My rubbish photos


Back in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s I had a succession of cameras. And with them a succession of rubbish photos. Now they are appearing on a dedicated blog near you!

Kodak Instamatic 76X

My first camera I got for one of my birthdays while I was at primary school (I think). It was a small Kodak Instamatic 76X that took 126 film cartridges and used disposable flash cubes.

The flash cube snapped into the top of the camera and as you would expect when you pressed the shutter button it also triggered the flash. As you then manually wound the film on to the next picture, by pulling on a lever with your thumb, it also turned the flash cube round to the next bulb.

Once all four bulbs had been used you had to replace the cube. No wonder our planet is in such a mess!

I don’t remember taking many photographs indoors with that camera.

Or outdoors, for that matter.

In fact, I had an unprocessed film from that camera sitting in a box for years until I had it developed. Disappointingly I can’t remember what was on it. Or where the resulting photographs are.

110 film cartridge

I also can’t remember what make my next camera was (probably another Kodak), but by that time I had advanced to one that took smaller 110 film cartridges and had a built-in, automatic flash that couldn’t be replaced. It also probably ate AA batteries.

I remember taking that one to Greece on a school trip.

Come to think of it, it might have been my Mum’s camera.


From there I graduated to a pair of Fujifilm automatic 35mm cameras. The first I bought in Singapore on the first National Youth Choir of Great Britain world tour in 1992.

The second I bought at the Argos in Victoria, London after my Singaporean bargain was stolen from a Youth Hostel in York, on another NYCGB course.

One of the things I loved most about those cameras was the automatic loading: drop the 35mm film into the back, close the door and press the button. Whirrrrr whirrrrr whirrrr click and it was loaded.

And lots of rubbish photos

It didn’t matter what kind of film you had, however, one thing remained constant and that was whenever you got close to the end of the film you began to get impatient. The camera could have sat around for months, unused, forgotten. But as soon as you used it for something, and noticed that you had only a few frames left you started to get impatient.

And that’s when I would start taking random photographs around the house. I’d kid myself that I was being arty, and experimental and that they would contribute some day to my overall artistic expression, and some day people would marvel at them.

Back in June 2008 I started a new blog: My Rubbish Photos so you — and people like you — could marvel at my artistic expression.

I’ve only just gotten around to updating it again.

Coming home to Reuben and Joshua


When I arrived home this evening Reuben wanted ‘up’. Initially ‘up’ into my arms but then ‘up’ onto the car roof. Who was I to deny his wishes?

I think every car needs a Reuben Roof Accessory™. It would certainly prevent you from speeding!


Fast forward twenty minutes and both Reuben and Joshua were on my desk with a camera each. Thank goodness for digital cameras: I hate to think how many 35mm films we’d have gone through by now!

They love taking photos, and I love taking photos of them taking photos.

I love coming home in the evenings to Reuben, Joshua and Isaac (who was already in bed when we were messing about with the cameras).

EXIF Date Changer–for when your digital photos have the wrong date and time


Have you ever downloaded a batch of digital photos off your camera only to discover that you’d accidentally set the clock wrong and the time on every photo was out by 12 hours, or you hadn’t noticed that the camera had reset itself and all your photos were claiming to have been taken in 2007?

Almost all digital cameras record and store various camera settings, scene information, date/time the photo was taken etc as Exchangeable Image File (EXIF) data within the image file.  This information can be really useful when it comes to sorting or viewing your digital photos, providing you keep your camera date/time settings up to date.

EXIF Date Changer by Rellik Software is an application that can easily edit the EXIF data and correct your mistakes, either by adjusting the time by a certain number of days, hours, minutes and seconds or by setting the date to a specific date and time.

The difference between the free and pro versions is that the free supports only JPG and cannot be used for commercial use.

I find that a combination of EXIF Date Changer and Better File Rename safely gets me out of pretty much every situation.

Problems activating Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3

Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3

A couple of weeks ago I decided to upgrade my photo editing application to the latest version: Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3. However, I ran into a fairly fundamental problem: I couldn’t get it to activate.

It was a couple of days before I went to Glen ’10 (the Scottish Episcopal Church’s summer youth camp) when I realised that I didn’t have a photo editing package on my laptop (which I’d be using to produce the daily newspaper at Glen) and being a good boy and not wanting to violate the license terms by installing my old copy on more than one PC I decided to upgrade and obtain a shiny new license for my laptop.

Corel offer two “delivery methods” for PaintShop Photo Pro X3: download or DVD.  I needed it fast so rather than waiting for a disc to arrive in the post I selected the download option.

But that’s where the troubles began!

I purchased the software, downloaded it, installed it, ran it and this is what I saw when I clicked on the Activate now button:

PaintShop Photo Pro X3 activation window is blank

PaintShop Photo Pro X3 activation window ... hmm, something is wrong here.

Erm … ok.  I had a blank dialog window and nothing that I did would get me past that.  I then wasted a couple of hours fruitlessly surfing the Web looking for a solution. But nothing I tried would activate it.

How frustrating!

Corel Support – excellent customer support

I quickly got on to Corel Support, initially demanding my money but their customer support was so good, and I eventually calmed down about it (!), that I gratefully accepted their help.  Even though this was now the week after Glen ’10 had finished!  This was now the week after the week that I actually needed the program!

I got a call from a support advisor who walked me through the activate by phone option.

“Could you please read out the long installation code on that dialog?”

“It’s blank,” I said.

“Ok, you must be using Windows Vista or Windows 7 then,” she said. “Windows must be blocking the installation code.  We’ll send you a DVD in the post.”

A couple of days later I received a DVD in the post.  Using the DVD Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3 installed in minutes with no online activation required.

What I learned

  1. I need to plan further ahead when preparing for Glen ’11 and check that I have all the software I need on my laptop, and not just do two nights before I leave!
  2. Don’t send support calls when you are really tired and grumpy from failing to activate your new software for a couple of hours. Go to bed, sleep on it, then contact them.
  3. Don’t select the download delivery method the next time!  Almost every time I’ve selected the Corel download method I’ve ran into problems, not just with PaintShop Pro (as it was then) but with other Corel applications too.  From now on I’ll go for DVD only.