Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Camera Straps for Comfort

One piece of equipment that can make your photo excursions more comfortable is a proper camera strap.  I have a drawer full of brand new straps that accompanied my cameras as I unpacked the boxes.  This is not to say that all straps that are included are bad, I just find the straps with new cameras are too rigid for me.

Straps are definitely a matter of personal choice and what one person finds perfect may be completely uncomfortable on someone else.  Because we do a lot of hiking and travel, I have discovered straps that have some give cut into my shoulder less and make for more pleasing long days with heavy equipment around my neck. 

There are several factors to consider: the weight of your gear, how long you will have the camera dangling from you, cost and how much security you need are just a few considerations.  If you have lighter bodies and lenses and are not planning on long days, then a more rigid strap may suit you fine.  Several innovative straps have been introduced to the market over the past several year that provide different ways of carrying cameras.  Some screw into the tripod mount on the bottom of the body.  Others provide extra security when you will be moving about.  Scanning through camera magazines or online provide many options.

After trying several different straps over the years (many of them pretty good as well) our go to strap are ones made by OP/Tech (Super Pro) and Tamrac (Boomerang).  These straps are made of combination of neoprene mixed with an elastic strap.  For me these provides a comfortable surface on my shoulder and neck while slightly stretching (and not digging in) while on treks.  The straps come in different styles and colors and are reasonably priced. 

After leading several workshops where we put some miles on our boots, I have heard more than one photographer complain about needing to get a new strap or discussing a better way to carry their camera.  This is one of the lowest cost investments to improve your quality of life while packing a camera especially, if you are one of the photographers whispering to yourself that there has to be a better way to haul your glass around!

Check out local camera stores as I have found many of them carry a variety of different brands and styles.  Make sure the part where the strap attaches to the camera body is well made and sturdy (another thing I like about the OP/Tech and Tamrac straps). 

For disclosure, I’m not paid by OP/Tech or Tamrac, nor have they every given me free equipment (I haven’t asked them for any either).  I just wanted to share about equipment I actually use and that works for me. 

These straps have several hundred miles on them

Friday, May 22, 2015

Don’t Miss Spring!

Since I’ve been travelling around the country quite about over the first part of the year it has been interesting to notice the different “start times” for spring.  In Oregon we are right in the mix; the early season blubs are long gone and tulips finishing up.  The blue iris along the front of the yard are going strong.  Roses are budded out and just started to explode with their color.  My first peony opened with amazing splendor and everything is green of course…it’s Oregon.

In California many of the roses are nearing their second bloom and it seems like I’ve been catching wildflowers on display for months.  Traveling through Michigan, Ohio and Indiana over the past few weeks and many of the trees are still struggling to leaf out.  This, of course, is natural…they are not all in sunny Southern California after all.

But before you know it spring will be gone and we will be thinking about summer plants and landscapes.  Let’s agree that we won’t miss spring this year.  We need to spend some time in public gardens, parks and even our own yards before it is too late and we miss some great expression of nature, forcing us to wait another year for the show.  So grab those cameras and venture out.  Find some pleasing subjects along with great light and click away. 

Try something new with your equipment as well.  Try using a tripod.  Not only will it hold your camera still, but it also forces you to slow down and better frame your images.  Get your camera closer to the ground for a different background perspective.  If spring is going to give us all of this color and great subjects the least we can do is stretch our creativity a bit.

Here are a few images I’ve captured in the garden recently.  Even if you walk outside with the intent to take a few frames and come back empty handed (like I frequently do) at least we can enjoy the outdoors for a moment.