In Focus Friday - The dovetail joint

03 August 2018

SIG: Documentary

This week we catch up with David Collins LRPS who received an RPS Badge for this environmental portrait. David submitted this shot for the June round of the Documentary Group's bi-monthly competition (link), if you'd like to enter the next round please take a look at the submission guidelines (link)

Hi, David. Congratulations on the commendation. Can you give us a little background about the shot?

The photograph was taken at the International Boatbuilding Training College (IBTC) in Lowestoft. For the last two years I have been visiting IBTC and will eventually submit a panel to the RPS for an ARPS Distinction. The college attracts students from all over the world and I have been allowed to take images for the panel that I hope will be submitted for my ARPS. I visit the college regularly and this young man has been taken on the permanent staff in the commercial division where he has become a well respected craftsman who is always ready to accept challenging work. This joint is for a boarding ladder for use on a vessel that was launched in the 1920’s, went to Dunkirk, and is currently being restored. Over the period that I have visited I have met students of all ages, some retired who own wooden boats that need maintenance or plan to build their own boat. I have photographs of all stages of wooden boat construction as well as students learning skills under the guidance of retired craftsmen who enjoy passing on their skills to the next generation. I try to visit IBTC at least once a week, it is really interesting to see students learning, improving their skills and then working on vessels that are being built or repaired in the commercial division of IBTC. It is a pleasure to take these images but quite challenging as I cannot delay work especially when steamed planks are being fixed to a hull. Some of my images can be found on the IBTC website or on promotional leaflets.

What do you think photographers don’t do but should?

I think photographers need to get away from point and shoot more frequently than they do.

Which camera has been your all time favourite and why?

My favourite camera is the Nikon D810, I had a D610 and keep it as a reserve. The D810 is the best camera I have ever had and when the 24-70 F2.8 lens is fitted it is perfect. If it ever dies I would probably look at a mirrorless camera, hopefully from Nikon and hopefully my range of Nikon lenses will still fit!

What’s the best purchase you’ve made for less than £100?

Definitely the protection filter for the Nikon 24-70 lens, it protects the lens of this prized item. A friend who owned a photographic dealers introduced me to Nikon with an FM1 about 30 years ago and I have used them ever since. I currently have 5 Nikon full frame lenses.

What essential piece of advice would give your novice self?

Experiment with all the facilities of the modern camera, and consider Black and white images.

Thanks, David. I think that's a good idea to break out of the routines we all find ourselves in and really get to know the features we have at our disposal. Best of luck with your ARPS panel, please keep us posted.

If you would like your work to feature in a future edition, please email us ( ).