Tag Archive: tripod


When I sent the LowePro Pro Runner 450AW back to LowePro after my review period was up, I asked for a bag that was a little smaller so I could use it when I was on the motorcycle.  This way, I can combine my two loves – photography and motorcycles.  They sent me the LowePro FlipSide 300.  The FlipSide 300 is considerably smaller that the Pro Runner 450AW and a much better fit for the amount of camera gear I normally take with me when I go out shooting.  But this bag is different…

When I opened the box and pulled out the bag, I was thinking “what the ?”  The zipper for the main compartment is on the part of the bag that goes up against your back.  I don’t know if it was LowePro‘s idea or not, but I would think that this will keep water out of the main area your camera is stored in.  Good thinking, LowePro.  The bag also has chest and waist straps for secure and comfortable travel.  The padding on this bag is also quite impressive.  I wore it for four or five hours on the motorcycle and it was very comfortable.

When you open the main compartment, there is room for an SLR body with a lens attached (up to 300mm) and 1-3 additional lenses.  There is a zippered pouch in the main compartment that lets you store memory cards, chargers, cords, or whatever you want to put in there.  It is attached with velcro and can be moved or even removed if you want more space. With the bag open, the flap that swings down has a large zippered pocket in it.  I am using this pocket to store filters and even a small notebook.

There is a handy media pouch on the outside of the bag that zips open to allow storage of pens, keys, and two velcro memory card pouches.  There are two small pockets inside the media pouch as well.  On the other side of the bag, there is a mesh pouch that I used for carrying a water bottle.

On the front of the bag, there is a really handy, durable grab handle built in.  It is heavy duty with a textured under side to prevent slipping.  Also on the front of the bag is a strap to tie down a tripod.  At the bottom of the front of the bag, there is a velcro pocket that hides a tripod holder.  The tripod holder holds the tripod in place and works in conjunction with the tie down strap.

So, let’s get into the nitty-gritty.  Here are the specs from LowePro‘s web site;

Capacity:  1 Pro DSLR with 300mm f/2.8 lens attached plus 1–3 additional lenses or flash units, 1 tripod, multiple cables, memory cards, manuals and other digital accessories

Size(Interior): 9.1W X 5.4D X 15.9H in./ 23 X 13.8 X 40.5 cm
Size(Exterior): 10.2W X 6.9D X 17.5H in./ 25.8 X 17.4 X 44.5 cm
Weight: 2.6lbs/1.2kg

Price: $99.99

Colors: Black, Red and Black, Arctic Blue and Black

Pros

-Great size for hiking, biking
-Roomy interior
-Lightweight
-Durable
-Lots of pouches for storage
-Well-padded back and shoulder straps

Cons

-I haven’t found any yet.

I really love this bag.  It is perfect for the amount of equipment I have and for using while I am on the bike.  This is a bag I would really like to own.  If you are in the market for a compact bag with plenty of room for a camera, two or three lenses and some miscellaneous other accessories, this might just be the bag for you.  I highly recommend checking this bag out.

Here are a few pics of the bag in action.

See ya soon!

**Bag images courtesy of LowePro**

**Motorcycle images courtesy of Rose**

I have been a photographer for about 8 or 9 years now.  I am a self-proclaimed amateur, but sometimes I get some really good shots.  I missed out on the film era.  Well, I missed out as a serious shooter that is.  I have had cameras for years, but before I got into digital, I had only used little 35mm point and shoot cameras.  Sure, I remember the 110 and the Polaroid, but I never shot seriously back then.

Over the last few years, I have gotten pretty serious in my shooting.  I even started a Meetup group in the area to help others with their passion for photography.  I wont claim to be a great photographer, but I think I do OK.  But sometimes, I run into areas that I am just not good at.  Tonight was a good example.

The weather had been wonky all day.  It was very windy, rainy and gloomy.  Around 5pm it even spit some icy precipitation.  I assume it was sleet.  After the storm, the sun came out and the weather got a little better.  It was still only in the 40s, but it wasn’t as windy as it had been earlier in the day.  The sun was setting and it was a beauty, so I decided to go out on the back deck and grab a few pics.  They came out pretty well, even though there’s only a small area between the trees to see the sunset.

I came back in and got right to editing the pics I had taken.  I even posted one on Facebook.  A friend commented on one of the pics and asked if I had seen the moon.  No, I hadn’t.  I went to the window and looked out, only to see a beautiful moon.  I grabbed the camera and the tripod and back outside I went.  This is where the trouble started.

I got the camera set up on the tripod with the 70-300mm lens on it and set it on manual focus.  I set my f-stops and shutter speed and looks through the viewfinder.  A little blurry.  A little adjustment on the lens and it was nice and clear.  I took a bunch of shots and came inside to process.  Crap.  They are all blurry.  What the…

It wasn’t crisp.  It was not sharp.  What did I do?  So, I looked up some info on the net and bounced it off some people I really respect over at Movie Photo Forums.  I took the advice and tried it again.  The results this time were a little better but still not quite what I had hoped for.  Here is what I got.  Please keep in mind that this is a 100% crop.

Here is the same shot with a little bit of Photoshop tweaking.

I like this one a little better, but it still isn’t good enough.  I guess I need a much more powerful lens and a lot more practice.  Do you have tips for shooting the moon?  Settings you would like to share?  I would love to know what works for you.

See ya soon!

The folks at LowePro were kind enough to lend me the Pro Runner 450AW backpack to try out.  The 450AW is a very functional, high capacity backpack.  This bag is large and in charge!  It has tons of room for all of your camera equipment and even a slot for your laptop.

Inside the main compartment of the bag is room for two dSLRs and about 8 or 9 small lenses or 2 0r 3 large lenses.  You can rearrange the dividers in a number of configurations to fit longer lenses or other gear as well.  I don’t have that much equipment yet, so I used the space for chargers and other camera accessories I needed to take with me. As you can see in the picture below, there is ample storage in the three pockets shown when the main compartment is open.  I used these pockets to hold extra memory cards, remotes and filters.  When I asked LowePro for a bag to review, I wanted one that could accommodate my laptop.   I have an HP 17 inch laptop and it was a little bit of a tight squeeze, but it fit in and I was able to take it with me.  I used some of the extra room inside the main compartment to store my power cord for the laptop.

One of the things I really like about this bag is the amount of padding on the straps and waist belt.  With the amount of equipment you can carry in this bag, the padding makes carrying it around all day much more comfortable.  The padded straps definitely help distribute the weight and make it more manageable.  There is also a lot of padding for your back to help absorb the weight.  This bag is quite heavy when fully loaded with a laptop and all my camera gear, and I am not a little guy.  I am about 5′ 7″ and about 200 pounds .

The front of this bag also has a large zipped storage area that can hold quite a bit.  This area has a hook to hold your keys and two pockets to hold miscellaneous items you need to store.  There is a hefty strap that keeps the bag shut and gives it extra support.

The straps also double as a tripod support.  There is a movable base for the bottom of the tripod to go into that you can attach to the bottom of the bag using the two straps on the front of the bag.

The backpack also comes with a built in rain cover.  It is built in and stowed away in a front pocket until you need it.   It is tucked neatly in the under the front storage pocket, closed in with a nice Velcro tab (not shown).  Another feature I really liked was a small storage pocket on the front of the bag.  You can use this pocket for storing things you need to grab in a hurry, like a plane ticket or directions.  The picture below also shows one of two handy grab handles for easier pick up.

Suggested Retail Price: $249.99

Specifications:

Exterior Dimensions – 13.4W X 11.4D X 19.9H in./34.0 X 29.0 X 50.5 cm

Interior Dimensions – 12.2W X 6.7D X 18.5H in./31.0 X 17.0 X 47.0 cm

Notebook Interior Dimensions – 12.2W X 1.8D X 15.6H in./31 X 4.5 X 39.5 cm

Pros:

  • Ample storage space
  • Laptop storage
  • Well-padded straps and back area
  • Grab handles for easy pick-up

Cons:

  • Fully loaded it’s a bit heavy

Overall, I really liked this bag, but it is much larger than what I need.  I don’t have enough equipment to fill it to it’s potential.  For a real serious professional with tons of gear, this is the perfect bag.  I would love to try a bag that is just a touch smaller to compare it to this one.  I contacted LowePro about their bags because I have a LowePro Mini Trekker that I have had for 7 or 8 years that is still in great like new condition, despite me using and abusing it almost every day for the time that I have had it.

What bag do you use for your camera gear?  Why do you love it/hate it?

**Photos courtesy of LowePro**

Out of touch, but not out of mind…

Last week, I had an unexpected trip out of town.  While I was gone, I had little computer access, so I wasn’t able to keep up on my blog.  It was both gut-wrenching and a blessing.  It really made me realize how much time I actually spend in front of this computer.  I will now start to monitor and limit excessive computer use going forward.  I am missing so much by sitting here all day and night.  It is great keeping in touch with everyone, but I am spending time above and beyond normal socialization time here.

While I was gone, I got a surprise delivery.  Over the past few weeks of blogging, I decided that I wanted to do some product review blogs.  I contacted a few companies that cater to photography via email and asked for information on reviewing their products.  While some wanted more blog hits, one company said yes.  That company is LowePro.  They make some really great camera bags.  They sent me their LowePro Pro Trekker 450 AW bag to test.

Over the next few weeks, I will transfer my photography equipment from my current camera bag (LowePro Mini Trekker) into the new bag and see how it works.  It is almost twice the size as my current bag, but that is only to accommodate my 17 inch HP laptop.  I asked specifically for the laptop/camera bag because I hate carrying a laptop bag and a camera bag.  This bag is also set up to handle two dSLRs with lenses and a ton of extra lenses or gear.  It has numerous spots to attach a tripod or monopod.  There is also a pouch at the bottom that houses a rain cover in case of a surprise storm.  I can’t wait to start trying it out.

Photo courtesy of LowePro

Photo courtesy of LowePro

I missed you all in my absence.  What have you been up to?  Anything new and exciting in your life?

Back in August 2008, Rose and I decided to take a trip to Montreal.  I had never been there, but had always wanted to go.  So, we made a reservation for two nights and packed our stuff.  We left around 5 pm on Friday, and hit monsoon like weather most of the way up.  High winds, torrential downpours, thunder and lightning.  Rose even thinks there was hail.  No big deal you say?  In a car, no.  But we were on the motorcycle.

We left Albany and the weather was threatening to rain, but didn’t start until the Adirondacks.  It was pretty brutal, but I loved every minute of it.  We had on raingear, with the exception of my jacket.  It had zippers on the sleeves, so the rain poured in and ran down my sleeves and into my shirt and pants.  Luckily, the Yamaha has heated hand grips, so my hands kept warm most of the trip.  My upper body, not so much.  If you don’t ride, or don’t know about riding in the rain, here’s a quick lesson.  The gloves are leather and dyed black.  When they get wet, the dye covers your hands and makes them black as well.  Until you scrub them with some type of a bristle brush, they will stay black.

We arrived at our hotel around 9 pm, parked the bike and went to our room.  I immediately stripped down and laid my clothes out around the room.  It was time for a hot shower, as I was freezing.  After we warmed up, we went out for a walk to see what we could find to eat.  We found a Chinese restaurant and then hit a grocery store for some soda and snacks.

And then it happened – I found Kit Kat Dark.  Kit Kats drenched in dark chocolate.  I haven’t been able to find them in the Northeast.  If you find them, please let me know.

The next day, we walked around the city, with showers off and on.  It is a beautiful city.  Of course I had my camera, and I took a few pics.  There was a church that I took this picture in, but I can’t for the life of me remember then name of it.  I didn’t have a tripod with me, so I had to brace the camera on top of one of the pews in the choir loft and hope for the best.

Overlook

Overlook

This window was also from that church…

Outside the church

Outside the church

We also went to see the Notre Dame cathedral, but it was closed for a private wedding and they wouldn’t let us in.  Here’s Rose sitting outside by the bike when we were getting ready to leave.

Rose

Rose

We were sweating, as we had our raingear on over our clothes.  It was supposed to rain that day.  It never did, and it was extremely warm instead.  So, we were lucky and stayed dry. Here’s a few pics of Rose getting ready to get back on and a horse and carriage.

Rose again

Rose again

Horse and carriage

Horse and carriage

Waiting

Waiting

When we left there, we went to St. Joseph’s Oratory.  It was huge.  I am not a religious person at all, but I do appreciate the architecture.  It was incredible.  I took quite a few pictures while we we there.  I could have spent hours there shooting, but we needed to head home.  Here are a few shots I took while we were there.

Incredibly tall

Incredibly tall

So many candles

This was handheld. Can't believe it came out so well.

Go towards the light

Go towards the light

Coming home took a bit longer than going up.  For some reason, we went through customs going into Canada in about ten minutes.  Coming home, it took us at least an hour, hour and a half to get through customs.  Why does it take so long if I am an American coming back into my own country?  Talk about being efficient.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the extra security that is hopefully keeping the undesirables out.  However, they should put in a line for U.S. residents to come back in.  I understand having to wait to go into Canada.  But coming home?  Ridiculous.

It was a great trip, all in all.  I hope to get back up there soon.  The one thing about taking the bike is that it costs almost nothing for fuel, but you can’t pack too much.  It’s definitely worth it if you have the time.