Tag Archive: cameras


Last Tuesday, I found myself up in Clifton Park while running some errands. I had wanted to stop by Menneto Powersports for a few weeks, but just hadn’t had the time to get there. Since I was in the area, I popped in to see the Victory motorcycles they had in stock, and to talk to them about possibly taking one (or some) out for a test ride.

We were only in the dealership for a few minutes when John came over and struck up a conversation with us. He was very nice, and within a few minutes of telling him why I was there, he was offering us a test ride. I declined because I wasn’t properly dressed to ride, but promised I would be back the next day to take him up on his offer.

While we were there, John told us all about the bikes Victory had to offer and what made them great bikes. He truly believes in what he sells. That is a dream job to me. Having something that you believe in makes selling it a breeze. He had us sit on a few bikes and get a feel for them, telling us the features and benefits of each bike we sat on.

On our way to our weekly ride on Wednesday, we stopped back in to see John again. He was ready for us and asked what i wanted to ride. He said that he had three Victorys available for demo and I was welcome to ride one or all three. Fantastic! Sign me up! We didn’t have time to do all three, so I agreed to take one out, and when I got back, if we had time, I would take out another.

The first bike I rode was the 2010 Victory Vegas (red & white in the distance). I liked the seating position and the footpeg locations. They fit my 5’7″ frame very well. The ride was smooth and the power was adequate for the 100 inch motor. Victory doesn’t give specs on horsepower, but I found a few spots on the web that say it’s around 85hp.

When I got back with the Vegas, John came right out and got the Vegas Jackpot ready. This one was a 2008 demo and had a Stage 1 kit and a pipe added to it. The pipe gave it a tiny bit more volume over stock, but wasn’t loud by any means. Another big difference with this bike was the 250mm rear tire. It threw me off a little moving through the parking lot, as it functions quite differently than the 180mm tires I am used to.

After I got it out on the road, the tire wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated. I just had to remember that it wasn’t a 180 and take that into consideration in the corners. After a little bit, I had forgotten all about it.

The extra punch from the Stage 1 kit and the pipe upgrade was a nice improvement. The bike had a little more get up and go and it sounded a little better too. I really enjoyed riding it.

If you’re looking for a Victory, be sure to stop up and see John Pamper at Menneto’s on Route 146 in Clifton Park. They are practically giving these things away. The 2011s will be here any day and they are making room. I can’t wait to try out the new ones. I hope to try the Vision and the new Cross Country. Be sure to look for my review on them in the next few weeks.

**Photo by Rose**

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The folks at Spider Camera Holster were kind enough to send me a Spider Pro System to try out.  At first, I must admit that I was a little nervous to hang my dSLR off my belt and walk around with it swinging, but it proved to be quite a nice piece of equipment.

Last week, I put it to use at the University of Albany athletic fields.  The New York Giants hold training camp here in August and I decided I would go down and practice my sports photography while trying out the Spider Pro System.

As I arrived at the athletic fields, I grabbed the heavy duty belt and clipped it on.  My first thoughts were that the material and the and the buckle were both very heavy duty and made me feel a little better about hanging my camera from it.  I then noticed that the clip that closed the belt not only had two finger releases to open it, but also a third release that wasn’t going to let the belt slip open and fall to the ground.

Spider Belt

The main part of the unit was a base called the Spider Pro Plate.  This plate comes with a built-in Allen wrench for attaching it to your camera.  When you are done with it, simply slide it right into the plate until you need it again.  It’s a great design idea!  The plate has a Spider Pin attachment that connects your camera to the belt.

Spider Plate

Spider Pin

The Spider Pro Holster Box allows you to slide the Spider pin into it and lock it into place, assuring your camera wont pop out.  There is a small latch you can flip that locks your camera into the Spider Pro for safety.  Once in there, it will stay put and wont come out.  Releasing the lock is just as simple.  Just flip the latch the opposite way, and your camera comes right out.

Spider Pro

I really enjoyed testing this product.  It was a very useful tool in the field.  If I needed to free up my hands to talk to someone or set up a shot, all I had to do was clip the camera into the Spider Holster and I was free to do what I needed to without having to set the camera down on the ground or back in my camera bag.  I would highly recommend adding the Spider Holster to your collection of photo gear.

The Spider Camera holster sells for $109.99.

***Images courtesy of Spider Holster***

Yesterday, I went to the Lia Car Show in Schenectady.  I was pleasantly surprised at the number of cars that were on display there.  Not only were there some amazing classics, but there were also a couple high-end sports cars.  Here are some of the pictures I took at the show.

See ya soon!

The great folks over at LowePro have granted my wish and sent me two bags to compare for my next review.  I am really excited about this review because they are not only two totally different bags, but the are not backpacks.  I have always tried out the backpacks until now, and this will give me a chance to expand my horizons and share another option with you.  Here’s what they sent me;

LowePro Classified 160AW – This bag is a shoulder bag that will handle a DSLR with a 70-200mm lens, 1-2 extra lenses and a flash.

LowePro Outback 300AW – This bag is dubbed a ‘beltpack’.  It will hold the same camera and lens as the Classified, but also has room for 3-4 lenses and a flash.

I am off to try them both out and will have a report for you in a few weeks!  See ya soon!

The first pepper to start growing in the garden!

Here is the text of the first post I have made on the Times Union Biker Blog.  This entry can be found here.  Enjoy!

Photo courtesy of Rose Winters

Over the last few months, I have been talking with Mike Huber about blogging for the Times Union. I first met him in March at the Media 2010: How Blogs Shape The New Conversation conference at St. Rose. I have since been to a few other Times Union sponsored events we would always end up talking about creating a biker blog.

I wanted to write this blog for two main reasons. 1) To help raise awareness of motorcycles on the roads. 2) To share my love for the open road with other bikers. I have recently had a few friends involved in serious motorcycle accidents, one unavoidable and one because of someone’s carelessness behind the wheel.

I would also like to shed a little light on the stereotype that bikers are “bad people.” Sure, there are bad apples here and there, but for the most part, bikers are the most kind, charitable people you will ever meet.

Some of the regular readers may already know me from my interactions on many of the current Times Union blogs. For those that may not know me, I am (obviously) an avid motorcycle rider. I have been riding for ten years and really enjoy being out “in the wind” on the bike any chance I can get.

I am also a photographer. My love for photography is just as strong as my passion for motorcycles. That’s why I created the Capital Region Photography Meetup Group. The initials of this group (TCRPMG) make up the username I have been using on the blogs and on Twitter.

Now that you know a little about me, let’s find out a little about you. What do you know about motorcycles? Do you ride them? Do you have family that rides?

Last night, a few members of the TCRPMG went to Washington Park to apply what they had learned in the Camera Basics 101 course led by John Iannelli.  I think it was a huge success.  While we were there, I couldn’t help but grab this shot of the statue in the fountain and the amazing sky he was facing.

From where I was standing, it looked like he was yelling to the heavens, perhaps asking for rain.  The texture of the sky made it even more appealing.  I was really happy that I had been there at that exact time.

At the meetup, we discussed how light affects how your image comes out.  We also discussed shutter speed and aperture.  The main components when used together can make some really amazing shots.

We found a nice flower and took pictures of it, with the goal of having a sharply focused main subject with a blurred background (bokeh effect).  It was a great exercise and I think the members really enjoyed learning how this effect was accomplished.

Yesterday began just as any other day usually does.  I got up, checked my email, my guest blog on Kristi Gustafson’s Times UnionOn The Edge‘ Blog  and then went out to check the garden and turn on the pool pump.  It was already getting hot, so I decided to mow the lawn.  I knew that we had plans later that night, so I wouldn’t be able to do it after it cooled down.  Today wasn’t looking more promising either.

So, I hop on the mower and cut the grass.  We have an acre, so it takes about an hour to cut it.  After I was done with the riding mower, I grabbed the push mower and did the areas I couldn’t get to with the rider.  When I was done with that, I was pretty hot and was sweating like crazy.  I came in the house and changed into my bathing suit, then headed out to the pool.

I dove off the diving board, and instantly felt much cooler.  As I swam to the shallow end of the pool, something caught my eye.  I looked again and saw a small animal in the skimmer.  At first I thought it was a chipmunk.  I got out of the pool and ripped the cover off the skimmer.  Then, I realized what it was.  It was a little baby bunny.  He was fighting for all he had against the suction of the skimmer.

I ran over to the pump and switched off the power so the suction would stop.  I didn’t know what he would do, so I didn’t just reach in and grab him.  I grabbed the wide mouth net and when he tried to hop up, I grabbed him in the net.  What happened next surprised me quite a bit.

Fresh out of the skimmer

I set the net down on the concrete in the shade, laid out so he could just hop out and be on his way.  He was obviously a little traumatized and out of it, so he stayed put.  I let him sit there for a few minutes while I ran inside and got Rose and some paper towels.  I picked him up and wrapped him in some paper towels.  He didn’t seem phased at all.  He just laid there.  Every now and then, I would check his sides to see if they were moving and he was still breathing.

We used what we had to give him water

As we sat there with him for an hour or two, he dried out and was still very mellow.  Rose would hold him in the paper towel, and if she moved it, he would re-position himself, so we knew he was getting a little better.  We kept him on the paper towel because he has some seriously sharp nails.  He started climbing up my chest at one point and it was a little painful.

After a few calls from friends in the veterinarian field and tons of people on Twitter giving us feedback, we put the bunny on the ground to see if he would hop away.  Eventually he did, but he started going towards the road.  I had to chase him down and catch him, which wasn’t an easy task, but refreshing, as he was moving quickly.

When I grabbed him, he made this crazy squealing noise that we hadn’t heard before.  I guess he was feeling better and that is a noise they make when they are scared.  I picked him up and took him to the other side of the yard where I released him into an overgrown area where we see lots of bunnies.  I hope he has a great life and stays away from the pool.

All dried out

When I started blogging back in January, I had two ideas in mind.  First, I wanted a blog that was about photography.  I wanted to share my love for photography with my readers, and offer help should they want it.  Second, I wanted to start doing product reviews.

From time to time, companies will send products to bloggers to let them test it out and write about them.  The logic behind this being that the blogger can get the word out about their product to many, many people with a real world opinion about the product.  It helps the company gain potential customers and gets the bloggers more traffic.

A few months ago, I started a second blog solely dedicated to product reviews.  I also post the reviews on this blog when I do them, but that blog will only have product reviews on it.  When I review a product, it goes on both sites.

I have only found a few companies so far to review products for, and would really like to find a few more.  So far, LowePro has been great about sending me camera bags to test and review.  I am trying to keep the focus of the blog to photography products, but will add motorcycle products as well.  Both genres play a huge part in my life, and I think I can bring a great deal of info to both markets.

Not only do I have my reader base, but I have Twitter and Facebook.  Along with them, I have 2,700 people that are members of The Product Review Place to share the information with.  So, the products would get a ton of exposure.  My reviews are posted on that site as well.

So, if you are a company that has a product that you need reviewed, please leave me a comment and I will get in touch with you about what we may be able to do for each other.  See ya soon!

*Image courtesy of Consolidated Freight Co.