakdown of the photo above. Yes, I know it’s not Friday, but tomorrow being a public holiday here makes it kinda feel like one.

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It’s great to get feedback on the blog, and that comes to me in three ways – comments on individual posts, emails through the website, or tweets on Twitter.   I try to respond to all feedback as much as possible, and I do read everything that comes my way.  Yesterday I received an email from Paul, a Dublin-based reader who asked a question which was in a similar vein to one I was asked last night at Dublin Camera Club, so I thought I’d respond to it as a blog post.  Read on for the question and my answer.

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