Monthly Archives: August 2016

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.