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The DR-1 Double Strap: A review and giveaway

The DR-1 Double Strap from my friends and sponsor BlackRapid is an incredible option for photographers shooting with two cameras.

Last month I spent three weeks trekking volcanoes, riding in African buses, and shooting portraits and humanitarian images in Ethiopia and there was rarely a second when I was not wearing my DR-1 Double Strap. While I already knew that Blackrapid made the best straps on the planet, this trip just made even more convinced!

I love the comfort and convenient access the DR-1 Double Strap gives me to my cameras at all times.

I love the DR-1 for many reasons but what clearly sets this strap apart in my mind is how comfortable and convenient it is to wear and adjust. No matter how I was positioned or what I was shooting on this last trip, the DR-1 was just so comfortable and made it so easy to quickly access my cameras.

It took me a few minutes initially to figure out how to adjust the straps and how to turn the DR-1 into a one-camera sling. However, once I got used to how things worked I had no trouble at all quickly making adjustments to how the straps hung or sat, even with it on. For more great images of how the strap sits and is configured, check out the great review by my friend and fellow photographer Brian Hirschy.

The fasteners and carabiners BlackRapid uses stay tightly connected to your cameras so you can carry them with peace of mind.

Beyond the amazing comfort and convenience, I love how the way the DR-1 connects to my cameras. I would be lying if I didn’t say that the first couple times I didn’t keep checking the fasteners and carabiners every two seconds just to make sure they were tight. However, after hours and hours of carrying my cameras with this strap, and never once having an issue with the fasteners loosening, I rarely check now.

Some people might have a tough time with the price, but not me. This strap is worth its weight in gold!

As for the cons, I have to be completely honest and say I can’t really think of any. There are things that take some getting used to when you first get this strap but that is true of everything new. After having used so many straps over the years, even cheaper knock-offs trying to be the DR-1, I am just impressed and have a hard time finding things to improve.

I know for some the list price of $129.95 may be a stumbling block, but let me assure you it will be the best $129.95 you ever spend on a strap. If you still aren’t convinced or simply can’t stop drinking Starbucks long enough to say up the money, then leave a comment on my blog and you may just be the lucky winner who scores the one DR-1 Double Strap that our friends at BlackRapid have agreed to give the readers of my blog!

I promise if you are the lucky winner, once you put this strap on and carry your cameras you will never want to take it off and you will never have a bad day again. (ok, maybe that’s taking it too far, but I still don’t think you will want to use another strap again!)

I will be traveling for the next week and am planning to announce who the one lucky winner is next Friday so make sure to get on leave a comment!

Happy commenting!

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10 steps to better portraits: a review of “Forget Mugshots”

Don't miss the awesome photographic resources found at Craft and Vision.

Over the last couple of years David Duchemin and the crew at Craft and Vision have put out some amazing resources for aspiring and professional photographers. The latest eBook by David Duchemin titled “Forget Mugshots: 10 steps to better portraits” is an example of this and will surely benefit even the most seasoned professionals!

There are number of great things I could say about this eBook, but if I had to choose just one thing I would say what makes this resource so great is that it not only talks about making great portraits, it challenges you to go out and do it. Like Malcolm Gladwell says in his book “Outliers: The story of Success”, those who become great in something do so primarily because they put in at least 10,000 hours of practice!

Like the other Craft & Vision ebooks, the regular price on this book is only $5, however, I have some discount codes available for my readers; these discount codes are valid through Saturday March 17th. Buy Forget Mugshots using this link and the discount code MUGSHOTS4 to get the book for only $4. If you want to buy a few of the other Craft & Vision ebooks, buy them using this link and use the code MUGSHOTS20 to save 20% off your entire order of five or more PDF ebooks.

In closing is an overview of the David’s 10 steps, with images I created employing these helpful hints.

RELATE: A key to make great portraits is to slow down and take the time to relate to your subjects. When you do you will find that people let their guard down and your portraits will become more authentic.

WAIT FOR THE MOMENT: This Indian boy was running around in this field with his friends. I was hoping he would stop and even get down so he would be surrounded by the grass...and eventually he did! the flower was just a fun addition.

USE THE RIGHT LENS: I came upon this guy in the middle-of-nowhere Rajastan! When I took this image I wanted to capture his whole bike as well as the road that he had used to get to the middle of nowhere. To do this I needed my Canon L series 16-35mm 2.8.

USE MORE THAN ONE FRAME: The more I kept shooting, the more this woman's smile grew! Some times one frame is all you need and other times it is not enough!

UNDERSTAND THE SMILE: Not all smiles are equal. When you are shooting try to get people to move past the fake smiles we all put on and really open up in some good-old belly laughing!

WATCH THE EYES: Where your subject is looking can dramatically change the feel of image. Try having them look in different directions and see how it changes the portrait.

PLAY WITH THE LIGHT: For this portrait of a Rajasthani shepherd I played around the light and decided I liked the image best with back-lighting.

CONTROL YOUR BACKGROUND: Unless there is a reason for something to be in the background, keep all unnecessary items out. For this portrait I wanted to include the chalkboard because I was doing portraits of schoolchildren in rural Rajastan.

GET LEVEL: Whenever I am doing images of kids, I love to get down on their level. For this image, I got down on my knees because I loved the angle she was looking and the catch-light in her eyes. Point of view can make a big difference in the feel of our images.

POSE CAREFULLY: I worked with this woman to get her positioned just how I wanted her to capture her anticipation of school children coming by soon on India's Independence day.


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What a difference a pack makes: A review of the ThinkTank Streetwalker Pro

The Thinktank Streewalker Pro

I have long been a fan of Thinktank Photo bags and on this last trip to India, I took a Thinktank Streetwalker Pro backpack as my main pack for transporting my gear from the hotel to the various villages in which we were shooting each day.

The Thinktank Photo Streetwalker Pro has comfortable straps, a great airflow channel and easily adjustable hipbelt which make it very comfortable!

Not only was the pack easy to load and access, it was super comfortable! Even when I had it full of gear and a full-size tripod on, it didn’t feel that heavy because of the comfort of the straps and the hipbelt.

The pop out Tripod cup on the Streetwalker Pro came in handy for carrying my large tripod.

While I didn’t always have my tripod with me on our shoots, there a few days that I threw it on the Streetwalker Pro. When I did it was so nice to have the tripod cup and straps which were just perfect for my Manfrotto Tripod.

The pockets on the Thinktank Streetwalker Pro are spacious and each to access

Another feature I loved was all the accessible pockets, both in and outside the pack. I used the pockets on the inside for things that I would need quick access to and the outside pockets for things like memory Cards, extra batteries and filters.

The Thinktank Streetwalker Pro is big enough inside to fit most 400 2.8 lenses and a pro DSLR. I used it two carry two bodies, a 16-35mm 2.8, a 24-70mm 2.8 and lots of other stuff!

The inside of the Thinktank Streetwalker Pro is very spacious and allows for lots of various configurations. During my assignment I carried two pro DSLR camera bodies, a 16-35mm 2.8, a 24-70mm 2.8, a 50mm 1.4, a flash unit, a car reader and other accessories. I loved being able to carry all my gear and still have room left over!

If you are looking for a mid-size pack that can carry a lot of gear, make sure to check out this pack! You won’t be disappointed. For those of you are wanting to purchase this or other ThinkTank Photo products, use this link to get get some free gear when you buy $50 or more!


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Six hours and counting!

My bags are packed for 3 weeks in India.

At 8:40 tonight I board a plane to London and then on to India for 3 weeks. For the first week I am going to be by myself doing some personal shooting in Old Delhi, Nizamuddin Dargah, Jodhpur and Udaipur, which I am super excited about. I love the color of India so spending some time in Jodhpur, The Blue City, should be fun.

Starting on the 28th, I will shooting for an organization called Serve India in various villages and cities including Varanasi, which I am excited about as well. Depending on internet I am going to try to post some postcards and screen savers so be looking for those as well as updates about my trip.

Upon returning I will be writing a review of the Think Tank Photo Street Walker Pro so be looking for that. I will be giving the bag a beating and I am confident it is can take is so be looking for my review soon.

In closing I just want to let you know about a great organization called The Plywood People. I spent some time with Jeff Shinabarger, the founder of The Plywood People and Giftcardgiver.com,  yesterday at their offices in Atlanta and had a great time. You will be hearing more from me about this great organization in the future as well.

Cheers