Back in the Saddle (Again) and the Return of Pier 62

Volunteered for Kate on a photowalk to the Seattle waterfront recently. After spending the past few months doing lonely portraits to practice using strobes in 1, 2 and 3 light configurations, it felt good to go out and do some of the type of photography I'm most passionate about. So, why did I volunteer and for what? Since Seattle is still under a pandemic lockdown that limits group sizes to 5 people, I chose to help by leading a group so more people could participate via proxy groups. Pier 62 reintroduces a location and perspective that's been missing since it closed for reconstruction. While somewhat pedestrian, the addition of new attractions and changes to the skyline have given it more value when compared with similar locations, both old and new. However, like those other locations, it offers a limited perspective and thus limits its overall value, long term, as a photographic location. It's one that will become over saturated by the end of the summer as a landscape and cityscape destination, even during a time of reduced foot traffic due to the pandemic, but will easily persist as a street, tourist and especially portrait photography location for years to come. Once the new waterfront master plan is completed, Pier 62 could become one of the premium destinations for environmental portraiture and street photography, due to its prime location, identifiable backdrop and potential for high foot traffic.

Gear Reviews On Youtube: “Sponsorships,” Brand Awareness and How Not All Payments Are in Cash and They All Lie to You About It

You're familiar with how they all begin: "this video is sponsored by Squarespace." Ok, well, after that, they then feed you the next line, almost all of it verbatim, "I am not sponsored by (insert brand here). They have not paid me to do this review or told me what to say about it. This review is entirely my own and they don't know I'm making this video. I was/was not provided a sample for the purposes of this review. I am not biased in any way so you can trust what I'm about to say about this product." What they don't mention, obviously, is if they had to return that "review unit." But if you pay close attention, you may catch them using the product in later videos, especially if they were especially laudatory in their review. At least they weren't paid, right? Wrong. Payment is simply one form of compensation. That "review unit" usually comes along with an email that says, "you don't need to send this back to us." Simply put, the item itself is payment. Just because you didn't get to choose the item, the form of compensation or were given a special title associating you with their brand doesn't mean you weren't paid. They paid you with product and exclaiming otherwise is a flat out lie by Youtubers who persistently try to claim otherwise. Rarely are these items cameras and lenses; they're usually "soft goods" or accessories, like bags, lens filter kits, etc. that would likely get damaged during a thorough review period or whose cost of manufacture and/or retail price is so low that the cost of return, reconditioning and resale would consume all or more of the potential profit.

New Tripod, Revisited. Leofoto LN-324C.

As promised in my previous blog post, I'm revisiting my thoughts on the Leofoto LN-324C Systematic Carbon Fiber tripod I picked up before going to Forks, WA. The trip gave me my first chance to use the tripod in a real world setting for photos I cared about. After putting the Leofoto LN-324C and LH-40 ball head through the roughest conditions I ever plan to use it in, it has stood up admirably. There are no conditions to this conclusion. It is an excellent tripod, full stop. The value oriented pricing only makes this combo that much more appealing.

Updated Flatlay

I've been acquiring more and more stuff to support my photography over the past summer and, since my last flatlay photo was taken back in May, I thought I'd update the image with all of the new gear I've acquired. This is limited to just my Fujifilm bodies and glass. There's far more laying around in support of this, from bags to filters to tripods and everything else in between. At least I've hit a plateau, now owning all but 1 or 2 lenses on my list, transitioning to the acquisition of the filters and platforms I need to support my work.

Nobody Makes the Perfect Bag, so Roll Your Own

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.

Photowalk with a Pro and a Model: The Fujifilm Photowalk Hosted by Kara Mercer

The other day I received an opportunity usually reserved for working or aspiring professionals: The chance to have a guided shoot with a Fujifilm X Professional Photographer FOR FREE! Fujifilm Pro Photographer Kara Mercer hosted the event, bringing along a metric ton of lendable gear, but more importantly, a wealth of knowledge and an outgoing attitude you usually don't find between photographers in the pro photo world.

Sometimes Monochrome Can Make for a More Vivid Photo

Last weekend I took a few photos of Snoqualmie Falls while staying at Salish Lodge. The weather was gray, the clouds lifeless. The photos didn't come out half bad, all things considered, but then I decided today to process a few with the Acros film emulsion. Suddenly the photos came to life.

Protecting Your Gear: Lenses

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.

About My Reviews…

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...

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