Thursday, July 29, 2010

So... how much gear do I stuff in that bag anyways? (LowePro Classified 160 AW)

A while back, I bought the LowePro FastPack 350 as my "carry everything" bag. In truth, while it carries alot, it does not carry everything. And its bulky.

So, in an attempt to defeat bulkiness, I sought out a new bag. After much searching, I became aware of the LowePro Classified 160AW.  Having used it on and off, I have to say, so long as I don't need a laptop on my person, I love it. :)

A short discussion had folks wondering what I put in it. So, since pictures can do a better job than words alone:

Gear I normally pack into my FastPack350
(excluding cables/chargers/etc.)
That's one flash, a pack of batteries, a CF card holder, an extension ring, an A700 DSLR w/17-50/2.8 lens, a 50mm/1.4 lens, a 70-200/2.8 lens, an Apple iPad, and a 15" MacBookPro.

With the exception of the MBP, everything fits into the Classified.

Nothing in my sleeve... yet.

In goes the 50mm/1.4

Next goes the 70-200/2.8, lenshood is extended!

In goes the camera with mounted lens... FYI, the camera
can be stowed away with the 70-200/2.8 mounted, in this bag.

Yep, it closes.

The iPad goes into the sleeve pocket.

The card holder, extension tube, and pack of batteries in
the outter most pocket.

And there it is. All full and happy.

Note, one of the original reasons why I opted to get a Fast Pack 350 was because a good deal of weight on one shoulder/arm/etc. can cause a good deal of strain. This is no different. There is a belt you can hook onto the main strap and one of the D rings to stabilize the bag as well as take some weight off your shoulder. I strongly recommend using it, unless you like neck/shoulder/back pain.

The FastPack 350 can hold all that and more, thanks to an extra large top pocket. The FastPack 350 can also hold up to a 17" laptop. Fits the 15" just fine. Note, with all that gear AND the laptop, it gets heavyenough that you might still get some back pain.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

IPad and the camera connection kit

Just got the Apple camera connection kit, one piece of my new photo kit. The first thing I did was to connect the Sandisk All-in-one USB 2.0 card reader, a flash card I had, and the kit with my iPad.

The first try just didn't work!

Apparently, the amount of power the iPad will supply through the camera connection kit's USB port is kinda anemic. So much so that when I plugged in my photo fast 533x compact flash card into the Sandisk reader, it reported that the device required too much power.

However, a solution was found for that issue: split USB power cable for external hard drives!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Flickr and SmugMug

The Successful Flickr PhotographerFor the last few days, since getting the iPad, actually, I've been playing around with the Flickr and SmugMug applications on the iPad. Having the iPad around has been like having a little portable window into my online digital life, as well as all the information it provides. That instant on people rave about vs having to dig out your heavy laptop, open it up, and whatnot? Totally true.

But back to what I was writing about, Flickr and SmugMug.

Between the two, I've definitely been more active on my SmugMug account, with the number of images uploaded at around a couple thousand. I've trimmed it back a bit since, but with Adobe Lightroom having direct export to it, thanks to the SmugMug plugin, and the great user interface, it makes SmugMug a natural choice. I pay for the Pro account, so I get other features like custom watermarks and the ability to sell prints/etc at custom prices.

Recently, however, I've been wanting to include more social aspects of the web into my photography and blogging. Switching to for my blogging platform has opened me up to using my Flickr account again. After seeing the restrictions on the free account, I also opted to go with the Pro account on Flickr.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Life with an iPad

First off, the iPad is an amazing media consumption device. Whether you are talking about ebooks, images, and/or videos, the iPad rocks. For the price, however, you kind of expect it to.

I bought the 64GB wifi iPad. Why not the 3G version? Well, because I already pay for a mobile device and saw no point in paying again just so that I can surf the web. I also happen to own a 3G to wifi converter, so I can share my wireless goodness with my iPad and that of others as well.

The image above was taken on my dslr and was published on Smugmug with my laptop. Downloaded it to the iPad, dunked with it a bit with filter storm, and am posting it to my blog using Blogpress.

It's not perfect, but it is very workable. The camera connection kit is on the way, which would let me do some preliminary work on jpegs and do quick uploads online from my iPad while on the road, without hauling around a laptop... At least not until I get back to the hotel room. :)

It is certainly no laptop replacement, but then again, I didn't buy it to replace my laptop. I bought it to supplement my laptop and give myself more options. It can do 90% of what I normally do on a laptop, but weighs half as much, is small and thin, and has no critical moving parts. Oh, and it has a phenomenal battery life. So far, with video playback, app installs, game playing, and heavy network use, it is still able go pull 9-10 hours of usable life. That is amazing.

Next time, remote and tethered shooting with an iPad twist..

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sony 50mm/1.4 = Bokeh Galore

Sony 50mm f/1.4 Lens for Sony Alpha Digital SLR CameraPreviously, I owned the Minolta 50mm/1.7 lens.  It was my favorite lens for two reasons:
  1. Dirt cheap at $75
  2. Amazing Bokeh
The Minolta 50mm/1.7 produced great out of focus backgrounds and amazingly sharp subjects. It performed great for low light photography and was a joy to use.

I had sold the 50mm/1.7 when I was contemplating switching from Sony to Nikon, but when I sold it, the buyer had commented it was a great lens and that I had a great camera. This left me a bit dumbfounded and lost in thought for about a month.

That is, until I picked up the 50mm/1.4...