After a day's break from the trip to Forks, Craig and I took advantage of a break in the rain to hit Roozengaarde in Skagit to photograph the tulips before the festival began. About half of the tulips were in bloom and the daffodils were still out, though they looked ready to wilt. Fortunately the weather and time of day seemed to keep most people away. This also gave me a chance to use my Leofoto tripod on different terrain. Again, things just happened to work out for us as the rain held off and the clouds helped give the photos a dramatic, almost ominous look that contrasts with the burst of colors below. Too bad the stiff breeze prevented any chance of getting a longer exposure, but that's fine. For tulips, it's all about the colors.
Funny how things tend to happen in spurts. I spent the past week in Forks and Mount Vernon to get some camera work in. Craig and I went to Second Beach on the Quilayute reservation to photograph the seastacks just off shore. After a day of recovery, we went to Roozengaarde to get some early shots of the tulips before the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Despite the weather forecast predicting rain for the week, we were fortunate to get some breaks in the rain that were long enough to get all of the shots we had planned for, and then some.
If you read my review, you'll know I really like my Lowepro Freeline 350 BP backpack. Despite all of it's improvements over the Peak Design backpack, there's one outstanding regression in the design and that's the shelving and dividers. Peak Design's origami inspired shelving system is possibly the best solution I've seen for carving up bag space to organize and protect your camera gear. Lowepro's solution is adequate but inferior. So I decided to combine the best of each into a FrankenBag.
So, if you read my previous gear review on the Manfrotto BeFree Compact Carbon Travel Tripod, you'll understand that I needed to replace that turd quickly. This time choosing not to ignore my better judgment, I decided to give the Benro Slim Carbon Travel Tripod (TSL08CN00) a shot. This will be the third Benro tripod I've bought with my own money and while the ProAngel didn't work out after a couple of months of use, my Adventure Series 2 Carbon has held up quite well.
I only had this tripod for a week before returning it from whence I bought it. I was so thoroughly disgusted with it after receipt, then after one use, that I didn't bother to take photos of it before throwing it into its shipping container and sending it back.
About a month ago, LowePro began to ship their newly design Freeline 350 Backpack. The one thing about the Peak Design pack was the fully configurable interior using a unique shelf design instead of a series of hook and loop pads. LowePro borrowed this interior design, improving it by making the whole system removable, not only to give the backpack more versatility but to make configuring it far easier. This was the first thing I noticed.
While some of my lenses are weather sealed, most are not, and I began to fear for the worst: Lens mold. None are moldy or otherwise show any defect, but I don't want any future problems, especially if I end up swapping or selling a few of my lenses. Instead of relying on these gel packs, which are hard to recharge in the microwave due to being sealed in plastic baggies, decided to buy a sealed case from the only manufacturer of them that I fully trust: Pelican.
Hitched a ride with Craig and Brianna to Mount Vernon to find a tulip farm on Monday evening before the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival of 2018 came to a close. We figured Monday would be the best day of the week to avoid large crowds, while going as late as possible would afford us the widest range of natural light and hopefully include golden hour. Our needs were met by Roozengaarde Tulip Farm: They were open until 7pm and ejected patrons at sunset, far later than the oft shared Tulip Town, which closes at 5pm. As a welcome surprise, the weather was exceptionally nice as high temps crept to nearly 70 degrees Fahrenheit and mostly clear skies...
When I review a product, I want to make it plain that I do not receive products to review nor am I paid to do these reviews. When I review a product, it's something I've bought with my own money after days or weeks of research to ensure it will meet my needs. Because of that, my reviews will usually end positively, and that's the only reason why. I don't review things I have never owned, been gifted or am paid to write about. I don't seek out manufacturers or sellers and attempt to persuade them into gifting me a product in exchange for a review and "exposure." I am not a "mommyblogger" or an unemployed housewife with a camera. I will never shake down a product manufacturer nor refer to myself as a "social influencer." I review products because I like doing it, I enjoy trying new products and prefer to use brands that are less popular. It's these choices that I hope give my reviews a little more value due to scarcity. These are my opinions and my opinions only...