Sony A6700 price, specs release date announced


Sony has announced the replacement for the A6600, the Sony A6700. Like the A6600, the Sony A6700 has an APS-C-sized sensor, but its resolution has been increased to 26MP, making it the highest-resolution APS-C format Sony camera.

In addition, the sensor is backside-illuminated and paired with the Bionz XR processing engine, which is joined by a chip dedicated to handling AI Subject Recognition.

Consequently, the Sony A6700 has a hybrid autofocus (AF) system, with 759 phase detection points (covering 93% of the frame) and 25 contrast detection points with Real-time tracking and Real-time Subject Recognition AF, which works in stills and video mode. It can detect humans, animals, animals and birds, insects, cars/trains, and aeroplanes in both stills and video mode with the type of subject selected via the menu.

Read our Sony A6700 review

Sony A6700 review: Subject Recognition modes

There’s also Human Pose Estimation to help the camera track a human subject around the frame. Sony has also developed the exposure control for human faces, making it around 20% more reliable.

The A6700’s colour reproduction and white balance system have also been improved to deliver more attractive images in natural or in artificial light.

According to Sony, the A6700’s 5-axis image stabilisation system has an improved algorithm for stills. It’s claimed to deliver up to a 5-stop extension to the safe hand-holdable shutter speed.

The Sony A6700 has 10 preset Creative Looks, but they can be tailored to the user’s preferences by adjusting the 8 parameters.

For the first time in a Sony A6000-series camera, the A6700 can save images in HEIF (High-Efficiency Image File) format or Jpeg and raw format.

Like the A6600, the Sony A6700 has a maximum continuous shooting rate of 11 frames per second (fps), but it can shoot over 1000 Jpeg Fine images, 59 raw files or 44 raw and Jpeg files in one burst with AF and exposure tracking using the mechanical or the (silent) electronic shutter.

The Sony A6700 accepts the Sony NP-FZ100 rechargeable battery and has a single SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot.

Sony A6700 review: video formats

Sony A6700 video features

While it’s not billed as a video or vlogging camera, the A6700 is a hybrid camera that has some attractive video features. For instance, it can produce 4K video using 6K oversampling, full-pixel readout and no pixel binning. There’s also 10-bit 4:2:2 colour and frame rates up to 120p, plus XAVC S-I and XAVC HS and S-Logs with LUTs, S-Cinetone and HLG recording.

Sony’s Auto Framing is on hand and uses the AI-based subject recognition technology to automatically crop the video frame so the subject is prominent in the footage. It’s helpful to anyone recording themselves in action.

As usual, there’s S&Q mode for creating slow-motion and fast-motion videos in-camera, plus the A6700 has in-camera Timelapse creation, AF assist and Sony’s Focus Map.

Sony A6700 screen

In a welcome upgrade from the A6600, the Sony A6700’s 3-inch 1.03-million-dot screen is mounted on a vari-angle hinge. This means it can be flipped and rotated to give a good view, whether you’re shooting in landscape or portrait orientation. It can also be rotated to face forwards for vlogging.

In addition, the screen has full touch control and Sony’s revised menu system, making it easier to find and adjust the settings you want.

Sony A6700 price and availability

The Sony A6700 is set to go on sale in September 2023. The body-only price of the Sony A6700 is £1,450 / $1,398 / €1,700. It’s also available in a kit with the 16-50mm lens for £1,800 / $1,498 / €1,550, or with the 18-135mm lens for £1,800 / $1,798 / € 2,100.


  • Camera type: Mirrorless

  • Announced: 12th July 2023

  • Lens mount: Sony E

  • Sensor: 26MP APS-C BSI CMOS (23.5 x 15.6mm) sensor

  • Video: 4K (3840 x 2160) 60p 10-bit 4:2:2, 120p 8-bit 4:2:0

  • Continuous shooting rate: Hi+: 11fps

  • Burst depth: In Hi+ 59 raw files, 1000+ Fine Jpegs or 44 raw and Jpeg files

  • Stabilisation: 5-axis in-body image stabilisation giving up to 5EV shutter speed compensation

  • Sensitivity: ISO 100-32000 (expandable to ISO 102400)

  • Autofocus : Fast Hybrid AF with 759 phase-detection points and 25 contrast-detection points, Real-time Subject Recognition AF

  • Subjects recognition modes: Human, Animal, Animal/Bird, Bird, Insect, Car/Train, Aeroplanes

  • Viewfinder: 0.39-inch 2,359,000-dot OLED electronic viewfinder

  • Screen: 3-inch 1.03-million-dot vari-angle touchscreen

  • Storage: SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-II

  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 122.0 x 69.0 x 75.1 mm, or from grip to monitor: 122.0 x 69.0 x 63.6 mm / 4 7/8 x 2 3/4 x 3 inches or or from grip to monitor: 4 7/8 x 2 3/4 x 2 5/8 inches

  • Weight: 409g / 14.5 oz


A World In Common: Contemporary African Photography, Tate Modern, review: A mind-blowing delight


A World In Common is an elegantly mind-blowing attempt to give image to Africa – its past, present and future, its diaspora, its diversity – through modern and contemporary photography. The show comes at you in great moody waves – horror at environmental catastrophe, icy fury at historic brutality and cultural erasure. Some photos evoke a bittersweet sense of elegy, others a rousing sense of purpose. There is also space here for shared joy.

The scope and variety of work is necessarily broad, but overwhelmingly the focus is the human figure. In a section on studio photography we encounter damaged and mostly anonymous Victorian portraits of Black families in South Africa commissioned half a century before the imposition of apartheid. These were discovered and mounted in a slideshow by Santu Mofokeng who asks us to imagine the lives of these people, and the cultural context in which these formal portraits were made. In one slide, Mofokeng asks: “Are these images evidence of mental colonisation or did they serve to challenge prevailing images of ‘The African’ in the Western world?”

In present day Nigeria, Ruth Ginika Ossai invites groups of friends to arrange themselves against bright cinematic backdrops. Teenage boys try to look moody, and a group of student nurses pose in their zesty green uniforms, fooling around with a receptionist’s telephone.

There’s a selection here, too, from James Barnor’s famous Ever Young studio in Accra, Ghana. His clients in the 1950s included a handsome young yogi who twists his body in immaculate contortions, and a sturdy baby pushing itself up delightedly onto all fours.

The exhibition starts with George Osodi’s magisterial portraits of kings and queens of the various peoples that make up present-day Nigeria. HRM Agbogidi Obi James Ikechukwu Anyasi II, Obi of Idumuje Unor sits in a stone niche in a high collar and red, gold and green beaded crown.

A World In Common: Contemporary African Photography Tate Modern? 6 July 2023 ? 14 January 2024 Ruth Ossai, Student nurses Alfrah, Adabesi, Odah, Uzoma, Abor and Aniagolum. Onitsha, Anambra state, Nigeria, 2018 Photograph, inkjet print on paper; 1016 ? 673 mm ? Ruth Ginika Ossai Image from press release Ts & Cs apply These images are on loan to you, and are accepted by you under the following terms and conditions: ? That the reproductions are accompanied by the artist, title, date, lender and copyright line; ? That the reproductions are not cropped, overprinted, tinted or subject to any form of derogatory treatment without the prior approval of the copyright owner; ? That the images are only reproduced to illustrate an article or feature reviewing or reporting on A World In Common: Contemporary African Photography Tate Modern, 6 July 2023 ? 14 January 2024) (section 30 (i) and (ii) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988); ? That for online use the images are reproduced at 72 ppi with a maximum measurement of 25cm; ? That image files must be deleted from all devices it has been downloaded on once used; ? That any reproductions are not used for marketing or advertising purposes.
Student nurses Alfrah, Adabesi, Odah, Uzoma, Abor and Aniagolum pose for Ruth Ginika Ossai (Photo: Ruth Ginika Ossai/Tate)

As with most of the monarchs in Osodi’s portraits, his neck is strung with centuries-old ceremonial strands of coral – great fat cylindrical beads of the stuff, many kilos in weight. His voluminous robes are patterned with a repeating motif of Queen Elizabeth II – a competitive nod, perhaps. At the time of Osodi’s portrait in 2012, he was the longest reigning monarch in Africa with 66 years on the throne, a few years ahead of the British Queen.

Mário Macilau captures details of life, instead, at the social margins, working alongside young men who glean materials on the electronics dumps in Maputo in Mozambique. While Macilau is at pains to give his subjects agency in constructing these images, the reality of their lives and the implication of how they derive a living is harsh. Great ashy clouds hang in the background from burning plastics and electronic waste.

In a few photographs we see computer circuit boards being melted down in little frying pans to extract their metals. This is where our European electronic consumer goods end up – we should not fool ourselves that what little recycling happens in the disposal of our stuff is a clean or safe process, for those who carry it out or for their surrounding environment.

There is an imperative here for many artists, who work to reclaim the imagined “African” from centuries in which the people of the continent were forever the subject of the photographic image and never its author – in ethnographic studies, colonial reports, news reels and exoticising magazine features. The power dynamics of documentary photography in particular is sensitive territory to navigate.

A World In Common: Contemporary African Photography Tate Modern? 6 July 2023 ? 14 January 2024 Atong Atem, Adut and Bigoa, The Studio Series, 2015 Ilford smooth pearl print; 840 ? 590 mm ? Atong Atem. Courtesy of MARS Gallery and Atong Atem Image from press release Ts & Cs apply These images are on loan to you, and are accepted by you under the following terms and conditions: ? That the reproductions are accompanied by the artist, title, date, lender and copyright line; ? That the reproductions are not cropped, overprinted, tinted or subject to any form of derogatory treatment without the prior approval of the copyright owner; ? That the images are only reproduced to illustrate an article or feature reviewing or reporting on A World In Common: Contemporary African Photography Tate Modern, 6 July 2023 ? 14 January 2024) (section 30 (i) and (ii) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988); ? That for online use the images are reproduced at 72 ppi with a maximum measurement of 25cm; ? That image files must be deleted from all devices it has been downloaded on once used; ? That any reproductions are not used for marketing or advertising purposes.
Atong Atem’s Adut and Bigoa, The Studio Series, 2015 (Photo: MARS Gallery and Atong Atem)

Many of the celebrated documentary and conflict images composed by Euro American photographers – from prurient National Geographic photo essays to Don McCullin’s war reportage – today seem very troubling, particularly in the assumed access to exposed or injured African bodies, and the namelessness of those pictured. As with many of the subjects touched on in this show, there is grounds for a whole other exhibition to be done exploring how African photographers might re-invent the documentary tradition.

In reclaiming space behind and in front of the camera, many artists here turn to performance. Among them is the late Rotimi Fani-Kayode, in whose photographs of the late 1980s young men bedecked in flowers and beads engage in practices that hover ambiguously between Yoruba ritual and sensual exploration. Illuminated like a Baroque painting, a figure naked but for a leather fetish harness bows his head beside a carved and painted sculpture, suggesting aspects of the artist’s life – his queer identity and his Nigerian family’s traditional values – that were not easily reconciled.

In Edson Chagas’s irresistibly charged and characterful portraits, men in modern dress have their heads obscured by antique Bantu masks. Each of the portraits seems to incarnate the spirit of a long-dead ancestor. Titled Tipo Passe (2014) the portraits borrow the tightly cropped frontal format from passport photographs – an allusion to how the people and antiquities of the African continent are afforded quite different levels of care and welcome when circulating within Europe. These masks are from a private collection – they are prized objects. In giving each a name and imbuing them with personality, Chaga also suggests the kind of death suffered by artefacts when removed from their familial and ritual contexts and placed in a museum display.

A World In Common: Contemporary African Photography Tate Modern? 6 July 2023 ? 14 January 2024 Mario Macilau, Breaking News from The Profit Corner series, 2015 Archival pigment print on cotton rag paper ? M?rio Macilau, Courtesy Ed Cross Fine Art Image from press release Ts & Cs apply These images are on loan to you, and are accepted by you under the following terms and conditions: ? That the reproductions are accompanied by the artist, title, date, lender and copyright line; ? That the reproductions are not cropped, overprinted, tinted or subject to any form of derogatory treatment without the prior approval of the copyright owner; ? That the images are only reproduced to illustrate an article or feature reviewing or reporting on A World In Common: Contemporary African Photography Tate Modern, 6 July 2023 ? 14 January 2024) (section 30 (i) and (ii) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988); ? That for online use the images are reproduced at 72 ppi with a maximum measurement of 25cm; ? That image files must be deleted from all devices it has been downloaded on once used; ? That any reproductions are not used for marketing or advertising purposes.
Mario Macilau’s Breaking News from The Profit Corner series, 2015 (Photo: Mario Macilau/Ed Cross Fine Art/Tate)

In one of a handful of moving-image works in the show, Zina Saro-Wiwa undertakes the performance of masquerade as a healing ritual. One panel of The Invisible Man (2015) shows exhausted women, hot, sweating and weeping. At the centre, the artist appears in uneasy repose. To her left is a man holding a heavy carved mask to his face. Slowly the chanting of the women drowns out the man’s voice before the work reaches a dramatic crescendo. Having lost her father (the novelist and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa) and other men in the family, Saro-Wiwa explores how women might express their grief in ways not culturally open to them, taking up the male tradition of ritual performance involving carved wooden masks and masquerade for herself.

While much here engages with the specific contexts of Africa, some of the most quietly powerful work simply reflects on our common human experience. In Lebohang Kganye’s series Ke Lefa Laka: Her-story (2013) the artist performs as her mother, recreating outfits, poses and compositions found in the family album. She also inserts herself positioned and dressed in homage beside her mother in old photographs. Faded and insubstantial, Kganye appears like a ghost from the future, a phantom alter ego. Made a few years after her mother’s death, the photographs are a deep engagement with the unknowable parts of another person’s life, and ask what role images play in constructing our memory.

With such a vast subject, this show could easily have become overwhelming. A World In Common has been curated with an admirably light touch – well-structured and tightly edited so that the work has space to breathe. There are big, important, heavy issues here, but also so much delight.

To 14 January, 2024


Smartphone Photography Shootout: Samsung And Apple Head-To-Head


Through the pandemic, I became passionate about photography. Although I’ve technically been doing “professional” product photography for articles featured on-line and in print for a couple of decades, it was only in the last few years that I stepped up my game. As much as I love my pro camera gear though, it’s not something you can carry around perpetually. As the old saying goes, “the best camera is the one that’s with you”, and like most of you, my smartphone camera is the one that’s almost always within reach. So, when presented with the opportunity to test a couple of the top smartphones for photography, I jumped at the chance.

The smartphones I’m referencing are the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max. Both of these devices might be the current flagships for their respective manufacturers, but they couldn’t be any more different in terms of their rear “world facing” camera configurations (both cameras feature 12MP selfie cameras). The iPhone 14 Pro Max features a 48MP main camera, with a 24mm 7-element lens (ƒ/1.78 aperture), with sensor-shift optical image stabilization. That main camera is flanked by a 12MP Ultra Wide shooter, with a 13mm 6-element lens (ƒ/2.2 aperture) and a 120° field of view, and a 12MP Telephoto shooter, with a 77mm 6-element lens (ƒ/2.8 aperture), with 3x optical zoom (digital zoom up to 15x) and optical image stabilization.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra features a bleeding-edge 200MP main camera with a 24mm lens (ƒ/1.7 aperture) and optical image stabilization. Adjacent to the main camera, there’s also a 10 MP “periscope telephoto” shooter (ƒ/4.9 aperture), with OIS and 10x optical zoom, a 10 MP telephoto camera with a 70mm lens (ƒ/2.4 aperture), OIS and 3x optical zoom, and a 12 MP ultra-wide camera, with a 13mm lens (ƒ/2.2 aperture), 120˚ field of view, and Dual Pixel PDAF. The ultra-wide shooters on both the Galaxy S23 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro Max also do double-duty as Macro shooters.

Those main camera specifications need some additional clarification, however. While many of today’s high-end smartphones boast ultra-high megapixel ratings, they also do something called “pixel-binning”. Pixel binning uses multiple pixels on the sensor to gather data that’s grouped, or “binned”, together to effectively act a single pixel of a certain color. For example, the iPhone’s 48MP main camera actually outputs 12MP images by default, because it is using quad-pixel binning. Users must shoot in RAW, which requires additional processing, to capture a 48MP image. The Galaxy S23 Ultra does the same thing; 200MP image captures are possible, but typical captures are 48MP. Pixel binning is one way to counter-balance the more limited light-gathering capabilities of the small pixels on densely-packed smartphone camera sensors. It results in more accurate color captures and less noise, but creates images that are only 25% of the maximum resolution of the sensor, when using quad-binning at least.

High-End Smartphone Camera Systems Require Massive Processing Power

Smartphones designed with high-quality photography in mind usually use complex image processing techniques, high-quality optics, and a multitude of computational photography technologies to capture and intelligently process as much image data as possible. As such, today’s smartphones require powerful image processors to not only produce high-quality images, but offer a good user experience.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max is powered by Apple’s own A16 Bionic chipset, which features a 16-Core Neural Engine capable of 17 TOPS and an advanced Image Signal Processor (ISP). The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is powered by the flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform that features Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.’s first ever Cognitive ISP.

Sensor sizes and megapixel counts may be key differentiators that play a significant role in a smartphone camera system’s quality, but they are less relevant than most people think. Smartphones simply do not have the physical space to accommodate large camera sensors and a sensor’s pixel density can only be so high before image quality is negatively impacted, particularly in challenging lighting conditions. Although there are other things to consider, in general, smaller pixels on a camera sensor gather less light than larger pixels (all other things being equal), which can degrade image quality in sub-optimal lighting. Because of this, a smartphone image processing capabilities are immensely important.

There’s isn’t much data available on Apple’s proprietary ISP. The company consistently enhances the capability of its “Axx” mobile processors with each generation, but specifics are scarce. Qualcomm has also enhanced its Snapdragon platforms over the years with leading image processing and computational photography features. Although Qualcomm’s partners, like Samsung, don’t typically enable every possible photography or videography-related feature available in the latest Snapdragon mobile platforms, those that place a strong emphasis on photography often produce devices capable of capturing excellent photos and videos. In fact, according to DxOMark, many of the best smartphone cameras are powered by Snapdragon.

The Spectra Image Signal Processor featured in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has triple Cognitive ISPs, capable of processing 3.2 gigapixels per second. The trio of Cognitive ISPs gives devices like the Galaxy S23 Ultra the ability to leverage up to three independent cameras simultaneously and enables features like triple simultaneous image capture, seamless zooming between cameras, multi-capture HDR composites, and up to 200 Megapixel photo capture, among other things. The first of its kind Cognitive ISP in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, in conjunction with the chip’s Hexagon AI engine, also enables something called real-time “Semantic Segmentation”, which is enabled on the Galaxy S23’s selfie camera.

Semantic Segmentation leverages a neural network that was trained to identify many different objects, like people, faces, skies, grass, etc., and each of those objects can be segmented, and custom processing applied to them to enhance a captured image or video. If you’re familiar with image processing applications, you can think of the segments as layers, and each layer can be edited independently to produce a desired effect – bluer skies, smoother skin, greener grass – you get the idea. And since the segments can be altered independently, each segment can be properly exposed, saturated, or sharpened, without diminishing the quality of the other segments. As software support for Semantic Segmentation matures, it has the potential to be a real game changer.

Both the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the Galaxy S23 Ultra use an array of computational photography techniques to produce images. Common computational photography features, like Night Mode, Portrait Mode, and HDR are available on both platforms. The Galaxy S23 Ultra also offers a feature called AI Zoom. AI Zoom is an experiential feature that gives users the ability to seamlessly zoom from the widest angle all the way to 100x zoom, spanning three different cameras, by simply pinching and zooming or using an on-screen slider. There’s no need to manually switch between the ultra-wide, standard, or telephoto camera, or to figure out which one is best to compose a particular shot.

The Mobile Photography Experience

Although I’m focusing on photography here, I should also note that both the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the Galaxy S23 Ultra are high-performance devices, which offer quality user experiences in general. Both of the phones are fast, and have myriad of photo and video-related features. Specifically as it related to photos and videos, autofocus is quick and accurate on both devices, they capture realistic tones and textures, and noise performance is also very good. For general photography, I think anyone coming from a previous-gen device is likely to be quite pleased. But there are some major advantages to the Qualcomm-powered Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra worth pointing out.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra’s camera application features a number of customizations required to give users access to some of the device’s special photo features, like Hyperlapse, Single Take, and Expert Raw, to name but a few. Users of any skill level, however, should be able to navigate its menu system and manipulate camera settings or quickly switch between modes. Although there are many options available to tune image quality to a user’s liking, auto-mode takes phenomenal shots. The Galaxy S23 Ultra is capable of capturing excellent detail; perhaps one small criticism is that it can sometimes oversaturate images and perform a bit too much sharpening.

Without the right processing, handling wide dynamic range lighting situations can be challenging for the relatively small sensors in a smartphone, but even with strong backlighting with the sun shining brightly, the both the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s and Galaxy S23 Ultra’s cameras performed well. Colors and tones of the scene are well balanced, with crisp detail, when normally some objects would be silhouetted on lesser cameras that can’t handle this kind of lighting. That said, the Galaxy S23 Ultra better handled the exposure and was able to retain more blue in the sky.

The higher resolution 200MP sensor in the Galaxy S23 Ultra also captures more detail. When scaled and posted to social media, with minimal editing, the differences may be very difficult to suss out. But the massive resolution offered by the Galaxy S23 Ultra gives users much more flexibility to crop without sacrificing as much detail in the final image. These zoomed crops of the images captured on both phones shows just how much additional resolution is available on the Samsung device.

A 200MP capture on the Galaxy S23 Ultra is 16320×12240 pixels. A 48MP capture on the iPhone 14 Pro Max is 8064×6048 pixels. You could crop 50% from each dimension on the Galaxy S23 Ultra and still have a similar number of pixels to work with versus the full resolution on the iPhone.

Both phones handled Portrait mode well, though they offer different fields of view in this mode. The simulated blurred background bokeh is smooth, on both with surprisingly realistic looking transitions from in-focus to out-of-focus areas. Portrait Mode can often introduce unwanted artifacts in the fine details around a subject’s edges, but both phones do a pretty good job here. The Galaxy S23 Ultra does a slightly better job though, with smoother transition, and more detail in the subject.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra also stands out with close-up Macro photography. Even when its ultra-wide camera is nearly touching the subject, it is able to focus properly and capture fine detail.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max does a great job too if you don’t pixel peep, but zooming in shows more fine detail in the Samsung capture – you can actually make out individual bits of pollen, whereas on the iPhone the processing makes the internal part of the flower look like it has a rough, bumpy texture.

In terms of video recording, both devices are relatively full featured, but the edge yet again goes to the Galaxy S23 Ultra. The iPhone 14 Pro Max tops out of 4K60 recording, while the Galaxy 23 Ultra can do 8K30 recording. Slow motion, normal, and time lapse recording are available on both devices as well. In practice I found the video quality on both devices to be quite good, though the Galaxy 23 Ultra seemed to handle sub-optimal, low-light conditions somewhat better.

Top camera performance continues to be paramount for flagship smartphone buyers, but whether evaluating specification or real-world results, it’s clear Qualcomm-powered Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra are a step ahead of the competition. Independent bodies like DxOMark show most of the top smartphone cameras are backed by Qualcomm processors.


6 Savvy Money-Saving Tips For Travelers


Traveling the world is a dream for many, but the perception that it requires a hefty budget often holds people back. Fortunately, with careful planning and a few savvy money-saving tips, exploring new destinations can be affordable and within reach.

From the luggage storage Oslo offers to cost-efficient food and transportation, you can save a surprising amount and still explore far and wide. In this article, we’ll present practical strategies to help travelers see the world on a budget, ensuring memorable experiences without breaking the bank.

Money-Saving Tips For Travelers

1. Plan and Research in Advance

One of the keys to traveling on a budget is thorough planning and research. Start by setting a realistic budget for your trip, including costs for flights, accommodation, transportation, meals, and activities.

By booking your flights and accommodations well in advance, you can take advantage of early bird discounts and promotional offers. Use trusted travel websites and compare prices to find the best deals on flights, hotels, and vacation rentals. Additionally, research free or low-cost activities and attractions at your destination, as they can provide enriching experiences without straining your budget.

2. Travel During the Off-Season

You’ll save money and avoid crowds, making it easier to explore and appreciate the beauty of your chosen destination. Remember to pack appropriate clothing and plan for any possible weather conditions during the off-season.

3. Embrace Local Cuisine and Street Food

One of the joys of travel is experiencing new cuisines. Instead of dining at expensive tourist restaurants, immerse yourself in the local culture by indulging in street food and exploring local markets. Street food is not only delicious, but it’s also often a fraction of the cost of sit-down restaurants. You can also shop at local grocery stores to stock up on nutritious and cost-efficient foods to save even more.

By trying local delicacies, you can savor authentic flavors and support local businesses. Just be sure to exercise caution and choose clean, busy food stalls to ensure hygiene and safety.

Money-Saving Tips For Travelers

4. Utilize Public Transportation and Walk

Transportation costs can add up, but there are ways to minimize them. Opt for public transportation options such as buses, trains, or trams, which are often cheaper than taxis or rental cars. Many cities offer visitor passes or travel cards that provide unlimited access to public transportation for a fixed price, saving you money on individual fares.

Additionally, take advantage of walking as a means of exploration. Walking not only allows you to immerse yourself in the local atmosphere but also saves on transportation costs while providing a more intimate experience of the destination. For instance, when traveling in Oslo, use luggage storage kiosks to drop off your suitcase and enjoy the city on foot.

5. Stay in Budget Accommodations

Accommodation expenses can significantly impact your travel budget, but there are various affordable options available. Consider staying in budget accommodations such as hostels, guesthouses, or homestays, which offer comfortable and clean accommodations at a fraction of the cost of luxury hotels.

Another option is to explore vacation rentals through platforms like Airbnb, where you can find affordable and unique accommodation options. Before booking, read reviews from previous guests to ensure the quality and safety of the place.

6. Connect With Local Communities

Lastly, take the opportunity to connect with local communities and fellow travelers. Locals often have valuable insights and can provide recommendations for affordable and authentic experiences. Engaging with locals can also lead to unique opportunities to participate in community events or cultural activities.

Connect with other travelers through online forums or social media groups to share tips, find travel companions, and potentially split costs for transportation or accommodation. Building connections with people from different backgrounds enriches your travel experience while providing opportunities for cost-sharing

Money-Saving Tips For Travelers

Save Cash and Enjoy Your Trip

Traveling the world on a budget is not only possible but also an incredibly rewarding experience. With careful spending and a willingness to explore affordable options, you can create lasting memories and embark on incredible adventures without breaking the bank.

Now that you can save time and cash with these travel tactics, it’s easier than ever to explore on a budget. Pack your bags, set your sights on your dream destinations, and start your budget-friendly journey to see the world. Bon voyage!

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Product Photography Best Practices To Follow In 2023


Header Image Source: Pixabay

In today’s digital-first world, visual imagery is the sole representation of your products. The impression your product photos make on the customer decides whether they will proceed with the purchase. Blurry, pixilated, or photos with unhelpful information can flip the customers into viewing your brand as doubtful and untrustworthy.

We’re here to help you ensure your product photography is second to none. This article explores product photography best practices that you should implement this year.

Must-Know Tips and Tricks for Product Photography

beauty product photography best practices

Source: Pixabay

Setting Up the Table

From lighting and background to angles and composition, there’s a lot to consider when setting up the table for your shoot:

Choose the right surface: Choose a clean background that won’t compete with your product. A simple white or neutral-colored backdrop does the trick and draws attention to your product. For added interest, use props like colored paper or fabric to create a more interesting shot. 

Lighting is key: Natural light from the side can soften shadows and bring out the best features of your product. Shooting with natural light is difficult as the light changes every minute, so you must adjust repeatedly to stay consistent. You can also use artificial lighting, such as a ring light or softbox, to easily photograph and get creative with your shots.

Place your product: Position your product in the center of the frame for the best composition. This gives you lots of room to adjust and reflect on each photo. Balance your shots by keeping them symmetrical and experimenting with different angles. Your product should also be at least ten inches from the backdrop to avoid shadows.

Observe Brand Consistency

Brand consistency is hard to maintain when you want to step out of the box. An expertly taken photograph will show your product in the best light, but you must ensure that your product line appears consistent across all marketing materials.

The lighting, background, and composition should stay consistent throughout the photography. Also, ensure you follow a similar style of staging and color palettes for your products.

Take Many Photos from Many Angles

You will find only a few photos worth selecting for uploading on your product page.  But, for that to happen, you must take many photographs from all possible angles. Ensure you capture the product’s different sides – front, back, side view, and other details like buttons, stitches, or any design elements.

This will help customers get a better idea of how your product looks and will help them make an informed decision.

Show Product in Context

Context helps tell the story behind a product and gives customers a better understanding of its use. By showing a product in its natural environment, you can easily convey its unique features, benefits, or lifestyle aspirations. This will help customers identify with the product and give your photos an effortless look.

Product photography in context doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. It can be as simple as styling up the item on a desk or countertop. Consider adding props to create an interesting visual narrative that will draw customers in and help them to imagine their lives with the product.

Combine Various Types of Product Images

Product photography should be creative and visually attractive but must serve its purpose: capture your product in the best representation. Combining various types of product images drive this purpose home. The various types of product images are:

  • Flat Lay Images: Photographing multiple products of the same group together.
  • Texture Images: A close-up shot focuses on one or two products, clearly highlighting the details and craftsmanship of the product.
  • Lifestyle Images: A lifestyle shot places products in context with other elements like people, home décor, or outdoor items.
  • Inspirational Images: Capturing product as part of an inspirational theme or setting.
  • Customer Images: Customer images are real-life photos of customers using or wearing products.
  • Compatibility Images: Compatibility images show how products can be used together or combined.


Post-production is the final stage of product photography that can make or break your photos. No matter how good your lighting, composition, and staging are, there is always room to enhance the photos by editing. A few things you should focus on in post-production are:

  • Color correction
  • Adjusting highlights and shadows
  • Cropping
  • Spot-correction

An unwanted element in the background can steal all the focus from the product and result in lost conversions. This also applies to your backdrop being too noisy. You can fix that easily using a background remover by quickly replacing the background with a neutral color.

Key Takeaways

Product photography is a key means of marketing your products. The customers have only the photos to base their decision to purchase when shopping online. Providing them with a true, informational, and all-inclusive visual representation of your product helps them trust your brand, influencing their purchase decision.

The right setup, angles, context, and types of product images ensure you photograph the product in the best way that resonates with the customers. Also, remember to stay consistent with your photography’s themes, color, and style to maintain your brand’s identity.


AMAZON PRIME DAYS – 11th and 12th JULY 2023


Welcome to our coverage of Amazon Prime Day, the highly anticipated annual shopping event that brings a myriad of fantastic deals on cameras, lenses, and photography accessories. This year, Prime Day falls on the 11th and 12th of July, providing a perfect opportunity for photographers and videographers to upgrade their kit, pick up that dream lens, or invest in essential accessories.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional looking for high-end gear or a budding enthusiast eager to explore new facets of photography, there’s something for everyone. From cutting-edge mirrorless cameras and razor-sharp lenses to versatile tripods and durable camera bags, expect substantial discounts on top brands and best sellers.

Remember, these deals are exclusively available to Amazon Prime members, so if you haven’t joined yet, now is the perfect time. Stay tuned as we scour the best deals and offer you insights to help you make the most of this shopping extravaganza. Get ready to capture the world in a new light with fantastic gear at incredible prices. Happy Prime Day shopping!

Save 11.5% Lexar Professional 1667x SDXC UHS-II SILVER series 128GB

As well as sun cream this summer, don’t forget to make space in your suitcase for holiday memories. The Lexar® Professional 1667x SDXC UHS-II SILVER Series card will be your perfect travel mate. With read transfer speeds of up to 250MB/s, it quickly captures and transfers high-quality photos, including 1080p Full-HD, 3D and 4K video.
Take advantage of the 11,5% discount on the 128GB version to go on holiday equipped.

Save up to 30% with the SmallRig Prime Day deals

Don’t miss the chance to upgrade your gear on Prime Day! Get up to 30% off SmallRig products! Enhance your video creation with the VB99 and VB50 mini V Mount Batteries or the All-In-One Video Kit for Smartphone Creators. Perfect your focus with the mini Follow Focus or stabilize your shots with the Heavy-Duty Carbon Fiber Tripod Kits. Get the perfect grip for your DJI stabilizer with the Sling Handgrip. Lastly, light up your scenes with the RC 120B Bi-color Point-Source Video Lights or get smooth panning shots with the Heavy-Duty Fluid Head Tripod. Hurry, before the deals end!

Up to 30% off Bluetti Power Stations

Power up your off-grid shoots with Bluetti’s range of Power Stations, now at an unbeatable discount of up to 30% off on Prime Day! Renowned for their high-capacity batteries and robust design, Bluetti Power Stations are the ultimate power solution for photographers and videographers working away from mains power. Whether you’re capturing the golden hour in a remote landscape or filming an all-day event, these power stations will keep your cameras, lights, and other devices running smoothly. Choose from a range of models to suit your power needs. Don’t miss out on this chance to make your field work more efficient and hassle-free with Bluetti. These deals won’t last, so act fast!

One of the biggest power station savings with up to 40% off

On this Prime Day, energize your outdoor shoots with Growatt’s acclaimed Power Stations, now available at an astonishing discount of up to 40%! Trusted by professionals worldwide, Growatt Power Stations provide dependable and convenient power solutions for photographers and videographers working on location. The Vita 550, a standout model with its compact design and advanced features, is dropping to an unbeatable price of just $399. Ideal for powering cameras, lights, and other essential gear, these power stations can significantly streamline your workflow in the field. With Growatt, you get reliable power, exceptional build quality, and the freedom to create without boundaries. Don’t miss this opportunity to upgrade your gear with Growatt at fantastic prices. Hurry, these amazing deals are for a limited time only!


OPPO redefines portrait photography with its Reno10 Series telephoto camera setup


OPPO redefines portrait photography with its Reno10 Series telephoto camera setup

OPPO, the leading global smart devices brand, has launched the newest additions to its Reno series in India. The Reno10 Pro+ 5G, the Reno10 Pro 5G, and the Reno10 5G come with OPPO technology innovations such as BHE for batteries that last over four years, SUPERVOOCTM for fast charging, and the Dynamic Computing Engine that runs 40+ apps smoothly in the background. The Reno10 Pro+ 5G and the Reno10 Pro 5G are priced at INR 54,999 and INR 39,999, respectively.

Along with the Reno10 Series, OPPO unveiled their latest TWS, the Enco Air3 Pro, priced at INR 4,999.

Commenting on the launch, Damyant Singh Khanoria, Chief Marketing Officer of OPPO India, said, “OPPO continues to push the boundaries of technological advancements, establishing itself as a leading innovator in the industry. With the introduction of the Reno10 Series, we have revolutionised portrait photography through our cutting-edge telephoto camera and homegrown SUPERVOOCTM flash charging technology to offer users an exceptional experience. This sleek and stylish series packs a punch with its sterling performance and will deliver a greater value proposition to our consumers.”

Reno10 Pro+ 5G

The Reno10 Pro+ 5G features a 120Hz 6.74-inch OLED 10-bit colour display with a resolution of 2772×1240px, a high 93.9% screen-to-body ratio, and Dragontrail Star 2 glass for protection.

Its camera module sports a two-tone design comprising scratch-resistant glass and aluminium for resistance to corrosion and damage from drops. Around this camera module, the device boasts a Gorilla Glass 5 back panel, available in two colours: Glossy Purple and Silvery Grey. At the top and bottom edges, the Reno10 Pro+ 5G packs Dual Track stereo speakers for audio output that is crisp and distinct.

OPPO has used a new periscope design to create the highest megapixel telephoto portrait camera—with a 64MP OV64B sensor—that excels at photographs in low-light settings with up to 3x optical zoom; this allows photographers to capture beautifully-proportionate portraits with natural optical bokeh and background compression.

The periscope design also allows OPPO to stack more lenses in its camera module while still crafting a handset that is just 8.28mm thin.

In addition, Reno10 Pro+ 5G comes with the 50MP IMX890 ultra-clear main camera and the 8MP IMX355 ultra wide-angle snapper with a 112° field of view. Its 32MP front camera has an IMX709 RGBW sensor—co-developed by OPPO and Sony—for improved light capture, colour reproduction and image quality in low-light environments.

To strike a balance between performance and battery, the Reno10 Pro+ 5G is powered by Qualcomm’s 4nm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset that posts a 10% improvement in GPU performance and a 30% improvement in efficiency when stacked against the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC. Also, its AI performance per watt is 20% better than its predecessor.

The Reno10 Pro+ 5G uses Ultra-Conductive Graphite—a high-performance polymer used in aerospace—for thermal conductivity. The handset’s vapour chamber (VC) heat dissipation capacity is increased by 92% compared to the Reno8 Pro; its overall heat dissipation capacity is increased by 4%, and the temperature while gaming (PUBGM) is lowered by 2.1°C*.

With the super-charged 100W SUPERVOOCTM —the highest wattage in the Reno series yet—the handset’s 4,700mAh battery gets charged to 50% in 9 minutes and 30 seconds, and up to 100% in just 27 minutes. Additionally, Reno10 Pro+ 5G supports three years of OS and four years of security updates.

Reno10 Pro 5G

The Reno10 Pro 5G, which follows the same sleek and compact design language of the Reno10 Pro+ 5G, features a 120Hz 6.7-inch OLED 3D curved screen with Dragontrail Star 2 glass display and is available in Glossy Purple and Silvery Grey colours with Gorilla Glass 5 protection for the body. It boasts a 93% screen-to-body ratio for its industry-leading borderless viewing experience.

Like the Reno10 Pro+ 5G, the Reno10 Pro 5G comes with a triple camera setup, comprising the 50MP IMX890 ultra-clear main camera, the 32MP IMX709 RGBW telephoto portrait camera with 2X optical zoom, and the 8MP IMX355 ultra wide-angle snapper, which offers a 112° field of view. Its 32MP IMX709 RGBW selfie camera—like the Reno10 Pro+ 5G—supports autofocus for sharp self-portraits in all lighting conditions.

At the heart of Reno10 Pro 5G is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 778G 5G SoC, built on the 6nm process to balance powerful performance with reduced power consumption. For cooling, the handset uses the second generation of a new high-performance graphite with 33% higher thermal conductivity than ordinary graphite. In comparison with the Reno8 Pro, its cooling area has increased by 96%, heat dissipation capacity by 1%, and the temperature while gaming (PUBGM) is lower by 2°C*.

The Reno10 Pro packs a 4600mAh battery with 80W SUPERVOOCTM that gets juiced to 100% within 28 minutes; a quick 5-minute charge offers 3.2 hours of video streaming, 3 hours of texting, or 2.8 hours of social media usage. This means users can stay connected and engaged without worrying about running out of battery. Additionally, Reno10 Pro 5G will support two years of OS and three years of security updates.

Reno10 5G

In keeping with the series, the Reno10 5G sports an ultra-slim body—available in Ice Blue and Silvery Grey—that is comfortable to hold. Its 3D curved design is fronted by a 120Hz 6.7-inch AMOLED display with an impressive 93% screen-to-body ratio to provide an industry-leading borderless viewing experience. This handset comes with Dragontrail Star 2 protection for the display and a durable polycarbonate premium back.

The device boasts a powerful camera system comprising the 64MP OV64B ultra-clear main camera, the 32MP IMX709 telephoto portrait camera, the 8MP IMX355 112° ultra-wide camera, and the 32MP OV32C ultra-clear selfie camera. This setup captures every detail in photos with great clarity, whether in low light, portrait photography, or wide-angled vistas.

The Reno10 is driven by the MediaTek Dimensity 7050 SoC that promises lag-free reliable performance with a CPU speed of up to 2.6GHz. It packs a 5000mAh battery—the largest ever in the Reno series—with 67W SUPERVOOCTM charging for a speed of 47 minutes to 100%. For users who are always on the go, a 30-minute charge is enough to top up an additional 70%.

On the Reno10, heat dissipation is handled by high-performance T19 bilayer graphite for effective cooling and glitch-free usability. It comes with two years of OS and three years of security updates.

Reno10 Series – Smooth Performance with Smart Experiences   

Infrared Remote Control: The Reno10 Series comes with an infrared remote-control app that allows users to choose the specific appliance type and model within the app itself. Then, by simply pointing the phone’s infrared transmitter towards the desired home appliance—TVs, ACs, Set-top boxes, etc—the phone can be used to remotely operate appliances.

BHE: OPPO has equipped the Reno10 Series with its Battery Health Engine (BHE) technology that intelligently controls the current and voltage through real-time monitoring to prolong the charging lifespan. BHE ensures that the battery maintains its health up to 80% even after 1,600 charge cycles to last over four years. OPPO has passed the Upgraded TÜV Rheinland Safe Fast-Charge System Certification after having undergone 40 rigorous tests. BHE has also won the 2023 SEAL Sustainable Product Award for this green innovation.

SUPERVOOC S: This time, OPPO has also introduced SUPERVOOC S, its first independently developed power-management chip that increases battery discharge efficiency from 97.5% to a maximum of 99.5%. In real-world use, this 2% increase means that the battery life of the Reno10 Pro+, for instance, can support up to 37 extra minutes of talk just because of this tweak. SUPERVOOC S also packs hardware-level security that can cut off power when it detects a faulty/fake charger or water in the charging port that could cause battery malfunction.

Dynamic Computing Engine:  For smooth operations, the Reno10 Series comes with OPPO’s Dynamic Computing Engine that increases app opening speed by 12% in comparison to the last generation. Further, up to 40+ apps can run smoothly in the background without lag. This feature—in conjunction with other homegrown technologies—earned the Reno10 Pro+ and the Reno10 Pro the TÜV SUD 48-Month Fluency Certification. These devices received an ‘A’ rating in these tests, which means they perform as smoothly as a new device, even after four years.

RAM Expansion: Computing on the Reno10 Series is backed by OPPO’s RAM Expansion technology—up to 12GB for Reno10 Pro+ and Reno10 Pro and 8GB for Reno10—that allots space from the device’s storage to its RAM for greater operating efficiency in demanding tasks such as gaming and video processing.

OPPO Enco Air3 Pro: A New Level of Audio Excellence   

For audiophiles, OPPO has announced its best-in-class noise-cancelling TWS, Enco Air3 Pro – the world’s first earbuds with a natural bamboo fibre diaphragm for clear, crisp sound. Its high-definition audio recreates reality with LDAC, while its 49dB adaptive noise cancelling makes for an immersive listening experience.

The Enco Air3 Pro features OPPO Alive audio for spatial surround sound when viewing movies on a smartphone. The TWS also comes with Golden Sound 2.0, which creates a user-specific ear canal model after a short listening test to configure the buds specifically to the user’s hearing. The earbuds offer IP55 dust and water resistance which makes them perfect for outdoor activities. A single charge promises 30 hours of listening pleasure.


Specification  Reno10 Pro+ 5G  Reno10 Pro 5G  Reno10 5G 
Platform​ Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 Snapdragon 778G 5G Dimensity 7050 5G
Display​ 6.7-inch OLED
3D Curved Screen, 120Hz Refresh Rate, up to 240Hz touch sampling rate
6.7-inch OLED
3D Curved Screen, 120Hz Refresh Rate, up to 240Hz touch sampling rate
6.7-inch AMOLED
3D Curved Screen, 120Hz Refresh Rate, up to 240Hz touch sampling rate
Front Camera​ 32MP IMX709 RGBW sensor, autofocus 32MP IMX709 RGBW sensor, autofocus 32MP OV32C sensor


Rear Cameras​ 50MP IMX890, OIS


64MP OV64B sensor with Telephoto


112° wide-angle 8MP IMX355

50MP IMX890, OIS


32MP IMX709 RGBW with Telephoto


112° wide-angle 8MP IMX355

64MP OV64B

32MP IMX709 RGBW with Telephoto​


112° wide-angle 8MP IMX355

Storage​/RAM 256GB UFS 3.1/
256GB UFS 3.0/
128GB UFS 3.0/
Battery 4700mAh battery,


4600mAh battery,


5000mAh battery, 67W SUPERVOOCTM
Profile/weight 8.28mm/194g 7.89mm/185g 7.89mm/185g


Price and Availability

OPPO Reno10 Pro+ 5G, priced at INR 54,999, and OPPO Reno10 Pro, priced at INR39,999, will be available for sale from 13th July 2023, 12am onwards. The devices are available for purchase from Flipkart, OPPO store and mainline retail outlets. The OPPO Enco Air3 Pro, priced at INR4,999, will be available for purchase from Flipkart, Amazon and the OPPO store from 11th July 2023, 12pm onwards.


Customers can avail of the following offers on the first sale of the OPPO Reno10 Pro+ 5G and OPPO Reno10 Pro 5G…

  • Customers can enjoy discounts of up to INR4000 on Flipkart and OPPO Stores, and no-cost EMI for up to 9 months on HDFC, ICICI Bank and SBI Cards.
  • Customers can avail cashback of up to INR4000 from mainline retail outlets and no-cost EMI for up to 9 months on leading banks cards like SBI Cards, Kotak Bank, Bank of Baroda, IDFC First Bank, One Card, AU Small Finance.
  • Customer can also avail cash back up to INR4000 on consumer loan partners like TVS Credit, HDB Financial & IDFC First Bank. Additionally, customers can enjoy the benefit of Zero Down Payment schemes from leading financers.
  • Loyal OPPO customers can avail an Exchange + Loyalty Bonus of up to INR4000 online & offline.
  • Users can enjoy free trials of YouTube Premium and Google One for up to 6 months through MyOPPO.
  • Customers who buy a phone between 13th and 19th July can enter the MyOPPO raffle and win a trip to Dubai and other exciting prizes. Buy the Reno10Pro+ 5G and Reno10 Pro 5G between July 13 – July 31 and get OPPO Pad Air(4+128GB) at a discount of INR1500.


OPPO Premium Service Offer

  • All the issues/queries will be resolved within 24 working hours by a team of dedicated experts (Exclusive hotline – 9958808080)
  • Free pick up and drop facility available across 13,000+ pin codes with resolution of issues within 72 hours of the complaint.
  • OPPO offers affordable EMI for the service/repairs of smartphones. The lowest EMI starts from INR3200 from all the leading financiers. Customers will have the option to decide on EMI instalment and tenure at their convenience.


Photography project captures 48 hours in Preston


Image of people on platform at Preston Station taken for 48hrs in Preston Pic: Haze Mathers
Pic: Haze Mathers

Dozens of photographers descended on to the streets of Preston over two days to capture how the people of the city live, work and play.


48hrs in Preston was a two-day participatory project that invited photographers of all abilities to take snaps in and around the city.

Event organiser Garry Cook said: “It was inspiring to see so many people out with their cameras taking photos.

“I really tried to encourage people to take photos of other people, in shops at work or enjoying themselves. This can be a really hard thing to do – it pushes you out of your comfort zone – but so many people tried it, and the result is a load of wonderful images. I’m so grateful to the enthusiasm of everyone who has taken part.

“The idea of asking loads of photographers to take images across 48 hours is to build a snapshot of the people of Preston. These images mark a moment in time and eventually will provide a unique nostalgic look back what Preston and its people looked like in 2023.

“So many shops, cafes, bars and pubs welcomed me and other photographers onto their premises – I am really grateful to the staff and managers of every venue.

“This is one of the first photography projects in Lancashire Photography Festival that will help make Preston a city of photography. I’m expecting thousands of visitors to the festival over the next few months – and people’s perceptions of Preston will change because of Lancashire Photography Festival.”

Local photographer Chris Darley, who took part in 48hrs in Preston, said: “I hope this idea grows and continues. I enjoyed a couple of hours walking in Preston. As always welcoming and friendly people in Preston, thanks to each and every one for their time.”

The unique project is part of the outdoor Lancashire Photography Festival, which has already unveiled images on the streets of Preston, most notable The Temple of Photography at Sykes Street Car Park – the site of the old Tokyo Jo’s nightclub.

Read more: UK’s biggest outdoor photo festival creates Preston’s ‘Temple of Photography’

The main part of the festival launches in mid-July with images on display in the city centre, Winckley Square, and Avenham and Miller Parks.

Lancashire Photography Festival is supported by Arts Council England, Winckley Square CIC, Preston City Council and Preston BID. The festival is on until September.

A selection of images from 48hrs in Preston can be viewed below.

More will be displayed at a projection event in August and large-scale prints will be carried around the city for the unique Preston Photography Parade on Saturday 19 August.

Find out more on the Enjoy the Show website.

Image of children in front of BHS photo display taken for 48hrs in Preston Pic: Wioletta Maj
Pic: Wioletta Maj
Image of person with green mohawk taken for 48hrs in Preston Pic: Mark Inglis
Pic: Mark Inglis
Image of people behind counter taken for 48hrs in Preston Pic: Colette Fry
Pic: Colette Fry
Image of woman under umbrella taken for 48hrs in Preston Pic: Kostek Poland
Pic: Kostek Poland
Image of woman at the Bus Station taken for 48hrs in Preston Pic: Dave Bennion
Pic: Dave Bennion
Image of two people on phone taken for 48hrs in Preston Pic: Jill Rediy
Pic: Jill Rediy
Image of woman and girl taken for 48hrs in Preston Pic: Emma Fisher
Pic: Emma Fisher
Image of market stall Pic: Kate Rosindale
Pic: Kate Rosindale
Image of tattooed person taken for 48hrs in Preston Pic: Jonathan Lonsdale
Pic: Jonathan Lonsdale
Pic: Garry Cook
Pic: Garry Cook
Image of man outside fish n chip shop taken for 48hrs in Preston Pic: Stephen Geraghty
Pic: Stephen Geraghty
Image of barber and customer taken for 48hrs in Preston Pic: Chris Darley
Pic: Chris Darley

Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines 


This Navi Mumbaikar is documenting flamingos’ dying habitats through photography


Ravishankar Mantha, CEO, Agrisk Data Analytics

Ravishankar Mantha, CEO, Agrisk Data Analytics |

A professional banker, this 37-year-old has visited migratory birds’ habitats every weekend for seven years, to photograph them, lead guided walks and spread awareness.

Mumbai: When Vidyasagar Hariharan, 37, first visited the lake near Navi Mumbai’s NRI Complex in March 2016, he fell in love. “I reached when it was still dawn, and the sun was about to rise. As the sun rose, I saw around 3,000 pink flamingos dotting the dark water against an orange backdrop,” Hariharan said. 

He returned, week after week, visiting similar water bodies in Navi Mumbai and Thane, gathering over the last seven years a vast documentation on flamingos visiting the city, raw material that he views as critical to protecting the bird and its habitat. 

Pic Credit: Vidyasagar Hariharan

Pic Credit: Vidyasagar HariharanA banker by profession, Hariharan describes himself as a weekend birder. “I intend to use my pictures for advocacy for these birds,” he said. Over the years, he learnt about their migratory patterns, feeding and mating rituals, and the dangers they face from construction work and pollution of their habitats.

While documenting the flamingos, Hariharan also learnt about Mumbai’s topography, its wetlands and their importance. “Mumbai is the only megapolis that sees migration of such a huge number of flamingos. These birds play an important role in keeping the wetland and mangrove ecosystems running,” he said. 

Pic Credit: Vidyasagar Hariharan

In 2019, Hariharan started an Instagram page to post pictures of flamingos in the city, which became a forum for Mumbaikars stuck at home during the pandemic to really consider the bounties of Munbbai’s natural landscapes. Strangers began to reach out, and Hariharan offered to help them do their own bird sightings. He went on to lead walks, help increase awareness and bust myths about the migratory birds. “I use the social media page as an SOS call to draw attention to the human-animal conflict,” he said. 

With weather patterns changing and their habitats’ ecosystem degrading, flamingos’ migratory patterns have changed, some of their choice spots taken over for construction. “All these are unique occurrences, which my photography has documented,” he said. 

Pic Credit: Vidyasagar Hariharan

Ravishankar Mantha, an industry leader in agri-research and himself a birder, said what Hariharan is doing is different from other birders, for he is interested in the flamingos’ habitat and works towards spreading awareness through talks or lectures, guided walks, etc. “He has also grown to know the local fisherfolk communities around the birding spots, and he speaks to them too about conservation,” Mantha said.   

Hariharan’s photos have been published nationally and internationally, which he believes is a progression of his advocacy work. “I click these pictures and put them out so that people see and learn. When the  international media uses the images, they become sensat

Pic Credit: Vidyasagar Hariharan

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A Tale of Historic Photography, on Display at one of Maplewood’s Quirkiest Storefronts


Long-time South Orange resident Paul Lewis is hovering over a photograph of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Shot in 1961 in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, the image also shows Meinhardt Raabe, the original “Little Oscar” who drove that quirky vehicle around the country to showcase the company’s famed hot dog.

The original Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. (Courtesy of Paul Lewis)

Lewis admires the classic composition and expertly describes the story behind the image. Raabe, who was one of the Munchkin actors in “The Wizard of Oz,” played the coroner who pronounced the death of the Wicked Witch of the East. The photo is one of almost 200,000 images that Lewis recently purchased as part of an archive of photos commissioned and taken by the Sickles Photo Reporting Service. Founded in 1938 by Maplewood resident Gus Sickle — who died in 2003 at age 97 — the reporting service amassed such an iconic collection that the Smithsonian referred to it as “a true snapshot of America as we grew into the largest industrialized nation on Earth.”

Selections from the collection are currently on display at Pickers NJ (formerly 2 Guys from Newstead), a salvage and restoration business located at 491 Valley Street (near Parker Avenue) in Maplewood. Lewis debuted the collection on June 24, 2023 and has remade the storefront as the Gallery on Valley.

“Gus Sickles was the first guy to set up a nationwide network of commercial photography. It’s an amazing national story, but it’s also an amazing Maplewood story because he operated out of here,” says Lewis. According to Lewis, Sickles worked out of the building at 195 Maplewood Avenue (currently the village’s post office), a plumbing supply shop building that sat in what is now the Baker Street Parking Lot, and at 410 Ridgewood Road, which currently houses Milk Money.

Paul Lewis showing a photo from the Sickles family reporting service archives. (Photo by Donny Levit)

Paul Lewis has as many stories to tell as the layers of paint he’s uncovered on the windows he’s restored throughout South Orange and Maplewood. Born in Troy, New York, Lewis moved down to the city to attend Fordham University. “For 22 years, I was a corporate sales guy,” he says. Lewis also studied at the New York Experimental Glass Workshop (now UrbanGlass) and has created multiple neon art pieces.

Soon after 9/11, Lewis was downsized from his job. “I’m standing on my front lawn, talking to headhunters to get back to work, and my neighbor is doing the exact same thing,” recalls Lewis. “And he says, ‘Hey, why don’t we just start fixing some stuff?’ And I thought that was a good idea.”

Lewis and his neighbor Lee Martin named their company “2 Guys from Newstead” – a riff on the popular discount store in Harrison, New Jersey called “2 Guys from Harrison.” The two quickly had more handyman work than they ever expected, working 70 hours a week, getting to know the quirks of homes throughout the area, and building a sterling reputation. While Martin moved on after two years, Lewis kept the moniker.

Years later, Lewis is focused primarily on window restoration. And Pickers NJ became a salvage business. “I have this habit,” says Lewis, as he describes his obsession with collecting objects.

If you peered into the window four months ago, you may recall those salvage objects stacked up towards the ceiling. But as Lewis’ career shifts again, he has become very interested in collecting photography and art. The Sickles Photo Reporting Service is the first of what he hopes will be many exhibitions.

The story of how Lewis acquired the archive has its own fascinating twists and turns. And once again, it’s a very Maplewood and South Orange story. Retired photographer and artist Peter Sickles – son of reporting service founder Gus Sickles — invited Lewis to view the collection of photos. Peter had been working as a photographer for the family business for many years. “Peter was a beat photographer for local newspapers back in the 1970s. That was when you got your news at 6 an 11, and the paper arrived on your front porch at dawn,” says Lewis. “He’s also art-school trained, and got back to painting in the 1990s.”

Mixed media painting and photograph by Peter Sickles. (Courtesy of Paul Lewis)

Years before, the Smithsonian Institute wanted to acquire the entire collection for their archives. The Sickles family turned them down, as the Smithsonian would not pay for the collection. The family licensed many photos to Shutterstock and Getty Images, and received licensing fees for their years of work.

Lewis was stunned by the archives when he was invited to Peter’s apartment on Academy Street. Not only did he purchase the entire reporting collection, Lewis also invested in Peter’s artwork. In addition to original paintings, Peter painted on select photographs from the archive, turning them into mixed media pieces. “If you’re going to be into somebody’s art, you have to put your money where your mouth is. That’s just the way I am,” says Lewis. “Everything you see here is what I own.”

As jazz trumpeter Chet Baker plays in the background, Lewis is the ideal museum guide for this collection. Even though the archives were logged with great detail, Lewis speaks about them as if he’s carefully studied each photograph and work of art. And his dream is to share it with the community. “Wouldn’t it be cool if everyone in Maplewood and South Orange owned a piece of this archive?” says Lewis. “Now that’d be another great story.”

Interior of Pickers NJ. (Photo by Donny Levit)

Pickers NJ at 491 Valley Street. (Photo by Donny Levit)

The Gallery on Valley / Pickers NJ is located at 491 Valley Street in Maplewood. Hours are Saturdays from 11am-4pm or by appointment. Contact Paul Lewis at [email protected].