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From Shoulder Bag To Backpack

While I do relish the opportunity to take pictures outdoors, you'd be hard-pressed to mistake me for a true hiker. I spend a lot of time in the studio and on location—and when I am on location, it's more likely to be in someone else's office rather than in the woods. So when I tell you I've been a shoulder bag guy ever since I can remember, you'll understand. My first bag was a shoulder bag, and I’ve stuck with them since. So when the folks at LowePro sent me their new Flipside 500 AW backpack, I was expecting, frankly, to hate it. How ridiculous would I look, I thought, wearing a backpack in the city? Still, the bag didn't seem particularly cumbersome, and it sure appeared to have plenty of room inside, and what could it hurt to try something that might help me a little bit to save my shoulders, my knees and my increasingly aching back? So I gave it a try. And on the way to my first location shoot—only 30 minutes after packing the thing—I was already sold. Backpacks have a lot of advantages, and this one's got a lot going for it. I filled it with two D-SLRs, a 70-200mm zoom, 100mm macro, 24-70mm zoom, 15-30mm zoom, 50mm prime, two PocketWizards, two Speedlights, filters, and all of the various accessories I carry regularly, and the pack accommodated them with nary a complaint. I've subsequently learned that backpack users are, apparently, somewhat afraid of having their bags zipped open and the contents spilling out or being pilfered from literally right off their backs. I wasn't smart enough to consider this initially, so I was stumped when I couldn't figure out how to open the thing. Turns out the folks at LowePro are smarter than me (and hopefully many criminals are dumber than I am too) and they made the pack open from the back side—the part that is protected by your own back when you're wearing it. This way your expensive items are extra protected, which makes extra sense in the city. The main reason I was sold, though, was when I put on the pack I realized that all that weight that's been bearing down on my right shoulder for a decade would now be distributed across both shoulders and onto my hips. Comfort; I could get used to this. The pack has all of the quality bells and whistles you'd expect from LowePro—like a zip-out weather cover, tripod carrier and extra pockets for arranging your accessories—and it's clearly a very well-made product. Even if you think you're not a backpack guy… Well, don't speak too soon. Consider trying a backpack in lieu of a shoulder bag, and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised. Learn more about the LowePro Flipside backpack lineup at http://www.lowepro.com/flipside.
While I do relish the opportunity to take pictures outdoors, you'd be hard-pressed to mistake me for a true hiker. I spend a lot of time in the studio and on location—and when I am on location, it's more likely to be in someone else's office rather than in the…

Homemade ICE Light

Just the other day I mentioned a new light from Westcott that's garnering all sorts of buzz. It's the ICE Light, and it looks like a combination of a flashlight and a light saber. At almost $600, this handheld light source is not the sort of thing most of us can afford to buy by the dozen. But just after writing about the ICE Light, I was at my local home improvement store when I stumbled on the next best thing: a half-fast knockoff. It's a combination work light and flashlight, but its specs are somewhat similar to the ICE Light. Namely, it uses LEDs for bright, cool, constant illumination, and it really does look an awful lot like the real thing. Unlike the ICE Light, though, a pair of these bad boys will set you back less than $15. (And a built-in magnet makes these work lights easy to attach to all sorts of locations—including light stands. Okay, okay… I know this light pales in comparison to the real thing—especially since the light isn't daylight balanced, it isn't nearly as bright, and it isn't as soft as the ICE Light—but it still could come in handy in the right circumstance. And at this low price, you can't afford not to buy one! (Plus, the thing really is handy as a work light too.) Pick them up at your local Home Depot. http://www.homedepot.com/buy/commercial-electric-17-led-handheld-work-light-291869.html.
Just the other day I mentioned a new light from Westcott that's garnering all sorts of buzz. It's the ICE Light, and it looks like a combination of a flashlight and a light saber. At almost $600, this handheld light source is not the sort of thing most of us…

Nikon Lens Selector

I feel like I may have mentioned this in the past, but it's neat enough that I'd say it's worth coming back to. Scott Kelby just reminded me about this useful tool: a lens focal length simulator from Nikon, which can become an invaluable tool when selecting your next lens—or even camera body. Better yet, it can become an informative tool to help learn about the effects of different focal lengths and sensor sizes. With the tool, simply input all the particulars of lens and focal lengths, and you can even look at the type of photograph you'll be making, and then the simulator will display how a given scene will look on a particular sensor, with a particular focal length lens at a particular distance. It's simple but super-effective, and a great way to help plan your next lens purchase (or, like I said, to learn a little more about how focal length and sensor size affect images). Check out the simulator at  http://www.nikonusa.com/en_US/IMG/Images/Micro-Sites/Lens-Simulator/simulator.htm
DPMag
I feel like I may have mentioned this in the past, but it's neat enough that I'd say it's worth coming back to. Scott Kelby just reminded me about this useful tool: a lens focal length simulator from Nikon, which can become an invaluable tool when selecting your next lens—or…

Preserve Your Favorite Films

Store your film forever! Well, maybe not forever, but at least for a long, long time. Storing film is becoming a very real necessity for photographers who enjoy shooting with the tangible stuff. As more and more films disappear from production and, eventually, the photo marketplace... well, if you have a favorite film, you'll need to stockpile it if you'd care to shoot it a few years into the future. And you'll want your stock to last. With this article from Photojojo, you can gain some insights into storing your film most effectively. Open it, label it and cool it in the fridge: there's not too much to the secret for successfully storing film, but it definitely does take a plan. The article will help you develop an approach and implement it, so that if your favorite film disappears from the marketplace you won't be stranded without it forever. (The only thing I disagree with in this article? You don't need a label maker! A little tape and a marker will serve you just fine.)

http://content.photojojo.com/tutorials/how-to-store-film
DPMag
Store your film forever! Well, maybe not forever, but at least for a long, long time. Storing film is becoming a very real necessity for photographers who enjoy shooting with the tangible stuff. As more and more films disappear from production and, eventually, the photo marketplace... well, if you have…

Resolution Revisited

Resolution is no fun. It took me years of coursework and studying and trial and error before I finally felt comfortable with resolution. (That was, of course, prior to the internet era where an explanation of everything is only a click away.) Resolution is such a huge topic, it deserves its own magazine and workshop series and maybe even a TV show. But of course, resolution is not a lot of fun… so, alas, it will never get what it deserves. Instead we need to find little glimpses of insight online via stories like this one at the Light Stalking blog. It's a rough guide to resolution, courtesy of Jason Row, and it's an easy-to-understand explanation of image resolution from megapixels to image size. It'll help you answer the ever important "what exactly is high resolution" question, and it will give you the confidence that comes from understanding this straightforward but very important (and somewhat nuanced) photographic essential. 

http://www.lightstalking.com/a-rough-guide-to-image-resolution
DPMag
Resolution is no fun. It took me years of coursework and studying and trial and error before I finally felt comfortable with resolution. (That was, of course, prior to the internet era where an explanation of everything is only a click away.) Resolution is such a huge topic, it deserves…

Neat New LED Light Source

Have you seen the ICE Light? It's been the subject of a bit of buzz, and I personally know at least a few photographers who are clamoring for the thing. It's a handheld, battery-powered, daylight balanced light source for photography and video uses. It was invented by Jerry Ghionis, who partnered with Westcott to produce the neat new lights. The handheld lights look almost like, well, a light saber. Though it's called the ICE Light, it's not because LEDs keep the thing pretty darn cool, in more ways than one. It does look sort of like an icicle too, but that's still not where the name comes from. You'll have to check out Ghionis's ICE Society for more information on the name, but to get your hands on this cool little light, well you won't have to wait much longer. When I say it's new, I mean it's brand new: the ICE Light is only starting to ship as we speak. If you've got $500 to spend on a really cool (pun intended) light, check it out.

http://www.theicelight.com
DPMag
Have you seen the ICE Light? It's been the subject of a bit of buzz, and I personally know at least a few photographers who are clamoring for the thing. It's a handheld, battery-powered, daylight balanced light source for photography and video uses. It was invented by Jerry Ghionis, who…
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