Saturday 5 November 2011


It's rant time.

I'm getting so frustrated by the ever increasing number of devices that rely upon traditional alkaline batteries. And the dumb thing, is that by standardising on these low-grade batteries, actually increases the size of the equipment and mean-time between failures.

My Mamiya 645AFDII takes 6x AA batteries. Why not Lithium? Hell, even Ni-Mh would be better. That's a ludicrously expensive piece of kit. The digital back is lithium powered, but not the body? Reminds me; it's probably leaked already.

I have to credit Apple with making batteries a part of a device, rather than a consumable, but then, I also have to wag a finger at them for the batteries needed in the wireless keyboard and mouse. Okay, they do sell a rechargeable battery and charger set for them, but still.

And that's the problem - wireless devices. Cheap, mostly Chinese-made wireless devices, that are disposable and in turn prop up a massive disposable battery market. Cheap products, cheap batteries. Crappy little IR remotes for your TV (why do they still exist? Will somebody please standardise communications for A/V equipment - if the IT industry can do it, then the A/V industry definitely can).

But it's not even limited to cheap crap either, I can't use my sound system properly at the moment, because I forgot that the detachable control panel takes batteries, and promptly leaked (even though the system has been used continuously). The panel spends 100% of it's life clamped to a device that's constantly powered - if it's going to waste power lighting the standby LED and circuitry, it could at least trickle-charge a control panel that's attached to it. But no. The control panel takes 10x AA batteries.

I've started stripping batteries out of every device I have, and only leave the batteries in the devices I use regularly. I find that it's too easy to let something sit in a draw for six months, and find the batteries have leaked. A classic device is the Wii remote - hardly used, and leaks at the drop of a hat.

So, what do I want? I want manufacturers to stop making power our problem, and find better ways of powering fixed devices, and more intelligent ways of powering wireless devices. Whether it be intelligent use of USB or proprietary data links that charge (like charging a control panel when it's docked), or inductance charging your mouse from a stand or mousepad. This isn't new technology. It's not even technology in most cases, just forethought and effort on the designers' part.

In the meanwhile, I've got to either clean or bin a wooden tray that spare batteries have leaked into (at least it wasn't an expensive device).

Monday 19 September 2011

Shoots & Shits

I really need to sort my day-to-day cameras out... I'm down to my iPhone and a Sanyo (looks like a snub-nose handgun) for my day-to-day snapping, and minus the convenience of the iPhone camera, they're all quite crap. I'm always impressed, and made to feel slightly embarrassed, by the quality of imagery on other folks' blogs, so I feel obliged to make an effort outside the studio...

A big portion of my woes I'll blame on the lighting at home, and to me only having the time to take project snaps in the evening (so plenty of flash required) - the Sanyo doesn't have a great low-light sensor, nor does it take particularly nice shots, it's a convenient camera, not a beautiful camera.

And then there's my Olympus E1 - now aged, with it's 5MP sensor, but it takes a really nice picture... Kind of dumb really, I hardly ever used this camera outside of the studio when I first got it, and kept it as backup when I had my first 22MP digital back, in pieces in my equipment case. Since then, it's found it's way into a small clamshell-like bag, and occasionally is found under a cupboard or in my car. But I'm still keeping this thing pristine, and not keeping this thing to shoot with.

Dumb. But in the effort to protect it, and keep it safe, I may just prolong it's life, but in the same hand, I'm wasting it's value now. You can still get away with a good 5MP picture, but in the next few years, it'll be pointless (probably). I'd still love a tiny Olympus Pen, but frankly, I'd be too frightened to take it anywhere and I'd probably have this same realisation in about 6 years about that camera too.

So, I come full circle back to my favourite little (now broken) camera, a crappy 1MP Sony. It looked like a lipstick case, had a tiny flash, crappy response (in the near tens of seconds) and a horrible LCD. But it was beautiful. I took hundreds and hundreds of truly off-the-hip pictures. I carried it everywhere, because it was tiny - plus it had a lanyard making it easy grab and use. One reason, was that I got it used, and didn't really give a crap about scratching it (I had my E1 then, which was the prized possession).

I'll avoid the psychology of why, and I'll instead summarise, that I'll attempt to make more of an effort with my blog pics...


Monday 29 August 2011

Lithuania 2011

Back from Lithuania end of last week, and getting back into things slowly after the bank holiday weekend...

It was a mix of errands and a bit of relaxation, with plenty of furniture moving - mostly around Alytus and surrounding countryside. Had a couple of really great days - including a barbecue on the shore of one of Alytus' gigantic freshwater lakes (complete with paddling and sand castles).

I got to experience a Lithuanian wedding - full of tradition and bizarreness, but interesting nonetheless. Spent most of the day on "high-heel duty", as Ms. R's sister, and some of their friends tottered around on 4" heels, narrowly avoiding rolling down rocky steps or slipping on polished marble (admittedly I did skid a good few feet on rose petals in the church).

As always, lots of fantastic food on the trip including favourites; Vedarai (a potato sausage in pork intestine), Shashlik (skewered barbecued meats), Blynai (potato pancakes) and much, much more! Missing the fresh cucumbers and tomatoes already!

Also got to have my fill of Kibinai the night before we left - half the size of a Cornish Pastie, and filled solidly with pork and onion, all freshly baked for us... Nom-nom... I could go a couple now...

I took lots of pictures and videos, so expect updates and countless blurry pictures to follow. Okay, back to work...

Friday 29 July 2011

Lazy Arse

The last few weeks (aka month) has been hectic as hell, the time has flown by. Anyhow, have a few shoots lined up that I'll definitely be posting on here, plus some fun mash-ups with technology and imaging.

I've been trying to find a reason, or really, justify the time to shoot some film. I want to create moving photography, rather than video - slides, or a sequence. Something I can project, or just loop as a GIF.

Anyway, I've got some exciting news regarding a new project (well, two projects, one high-tech, and one creative).

Promise I'll keep spend some time here!!

Saturday 25 June 2011

Vinyl Crazy

Over the last few weeks, I've become obsessed with vinyl, and screen-print artwork. My aim is to make vinyl artwork with the feel of screen printing, but the textures and durability of vinyl. Why hang a piece of art, when you can turn a wall or any surface you have into a work of art? (Rhetorical question, I'll have you find).

Anyhow, I've been screwing about in the studio with vinyl cutters and thermal presses, with the hopes of creating something great. I'm hoping to work with a couple of awesome illustrators to produce some unique pieces of artwork, so stay tuned for more info.

In the meanwhile, if you're interested in my vinyl services, including; cutting (vinyl, metallic films, stencil film etc) and thermal printing, then get in touch with me: jon(at) followed by We can cut, mark and print most materials, so if in doubt, feel free to ask!

I'm trying to figure a way of combining my photography with my vinyl, to create a bastardised format... I have some crazy ideas in mind, I'll endeavour to post some as I get shooting.

Ta-tah for now...

Thursday 23 June 2011

New Cards!

At long, long last, I have my new contact cards!

Contact Cards
My new double-sided contact cards.

Rather than having a card for each blog, in a nod to the sociopaths out there, one side features Shot by McCoy and the other features Made by McCoy. Whatever the event (within reason as to what the event is, and why I'm at it), I can hand out a relevant card (and then spend ten minutes explaining why it's got two different blogs on it - c'mon people, have some frigging imagination).

My logo isn't supposed to represent anything in specific, other than enabling me to change the subtitle as needed - which leads me to explain that while it's not noticeable on the blog versions given the rotation, but the cards do look like little flags of Japan or 'Hinomaru'. Purely coincidental, I swear, and they're the wrong ratio to be flags, so nerrr. Either way, it's cool, and I like them.

Each side features the relevant web addresses, and something I've had in mind for a while, a little tag list - which I hope goes some way to explaining what the blogs are and, in turn, what I am about.

No email addresses or phone numbers, as I'm not sure where I'll give the cards out, anyway you can contact me easily through the blogs.

I also got to design new cards for Ms R; a set of thank you cards, and a set of business cards, featuring the fantastic illustration of her done by the very talented Audrey Malo.

I've got a jewellery shoot in the next fortnight, so I might have some new images I can post, for the time being, you'll just have to imagine what I've been working on...

Sunday 15 May 2011

Sunday Inspiration

In an attempt to work on Ms R's website (Stall21), I've been looking for inspiration to get me focused and so have been distracting myself with some great blogs:
That should be enough inspiration for now. Think next time I'll round up a few fashion and style blogs...

Tuesday 26 April 2011


Shabu-Shabu!, originally uploaded by Shot by McCoy.
New one-pot restaurant in Cambridge. Really good fun, especially as we where guinea pigs and the first few to try it before it opens publicly in the next few weeks. Check it out; Aki-Teri (opposite Teri-Aki) just by the river, next to the punting dock.

Sake Salad Rolls...

Sake Salad Rolls..., originally uploaded by Shot by McCoy.
Our regular hangout, Teri-Aki in Cambridge. A definite must if you're in the area. I've nearly designed my perfect meal...

  • Sake Salad Rolls (Salmon Salad)
  • Ebi Tempura (Prawn Tempura)
  • Teri-Aki Ebi Salad (Prawn/Crabstick Salad)
  • Ton Katsu (Pork Cutlet) or Ton Katsu Rolls
  • Green Tea
  • Whatever Ms R hasn't eaten...
It's taken a few years, and lots, and lots of variations, but I'm getting damn close!

Keepin' on top of me...

One day I'll find the time to work on a new site to host each blog in it's own little fluffy cocoon, but until then checkout the latest posts from the other blogs on the right hand tool bar.

Thursday 3 March 2011

The Model Agency

I'm really enjoying Channel 4's new documentary series; The Model Agency. It does bring back memories...

Anyhow, check it out:

I've been told to elaborate more, but I'm currently being attacked by a big angry dinosaur. Rah.

Wednesday 2 March 2011

Grey Skies and Studio Delays

Grey skies, delays with my new studio/lab space and other crappyness, makes me one unhappy bunny. With packs of Polaroid, new cameras, models pestering to shoot, ideas pouring out and lots of new designs by Ms R. to shoot, I'm getting a little stir crazy.

On top of this, I've got a massive workload preventing me from doing anything other than be more frustrated than I already am.

As a side effect I plan to start keeping a scrapbook of ideas and inspiration: Loved by McCoy. A new styling here and on "Made by" go some way to alleviate a bit of frustration.

Perhaps it might be nice enough out to shoot, or I find enough time to get a small space ready to shoot sometime soon. In the meanwhile, I'll stay creative with other things.