Posts from the ‘photography’ category

Time to upgrade the old trolley

The case for a new location trolley

I know a lot of photographers who have back pain thanks to a career of carrying heavy equipment for long periods of time, loading and unloading countless cases and bags, crawling around on the ground to get low angle shots or craning their necks and backs to operate an elevated camera or light. When budgets allow, I hire an assistant to share some of this work but, thanks to the pandemic, limitations on the number of people allowed in indoor spaces has meant that I have had to do most interior shoots on my own and literally shoulder all the carrying myself.

small folding trolley loaded

My old trolley loaded and ready to fall over

I have had a small folding trolley for years which packs completely flat and carries two or three square shaped cases but as soon as you put a couple of tripods, light stands or reflectors on it, the whole thing becomes totally unstable. I needed a solution that could carry everything I required in one go without tipping over and that would be reasonable compact when stored.

My research

I have not gained commercially from writing this, I just felt that I should share my research and experience and possibly save others some time as well as visits to the chiropractor.

I recall when I first started carrying a lot of equipment around in the 1990s, the professional photography shop KJP, which became Calumet published a huge A4 professional catalogue which devoted a couple of pages to location trolleys. It would have saved me a lot of time and effort if I had kept one of those old catalogues, The products listed in the catalogue had all been selected with the photographer in mind, they were strong, could take a lot of abuse and would fold up to go in the average car. When I Googled location cart / trolley or photographer’s trolley most of the results were bulky, cheap, unstable or just not fit for purpose. I thought I would do an image search with the aim of finding something that looked similar to the images I remember from the old KJP catalogue. Eventually, I found a review of folding carts for festivals which included the Dura-cart, a British made folding cart made from aluminium that looked quite tough and folded up for storage or transport in a car. The Dura-Cart was 90 cm wide when in use which would go through my garden gate but not the front door of my house. The Dura-Cart site clearly described the product and its features but before I press the ‘buy now’ button for a product of this value on an unfamiliar website, I like to see a physical address or other business information on the website. For the reassurance of the Amazon buyer protection programme, I purchased the item from the company via the  Amazon Marketplace. The trolley arrived on a Saturday, the day after it was ordered.

UPDATE 24/10/21

The Dura-Cart site seems to be down and Amazon is out of stock. Hopefully this is a temporary issue and they will be available again. I will update this post if I hear anything. 

After sales

The after-sales service from Dura-Cart was brilliant, I had a couple of questions about the item which I emailed  on the Saturday expecting a response no sooner than the following Monday. Craig from Dura-Cart answered my email first thing on a Sunday morning!

Setting up the Dura-Cart

The cart takes seconds to unfold, basically you move the wheels away from each other, unfolding the chart and creating a flat base. There are two identical aluminium panels, one for the back, one for the front. These slide into grooves which stops the cart from folding up. The handle which is in two parts can then be released from its stowed state and secured with a locking bolt. Four bolts attach the handle to the cart when in use.

In use

My first job for the Dura-Cart was filming at a local research centre. My kit for the job included; a camera case, lenses, two lighting kits, large black drapes, a pop-up green screen, stands, tripods, sound mixer, blimp, clips, tapes, laptop, and extension cables.

Equipment unloaded

Equipment unloaded

The trolley carried all of the equipment without issue, the lighting stands were too long to sit inside the cart so they had to lay on the top in a soft stand bag. To keep everything in place, I used bungees wrapped around the tubular frame of the Dura-Cart.

Dura-Cart loaded with equipment

Dura-Cart loaded with equipment

The cart carried everything I needed with room to spare. It was stable and would go through most doors in commercial spaces. While I mainly bought the trolley for interior location work, its stability and large wheels would also be useful in shifting equipment to some exterior locations and provides a working platform above the dirt, dust and mud.

On my second trip to the location, I added a ladder, a soft box, a dolly and a ski bag (holds the track for the dolly). Securing everything with bungees the trolley carried everything with ease though the tyres show some evidence of the weight they are carrying.

Fully loaded car boot

Car boot fully loaded with back seats down, folded trolley on the right side.

Fully loaded trolley on location. The tyre needs some air.

Dura Cart fully loaded

Wheeling the Dura-Cart through an industrial building.

The cart in storage

When folded the trolley is about a quarter of its working width. While the trolley is mostly made from aluminium, it is still quite awkward to carry when folded. It is possible to wheel it in its folded state on flat ground if you are moving it through narrow doorways etc.

View from above of Dura-Cart in its folded state

View from above of Dura-Cart in its folded state

The two end panels must be removed when the trolley is folded. I couldn’t see any obvious places to store the panels and could imagine them being separated in my sometimes chaotic studio. To try to keep them together, I used heavy duty clips to pinch the panels against the side of the trolley next to the wheels. These clips are used a lot on set to secure drapes, cables and reflectors so it is good to put them to work as they are coming with me anyway.

Dura-Cart folded with end panels removed

Dura-Cart folded with end panels removed


Clips attached to tubular frame to secure end panels while stored

Clips attached to tubular frame to secure end panels while stored

Side view of folded Dura-Cart showing clips securing end panels

Side view of folded Dura-Cart showing clips securing end panels

Summing up

I believe that if I had saved the money and bought one of the cheaper ‘festival’  trolleys I would soon be suffering from buyer’s remorse. While the Dura-Cart is considerably more expensive than most of the other folding trolleys, I believe it is well made and should endure the rough and tumble of daily use. When things return to normal, I believe my assistants will also thank me for it.



All photography and Photoshop training now available online

Due to popular demand, over the next few months I am moving all of my training and consultancy services online. You can now learn Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, smartphone photography and videography as 1:1 or 1:2 sessions via Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts.

For ‘off the shelf’ teaching sessions, the price is £30 for 40 minutes. If you would like bespoke training tailored to your needs, prices start at £35/hour. As there is no charge for travel, this training is available to you wherever you are in the world. I should be able to offer sessions at a time that suits you.

Nigel gave me technical and video shooting tips that will take me to the next step of filming my own business video. He is a knowledgeable and generous teacher.  N.P. Athens, Greece

My regular courses, include; introduction to Photoshop, Intermediate Photoshop, Introduction to Lightroom Classic, smartphone photography, smartphone video and sound recording.

Iphone photography workshop

Iphone photography workshop

I can also offer bespoke training on most aspects of digital and analogue photography, lighting and even pinhole camera making and photography.

I have delivered courses and small group training at; University of Bristol, University of Bath, Coventry University, to Zurich Insurance, Microsoft, National Trust, BBC, among others.

If you would like to know more, please let me know.

Shooting a training video with smartphone ( iPhone SE ) using Filmic Pro

Shooting a training video with smartphone ( iPhone SE ) using Filmic Pro



Fishing line found on Welsh beach

These photographs are of fishing line found on a North Pembrokeshire beach and are part of a project on plastic in the sea. More images of this project will appear shortly.

Abandoned fishing line found on a Welsh beach

Abandoned fishing line found on a Welsh beach

Abandoned fishing line found on a Welsh beach

Abandoned fishing line found on a Welsh beach

Abandoned fishing line found on a Welsh beach

Abandoned fishing line found on a Welsh beach

Abandoned fishing line found on a Welsh beach

Abandoned fishing line found on a Welsh beach

Abandoned fishing line found on a Welsh beach

Abandoned fishing line found on a Welsh beach

Giants from behind the horizon

This is part of a new project exploring consumer culture. As the project develops, I plan to look at consumption on the high street and online, the people and machinery that transport these goods to us and what happens when we have finished with them.

My interest in international trade and shipping grew from two commercial commissions that I had at around the same time. The first was for a large marine insurance company where I took a series of images on a brand new Maersk container ship.  At the time, in 1998 it was state of the art and the largest ship of its type in the world. By modern standards, the same ship would be a baby compared to the current monsters. Many of today’s ships can carry over 20,000 shipping containers.

In the same year I had a commission in Bangladesh and I had the opportunity to take pictures of the Ship Breakers of Chittagong. On one of the longest beaches in the world, gangs of workers dismantle huge ships often with little more than hand tools and with little understanding of health and safety. These ships had reached the end of their working lives, they contained toxic harmful products and dismantling in The West would be unsafe and uneconomic so this work is ‘shipped out’ to the developing world. I saw numerous workers carrying bales of asbestos from the engine rooms of a ship they were working on.

Ship breakers, Chittagong, Bangladesh

Ship breakers, Chittagong, Bangladesh

Ship breakers, Bangladesh

Ship breakers, Bangladesh

As a species, the human race currently consumes 50% more resources than the planet can provide.

Consumer spending (consumption) is often used as a measure of the strength of an economy. Advertising companies assign status to the products they promote and we the consumers acquire this status along with the items we purchase. Today’s must have item is tomorrow’s landfill. Unless we can find a way to increase the life of the products we buy or find a way to recycle them completely, consumer culture in its current form is unsustainable.

MSC Anna being unloaded at Felixtowe

MSC Anna being unloaded at Felixtowe

As a post-industrial state, 90% of what we use is imported. To make this possible, a fleet of giant container ships circle the world.

Some of these ships can transport over 20,000 containers. If all of these containers were loaded onto lorries and parked in a line, the queue would be around 330KM in length, longer than the M4 motorway.

MSC Anna about to set sail, Felixtowe

MSC Anna about to set sail, Felixtowe

Occasionally, we might see a distant shadow on the horizon but most of the time these monsters occupy a world out of our sight. This part of the project aims to link the shadows that pass in the distance to our unstoppable appetite for ‘stuff’.

MSC Anna bound for Antwerp

Dali bound for Bremerhaven

Bora Bay bound for Zeebrugge

Bore Bay bound for Zeebrugge

Maersk Mkinney bound for Hamburg

Maersk Mc Kinney Moller bound for Hamburg

OOCL bound for Rotterdam

OOCL Scandinavia bound for Port Said

OCCL Scandinavia

OOCL Scandinavia in port

There are 6 OOCL ships including the Scandinavia which all currently share the title of the largest container ships currently at sea. Each of these ships can carry 21413 containers.

Maersk McKinnery

OOCL Scandinavia

Maersk McKinney in port Felixtowe

Maersk Mc Kinney Moller in port, Felixtowe

MSV Anna can carry over 19,300 containers

The ships that bring their bounty from where most goods are manufactured in China and South East Asia have little of value to ship back. In the past, our waste products were crammed into containers where they were disposed of in the developing world. The developing world no longer wants our waste and so often containers return empty or don’t return at all. They serve a new life as glamping pods, pop-up coffee shops, stables or site offices.

Refuse centre next to container port

‘Recycling Centre’ next to container port  (the site office is an recycled container)

As ‘good’ consumers, we need to continually buy new items and obey the advertisers who tell us that we will be better, be more popular,  have greater status and be more attractive if we buy the latest gadget. Often goods fail shortly after the warranty expires, repair is expensive and difficult, replacement is cheap and easy. The failed item is discarded and often finds its way into landfill. Despite major developments in material science (lightbulbs that can last a lifetime) we have learnt to accept that items will fail and need replacing.

2 month old faulty picture frame showing MV Autosun passing boating lake at Portishead with a cargo of up to 2000 cars from Bilbao to Portbury


Mobile phone & iPhone photography online and in person training

Online and face to face mobile phone photography training

Short intro to mobile phone photography workshop (1-3 hours) (face to face & online) from £45 per hour for 1-2-1 and small group training

This fun yet practical workshop shows how you can get better pictures from your mobile phone. It covers preparing your smart phone, general camera phone app settings as well as composition, exposure and editing.

The session was informative and interactive, Nigel was friendly, approachable, encouraged questions, and gave time for experimenting.  Numerous times throughout the evening, one or another member could be heard saying “I had no idea my phone could do that!”.  We have no hesitation in recommending Nigel as a speaker to any group, large or small. Arwen Beaton, Brislington WI
mobile phone photography class in Bath and Bristol
This popular mobile phone photography training session has been delivered at the University of Bath, Linguarama, 24 Hours in the City the Royal Photographic Society Microsoft, Zurich Insurance, Royal Automobile Club and to numerous other groups and individuals. The skills covered will help attendees to get better portrait and product pictures for social media, publicity, promotion, for pleasure or even high quality print.

mobile phone photography classModern mobile phones are quite capable of delivering high quality, print ready images if used with care. Images can be taken spontaneously and shared immediately, saving time and the cost and delay in  hiring a professional photographer.

The workshop provides a practical and fun staff development activity or for continual professional development (CPD).

No previous photography experience required.

Product photography shot with iphone

The practical, mobile phone photography session is between one and three hours in length (depending on content required) and attendees learn how to get better quality pictures from their mobile device and learn how to edit them. While I use an iPhone for the demonstrations, most features are also available on Android or other platforms.

We also look at a few affordable accessories that can improve quality or build on the camera’s features.

Macro image taken with iPhone CS

Macro image taken with iPhone CS

The practical class is suited to groups of up to 20 students in size, all students need to bring is a fully charged, modern mobile device. The session has been delivered to groups of over 200 individuals though this is less interactive than with smaller groups.

Online workshop prices start from £45 per hour  (maximum size 20). For on site training please contact me for a quote.

Nigel gave me technical and video shooting tips that will take me to the next step of filming my own business video. He is a knowledgeable and generous teacher. N.P, Athens

For on site training, there may be an additional charge for travel and possibly accommodation so please contact me for a more detailed quote.


mobile phone photography training

Food photography shot with iPhone

Capturing high quality audio and video with your smartphone (1 day on-site and online workshop)

I also offer a more advanced 1 day course which explains how to capture the best quality video, audio and still photography and editing on a mobile device. The workshop covers; photographing people, photographing objects, composition, exposure, lighting, high quality sound and video capture, filming interviews, presentations to camera and testimonials, editing and delivery.


Smartphone photography and videography online and face to face  talks

As an alternative to a practical workshop, I also offer talks on the subject to camera clubs, photographic societies and others that want an overview of the subject rather than a practical workshop. This also works for groups larger than twenty where interaction is more difficult. This talk has been delivered to groups of over 300 attendees. Prices for talks start from £80.