Messenger Bag Roundup Part 3 : ThinkTank Photo – CityWalker 20

The only way to truly figure out what camera bag works best for you is to determine the gear you need (want) to have with you, when you leave the house/office.
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Is it a full DSLR rig, with 2 bodies and all the glass? Or get small with a mirrorless system? Messenger bags take care of a certain type of shooting set-up, so if you really want to figure out your perfect (or near perfect) bag, take the gear you’ll be needing to carry down to your local brick and mortar camera store, and put your goodies into the proposed bag. And wear it. You’ll see soon enough what works for you.
It’s kinda like trying on a pair of shoes and walking around the store. Wouldn’t hurt to buy your bag from them, either. HAvinga good relationship with your local photo dealer is a great thing to have.
Of course, plenty of places online have good return policies. It’s your time and hassle for that effort. And make sure you can get to things like PhotoPlus Expo, to see and try em all.

The ThinkTank CityWalker 20 has been on my shoulder for almost 2 years now, because I pre-checked. This is a great lightweight, transformer, type of messenger bag, that has been designed by the pros at ThinkTank Photo, with the right amount of pockets, dividers, and comfort, that will bring you lots of use, both as a camera bag, and a daily bag. It’s perfect for street photography, and for the other 50% of your life, when you need to keep the weight and profile, low key.
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It does come with one of the better made foam inserts, as a separate bucket with dividers,that velcros to the bottom of the bag. I personally don’t use it in the bag, but use it to build out shooting systems, and then store them safe and readily available.
I’m careful with my gear, but not precious.
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So, on the inside are 2 interior pockets on either end with a velcro strap on top. In one, I always put a charging battery, and cable in there, and can add my phone, so I have a great little charging station.
In the other pocket, either a SpeedLight for a DSLR, or a 90mm lens, if going mirrorless.
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There is an easy access pocket in the back, that is great for documents, and yes, some snacks. C’mon, sometimes standing at an event waiting on the key action, can make you a bit hungry. On the 2 outside side pockets, you have mesh, so easy to see what you have, and an elastic top to loosely secure whatever you put there.
Many times, I’ll put my sunglasses on one side, and a water bottle on the other. Or if I’m in a working situation, the speedlight may go there for easy access.
Plus, in the interior at the back, a zipped document section, that pretty well mirrors the outside pocket in size.

Then comes the magic front pockets. Each one has a good wide velcro strap to secure the goods in there, nice and tight.
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The front pocket has all of the dividers you want: pens, LensPens (my fave lens cleaner), business cards (yep, people still use em), media card wallet connectors, and just some extra space. I can put a Fuji-X100T in that pocket and it is easy to access, and always at my fingertips.

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The main body of the bag, I can put a Nikon D810 with a 24-70, 70-200mm, OR a sweet 28-300, with room to spare. Plus a smaller prime.
Going mirrorless? OK, a Fuji X-T1 with grip and a 56mm, a 55-140 in the side pocket, and a 14mm on its own. A little light configuration.I can put batteries in one of the front pockets, but more often than not, they are in my pants pockets.

The flap has the ThinkTank silent velcro option, and a buckle, so you can either go loose closure, or the tighter, noisy velcro. Yep, I’m always in silent mode. In addition the top flap has a zipper pocket, for docs or small items. I put a plastic bag with aspirin, wipes,gum, sunscreen packets, chapstick, etc.

The strap is well made, with a good wide webbing, and the shoulder “grip” is adjustable and stay where you want it. They added a thin hand carry strap, and it has come in handy, especially when taking a sit break.And there is also a business card clear window holder, so when you leave it somewhere, people can find you. Don’t ask.

You can tell i have a lot to say about this bag as I’ve used it for over 2 years. It has the high quality that ThinkTank Photo bags all have, and as a lightweight, soft, bag, it’s usually the first bag I reach for when going out on a walk.

from the folks who made it:

And here is a video portrait from ThinkTank on one of their CityWalker users:

What I don’t do with it, is add a tablet or MacBook Air. When this bag has that added weight, plus a power cord/block, the loose structure is not the best for me. So, this does not become my bag for all-in-one office in a bag use.
I have, in the past, moved to a backpack for that added weight. Like the ThinkTank Perception 15. A great working backpack, that I grew to love. More for the versatility, than as a perfect camera bag. Right tool, for right job.
What I carried on July 4th: Fuji X100T (23mm f/2) Fuji X-T1 with a 55-140 zoom, Fuji 14mm, batteries, cards, water bottle, moleskin notebook, Theta S 360º camera, brimmed hat, snacks, lenspen, media car wallet, small gorillapod tripod, with giotto head, phone charger, with cable, business card case, and press credentials.

Oh, here is a shot from the Theta S at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Arcade

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

For about $100, this bag is a strong recco. One that should be in your repertoire.

Next up, the bag that does it all.

RIP Dave Heath – Friend, Mentor, Teacher: 1931-2016

One of the most influential photographers in my life has passed.
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I went to a particular school,Ryerson in Toronto, just to make sure I could learn from him.
We became friends, and what he taught me, is deeply ingrained in my visual thought process.
Here is the obit from NYT.

The following is an article I wrote about his last book, which was an amazing retrospective of his life and work, and the photobook of the year, last year, in my opinion.

When I left LA, there were 95 boxes of photo books that went into storage.
Since moving into a city where space is at a premium, my book purchases have taken a nose dive, and only a very select few make it through the front door. Yes, I’m talking about the printed books, not the ones that live on my iPad.
Today one of the finest books I’ve seen in a long while, showed up in the mail.
Multitude, Solitude The Photographs of Dave Heath51jbvWomarL
Have to call this my choice for Photo Book of the Year. Rare do you find a combination of salient text, along with a full collection of a master photographers work, brilliantly printed, and the book itself, a tightly crafted item.
The size of the book is right, and no images run in the gutter, a pet peeve.
In the front of the tome, you get a history of Dave Heath that helps give you insight into the man. After a full, rich, collection of photographs, including the out of print book, “Dialogue With Solitude” you also get a an insight into the man as a photographer and artist.
And also maquettes (mocked up layouts) of book he made along the way
Do not pass this up before it goes out of print. I have only done one pass with it, and know that many more are ahead. Michael Torosian has been a maker of fine books for years, and his involvement in the is one, assured quality. It does not disappoint. If you care about photography, and want to make a discovery, buy this book.

Sure, I’ll admit that he was one of my teachers. It was after seeing him do a talk, that I decided on my college.
In looking back at his work I can see why we also connected. His vision speaks to me, and I’ll bet it speaks to you as well.
Even as just a solid book, this is a masterpiece. $52? A fantastic deal!

Light Em Up!! Photographing Fireworks Guide

(This is a previously published article, but the fireworks haven’t changed, so it should all still hold true.)

Living in A Powder Keg and Giving Off Sparks!

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Continue Reading »

Adobe CC Updates: Next Level Additions!

If you are not using the Creative Cloud By Adobe, I just don’t know what to say.
For $119 a year, you get the best tools for your photographic life, designed by a company whose base level DNA is digital imaging.
Seriously.
They have a new round of updates, and some things you can’t live without, and some thing you may want to just check out.
First up is a fix for something that we all have done, and now made simple.
Have you ever skewed the horizon line on a fave photo, adjusted in LR so things lined up, but you then cropped out key parts of the image?
Yep, we all have.
There is a new tool called Content Aware Crop that will fill in the missing parts and restore your faith in photographic humanity. Like magic.

Cool, right?

OK, next up is a new Liquify tool that allows you to make fun of anyone you want to.
Make them a caricature, if you want.
Fine, a great use would be to open eyes on a portrait, of increase a smile. Just don’t get too creepy, ok?
Portrait of smiling young man with beard

Yeah, I’ve wanted that for a while. Add in some texture, and you could be doing portraits in Time Square from your laptop, and sending files to customers. Just kidding. (or am I?)

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We are all looking for the perfect online portfolio, amirite? Now included in you Adobe CC package is a portfolio option.
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You can do better, right?
I haven’t tried it yet so I’ll hold off til I do. Direct posting from PS to a site sounds pretty cool. Let’s see how the designs progress. But it does have a sales option built-in.
I’m due for a change, and will report back.

The stock market (photo-wise I mean) has been in a downward spiral. There is just not the same kinda money in it that there once was. Heck, if you’ve ever looked for images for a project, you know that it’s not that expensive.
If you’d like to try that shoe on the other foot, Adobe CC makes it easier for you with tagging, posting and tracking software for you, baked in.

And there are more improvements, like better masking, so good, the hairs on your head will not only stand up, but be even more easily separated from the background.

You see, this is what I love about Adobe:They make the best digital imaging software, and that’s what they do.
No hardware or gizmos.
And they listen to you, the end-user, to find out what would make your imaging life better. Then do it.

Are you going the way of video? At some point you will, if you haven’t yet.
Well, Adobe Premiere has taken over where Final Cut was. Yeah, I was a Final Cut guy, and it’s all about the Adobe Premiere now. CC as well if you want to add it one.

Messenger Bag Roundup Part 2 : Peak Design 13″ Messenger

Ok, you saw the value proposition, now let’s have a look at the higher priced spread:
The Peak Design 13″ Messenger Bag
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Coming on the heels of a very successful launch of the 15″ messenger bag, the public asked for a smaller more manageable version, and the company listened.
This is a beautiful, well made, bag. The fit and finish of all parts will do you well in any kind of circumstance. Formal or casual.

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Even the interior stitching is pretty deluxe.

Let’s get down with some of the features:
The top design feature for me, are the origami-like inserts.
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With the pre-indented areas, you can fold and maneuver these to solidly hold whatever camera/lens configuration you need. Personally, I went with a Fuji X-T1, 56mm on the body, on one side, with a 14mm in the center, then a Fuji 100T, on the other side.
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Another unique design feature is the ability to hold a traveling tripod, easily secured on the case.One leg goes through the top flap, and the legs are help together with a rubber band type strap. I put my Gitzo traveller there with ease, and the weight distribution worked well. So you can carry you tripod, but honestly, I only carry it specific shoots.
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There is an outside pocket for a laptop/tablet, and a front set of pockets to fit your essentials.
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A key point is the top zipper, allowing you to get at your camera without opening the front flap. Very useful, and, coincidentally, available on another bag we are reviewing.

A good idea, is a good idea.

Now, the bag is a bit stiff. The main section has side flaps to allow you to pack a bit more, and the front flap has 4 different settings to adjust to the packed load.
Great perhaps, for protection, but could be more pliable for your goods, so you’ll have to pack specifically, especially in the front pockets
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The strap adjusts very easily, and you can go from a messenger sling to sit on your back, or as a shoulder strap.You can tell a lot of thought went into that part. Like all of the parts.The machined metal parts are all well crafted and have a sleek finish.

I do wish it had some outside side pockets for a water bottle, or a fast holder for a phone or sunglasses. This bag does stay true to its design mantra, and eschews the net pocket with elastic, with slim pockets, that meld beautifully into the bag.
However,they should have some kind of closure as I wouldn’t put a phone in there and sling it on my back for fear that it could fall.

The good: well designed, great build, origami foam dividers, upscale look for any situation.
Wish it had: better side pockets, more pliability, less weight.

So if you are up for the spend, about $220, this is a great choice, not only as a walk-around camera bag, but as an everyday bag to take to your work, or client meetings.

And here is what it can hold:
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2 more bags to go……

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Upcoming Events

  • PhotoPlus Expo
  • Oct. 19th -22nd, 2016
  • Jacob Javits Convention Center, New York City
  • Lucie Awards
  • Oct. 23rd, 2016
  • Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, New York City

Is there an event we should know about?
Let us know on twitter.

Current Exhibitions

  • Met Breuer
  • Diane Arbus-In The Beginning
  • July 12th – November 27th, 2016
  • 945 Madison Avenue
  • New York, NY 10021
  • Phone: 212.731.1675
  • Whitney Museum
  • DANNY LYON: MESSAGE TO THE FUTURE
  • June 17, 2016 – Sept. 25th, 2016
  • 99 Gansevoort Street
  • New York, NY 10014
  • Tel: 212.570.3600
  • Getty Center
  • Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium
  • March 15–July 31, 2016
  • 1200 Getty Center Drive
  • Los Angeles, CA. 90049
  • Tel: 310-440-7300
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Nan Goldin
  • May 26–August 10, 2016
  • 11 West 53 Street
  • New York,NY 10001
  • Tel:212-708-9400
  • Yossi Milo Gallery
  • Simen Johan
  • May 26–August 10, 2016
  • 245 Tenth Avenue
  • New York,NY 10001
  • Tel: 212-414-0370
  • Howard Greenberg Gallery
  • A COOL BREEZE
  • JULY 6 – SEPTEMBER 2, 2016
  • 41 East 57th Street, Suite 1406
  • New York,NY 10022
  • Tel: 212-334-0100
  • KlompChing Gallery
  • FRESH 2016
  • July 13–August 6, 2016
  • 89 Water Street
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • 11201
  • Phone:212.796.2070
  • Peter Fetterman Gallery
  • Neil Leifer
  • June 4 – September 3, 2016
  • 2525 Michigan Avenue Gallery A1
  • Santa Monica, CA
  • 90404
  • Phone: 310.453.6463
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Crime Stories: Photography and Foul Play
  • Through July 31st, 2016
  • 1000 Fifth Avenue (at 82nd Street)
  • New York, NY 10028
  • Phone: 212-535-7710

Is there an exhibition we’re missing? Let us know on twitter.

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