Hertfordshire Headshots

On Assignment (A David Honl analogy)


Ok well greetings to you all and I hope this post finds you all well and in good health, I am completely out of my comfort zone here so bear with me on this. I feel a bit of a fake as well as firstly I am not a photo journalist, I am not a famous or even well known photographer. So, why am I writing this?

I first met David Honl when he was doing a presentation and talk in London for the Nikon Owners User Group, run by Grays of Westminster the official UK importer of Nikon photographic products in the UK. I meandered into the basement of the hotel which was the venue on this occasion and immediately recognised David sat at a table quietly working away on his MacBook Air. I also noticed lots of people who I immediately placed in the “ I am here to see this talk” category. Why? Because they had all brought their camera bags and cameras with them to the talk. Now call me old fashioned, but if you are there to LISTEN to a speaker, why would you, knowing it would be late in the evening when you left; carry a camera bag with you? My English upbringing suggests this is not the best form and needless to say the only camera I had was on my phone. I am not judging anyone here by the way, this is just an observation of something I don't fully understand.

Whilst I was standing there David came up to me, shook my hand and introduced himself. He was the only recognisable person in the room and he stood up to greet me. We chatted for a few minutes about the use of a MacBook air whilst travelling as I was thinking of and subsequently did buy one, the use of photoshop, where he was travelling to next after the talk and the Lighting DVD that came with the grids and gels I had bought from his website. If you have met David you will know him to be a quietly spoken gentleman and I greatly respected that.

Needless to say the talk was amazing, explaining the hows and wherefores of some of his images and some of the equipment he uses. I recall he had been to Gray’s and obtained one of the de-focus control lenses and was very keen to get that out and use it.

What the heck has this got to do with “On Assignment”? Well, I have bought one of his new products. Namely the Photojournalist 240 Belt pack. And having now used it on several occasions David asked if I would write an honest review of what I thought about it from my own prospective.

So, here is one of the ways I use it:



This is a Nikon D800 with a Nikon 24-70mm F 2.8 lens attached.

This is a very well made lightweight, cleverly designed belt pack which has a very useful compartment on the front of the cover flap to house your mobile phone and wallet, Films if you are using an analogue camera, or your point and shoot if you have filled the bag with your lunch! 

So in the absence being a “Pro” I decided I would “assign myself” to the task of photographing the ‘Lee Valley Sculptures’ which form the framework for a long walk or cycle ride around the ‘Lee Valley’ recreational Nature park in the A10 corridor of Hertfordshire UK. This is also the home of the International white water canoeing championships for the London Olympic Games!

So at 10.00am today Diesel, My 49KG GSD and I walked around the Lee Valley In order to share with you these outdoor art pieces which create so much awareness for the work of the local authority who provide a reserve where any one of any physical ability can enjoy nature and the great outdoors.

Here are some of the images, I hope you like them!


There are a couple of observations:

1: I would suggest wearing the pack just forward of your Right butt cheek if your Right handed and Left but cheek if you are Left handed, if you have any “Glutes” at all this is the way to go.It distributes the weight more evenly and for my sticky out butt, the way forward!

2: Remember this product is designed to hold your camera and protect it on the journey between leaving your base and using your camera, and any interim journey along the way.

3: There are a couple of velcro pads supplied with the product which either, alternately silence or secure the flap over what’s inside, cover the David Honl logo, or secure the waist strap in your preferred position via the belt for the pack. Very useful!

In Conclusion:

Is it worth the money? $79.00 dollars for the pack? $29.00 for the Belt? 

Well, there are other attachments you can get for the belt if you want to carry more gear, but for me this is so useful for street photography, photojournalism if that is your profession, Bike rides with a camera, or walks and/or travel where you want minimal kit but high image quality.

Remember this is designed to carry a pro DSLR and a lens, Which it does easily, we are not talking 70-200mm here, but a standard telephoto or medium prime, no problem.

David’s guarantee is pretty solid, replacement if faulty or not satisfied. If you think you can use one of these, get one! You will not be disappointed.

Wishing you all a wonderful day!



A little goes a long way!

As I write this blog post my mind is wondering how many times I have sat thinking about what every other aspiring photographer does when they see others in the profession with the latest piece of photographic wonderment. Commonly this misplaced envy is referred to as G.A.S, or Gear Acquisition Syndrome. This is where you convince yourself that if you have the latest camera, strobe, modifier, software or fad gadget it will make you a better photographer. Lusting after material things is, I have come to the conclusion; a natural quirk of Mother nature and something we just have to deal with.


Now I am lucky enough to belong to a group of photographer friends that get together every month or so and photograph two or three willing victims on a Wednesday evening, in return the said subjects get free images. This is a great exercise as it is a bit like speed dating, in that you only have a couple of minutes with the aspiring models to gain a rapport, direct them, illicit a response and capture the moment, before the next photographer tries to do the same thing.


Inevitably the lighting is set up in a generic fashion to accomplish a high key and a low key lighting scenario, adjusting the lighting is pretty much restricted to turning lights on and off as there is no time of much else. Despite these restrictions we manage to get some very pleasing images along with the numerous disasters along the way.

So last night I thought I would try something different, What if, I thought, would happen if i restricted myself to cheapest and simplest lighting set up I could. So where the other photographers were relying on expensive studio strobes, professional modifiers, soft boxes and grids etc, I would make do with one light stand, a 60" umbrella, a Nikon SB800 flash unit set on manual mode and a trigger/reciever to fire it.


Anyway the images you see here are the result of that exercise. Save for cropping and a little contrast adjustment these are not re-touched. The camera was in manual mode set to the maximum flash sync speed ( 1/250/sec), ISO 100,The aperture was F4, the flash was set to manual and bounced into the reflective umbrella at about half power which was kept the same distance from the subject but moved around for effect. To add drama I occasionally collapsed the umbrella half way so it acts, as the great Zach Arias says like a "poor mans soft box". 


So I suppose the Moral of this story is you can do a lot with very little, there are no bad cameras any more and anything you have that can fire a flash would do the same job. The umbrella cost £30.00, Any flash that can be remotely fired would do the same job as well. 

So don't worry what gear the next guy or lady has got and rock what you have. I have three simple studio lights etc but this was so refreshingly simple and satisfying that I think I will be making a lot more use of this simple rig. As I said: 

'A little goes a long way!'

Have a great day!