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Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

Retrospective 30 official photo (I am not with my camera to take photo of my bag).

This is a review of the ThinkTank Photo messenger bag: the Retrospective 30.

A small disclaimer: I am not a professional photographer, I have ties to ThinkTank Photo (personal and through the affiliate program) and I will be reviewing this bag primarily as a messenger bag, not a camera bag.

I received my Retrospective 30 in the pinestone material around the launch of the bag last year and have been using it daily ever since. Prior to the bag I used either a Timbuk2 bag or a Jandd backpack. Despite being told otherwise the bag fits my fifteen inch MacBook Pro in its neoprene sleeve without a problem. Granted this removed the nice squishy aspect of the bag but it does transform it into a stylish laptop bag.

The remaining space in the main compartment can various combinations of things. Usually I carry a book (trade paperback to large hardcovers) and a lunch (fruit and a sandwich). It can also fit a binder or notebook in addition to the book/lunch combo. There are inside pockets that fit miscellaneous things like pens, iPods, cables, chapstick, memory stick, small flashlight and lens cleaning cloth. Even though it is an open pocket (there is a velcro flap for the concerned) I have only had things spill out on one or two occasions.

On the outside of the main compartments are two large velcro pockets. For me I have one these constantly filled up by the custom fitted rain fly, a necessity in Seattle. The other pocket rotates between a laptop charge, random things for the day, a sandwich (in case the main pocket cannot contain a sandwich) or, if the mood arises, my Nikon D60 with a 50mm lens. They all fit well without making the bag feel too bulky. Though with all the pockets filled and a laptop it can get fairly hefty.

Speaking of heft, the main strap is nicely padded with grippies to prevent sliding. The pad itself slides but not very easily so it will remain in the set place when taking the bag on and off.

Oh, the main flap also velcros down onto the same large velcro pads as the big front pockets. However this is where a really neat feature of the bag comes into play. Each of the velcro strips has an additionally silencer strip. Essentially a complementary velcro section that can be put into place to prevent the velcro from making contact, effectively silencing the bag.

Personally, I use the the velcro for the main pockets in the front and use the silencer for the large main flap. The only time I velcro the main flap is when I am in a really crowded area such as Pike’s Place Market, a conference or a packed bus.

There is also a thin zippered pocket on the body side of the bag. For the first six months I thought this was a useless pocket with no real design purpose. Then when the rain season started again I had the rain fly on and realized that I could still access that pocket. This then became temporary book storage when scuttling from bus shelter to bus in the pouring rain.

On the sides are pockets presumably for water bottles or maybe cellphones. With the laptop always in there I am never able to use the pockets but I am sure they have a purpose. Right above the pockets are thick straps, the use for these on my bag is to hold a carabiner clip which then occasionally holds on umbrella or grocery bag when waiting for a bus.

Overall I really like this bag a lot more then my other bags and even better then my Streetwalker bag. If I am going someplace with camera gear it is in this bag, if I am going somewhere with a laptop it is in this bag, if I am going to work it is with this bag.

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Suzzallo Library

The reading room at the University of Washington.

The reading room at the University of Washington.

I figured that the best time to take a photo of the library reading room would be before the quarter started when it only contained a few grad students or those taking summer classes.

I wanted to do an HDR shot (which I did) but I did not have a tripod but I had a lot of desks. I balanced a book that was left laying around on top of the lights for a little more stability and to reduce the sound of the shutter (it is a library). The shots were not perfectly lined up however when reduced to an 800 pixel width it is hard to tell.

I want to do a better HDR in the future when it is either night outside or direct sunlight is coming through the stained glass. This was done with an overcast sky which was not impressive. Though it did let me get the full range of light with only three exposures.

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Mt. Rainier View

This should be prominently showing Mt. Rainier in the background.

This should be prominently showing Mt. Rainier in the background.

Right outside the building that I will be working in for the next several years is this walkway. I hope in that time to get either a really nice sunset/night photo or day shot of Mt. Rainier with the fountain in the middle ground and students in the foreground.

I like this one because the clouds add some interest but the mountain did not show up as clearly in the photo as it did in person, mostly due to the exposure. Also maybe a photo after it rained with a wet ground reflecting the fountain. I am sure at least a few photographic situations will occur in the next several years.

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Touring Sonoma

Sonoma County back country.

Sonoma County back country.

Ever have one of those photo projects looming over you that you know you should really do?

That was this panorama for me. It was nothing serious, I handheld four shots at a very wide angle north of Armstrong Grove (on the way to bullfrog pond) and stitched them with Photoshops panorama tool. It came out pretty well, not stunning or beautiful but that could be a result of me growing up in the area.

The person on the far right was visiting my Dad’s business from Japan. He said that he will probably print this photo out, so somewhere in Japan could be one of my photos on a wall or other flat surface.

If anyone happens to see it, let me know.

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This is not a photo.

This is not a photo.

A camera obscura is one of the precursors to modern cameras. It is essentially a pin hole camera projecting onto a wall in a dark room.

Seeing one I thought it would be a great thing to photograph, turns out this is harder then thought without a tripod (or monopod). Hand held at f/2 and 3200 ISO it still came out as a slightly blurry photo. Though to be fair this particular camera was pointed at a periscope like mirror that rotated to show everything around the building.

I took the photo from the wrong side of the display so the tree at the top is actually upside down.

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Family Photo

A very mustached fish swimming large in his pond.

A very mustached fish swimming large in his pond.

I found out at a recent family event that taking large group pictures is a difficult task.

Especially when you are in the photo.

Using a remote I was able to take an almost non-stop stream of photos, problems started to arise when an the audience started to realize that there was an indicator light every time the shutter closed. Up until then they all smiled (roughly anyway) at the same time and I wanted to take a few frames before and after the signal to smile.

It was my goal in this to get a more relaxed photo of the large gathering when all it did in the end was give me photos with a few individuals with non-flattering facial expressions.

Out of around maybe thirty per set of family members I had to narrow it down to one. Luckily there was a set hierarchy for who was more important (first generation, second generation, second generation spouses etc.), knowing this I filtered out all the bad photos of the top people then out of those moved on to the next tier. In the end there was maybe one or two odd faces but only on the outskirts.

Overall though I was not really satisfied with any of the family portraits I took. The lighting did not remain as I wanted it too (outdoors) and the angle was not the best. But with people it is really hard to tell them to wait a few minutes while I readjust to retake that photo for the twelfth time. They seem slightly unhappy with that for some reason.

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Neat Reflection

Accidently stumbled onto this effect.

Accidently stumbled onto this effect.

Over the weekend I found two of my grandfathers old lenses from the early 70’s (more on them in a few days). I wanted to test out how close they could focus compared to my newer lenses (shown in the photo). On this lens, a 24mm I think, the focus ring twists the opposite direction that I am used to from my 50mm f/1.8. So instead of focusing on the 18-55mm lens I focused to infinity and got this shot.

I have not done much with reflections before and this reflection off of a UV filter was really neat. I tried onto a lens directly but the curve did not really give a single sharp reflection.

Now I will need to figure out something to do with reflections like this.

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