The Best Bag for Carrying a Mirrorless Camera and Ipad

For the last decade, I've used Lowepro bags to carry my camera gear including DSLRs, lenses, flash units and more. While this setup was perfect for that equipment, it's simply overkill for outings where I only want to carry a small mirrorless cameras and slim iPad. The search for the perfect bag was underway.

I started my research online, but quickly realized it was necessary to actually test the bags in the store. Luckily, B&H photo is not far from where I teach at NYIP, so I strolled over one afternoon. The store has about 10 aisles dedicated to camera bags, slings, holsters, backpacks, and other carrying solutions. You can even bring your gear in to test the size and comfort of each model. 

For a mirrorless camera, my ideal camera bag would need to have the following features. 

  1. Space for an iPad with Bluetooth keyboard and a bit of padding to protect it.
  2. A dedicated camera slot that was big enough for a mirrorless camera, but not so large that it was sliding all over the place.
  3. An extra spot for filters, microfiber cloths, batteries.
  4. Roomy enough to take a snack and bottle of water.
  5. Not as large as a traditional camera backpack.

I found all of these features and more in the Lowepro StreamLine Sling

© Lowepro

© Lowepro

© Lowepro

© Lowepro

© Lowepro

© Lowepro

©Lowepro

©Lowepro

In addition to the features mentioned above, the surface is water resistant. I already put this to the test, albeit unintentionally. I was caught without my umbrella and the rain just beaded up without penetrating the interior compartments. There's a convenient little hook inside for keys. Also, kudos to Lowepro for putting the water bottle holder on the outside of the bag so it won't sweat on my gear.

Perhaps the best part though, is the quick access to all of my equipment without taking the bag off. It rests on one shoulder comfortably with a padded strap. It's effortless to sling the bag around and take out whatever you need. While it's made by Lowepro, it does not look like a traditional camera bag. This makes it less of a target for would be thieves. 

Check it out for yourself on Amazon.

Farewell to Summer, Cape May, New Jersey

Sue and I had a chance to escape for a long weekend at a beach house in Cape May, New Jersey. This is something we try to do every September as a sort of farewell to Summer.

The town itself is full of photography opportunities with splendid sunsets, and charming beach houses. Many are painted with bright Crayola colors. I brought along a tiny 37mm Hoya circular polarizer to help accentuate these scenes. 

On the first night, I found the colors of dusk even more spectacular than the actual sunset. The Olympus performed like a champ, focusing on my subjects in near darkness. 

The next morning I took my grad ND filter along and looked for ways to show the interesting architecture of the homes. The sun was largely obscured by heavy cloud cover, but it did break through on occasion. 

I just wasn't feeling the landscape vibe, so I turned my attention to a dog show on the boardwalk. Within a few moments we came across a really cute bunch of dogs sporting sunglasses. Anytime I'm photographing animals, wildlife, or even children, I get down very low. This puts you into their world and offers a much better perspective. The tilt screen on the Olympus came in handy here to compose from the ground.

Raindrops eventually fell, and since the camera is not waterproof I had to bail out and jog back to our rental. While these showers continued for most of the day, it set the stage for the next morning. I woke to crisp Autumn air, brisk enough for a sweatshirt, but warm enough to still wear shorts. I immediately noticed the sun bathing a tree in warm light and used the polarizer to do a before and after.

Before filter

Before filter

With Polarizing Filter

With Polarizing Filter

In addition to the great light, I was perhaps most interested in these large rain puddles from the previous day. By getting right up next to them, and getting down low, they almost appeared to be lakes, perfect for reflecting the surrounding homes. Pedestrians may have thought I was weird, but I've long ago stopped caring about what people think. Show me a great puddle with terrific reflections, and I'll happily photograph it until all angles are exhausted. 

My focus was then back to the light, and I found many American flags backlit on cute victorian porches surrounded by wooden picket fences. It reminded me of a Rockwell painting where you can practically smell the Apple Pie baking inside. 

As the breeze picked up from the ocean, I photographed a few more flags at f22 to create a sunburst. This is similar to squinting your eyes and looking at the sun. With the aperture opening closed down so dramatically, light scatters into impressive beams. 

I kept walking and found more homes, once again trying the polarizer to make the sky more dramatic. If you're not careful it's very easy to overdo the effect. I try to twist the filter until the effect is at its strongest, and then I back off slightly by rotating it the other way. I must admit, it's really amazing to have this kind of creative control on such a tiny camera. I saw a few other folks walking with their DSLRs. Yet, at no point did I miss having mine. In fact, I felt more creatively agile working with a small mirrorless body and a lightweight prime lens. 

Photo Tutorial: Score Big! 6 Tips for Photographing High School Football

It's back to school time and we're getting ever closer to the start of high school football season. If you've ever wondered how to best capture the intensity of this popular game, you'll find all the necessary tips and tricks here. Just because these aren't professional athletes doesn't mean they don't play hard. In fact, some of the best contests I've ever photographed were at the varsity level. Grab your camera and head to the sidelines.  Read the full tutorial here

Colors of the Empire State Building

After a sunset shoot the other night, I came upon a beautiful view of the Empire State Building nestled between the buildings in Herald Square. There's actually a Twitter account which explains the reasons for the various color schemes on any given night. It read: "Tonight's colors: From bottom tier, green, blue, yellow sparkle (Finals weekend at the @usopen) #NewYork #NewYorkCity #NYC"  

Camera details: This was taken handheld at 1/80, f4, ISO 5000 on the OMD E-M10. 

Dusk Without a Tripod

Learning the rules of photography is essential to best determine when and where they can be broken. On this particular evening, I did not have my tripod. When the magic light moved in, it was just to good to pass up. The solution is not something I'd ordinarily recommend, but in a pinch, it works! First, I set the OMD-EM10's ISO extraordinarily high, all the way to 8000! Then, I used a pretty wide aperture of 3.5 and a shutter at 1/60th. Technically these settings were wrong. Ideally, I would not want such a high ISO as it introduces more noise. On the Olympus, it looks more like film grain though, so I was OK with that. In a perfect world I would have also used a smaller aperture and faster shutter speed. Still, considering the circumstances, these compromises worked out rather well. 

Floating View of NYC

Gondola rides may be best known for floating through the channels in Venice. Yet, we actually have them here in New York as well. The view can be quite lovely, especially closer to sun set. 

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Summer Lives On in Central Park

You can never be sure just how much longer Summer will hang around. I take every opportunity to photograph the remaining flowers. This colorful scene may be quite different in just a few weeks. Perhaps one of the best ways I've heard this change of season described is in a John Mayer song.

"When autumn comes, it doesnt ask.  It just walks in, where it left you last. And you never know, when it starts
Until there's fog inside the glass around your summer heart."


Fiery Sunset Over Manhattan

On a splendid evening in Central Park, a series of interesting clouds gave way to a brilliant sunset. It seemed everyone stopped what they were doing to photograph it with various devices including phones, DSLRs, and point and shoots. I was using my little mirrorless camera but also had a few tricks up my sleeve.  I found a series of textured rocks to use in the foreground and applied my 2 stop grad ND filter to the Olympus OMD. The filter was technically meant for a DSLR and is definitely way too big for the 17mm pancake lens. Yet with a bit of adjusting, it worked just fine. This allowed me to blend the shadowy foreground with the brighter sky. 


Endless Summer

The summer may be winding down but the beaches are still beautiful with far less crowds to contend with. This is a double exposure created in-camera at Robert Moses State Park. The first shot was a close-up of the ripples in the sand dune. For the second frame I included the sun, ocean and beach-goers. Although this was captured at 9am, the blending of the two frames along with a slightly warmer white balance gives the impression of sunrise or sunset. 

New Tutorial: The Making of 5 Waterfall Images

Long exposures give photographers the ability to create an alternate reality. This is perhaps most prominent in waterfall photography. That beautiful appearance of silky water is typically captured with a slow shutter speed. This can be anywhere between one second, and 1/60th of a second. The exact settings will vary based on a number of factors. To help explain all of these variables, this article will detail how I made my favorite five waterfall images. Read the full tutorial here

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This is part of a weekly series I write for the popular PicsArt blog. To check previous articles, check out this Pinterest board.