These Are A Few of My Favorite Things : Bits and Bobs

There are certain pieces of gear that have become a standards for shooting, and sometimes, these are pieces of kit that I never thought would work.
Like BlackRapid straps.

When these first came out, it seemed like a plethora of new camera straps were hitting the market. Lots of companies figured that they had the best product. On the hip, cross shoulder, attached to a backpack, attached to the front of you, etc..
We all use camera straps, and so all companies hit a sweet spot for a better mousetrap. Or strap.
Needing some shoulder relief, especially when carrying 2 cameras, loaded and ready to go, made me open to a change.
The first time I saw the Black Rapid strap, I couldn’t imagine slinging my camera to the side and possibly behind me. The concept of hanging $10k worth of gear off of my behind, didn’t make sense.

After one full day on a trade show floor, I understood. The distribution of weight made my shoulder happy, and accessibility of the camera to get a shot, and drop it to the side, was freeing.

So much so, that I now use the double BlackRapid, and the design is fantastic. Between the back strap, front strap and sling design on both sides, it’s now a permanent part of the kit. Highly recommend!

Next is the Manfrotto 143N Magic Arm.

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A good shooting kit has a range of grippage, so you can put what you want, where you want.
This arm is usually on my tripod, coupled with a Super Clamp, and many times has a Fotodiox Flap Jack LED light on it. Or I can have a tablet at just the right height, and angle, by using a Tether Tools connector pack (connector, and Wallee iPad case)
The locking mechanism uses a lever, and once you open it, it becomes like a floppy marionette puppet. Direct the arm anywhere, lockup the lever, and that pup is not going anywhere!
And when back in the office, the arm is usually on my desk (two tier deal) with the iPad holder.

The LensPen;
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Yep, I keep a microfiber cloth around always, but this product has found its way into each gear bag, One end has a classic camel hair brush, and the other has a special tip to give your lens a deeper clean, usually getting off any light debris.

Gorillapod is a go-to, always in the bag, product.
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for stability, wrap around a railing, etc., it packs just right. I will also use it with this next item…..

Everyone is talking about VR, right? And it is often confused with 360º video. Whatever the case, a camera that has found a home in my bag is the Ricoh Theta S. Check out a sample below

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Post from RICOH THETA. #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

(you can stop the motion by just tapping in the image, plus move in or out.)

Small, lightweight, and it creates its own wi-fi network to transfer images to your phone, and their website, for postings. And you can control it from the app as well.
Stills seem to be better than video, but it will shoot both.
One of the premium uses for this, is to scout, and line-up shots for your larger, more complex, 360º VR rigs, without the time-consuming post processing. It will stream live, although at this point you need to be connected to a laptop.

These are just a few of the things, that honestly, I didn’t always consider, but now always have on hand.

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