Harrow Transport Museum: (almost)the last one out 

Brothers Don and Ray Pyers of Harrow are well known for their love of old cars, and for some time had a number from their own car collection on display at Harrow Transport Museum. With the museum being cleared out over recent months, I was fortunate to be passing by the day the last of their collection was being moved into alternative storage. This 1908 vehicle, restored by Don a few years ago, was put on a trailer and driven away only half an hour later. I’m so glad I didn’t miss this opportunity! 

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Hamilton Sheepvention: nurture

Farming is all about nurturing, and Sheepvention is all about nurturing sheep, as can be seen by this little boy’s actions in feeding a straw of hay to a penned sheep. As I wandered around the showgrounds, where the two-day event is held, I kept my camera close, and wasn’t disappointed: everywhere I looked there were family members of all ages, enjoying the spectacle. 

Panasonic Lumix DMC GX7 with 14-140mm lens and in-camera black and white filter. 

My Kinda Carry: how I made a dual-camera sling 

When a friend asked me to shoot her wedding, which was held a few months ago, I agreed to be second shooter, as I am not a professional and don’t have the experience or skills required to get the shots that people usually expect. This worked out well, as it left me to shoot documentary-style most of the day, which is what I do best. 

In the time leading up to the wedding, which was actually delayed for eighteen months after the bride was involved in a very serious collision with a truck, I had a lot of time to think about (obsess over) all the details I needed to make sure I had right. Aside from working my way through a passing parade of cameras and lenses to get a kit I was confident with, I spent time working out how to comfortably carry two cameras.

One idea that really caught my eye was the Holdfast Gear Money Maker  which is a beautiful bit of kit, but given I had no plans to keep two cameras around after the job, and certainly couldn’t justify the expense, I set out to make my own version. 

For a while I had been using a silk necktie as a camera sling, worn cross-body style, and loved how light and comfortable it felt, so I applied the same principle to making a double sling. I ordered a couple of swivel clips, slide buckles and jeans buttons online for a few dollar, and found ties in complementary colours in a thrift shop – this all cost around ten dollars. 

To make one, you will need: 

  • 2 neckties, approximately the same width and length – you could go all-out and get two the same! 
  • 2 swivel clips, 2.5cm wide (something like these), or a tripod quick release clip if you prefer to use them
  • 2 slide buckles, 3-4cm wide (like these)
  • 1 2-piece jeans button (like these)
  • Safety pins 

Here are the steps to put it all together:

  1. You want the two ties to join and make a figure 8.
  2. Start by putting a tie over each shoulder, with the wide end sitting at the top of your chest and the narrow end hanging down your back. They’re slippery, so it helps to pin them in place to your clothing.
  3. Grab the narrow end of one tie and bring it up under the opposite arm to the wide end of the other tie. Slip on a swivel clip (or tripod quick release clip if preferred) and let that drop down. Now take a slide buckle and thread the narrow end through it, then take the wide end of the tie and thread it through in the opposite direction to, and over the top of, the narrow end. Use a safety pin to pin the tie to stop the buckle working loose when there’s weight hanging on the swivel clip. (You can stitch this if you prefer a neater finish, once you have positioned the sling to your liking, but using a safety pin keeps it adjustable.)
  4. Repeat the previous step on the other side. 
  5. Remove the pins holding the ties at your shoulders if you haven’t already. 
  6. The last part is to determine the best intersect point at the centre back. To work this out, attach the clips to a camera lug at either side, and move about as you would when shooting. Use a sturdy safety pin to get the right position – for me, this was higher up my back between my shoulder blades. 
  7. When you have found the “sweet spot”, place the jeans button halves on the front and back sides of that point, so that the spike will pierce through both ties and join the smaller metal half. This is not easily removed, so make sure to get this step right! Hammer the two pieces together. I used a jeans button because I wanted a strong pivot point, but you may find an alternative works for you. 
  8. Try on and admire your new bit of kit. The weight of the cameras keeps it in place once you’re shooting, and if you don’t stitch the shoulder join, you can adjust the straps to the desired length. 

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: front view; shoulder buckle detail; swivel clip detail; back view; button detail back side; button detail front side. 

For everyday carry with one camera, I have a variety of thrifted ties, that I swap the buckle and clip on, to suit my outfits – it’s comfy and gets lots of compliments! It also helps protect my camera when stored in my bag.

Leaves Like Fallen: discovering the identity of a native plant 

Say you’re walking around a patch of scrub or remnant vegetation and you see a scattering of green leaves that have fallen onto the ground from somewhere. You’re intrigued, so you kneel down for a closer look and you notice that they’re not fallen, they grew that way. At home you get out your native plant book and learn that they’re the basal leaf of a native orchid, but there’s no flower, so you wonder what will come up. 

The next year, you’re wandering around in that area again and there they are again, but this time there are slugs on them! You kneel down again and see that they’re not slugs at all, they’re the orchid flower and suddenly their identity comes to you: Slaty-helmet orchids! Tricky little doodads. These photos show you how tiny they are – the flower is about the size of my little finger nail. 

I bought a macro lens adapter on Gumtree, and it arrived today, so I rushed up to the amazing nature strip outside my property to investigate properly. The Raynox DCR-250 macro adapter lens did a mighty fine job attached to the zoom lens on my Panasonic Lumix DMC GX7, and has a universal fit so is suitable for many lenses and cameras. 

The lesson is to be watchful, and willing to wait.

Little Red Tiara: checking out a Japanese classic 

You all know I’m a car nut – have been since I was knee-high to a Matchbox car. Well, today on the phone my man told me about a little red car that I should go and see, so after finishing my lunch I did just that. 

This early ’60s Toyota Tiara has been owned by a local mechanic for a decade or so, but he finally decided to let it go to someone who might actually get around to restoring it. Happily, it was purchased from a nearby town, so hopefully we’ll see it around again. 

Check out the dash…push button auto! But where are the turn indicators? This tricky bit of design actually has them integrated with the horn ring. Beep beep tick tack!