Links

 
Like most photographers I have a group of suppliers I use for most of my requirements and a group of fellow photographers who give me inspiration.
 
The following are links to their locations in cyber space. Do pay them a visit, I  know you will find it well worth your while.
 
Please use the links below or scroll the page to get to the relevant sections.
 
Suppliers, Fellow Photographers, Reviews
 
 

Suppliers

I am very selective who I recommend to friends and even more selective regarding who I recommend to others so this list of links is short but what you can be assured that the suppliers listed here are in my mind the very best there is especially in my field of wildlife photography.

 

Skears Photographic - Northampton. (www.skearsphoto.com)
 
We all need a local camera shop but unfortunately in these internet times we tend to desert them in favour of on line mega suppliers. I am guilty too but where I can I always try to support the local shop because they are quite simply so valuable. The mega on line outlets may offer fantastic bargains but they are seldom there or easy to deal with when the inevitable happens and something goes wrong. If you are near Northampton you couldn’t find a more friendly and knowledgeable local supplier than Steve. He stocks most things, will get those he doesn’t, always offers a keen price, is a font of excellent advice and guidance and really important is a qualified camera repair centre.
 
 
HDEW Cameras. (www.hdewcameras.co.uk )
 
HDEWextra supply a huge range of photographic equipment at low prices. Despite the number of products available they are still a medium-small family owned business and they pride themselves on great prices with fantastic local family service. Everything comes with a European Manufacturer's Warranty and delivery of the item if in stock is 3-5 working days. They also offer a collection service, for anyone wary of buying online you can pay a small deposit and go and collect the item once available.
I now buy almost all my equipment from them as the prices are simply the best avaibale and they have a full warranty unlike some other cheaper suppliers.
Safari Consultants. (www.safari-consultants.com )
 
Safari Consultants arrange all my East African trips. They have been in the business longer than most and there is very little they don’t know about the region, the best places to go, the best time to visit etc. Their knowledge of the destinations of the region is superb, and they offer independent and honest advice. They also maintain an extensive network of contacts in camps etc and spend a great deal of their time out in the region. You need to choose your safari partner very carefully and I quite simply know that if I entrust Safari Consultants with the ground arrangements for my trips then nothing will go wrong and my guests will have the very best experience possible.
 They are of course a fully registered travel outlet and are the most friendly, professional and accommodating company to deal with. All these are key requirements for me taking photographic groups out on safari, I simply can’t afford for anything to go wrong in the lead up to, or whilst on the trip. Safari Consultants do their very best to ensure this for me. I rely on them completely.
 
Whilst we would all like to own a superb lens it isn’t always practical and for my trips I always recommend people consider hiring specialist lenses.
 
There are many companies out there but I have found many have difficult deposit, insurance and delivery arrangements. The one I have used for some time and always recommend is Lenses for Hire. They are a small friendly outfit in Maidenhead. They have a superb range of lenses, very keen prices, included worldwide insurance, no deposit for the vast majority of customers, and first rate delivery arrangements. I cannot recommend them highly enough. In my experience there is none better.

They are also very helpful if you want to try a lens before buying.

 
Wildlife Watching Supplies www.wildlifewatchingsupplies.co.uk/ 
 
Wildlife watching supplies is a long established company specialising in supplying equipment for especially for wildlife photographers. Their specialty is camouflage gear including hides and camouflage clothing. Their hides are truly some of the best available if for no other reasons than they are 100% waterproof, strong, light weight and compact. They don’t just produce hides however but also many other products I would find it hard to manage without such as bean bags, lens camouflage, camera protectors, padded seats for use in their hides etc. There are a number of other companies offering similar products and some are good but in my experience none are as consistently high quality and well-made as those from Wildlife Watching Supplies.
 
The attention to detail and quality of their bean bags alone is such that I recommend them unreservedly to all people I take on trips to East Africa. They deal on the web but are equally as happy to speak to you on the phone. This is incredibly valuable when you want something slightly more specialised or simply want some advice. They are keen and capable photographers and you always know that any advice they give comes from genuine first-hand experience. They are even prepared to produce special or adapted versions of many of their products just for you something I valued when I needed a neoprene cover for my new 600mm Canon lens. I sent them the measurements and they produced the cover. As a superb company for which nothing is too much trouble they are quite simply the best in their field.
   
Pixapro Lighting Suppliers www.essentialphoto.co.uk
 
 
PIXAPRO is a company based in Oldbury in the West Midlands who supply an extensive range of quality studio equipment for both video and still photography.

Their full range includes studio lighting, light modifiers, stands, cases, product photography, accessories, brackets and more innovative products including the new continuous lighting kits I bought. They supply on line through their website but have small “shop front” at their offices in Oldbury. I paid them a visit recently and found them extremely helpful and very well informed something I am afraid you seldom seem to find with online suppliers these days. I have had cause to contact them a number of times since and they have been just splendid, always helpful and always prepared to give me all the time, advice and support I needed.

I Came across them whilst recently working on a project with the West Country Wildlife Photography Centre following on from the popular BBC1 ‘The Burrowers’ series I was introduced to a  company who imported a totally new continuous lighting system that was both very well constructed and very effective indeed.

I have started to use them for a project I am working on photographing small mammals in “sets” and the kit and the company who supplies it couldn’t be better. Its so gratifying to find a company supplying such great kit and who is just so helpful.
 

Fellow Photographers

We all need inspiration from time to time and where better to look than fellow photographer’s websites that come with a good recommendation. There are however just so many out there and so the following is a list of those I return to most often. The people who run them are excellent photographers and key for me excellent naturalists too. Please take the time to view them and if you find any others that you feel are equally good please do let me know.
 
Sue Morris.
 
Sue is a great photographer with a rare gift, a real eye for what makes a good picture. She is equally at home photographing wildlife and landscapes as she is shooting weddings and portraits. As an experienced photographer she isn’t afraid to experiment and prints of her photos are in high demand. I value very highly her judgement regarding what makes a great print and equally as important what will sell. Sue is a highly experienced traveller and a very good friend who has been a valuable sounding board as I set up Natures Photos. I have been fortunate enough to have shared two separate trips Africa with her and hopefully will be planning more in the future.
 
 

 

Reviews

There are any number of people and sites out there on the net and in magazines offering reviews of all sorts of photographic gear. They are useful to consult before buying a new piece of epuipment but like much on the web are very variable in quality and reliability often simply reflecting the views and prejudices of the reviewer. Over the years I have found some much better than others. The following are ones I personally find useful and more importantly perhaps reliable.
 
 
 
 
DP Review has one of the most extensive, reliable and trusted databases of equipment and reviews on the web. It was formed back in 1998 so also has a good range of historic reviews if you are buying 2nd hand equipment. More recently they have included a news section and links to Twitter for regular updates. The company was acquired by Amazon in early May 2007 for an undisclosed sum. At that time, the website had over 7 million monthly unique viewers this must certainly now have increased. Following Amazons acquisition the site started to carry additional features such as lens, printer and software reviews, user galleries and photographic competitions (challenges).
 Canon & Nikon Digital SLR and Lens Reviews at The-Digital-Picture.com
The Digital-Picture.com (www.the-digital-picture.com)
 
The Digital-Picture.com site also carries reviews and news but the thing I find most useful on their site is the lens comparison tools where you can directly compare the results of various lenses from different manufactures. (The link above takes you directly there.) This is the best interactive site I have found, you can compare one lens against another side by side and even try different f stops and, for zoom lenses, differnt focal lengths, to see how they perform. The site even includes, which is very helpful for me as a wildlife photographer, comparisons of lenses with and without teleconverters. These are tools I find essential but for which there is much conflicting advice. Simply try them out on your lenses and see live the comparative effects. There are many options but I find the ISO 12233 resolution chart option the best. Use this link for example to interactively compare the Nikon and Canon 300 f2.8. Canon 300 f2.8 v Nikon 300 f2.8