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Monthly Archives: July 2008

Kata KT DR-467 Digital RucksackSomeone recently asked me to recommend a good camera bag for travelling and without a moment’s hesitation, I recommended the Kata KT DR-467 Digital Rucksack. I bought this bag to use on my trip to Europe and absolutely LOVE it!

It holds all of my camera gear (including my tripod!) and my laptop, with room to spare for things like travel guides, a jacket and a water bottle. And even with all of that, it’s still comfortable to carry.

It’s built really well. It has lots of pockets for organizing with zippers that are concealed. It has this cool hard padding on the outside of the camera compartment to prevent “slice and go” theft. It has a strap to secure it onto a rolling cart or suitcase handle. It’s very sturdy and I feel like my equipment is very safely stored.

The interior is bright yellow to make finding black equipment easier. The compartment that holds the camera equipment tips forward and even comes completely out if you want to remove it – which is really nice. Plus, that creates a nice hiding place underneath it for things like passports and money. It’s completely customizable with 6 velcro dividers.

It has D-rings on the straps which can be used to clip your camera to when you want to give your neck a break. Also, the chest strap has a slider so that you can adjust it to the level that fits you best. It even comes with a lightweight, custom fit rain cover that covers the entire pack.

It has a pocket on the side for a tripod or water bottle with a strap to hold the top of the tripod. When not in use, the pocket can be zipped away.

The computer compartment holds a 17″ laptop, plus a few magazines or a couple of Bryan Peterson books! There is a strong, sturdy strap on top to carry it like a hand bag which is also handy.

It easily fits into the overhead bin on planes or under your seat. I have back problems and although it was heavy with all my crap in it, I had no problem lugging it around Europe.

I did a lot of research before choosing this bag and I’m totally glad I got it. It’s perfect! Can you tell I like this bag?! Anyway – check it out. It’s one of the best purchases I have made. This is the bag I use to carry all of my camera equipment when travelling. I also have a day pack that I use when I don’t need to lug everything around. I’ll share that one in another post.

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Carnival Dreams
Carnival Dreams, 7/22/08

I am in Michigan right now. I work at a music festival there every summer and spend 5 weeks camping. There’s no internet access in my tent – damn! In fact, I have to drive 40 minutes away to get online. So there won’t be many posts here until I get home in late August.

I did get a chance to slip away to the county fair one evening. I wanted to practice panning again and decided to use this little train as my subject. Because the track was curved, I got some interesting effects. This was my favorite from the evening. It’s kind of dreamlike and trippy.

I had fun playing with my camera, moving it to create unusual and abstract photos. Here are a couple more.

Runaway Train
Runaway Train, 7/22/08

Abstract
Abstract, 7/22/08

Paris, Las Vegas
Paris, Las Vegas, 6/28/08

Another photo from the famous Las Vegas strip.

Vegas, On the Move
Vegas, On the Move, 6/28/08

I went to Las Vegas this past weekend. I didn’t spend nearly as much time taking photographs as I thought I would. It was incredibly hot and jam-packed with people. On top of that, I was having an awful time of it with allegeries. But I did get out with my camera and tripod one night. This was my favorite shot of the whole trip. It’s not your typical Vegas strip shot, but it totally says Vegas to me.

Painted Sky
Painted Sky, 10/10/07

It’s that time of year when everyone wants to know how to get good photographs of fireworks. It’s actually not that hard if you follow a few simple guidelines.

1. Pick a good location to shoot from. Choose a spot that is upwind from where the fireworks will be set off so that the smoke blows away from you and out of your photograph. Remember that the fireworks will explode high in the sky, so be sure to look up when choosing your spot. Make sure that your view will not be blocked by trees or buildings – although thoughtfully incorporating some things in the foreground will create a nice composition.

2. Use a tripod. It’s the only way to be sure you will get a sharp picture. Even better, combine the tripod with a remote shutter release.

3. Turn your flash off. The only thing it’s going to light is the back of the head of the person in front of you – not exactly the effect you’re going for!

4. Use the right settings. If you have a point and shoot with a fireworks setting on your camera, use that. If not, set your camera to landscape. If you can manually set your camera, the following settings are a good place to start: ISO 100, 2-4 second shutter, aperture f8-f16. Manually focus your camera on something in the far distance.

5. Take lots of photos. After the first few, take a look to make sure you’re getting what you want. Play around with using variations on the settings recommended. Now enjoy the show!

Here are my favorite links for more tips on photographing fireworks.

How to Shoot Fireworks by Scott Kelby
How to Shoot Fireworks Displays at Digital Photography School
11 Tips for Sparkling Fireworks Photos at Photojojo