Think Tank Perception 15 Backpack & BlackRapid’s New Strap

Think Tank Photo has just released a new line of backpacks specifically made for mirrorless cameras and I just received mine.  They are small, compact and, most importantly, light weight.  The new Think Tank Perception comes in 3 sizes in both black and taupe.  I got the Perception 15 which is made to fit a mirrorless camera with two lenses and a 15″ laptop.

12-5-2014 4-36-07 PMAs with all Think Tank bags, this thing is beautifully made.  First, there’s the color.  As someone who owns about a dozen camera bags, all black, it’s quite a nice change to have this bag in a taupe, or light brown, color.  The laptop and tablet compartments comfortably fit my MacBook Pro and iPad Air.   The main compartment zipper draws from both sides and, as a nice touch, goes very low on the bag which allows me to open it up quite wide making it very easy to reach and search through the main compartment.  There is plenty of room for MacBook accessories, a jacket, sunglasses, a snack or whatever else you might take on a day trip, hike or even vacation.  The camera sits perfectly above the main compartment snuggled in two pockets with a cinch to snugly hold your camera and lenses.  My Sony A6000 with the Zeiss 16-70 lens attached and a second lens fits with no problems.  My guess is any mirrorless will fit nicely.

As with all Think Tank bags (can you tell I’m a huge fan?) there are a ton of small things that only a photographer can think to add.  There’s a grab handle on the top, a tripod-carry on the front that will allow you to mount a small travel tripod.  Tucked in a pocket at the top, is a strap to attach the top of the tripod.  There’s even a small, velvet-lined pocket for sunglasses!  I absolutely love this bag!

Now, here’s something just as cool.  BlackRapid has just released a backpack strap.  One side attaches to the latch on top of your backpack harness and the other attaches to the opposite bottom of the harness.  This creates a cross body sling for your camera.  There’s a cinch ring that will allow you to pull up and tighten your camera across your chest while walking or hiking so your camera doesn’t swing.  Ready to shoot, release the latch, drop the sling and you now have a cross-body camera strap!  No need to wear a backpack AND camera strap.  This is awesome.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve traveled or hiked with both a backpack and my Black Rapid strap only to get the two tangled up when I can’t remember which one I put on first.  This is a simple but extremely effective solution.

Grab the Think Tank bag by using this link for something a little extra!

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Jay Maisel: Light, Gesture & Color

If you are at all I interested in street photography, or any type of a journalistic approach to making images, you should be familiar with Jay Maisel.  Jay is one of the most influential and gifted photographers of our time.  As great a photographer that he is, Jay is an equally talented educator.  I was fortunate to take his infamous workshop at his historic, Manhattan home earlier this year.

For a full week, I was gripped by just about every word that Jay uttered.  When the workshop was at an end, he told us that we should not expect to fully grasp everything we learned that week.  He said that things would become more and more clear over the next few years as we grow in this craft we call photography.  He was certainly right.  Just about every time I pick  up my camera, in some way, Jay is right there with me.

This book is a treasure.  Not only do we get over a hundred, nicely reproduced images out of Jay’s vast and treasured portfolio, but we also get words of wisdom and insight with each one.  Jay says there are three essential elements to any street photograph… light, gesture and color.  If you have one, great.  Nice shot.  If you have two, you have an excellent image.  If you get all three, you have a great photograph.   I’m always looking for these three elements in my images.  Here, Jay tells you the how, why and what makes a great photo by expounding on his own shots.  This book will bring you loads of inspiration.  For that alone, it is worth the price.

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Chasing my Muse: Cinemagraphs

I’ve been looking for a new challenge to take my photography someplace new and exciting.  I’ve always loved the mixing of various media, especially video and stills.  Cinemagraphs, according to Wikipedia are are still photographs in which a minor and repeated movement occurs. Cinemagraphs, which are usually published in an animated GIF format, can give the illusion that the viewer is watching a video.

They are commonly produced by taking a series of photographs or a video recording, and, using image editing software, compositing the photographs or the video frames into a seamless loop of sequential frames. This is done such that motion in part of the subject between exposures (for example, a person’s dangling leg) is perceived as a repeating or continued motion, in contrast with the stillness of the rest of the image.

Here’s my very first attempts.  There will be more to come!

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Behind the Scenes

Here are some great images taken by my friend Gene Glasunow at one of my shoots for HTC.  The shoot was for the new Re camera and was to take place at a rented mansion on Clyde Hill in Bellevue.  It turned out fairly well despite the fact that the house and pool were rather run down and we had no electricity for the first half of the day due to a torrential rain storm the night before.

And here are some of the final images and screen shots from the HTC website…

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Finding My Muse at Pike Place Market

Being a creative can be difficult at times, an it’s been a rough few months.   Not with commercial assignments, you’re told what is needed and it’s your job to make it happen.  I’m talking about exploring the creative side of your craft.  The things you do for yourself.  You and you alone.  Sometimes, life gets in the way and blocks the path to creativity… if you let it.  Unfortunately, of late, I’ve let it.  I’ve gone out and just not seen anything.  And the more I go out, the more discouraged I get.  “What’s wrong with me?” I ask myself.  Is my muse gone forever?  Have I lost the love and passion for my craft.  The more I allowed myself these thoughts, the deeper I find myslef inthe abyss of creative darkness.  I’d go days, even a week, without picking up my camera for fun.

I’ve talked to quite a few of my photog friends.  Each and every one of them has been through the same thing.  I think all creatives go through periods where they can’t find their mojo.  Even the greats, like Sonny Rollins or Peter Gabriel, have taken extended leave from their craft sometime in their career.

This week, I decided I would not let it get the best of me. Continue reading


Beautiful Eyes

I had the pleasure of shoot Karina today with her incredibly beautiful two-colored eyes.  Check it out…

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Black & White Sometimes Works Better

I took the images below and upon further study realized they would look better in B&W.  I really like the contrast and what it does for her face and tattoos. ALawrence_WED_101 ALawrence_WED_102


Santa Fe Model Shoot

An excellent day here in Santa Fe as I got to shoot three different models over the course of a few hours.  My favorite lighting was a three light setup with two lights lighting up the white backdrop and a 75″ Octa Bank providing the most beautiful soft light imaginable.  Here are a few of my favorites from today’s shoots.

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Kasha-Kauwe Tent Rocks National Monument

Just sixty minutes from Santa Fe are the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks. I got in the car and made sure I was at the entrance to the park at 7am when they were supposed to open. Well, things happen a bit slower here in the Southwest. The park rangers moseyed on in at about 7:10 and then discovered that neither had the keys to the gate. A few minutes later, ranger number three arrived with the keys and I was permitted to enter. With a tripod in one hand, a water bottle in the other and my D800 slung cross-body and hanging against my back, I began my hike on the Slot Canyon Trail. Alone, I sometimes had to squeeze through rather tight spaces as I worked my way to the fairly steep climb to the top. Along the way, I snapped a few shots (below) and began my ascent. Those of you who know me know that I am a rather avid cyclist. As I climbed the rocky trail in the 8am desert heat, already 75 degrees, I realized that I was soaking wet and breathing heavier than I would expect. It wasn’t until later that I found out that Santa Fe sits at 7000 feet above sea level. Okay, I was a bit redeemed. Anyway, here are a few shots from today.

Color Version of the Same Image as the black and white below.

Color Version of the Same Image as the black and white below.

Black and White Treatment of Slot Canyon

Black and White Treatment of Slot Canyon

Slot Canyon