Sunday, 27 February 2011

Lowepro Stealth Reporter 650AW Review

For anyone considering purchasing the Lowepro Stealth Reporter 650 AW it's worth taking a look at this brief review of the original Lowepro Stealth Reporter 600 AW. The bag in the image below is ten years old and still in daily use. There are numerous improvements which I will review as soon as I can get my hands on one!

Lowepro camera bags should be looked upon as an investment, whichever one you buy, it will give you years of service backed by an excellent no quibble warranty.


Lowepro Stealth Reporter 600 AW

This bag is one of the original Lowepro Stealth Reporter bags from 2000/2001. I bought this bag just after they came onto the UK market about ten years ago and is testament to the longevity of Lowepro bags. It has been in daily use since I bought it and I see no reason to buy a replacement.


Close-up of the padded non-slip shoulder strap

These days I use it as man-bag in which I carry my Mac Book Pro and the various accessories for working tethered on location, together with my personal gear. What attracted me to this bag originally was the build quality and the number and placement of the pockets. Tucked deep inside are security pockets and single skin pockets for all manner or accessories and general cr4p!

Inside the loop material liner for the computer and gear is still going strong; the Velcro™still performs well

The front outer pockets a capacious with provision for pens and keys etc. There are pockets for memory cards or in my case card readers, USB leads, spares and earphones.

Close-up of the trim and strap fittings

As you would expect with a bag that has been in daily use for ten years, it does not look pristine but does  the job it was designed for. The metal fittings for the shoulder and hand straps show no signs of corrosion, which I guess means they are made from brass or the like. The stitching for the edging around the top of the bag has failed in places but this in no way detracts from use of the bag.

The seam on the shoulder strap has now failed, but again, this does not affect performance.

Sturdy nylon material

The material from which the bag is constructed has scuffed and is worn in places but has not holed. The wear is superficial, nothing else. The bag looks distressed which just adds to the character!

There is a nylon weather cover for the top flap together with the AW (All Weather) cover which over ten years have not deteriorated and still keep the bag and contents dry or dust free - don't forget that the AW cover is not black for a reason, they can be used as reflective protection in dusty environments.

There's a good reason why Lowepro bags are used by top pro photographers, they are an investment, as is any quality piece of kit, not a cost. They are built to last and perform under a variety of conditions.

The design of these bags has been improved in the new Stealth Reporter D650AW

Long live Lowepro!

Photography Notes:
12 x 12 inch Rosco Litepads HO top front key light with 7 inch off camera Halo HO ring light as fill. 200 ISO, Canon G12 compact.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

New Photo Walks & Photo Workshops for 2011


I have just finished putting the finishing touches to my the first phase of my 2011 photo walk and photography workshop schedule. I will be leading studio and location workshops with Park Cameras as well as leading my own photo walks and workshops.

Bee Orchid - Ophyrys apifera

I have four new photo walk workshops for 2011:

I am also working on a series of location based workshops for portrait and wedding photographers including portfolio building days which will enable you to create portfolio images with professional models or actors.


More information on all the currently available workshops may be found by visiting www.ukphotowalks.com/dates.htm

There are more practical photography training workshops in development, if you would like to receive more information, do sign up to receive email communications via www.ukphotowalks.com.

Monday, 21 February 2011

The Convergence 1 & 2 March 2011

Motion picture and video production has been revolutionised in the last two years with the advent of DSLR stills cameras with HD video capability. High quality video can now be shot without the need to resort to expensive motion picture or broadcast standard cameras.

http://theconvergence.co.uk/

Converge is the show dedicated to all who use and HD DSLR movie creation. You can see the latest gear and attend workshops during the two days of the show.

I'll be there on the Rosco stand demonstrating the new Axiom Litepad LED lights.

See you there?

TTFN

Ian

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Annabel Williams

I was idly doing some research for new project and happened across Annabel Williams website which appears to be underconstruction with only email contact details. Where is Annabel Williams? I have noticed that Catherine Connor now fronts a new training business with a large stable of photographers based in the English Lake District - um!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Think Tank Photo Urban Disguise® 40 V2.0

I am gutted - on the 21st January I received an email from Snapperstuff, the UK importer of Think Tank Photo bags telling me of the availability of the new shiney Urban Disguise® V2.0 bags, having purchased the Urban Disguise® 40 V1.0 only a couple of weeks before.

 Think Tank Photo Urban Disguise® 40 V2.0
Showing the redesigned front pocket
Photograph: Snapperstuff

The Urban Disguise® 40 V1.0 is an excellent bag with one or two niggles that have been fixed in the Urban Disguise® 40 V2.0 design. If only I had waited;-( I would now have a bag with a flat front pouch capable of taking two decent sized DSLR bodies with movable dividers, a zip to expand the inner storage to take even bigger DSLRs and a clip to keep the grab handles together. Oh well, such is life.

Extra depth in main compartment
Photograph: Snapperstuff

Anyway, the Urban Disguise® 40 V1.0 doubles up as both a decent camera bag and day-to-day manbag allowing me to keep all those little essentials like rolls of black electrical tape, Swiss Army knife, mint sweets, rail tickets, pens etc, etc. The list goes on and saves me stuffing my pockets with cr4p whilst allowing me to carry a DSLR, a couple of hefty lenses, Speedlite, spare batteries, radio trigger - in effect a complete off-camera Speedlite flash kit in a discrete bag. The only gear I need carry separately are stands, clamps or other supports.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Free Photo Workshop Taster Day

Studio portrait lighting demystified and made simple.
My photo training workshops are hands-on with ample opportunities to get some great shots!

On Saturday 2nd April 2011 in conjunction with Park Cameras I will be running a series of free taster workshops. By attending you will gain a valuable insight into the content of my portrait and off-camera flash lighting workshops. The taster workshops will take place at the Park Cameras training centre in Burgess Hill, West Sussex. To book your place follow this link:

http://www.parkcameras.com/article/379/Training.html?referrer=newsletter

With one off camera Speedlite and a little practice it's possible to create wonderful portraits.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Got the gear, but no ideas

Personally I find that a pile of gear just gets in the way of creating great images. Sometimes it's wonderful to go out with just a single DSLR body and a prime lens and shoot.

I did this a couple of weeks ago when planning a new Photo Walk - more on the walk soon, watch this space. It was refreshing not having to worry about choice of lens and just concentrate on what was going on through the view finder; my Canon 5D Mk II with 35mm f2 EF lens and a tripod!

Crab's eye view of the pebbles, in close controlling depth of field with careful use of aperture and focus

For this kind of image a desire to get wet, cold and dirty or a good groundsheet are helpful. I achieved this image with the help of a sandbag support and small plastic mirror to assist in viewing the camera LCD, a bit like a periscope. If like me you are used to viewing a laterally reversed image, it's not a problem and a lot less expensive than a right angle view finder attachment.

Late afternoon cross light and strong diagonals with a small stop for good depth of field

American photographer Ken Rockwell has written a great post on the subject of gear taking over from creating great images which you can read by clicking here - thanks Ken, you've saved me a lot of effort!

TTFN

Ian