|Hi. My name is Ben and I’m a bag addict. It’s true, I have a problem. For years, I was convinced that there was a single, perfect camera bag out there in the world somewhere. So, over the years, I have amassed an embarrassing assortment of bags. A while ago, I came to realize that there is no single camera bag that’s appropriate for every situation, which only exacerbated my problem, because now I have a perfect justification for owning still more bags. Alas, the discovery of Mountainsmith Kit Cube has made the whole situation even worse, because with the Kit Cube, I can turn any bag into a camera bag. This means my bag fetish is no longer constrained to just camera bags!
Unlike film photographers, most of whom would never have considered carrying a darkroom with them, (though there are some that do) as digital shooters we expect to have a little post-production capability in the field, if for no other reason than to offload media. While I normally travel with a Macbook Air, or a netbook Hackintosh, for this trip, I decided to try to make due with only an iPad, for a few different reasons.The whole story of what I did, and how it worked is detailed right here.
|Like a lot of photographers, I like gear. Lots of gear. Sometimes I think that I like gear because buying new gear is easier than trying to take a good picture. But still, I buy more. But when it comes time to actually travel somewhere, all that gear presents a bit of a quandary. The sad fact is: while I like gear, I don’t like carrying it. When traveling, I used to carry a rather full kit – lots of lenses, flashes, anything I might possibly need. But these days, even for extended travel, I tend to go pretty stripped down. Usually just two lenses, no flash, possibly a lightweight tripod. On a recent 3-week trip to Turkey, I decided to go even more bare, and travelled with only a small backpack as my only luggage – both for clothes, and camera gear. Needless to say, this presented a bit of an issue in terms of gear choice.
|I just spent the last week motorcycling from San Francisco to Oklahoma, (to teach at the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute) camping and motelling along the way. As is usual on a motorcycle, I tried to stay on the smallest roads possible, and so ended up in some fairly interesting locations. I was probably supposed to be blogging, tweeting, and Facebooking my exploits as I went, (Karaoke night in Roswell, NM will definitely make you believe in alien visitations) but to be honest, one of the nice things about such a trip is to be out of the media bubble, not engaging in it further. So rather than trying to provide heavy coverage of my trip, I decided to simply enjoy myself. But also, I have a penchant for mail – the physical kind made from crushed wood pulp. Sitting in a forest or remote desert at night, writing letters and postcards, is a pretty nice way to spend an evening, but just because I’m using analog communications doesn’t mean I have to scrimp on imagery. Thanks to the amazing Polaroid PoGo printer, I was able to print images in the middle of nowhere!
|As I’ve said before, anyone who performs a lot of image editing needs a pressure-sensitive tablet, and no one makes better tablets than Wacom. A lot of people, though, don’t like the coordination of drawing in one place while looking at another. For these people, Wacom has long sold the Cintiq line of screen/tablet combos. These are LCD screens that have a built in pressure sensitive tablet.
|Over the years, I’ve found that photographers tend to fall into two categories: those that edit heavily, and those that rarely edit at all. Of course, this is a generalization, and most users do some kind of editing. But in general, it seems like photographers either edit heavily, or they simply try to work with what comes out of the camera. If you’re the type who edits heavily, then you should seriously consider getting a pressure-sensitive tablet. For re-touching, cutting masks, or performing any painting-based edits, a tablet can make your editing process much easier, and even enable some edits that are impossible, or extremely difficult, with a mouse. If you’re not clear why you might want a tablet, here’s a detailed discussion of the advantages, and a look (with video) at the new Wacom Intuos 4 Wireless tablet..
|As many of you probably know, it isn’t easy being a nerdy gearhead. Oh sure, exploring and mastering a new gizmo isn’t too hard, but keeping your gizmo fix satisfied is not only expensive, but time consuming. Fortunately, with the recent spate of photo-related trade shows, there are a number of cool new photo gadgets to consider. Here’s a quick look at seven photo-related hardware accessories that you might want to consider.
You may think you’re a camera geek, but if the thought of a new tripod or head doesn’t get your palms sweaty, then you still have a ways to go to plumb the true depths of your photo-related nerd potential. Personally, I have two tripods, a couple of heads, and a fairly large assortment of smaller stabilization gizmos, and yet it’s always hard to walk past the tripod section at the camera store without stopping to feel the weight of this tripod, admire the new composite material of another tripod, or test the latest locking levers on still another tripod. If you don’t have a tripod fetish, then choosing a tripod might be something of a mystery, as it may seem like little more than three sticks joined at the top. But oh, a tripod can be so much more.
With Apple’s announcement of the iPad, there’s a lot of talk lately about the “death of the netbook.” But for the photographer, a netbook is still a much better alternative to any other portable option. Smaller, lighter, and cheaper than a typical laptop, a netbook provides plenty of storage for offloading images, but can run the same software that you use on your everyday computer. In addition to replacing your digital wallet-type device, having a real keyboard and connectivity options make netbooks capable terminals for the traveling photographer. If you’re a Mac user, though, you won’t find any netbook options from Apple. However, it’s now easier than ever to hack certain netbooks to run the latest version of Snow Leopard.
You wouldn’t think that there’s much you could do to change the design of a camera strap. Oh sure, you can build it out of better materials, and make the strap easier to attach or detach, and maybe make one strap that’s more fashionable than another. But actually creating a truly different strap, one that functions in a different, better way? That’s a tougher call, because a camera strap seems to be a fairly basic piece of gear. But, Luma Labs has proven that even something as seemingly simple as a camera strap can be given a radical new spin, and dramatically improved. For your consideration: the Luma Loop.