Sunday, 28 March 2010

Christie's International Auction is representing Michael Doven's photographic work

Michael Doven by Denise Duff,

Professional photgrapher Michael Doven, who was recently interviewed in the Nikon Owner magazine was contacted by Christie's International Auction with a request to represent his spectacular aerial photograph of Central Park, NYC.

Doven's photograph up for auction

"They asked to represent my fine art aerial photographic piece CENTRAL PARK (40” Giclee print on watercolor paper) which happens to be right on theme for them for a number of reasons. (It is an exterior viewpoint!)

I was honored to be invited (as only a few were selected) and I wanted to help, so I donated a large beautiful color print (Limited edition This is #1 of only 5 and #2 just sold today as well).

If you know of anyone who loves NY or might be interested in this exclusive image, and/or the tax deductable causes I am asking you to let them know that the bidding is open from April 8 (9am) until May 6 and can be done online at:"
Michael Doven photographer, Los Angeles, California

Excerpted from Michael Doven's blog,

This is the first time the Christie's Auction house is holding an auction to raise awareness of caring for our planet with all proceeds dedicated to raising funds for 4 environmental not-for-profits — Oceana, Natural Resources Defense Council, Conservation International, and Central Park Conservancy. It is called the GREEN auction and will occur at Rockefeller Plaza in NY on April 22 with a red carpet, etc. Many movie industry notables are involved in this event. For more details on the auction visit:

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Grays of Westminster is one of the world’s most famous Nikon dealers


A translated excerpt of the article on Grays of Westminster that appeared in the Danish photographic magazine Zoom, Denmark’s Professional Photo magazine, number 1, 2010

Despite the traditional façade in Pimlico, Grays of Westminster is one of the world’s most famous Nikon dealers.

Grays of Westminster in London is so unique as a shop that it is well worth a visit.

Few European cities attract the Danes like London, either as a holiday or a shopping destination. Experiences merge seamlessly with one another in London. Museums, theatres, cinemas, markets with antiques – some real, some not so real…..

Shopping is an experience whether you visit Fortnum & Mason, Harrods or any of the many renowned department stores.

Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant, Berry Bros and Rudd, the cigar dealers Robert Lewis & James J. Fox and the many shirt makers in Jermyn Street all attract the cognoscenti.

All this can be found in the relatively small area of London called Westminster. Photographers – at any event Nikon users - should also make their way to Pimlico and Grays of Westminster, only a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace.

Grays of Westminster is a wholly unique Nikon dealer which has the most complete stock of Nikon products in the world – both new and second hand.

From the outside, Grays could be mistaken for any of the other traditional shops in Westminster with one window for display and a dark blue façade with hanging baskets around the door.
No neon or brash signage. The name is discreetly painted over the window and inscribed on a polished brass plate. In a previous life, the premises was a barber’s saloon.

Like a Club for Gentlemen

Inside around 100 square metres is divided between two floors and it’s amazing to think that this small shop sends Nikon equipment all over the world.

The British tradition is inescapable. A pair of mahogany leather-topped desks, where you expect to find the staff writing in double-entry accounting books with their Mont Blanc or Parker fountain pens. Mahogany glass cabinets line the walls.

It is the contents of these cabinets which will exhilarate every Nikon user and, indeed, any other photographic enthusiast. The cabinets bulge with the very latest from Nikon. Cameras, lenses and every known accessory to tug at your wallet. When you have had your fill on this floor, you can venture downstairs where you will find a showcase and more glass cabinets. There are very few places where you will find a selection of second hand equipment to match what you see here.

You get goose pimples when you see a Nikon F just like the one you once exchanged for an F2. Everything oozes English tradition and when you walk through the narrow rooms you get a feeling of entering a gentlemen's club. This is also the way in which you are treated when you enter as a customer. Whether you are there to buy a D3s body, a manual for an older camera or something for a few pounds, you are treated as though the world revolves around you for that moment.

The Idea Nobody Believed In

Although the shop feels like something from another century, it actually originated in 1985 when a young man decided to try an unusual business idea. There was a lot of head shaking particularly when the one-make (Nikon) idea was proposed.

Gray Levett was born soon after the Second World War and into a rather bleak world. The 60s and 70s turned this world upside down. Gray Levett, the son of a Royal Air Force Officer, had tired of discipline and order and, in his youth, worked in the developing fashion industry in London’s Carnaby Street. It was here that he and his colleagues were often used as photographic models though he would have preferred to be on the other side of the camera. It was his combination of artistic temperament and technical skill, together with idealism and good business sense, which were the foundations of the institution which is Grays of Westminster.

Service Is All

In no time, the business idea was flourishing because, in addition to a quality product, the service to every customer is first class. If, on rare occasions, an item is not available every effort will be made to source it.

On one occasion, a customer from the north of England ordered a camera for an imminent trip abroad. The camera was not in stock and that day’s delivery from Nikon was delayed. To avoid disappointment a member of staff took the first train north and delivered the camera in person. The round trip took 8 hours but the Grays of Westminster slogan, “the kind of service of which legends are made”, was fully vindicated.

Among the clientele you find famous names such as film director Stanley Kubrick, David Suchet (television’s Hercule Poirot), The Duchess of York and many more.

In recognition of the international nature of the clientele, Grays of Westminster has established the Nikon Owner subscription service which publishes a quarterly photographic magazine with images, articles and workshops.

To visit this very special camera shop in Pimlico is a unique experience in the world of photographic retailing and is enhanced by the feeling that you are a valued guest, whether you make a purchase or not.

If you are a Nikon user and spending a couple of days in London, you must take the tube to Pimlico or Victoria and visit Grays of Westminster at 40 Churton Street. Should you use another camera make, visit anyway – just for the experience.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Pembrokeshire Landscape and Wildlife Photography Weekend Workshop

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Wales
7th - 9th May, 2010
with Simon Stafford and John Archer Thomson

Atlantic Puffin © Simon Stafford


The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Wales is a stunning location for landscape and wildlife photography. Over the course of this weekend workshop, the group will visit some of the best locations the area has to offer, and will have the opportunity to indulge in some spectacular outdoor photography under the expert guidance of John Archer Thomson (Senior Assistant Director of Centre, Dale Fort Field Centre) and Simon Stafford (Technical Editor - Nikon Owner magazine).

John Archer Thomson will lead the group to venues that he has spent more than twenty years getting to know . He will provide an overview of the area's natural history and help with plant and seabird identification, as well as giving tips on how to photograph locations.

The Gwaun Valley
© John Archer-Thomson
Bronze-Age megalith at Pentre Ifan
© Simon Stafford

Prostrate Broom, West Dale Bay
© Simon Stafford
Atlantic Puffin on Skomer Island
© Simon Stafford

Rocks, lichens, flowers, Skomer Island
© Simon Stafford

The exact itinerary of events will be weather-dependent and flexible to meet the requirements of the attendees; a provisional timetable is outlined below.

Friday 7th May:
Arrive at Dale Fort Centre for mid to late afternoon. Dinner 6.30 p.m., followed by an introduction and welcome from Simon Stafford and an illustrated talk on the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park by John Archer Thomson.

Saturday 8th May:
After breakfast, the group will depart for Skomer Island National Nature Reserve. John, assisted by Simon, will lead the group around the Island pointing out subjects of interest and photographic potential. A packed lunch will be provided. Return to Dale Fort Centre is scheduled for late afternoon. Following an early dinner, John and Simon will lead everyone to one of the nearby bays to photograph the sunset.

Sunday 9th May:
After breakfast, the group will head north from Dale Fort across the Pembrokeshire National Park to the beautiful, steep-sided verdant Gwaun Valley , which was created by torrents of melt water from the retreating ice during the last Ice Age. During May the valley is filled with profusion of plants, including wild garlic that grows in abundance. En route there will be a stop at Pentre Ifan to photograph probably the finest Welsh hilltop the Bronze-Age megalithic site that dates from at least 4000 B.C. During the course of the day Simon will deliver a practical tutorial on using the Nikon wireless flash system in the field.

Guest will depart from Dale Fort Centre during late Sunday afternoon.

Total fee: £295.00 per person for Nikon Owner subscribers and £350 per person for non-Nikon Owner subscribers. The fee includes all meals, accommodation, and local transport during the course of the weekend but excludes landing fees for Skomer Island and incidental expenses, which will total no more than £15.00.

Please contact me by telephone on: +44 (0)20 7828 8971 between 2.00 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. Monday to Friday to book your place, or send me a return email with your landline and mobile numbers. If you are not a current Nikon Owner subscriber and would like to find out more about this course and other training sessions we organise, please contact me by email with a daytime telephone number.

With very best wishes

Gillian Greenwood
Features Editor / Events & Training Coordinator

DISCLAIMER: Simon Stafford and Nikon Owner magazine are only taking the initiative of organizing and facilitating this workshop on the strict understanding that they are solely acting in an introductory capacity and anyone booking to come on any such workshop will be deemed to have agreed that they fully understand and agree to this condition of booking. Any contractual relationship and legal liability, if any, shall only be directly between participants and the Field Studies Council as a body. The workshop can be expected to involve travel by foot, small boat, and motor vehicle, while photographing in locations throughout the Pembrokeshire National Park.

Each participant will be deemed responsible for ensuring his or her own safety at all times and no liability whatsoever is accepted either by Simon Stafford, or Nikon Owner magazine in this regard. In other words we shall all act reasonably, safely and responsibly and each person will join the party on the understanding that they do so entirely at their own risk.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Michael Doven on Grays of Westminster

Michael Doven

"Grays of Westminster is the Nikon and photographic resource of the western world. It is the largest Nikon dealer in Europe. I am telling it straight - You have the most complete collection of Nikons and quantity of gear in the world and I have never seen a $25,000 Fisheye-Nikkor 6mm f/2.8 lens with a 220° view before walking into this shop! I now want to shoot with it! I don't recall a friendlier staff or warmer welcome in any camera store in my entire life!"
Michael Doven photographer, Los Angeles, California

Excerpted from an interview with Michael Doven, Photography's Next "Rock Star",
Nikon Owner magazine.

Special double cover edition - issue #29

To find our more about Michael Doven and his photography check out his website and blog.

See what others have said about Grays of Westminster on the Testimonials page.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Nikon Press Photographer Makes History with First Ever Photographic Workshop Held inside the House of Lords

The House of Lords opens its doors to Mike Maloney, OBE and a group of amateur photographers – the first time ever for such an event

London, United Kingdom - Britain’s most decorated press photographer, Mike Maloney, OBE made history when he was given permission to take a group of amateur photographers on a two-hour shoot in the Great Chamber of the House of Lords on Saturday 13th February 2010.

The first group of photographers to shoot inside the House of Lords!

This unique event was sponsored by the world famous London-based Nikon-only shop Grays of Westminster and hosted by Britain’s highest decorated press photographer, Mike Maloney, with the permission of Black Rod - a senior officer in the House of Lords, responsible for security, controlling access to and maintaining order within the House and its precincts.

The photographers attending competed to win a Nikon D300s camera worth £1,600 – to be awarded to the attendee who takes the best shot of the day, and the opportunity for the top images to be used by the House of Lords Works of Art Committee.

Gray Levett, Mike Maloney, the Yeoman Usher and Uri Zakay

The attendees submitted three of their favourite photographs and the judges, led by Mike Maloney - who were looking for those which displayed originality and which visualised a unique perspective, making their images stand out from the rest – then chose the winners:
  1. Andrew Downes
  2. David Blundell
  3. Diana Church
  4. Michael Curtis
  5. Susan Forester
The proceedings of the day came to a conclusion with a 3-course dinner at Elena's Etoile Restaurant in Charlotte Street, London where there was a presentation of the winning images and awards which included a Nikon D300s for the winner, kindly donated by Nikon UK.

The winning photo by Andrew Downes

“To have been invited to work with Mike Maloney on this very special photographic occasion at the House of Lords was indeed an extraordinary honour during this, our 25th Anniversary Year,” said Gray Levett, founder of Grays of Westminster.

Mike Maloney also commented on the event: “This was an historic moment in photography. It had never happened before and it is unlikely that it will ever happen again.”

Over the years, Grays of Westminster has organized a number of similarly unique events and photo shoots including a 2-week tour of Japan with a visit to the Nikon factory, and a trip to Nikon Thailand and Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Grays of Westminster is currently celebrating its twenty-fifth year of business.

Mike Maloney has won over 100 major photographic awards and is the only “Fleet Street” photographer to have been awarded the OBE for services to photojournalism. Three times-voted Press Photographer of the year, he was Chief Photographer for Mirror Group Newspapers before turning freelance in 2002. He also has numerous Royal tours to his credit, as well as photographing world leaders like Clinton, Reagan, Gorbachev and Yeltsin with resulting invitations to dine at both The White House and the Kremlin.

A report on the workshop that includes photos of the event plus the winning shots can be seen in the Grays of Westminster blog here:

About Grays of Westminster
The legendary award-winning Grays of Westminster, currently celebrating its twenty-fifth year, is a charming period shop, specialising exclusively in Nikon. It offers what is probably the widest range of new and second-hand Nikon in the world. It is situated in a quiet location in central London and offers a fast and reliable mail-order service on any Nikon item - available to all world-wide destinations. Tax free shopping to non-European Community residents is also available.

For more information, please contact:

Gray Levett
Grays of Westminster Exclusively…Nikon
40 Churton Street

Main: 0207 828 4925
Fax: 0207 976 5783

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Celebrate Grays of Westminster’s 25th Anniversary with the First in a Series of Special Offers

As part of the celebration of Grays of Westminster’s 25th Anniversary this year, we are delighted to let you know that if you are a current subscriber to Nikon Owner as well as a customer of Grays of Westminster, your name will be entered into a special silver anniversary prize-draw to win a Grays of Westminster Gift Certificate worth £250.00.

There will be a number of special silver anniversary offers for our customers throughout this period. This is in addition to our regular up-to-date news on Nikon equipment (digital and film, new and second-hand), and announcements of seminars, workshops, special trips and events. If you are not a current subscriber to Nikon Owner, please read below to find out how you could qualify to enter the prize-draw.

What is Nikon Owner?

Nikon Owner Magazine and Interactive Website is considered by many to be the world’s number 1 user group for Nikon owners. It was initially founded with the purpose of assisting Nikon users to make full use of the Nikon equipment they own, to give advice on a wide spectrum of photographic queries and problems, and at the same time to offer ideas to bring about an increase in photographic skills. Subscription to Nikon Owner magazine and interactive website provides a bridge between theory and practical, technical knowledge and accomplishment. As a subscriber to this group, you will receive an array of offers and assistance, as well as the unique photographic publication:

Nikon Owner Magazine

From the cold reaches of the Arctic to the muted ocres of The Palio, from the panoramic sweep of an alien landscape to the microscopic detail of a leaf in bud, Nikon Owner magazine is both inspirational and informative. With its mix of stunning images, illuminating articles to assist and enlighten the photographer, and the very latest reviews on Nikon equipment, it is the essential magazine for the Nikon user, and is 100% Nikon.

Nikon Owner subscriber benefits additionally include:
  • Private user name and password to subscribers’-only website which includes a lively forum, message board, technical equipment reviews, events’ page and use of a photo gallery.
  • Simon Stafford’s Technical Helpline: free technical consultation and support from Simon Stafford who is widely recognized as one of the top Nikon experts in the UK ; you will be able to benefit from his formidable knowledge and have all your technical questions fully answered by email. This service is exclusive to Nikon Owner subscribers.
  • FREE 3-year warranty on all new Nikon products from Grays of Westminster within your year of subscription.
  • FREE 18-month warranty on second-hand Nikon from Grays of Westminster within your year of subscription.
  • Special trips: past visits have included a two-week trip to Japan and a personal tour of the Nikon factory, a visit to Nikon Thailand , Angkor Watt, Cambodia.
  • 10% off any training courses run by Nikon UK.
  • A range of complimentary meetings and outings organized by local Nikon Owner Groups.
  • Nikon Owner Grand Christmas Dinner at the Institute of Directors, Pall Mall, London.
Please email with your name, daytime landline and mobile telephone number if you are interested in finding out more or call me after 2.00 p.m. Monday to Friday on 020 7828 4925 or 020 7828 8971; alternatively for International calls, telephone + 44 (0)20 7828 4925. The cost of an annual subscription to Nikon Owner is currently £59.

With kindest regards

Gillian Greenwood
Features Editor and Events & Training Coordinator

Monday, 1 March 2010

Prompt, professional and polite service

"I recently purchased a secondhand Nikon D2x from you. Can I just say firstly that the camera was exactly as described, also that the level of prompt, professional and polite service that i received from your company was a breath of fresh air. Please continue to offer this level of fantastic retail experience.

Oh by the way, the camera was delivered very quickly!!!!!!

Thanks Again."

Adam Law Freelance Photographer

adam law photography