Think Tank’s Urban Approach 10 Mirrorless Bag

20160826_172207If you are going to shoot a sexy camera such as the Fuji X-Pro2 or XT-2, you’ll want an equally appealing bag to carry it in.   Think Tank has developed an entire line dedicated to the mirrorless camera systems and the Urban Approach just may be my favorite.

The Think Tank Urban Approach bag comes in two sizes.  This one will hold a mirrorless camera and 1-3 lenses plus a 10″ tablet.  The Urban Approach 5 will carry a smaller mirrorless, a lens or two, plus a 7″ tablet.  For my money, the Urban Approach is a home run.

On a recent concert shoot for KEXP radio in Seattle, I was able to comfortably fit my Fuji X-Pro2 with the 18-55 lens attached PLUS the 50-140mm f/2.8 (with the hood reversed), 10-24 f/4 and the 16mm f/1.4 prime.   Not only that, I had spare batteries and my flash in the side pocket.   I fit all this in a bag that measures about 12x9x5.5 inches on the outside!  It’s laid out THAT well!

This bag is full of great features including wide, easy access to all my gear.  The flap is well designed with Velcro fasteners that tuck away if you need silent access plus, and this is new, a buckle for even more security.  There’s a side pocket for a flash or small water bottle.  The front pocket is big enough to throw in some batteries, cleaning clothes, pens, etc.  There’s a zip pocket on the outside for a small notebook or other items and a pocket on the inside for your tablet.  All this in a water-resistant, light-weight material.  The shoulder strap is outstanding as it has non-slip silicone stripes to keep it in place on your shoulder.  You can wear this bag as a cross body or shoulder bag.

I have to admit, I have a lot of bags (all of them, by the way, by Think Tank), but this one is going to get a lot of use.  It’s easy to grab and carry (thanks to the adjustable grab handle on top), it looks good and it is so darn functional.   I mean, that’s a lot of gear to fit in such a small package.  I could easily carry this bag all day long.  While shooting the concert, all I had to do was flip the top, throw one lens in and grab another as all of them were easily accessible.

If you are a mirrorless shooter and like to carry around a couple of lenses, this bag is the bag for you.  Highly recommended.   Buy it here with FREE SHIPPING and a FREE GIFT.20160826_172239

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Brandi Carlile at Woodland Park Zoo 8/24/2016

On a clear and warm Wednesday night at Woodland Park Zoo, avid KEXP supporter Brandi Carlile played before her second sold-out crowd in as many nights.  Obviously energized by performing in her home town, she wowed the audience while moving between stomping Americana and bluesy ballads with ease.Brandi-1

The harmony duo Secret Sisters opened the show with an intimate 30-minute set.  Supporting their upcoming album produced by Brandi Carlile, the sisters delivered sweet harmonies and solid, self-proclaimed songs of tragedy interspersed with intimate stories.  Truly in awe of opening Brandi, a friend for whom they sang at her wedding, The Secret Sisters left me wanting more.

After a short break, Brandi immediately lit up the place with the two rousing stompfests “Raise Hell” and “Hard Way Home”, both from her Bear Creek album.  Backed by her two guitarists, twins Phil and Tim Hanseroth, she got the crowd on their feet, enthusiastically clapping and singing along.

As she waved at friends and family and handed guitar picks to kids in the front, Brandi launched into “Wherever Your Heart” from her latest album.   Knowing shows at the Zoo have to be over by 8:30, Brandi got standing cheers when she asked “Do you think the Zoo will let me go Bruce Springsteen tonight and play for 3 ½ hours?”  While that wasn’t going to happen, we were treated with an hour and a half of spirited music from a John Denver cover of “Country Road” to Dolly Parton sing-a-long “Heart Young”.   We got an exciting wash board and percussion jam on “Dying Day” from her 2009 album Give Up the Ghosts.

Next up she told a story of going to the Grammy’s last year with dresses in plastic bags “so they could be returned after the awards” and joining Bonnie Raitt for an Eagles tribute after which Brandi and the band played “Peaceful Easy Living”.

In spite of playing in front of 5,000 people, the evening felt intimate as Brandi brought everyone into her world with personal stories and spirited songs.  She shared her feelings about the complexities and sacrifices of motherhood with “The Mother”, a song about raising her daughter Evangeline.

Finally, we got the anthem “The Story” from 2007, the clap-along “Mainstream Kid” and show-ending Johnny Cash classic “Folsom Prison Blues” joined on harp by Brandi’s brother Jay Carlile who lit it up with Tim’s guitar challenges.

For an encore, Brandi hit the stage and divided up the crowd for 3-part harmonies on “Turpentine”.  Blazing in purple light and sporting a cello opening, Brandi killed it with Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California” complete with the reverb-drenched refrain before bringing out The Secret Sisters to wrap up the show with an acapella rendition of “Amazing Grace”.

The show could have gone on all night as Brandi carried the evening with her powerful voice, charm and spirit.  All in all, this was a memorable performance and everyone left happy.


 

The Jayhawks @ KEXP 7-19-2016

Jayhawks (16 of 16)The Jayhawks performed 3 new and 1 old song at KEXP yesterday for an acoustic, live taping.  They sounded amazing in the acoustic setting.  Later that night, they played at The Neptune for a more electric set which was really nice.  Had the pleasure of photographing the KEXP session.

 


Control Your DSLR for Less Than $40

For several years now, Camranger has been the only choice if you want to tether your Nikon, Sony or Canon DSLR wirelessly to your phone or tablet.  While the Camranger is a worthy device that allows you access to all your camera settings remotely as well as instant viewing of your images, even in live view, the $299 pricetag, to me, seemed excessive.  By the time you add extras such as the USB cable, mount, etc, you’re approaching $400 not including your tablet.

2016-07-11_8-37-53Well, this weekend, I’ve discovered a $40 alternative.  All you need is a TP-Link MR3040 Battery Powered 3G Wireless Router and a $9 app called DSLR Dashboard (Android) or QDSLR Dashboard (IOS).   If you go to DSLRDASHBOARD.INFO/, you can download new firmware for the router that will turn your $30 device into a $300 Camranger, with virtually the same functionality.  When I got the TP-Link router, I was surprised that it is the exact same device used for the Camranger, just rebranded.  Same case, etc.

You will also want to pick up a 1-foot USB cable to attach to your camera.  For my Nikon D810, I needed a USB-3 Mini cable.

Here are the steps to create your wireless tethering device…. Since I am using Windows 10, that’s what I’m describing here.  I’m sure if you Google your OS, you can find what you need.

  1. Download the TP-Link MR3040 ddserver OpenWrt Firmware.  You can get it here.  If your TP-Link only has a two-way switch, you’ll want the V1 version.  The B&H link I listed above is for V2 so you should be fine.  Note where you downloaded this file.
  2. Plug the TP-Link directly into your computer’s ethernet connection.  Make sure the router’s battery is fully charged or that you have the device plugged in with the adapter.
  3. Flip the switch of the router to 3G.
  4. Access the router’s control panel by typing into a browser 192.168.0.1.  Once there, you will type in a user name/password of admin/admin (case sensitive).
  5. Once in, click on System Tools/Firmware Upgrade2016-07-11_8-43-34
  6. In firmware upgrade, choose the file that you downloaded in step 1 above.
  7. When the firmware is upgraded, the router will restart.  When it restarts, you will lose the connection because the firmware changes the IP address.
  8. Once restarted, type in 192.168.1.1. Now you will have access to the new OpenWrt firmware.
  9. Now, in the Open WRT password login.  It’ll warn that there is no password.  Simply type any password into the password and log into the router.
  10. Pick another router password.  This will be the admin password.2016-07-11_8-46-40
  11. Ignore SSH – Hit Save and Apply
  12. Go to System/System
  13. Pick Sync with browser to set the time
  14. Create a wireless network
  15. Click on Network/Wifi
  16. Enable the Generic SSID (mine was already enabled)
  17. Edit Settings
  18. Under ESSID change the name of the network from OpenWRT to whatever you want to call it.
  19. Check the LAN button under network.

That’s it.  Download the app to your tablet or phone, connect to the new wireless network (I called mine DSLR Dashboard) and you can now completely control your camera from your device as well as see images instantly as you take them.  When using my iPad for tethering, while RAW files work fine, they are huge files on my D810 so I shoot in RAW and JPG so that the JPG files transfer instantly.

There you have it.  Enjoy!

John Doe & His Rock ‘n Roll Band w/ Jesse Dayton @ KEXP 6/29/2016

John Doe, former singer of the L.A. punk band X, rocked out at KEXP today with guitarist Jesse John DoeDayton.  He played five songs from his new album for a live video feed on Cheryl’s show.  Great time!  I wanted to take the band’s picture under the new KEXP sign on the side of the building, but a) they were in a hurry and b) the sign is way up high so there’s no real way to get the band close up with the image.  So… I tried out the new Photoshop Smart Masking and, hey, it worked really well.  A bit of blending and here you go.

 


Kevin Bacon at Triple Door

20160615-Bacon-_ASL1684I saw Kevin Bacon with The Bacon Brothers last night at Triple Door in Seattle. Honestly, I went because I thought it would be cool to see one of my favorite actors in person playing music. Having never heard the band’s music, I didn’t know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised.

The music was 70’s influenced Americana and the songwriting was quite strong. Kevin played guitar, hand percussion and harmonica. He really seemed to be enjoying himself. The band was extremely talented and tight. All in all, it was a really fun show. One of the highlights was when Kevin said he had always wanted to tour in a rock and roll tour bus.  When they finally rented one, he fell in love with it.  And, as he said, “What do you do when you fall in love?  You write a song.  The song is called Bus”.  Glad I went. Here are some of my images from the show…


The Posies at KEXP 5-27-2016

I was lucky enough to photograph one of my all-time favorite bands today, The Posies, at KEXP’s Gathering Space. What a great show it was!