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The course takes a look at the hardware and software issues behind field shooting: assessing storage and backup needs, evaluating GPS geotagging options, surveying power and charging issues, and more. After discussing each of the components, Ben shows how they fit together in different field setups, ranging from an extravagant laptop-based system to a no-computer setup that backs up photos to a compact digital wallet device. The course also spotlights some workflow strategies to consider when you get home, from transferring photos to merging them with a larger photo library.
- Selecting the right gear, from cameras to bags
- Bringing the right battery and storage equipment
- Packing your camera bag
- Getting to the destination with heavy equipment
- Unpacking and setting up the gear
- Geotagging photos on location
- Downloading manuals for convenient access in the field
- Wrapping up a shoot
- Unpacking and transferring images to an editing workstation
Skill Level Intermediate
So you've paid for the nice camera or two. You've bought a couple of lenses. You probably think, wow, I am spending a lot of money. I am probably just about done now, right? Have you considered your strap? Yes, you can upgrade your camera strap. And you may think okay, now he is just being ridiculous. But actually the strap you use can have a big impact both on how easily you can handle your camera and also how tired you get over a day of shooting, of carrying your camera around. I've got a pretty basic camera strap on here; it's still something that's a little more advanced than what came with my camera. I've replaced the stock camera strap with this, which is called an UPstrap.
That's just UPstrap. And it's just a loop just like any other camera strap would be, but it's got a couple of extra nice features. First of all, this rubber pad here, it's a really nice solid piece of rubber with this non-skid little texture thing here, and it's amazing what a difference this makes on the shoulder. The camera simply does not slide. You may think, well, I've never had a problem with my camera sliding off my shoulder before, and that's very likely because you've been walking around like this. You may not realize how much you're trying to keep the camera from moving by hunching all day long and that can get tiring, particularly if you've got a very heavy camera.
The UPstrap really keeps the camera from sliding around. Another nice feature, like most camera straps, it mounts through the strap mount on your camera with this complex little buckle mechanism here, which means that if I wanted to take this off, it's some work to unthread all of this stuff. So they gave me this quick release here. So I can just undo that--and there is one on the other end. I can get the strap off the camera. Now, these things are still hanging here, but if the idea is I want to mount the camera on a tripod and not have this strap hanging around, getting this bit off really, really does make a difference.
I have heard people question the integrity of these connectors and I've got to say, that's just nuts. I've seen them bear loads up to hundreds and hundreds of pounds. It's what I've used on backpacks, on motorcycle bags, on all sorts of gear; these things are really, really sturdy. No one is going to pull this apart trying to take the camera off your arm. Like the strap on your camera, you can wear it over your shoulder or over your head. I'd like to offer one other tip: tuck the lens towards your spine like this.
If you flip it around the other way, particularly if you've got a long lens on, your camera more easily flops around. It's much easier for the lens to bump into something. If you just rotate it 180 degrees and put it like this, it tucks into the small of your back and it's really sturdy. It really stays there. It's also a little more low profile. If you're street shooting and people don't necessarily see you so much walking around with the camera, you can look somewhat incognito this way. So no matter what type of just regular loop strap you have, it's a pretty important thing to carry your camera that way.
Here is a variation. This is a camera sling. So it's a little bit like a normal strap, in that it goes over my head, but otherwise it's pretty different. So I put this thing on and now my camera is here at my side. The difference is, rather than having to take this off and pull the camera up to my eye, I just do this. What I've got here is a mechanism that's sliding along the strap, and the camera can simply slide up and down. And it's the weirdest thing when you first use one of these, because you just walk around, and just whenever you need your camera, it's just right there and you just pull it up.
You feel like there is this little table following you around or something with a camera on it. The downside to this is that trick that I just showed you about tucking the camera into your back. You can't really do that with a sling. The camera is free to move around a lot more. And while I can kind of keep it tucked in, it's still going to flop around a little bit more. If you're someone who tends to end up running sometimes when you're shooting, if you're shooting in a really active environment, this may not be the solution for you. But I really like it for just casual shooting and casual walking around.
There are a number of different slings on the market, so you might want to shop around. Finally, I am going to show you something that's pretty new and pretty different from what we've seen before. And this is made by a company called Luma. This is a camera cinch, and it's a variation, a nice variation, on a normal camera strap. Let me show you how it connects, first of all. It ties in here, like it normally would, to one of the camera mounts, and then there is this little screw gizmo here which screws into the tripod socket. So it's mounted on the side and the bottom.
And what I do is I put it over my shoulder, just as I normally would. Now, to address the problem of just carrying the camera, notice the strap is nice and short, so it tucks in here. I can really move around a lot, and it doesn't budge from the middle of my back, which is great. But then when I want to go shooting, I would like to have a longer strap and so I've got this cinch thing here. I just grab this and pull, and now I have this nice long strap that I can use to get the camera up to my eye. When I'm done I just cinch it back up and I am back to having a small camera strap.
So this is a really nice kind of halfway point between. It's not like a sling, in that I can't move the camera right up and down it, but I can keep it tucked in really tight like a normal camera strap and then quickly get it out long and have something that's much more usable so that I don't have to take the thing completely over my head, just like I would with a sling. I just leave it on all the time. So these are a few different options. There are still some other options that we're going to look at in a minute that aren't actually straps, but things that go on your belt. This is a non-strap option. This is the Spider Holster. You can see I've got this big belt on here that comes around and I've got this big pad here on my hip and this contraption here.
And the way this works is, I just pull the camera out, shoot up the place, and then it goes right back in there, and the camera rests against this pad. This all works because I've mounted onto the bottom of my camera this contraption here; it's a big plate, kind of like a tripod plate. In fact, it's got screws here for attaching a tripod to it. And it's got this big ball thing here, and this ball thing here slides into this groove right here, and so the camera just goes like that. What I really like about the Spider Holster is it's keeping the weight of the camera off of my neck and shoulders.
So it's a really comfortable way of carrying a fairly heavy camera around. If I was going to be wearing another backpack-- maybe I am out backpacking and I've got a big pack on my back with all my tent and everything in it, and so no way I am carrying a camera bag--then this is a way of carrying the camera down lower. Even if I'm just day hiking and wearing a hydration pack, this is a nice alternate way to carry the camera. Now, notice it sits in here and it's pretty sturdy. I can move around a lot and it doesn't shake too much. However, it does just pop right out like that. There is a lock right here that I can just flip down, and when I do that, now it won't come out.
So if I was in a situation where I needed to run or something, I can lock the camera in there. If I am in a situation where I am just walking around shooting, it comes out very easily and then it goes back in very easily. So this is a way of freeing up my hands and my shoulders, keeping space open on my back for a pack. This is the Spider Holster. We're going to look at another belt-level mechanism next. Finally, we have the Capture Camera Clip System from Peak Design. Now, I don't get the Wild West quick draw action from this, but I do get to use my own belt, which is kind of cool.
I am going to take the camera out for a second, and you can see that this is just a little contraption that my belt threads through and it tightens down, and then I put this plate on the bottom of my camera. One thing that's cool about this plate is it is square, so I can actually slide the camera in any one of four different directions, depending on whatever I think works best. To get it out, I just press this big red button here and it just slides right out. So again, this gets the weight off of my shoulders, relieves my neck, frees my back up to carry a different kind of pack. But if you notice, I've switched cameras here.
I am not using the big SLR that I had before. I am down to my micro four-thirds camera, because since it's attached to my belt instead of having its own belt, it can't quite bear as much weight I find. If I put my full-frame sensor SLR on here, it starts pulling my belt down some. So if you've got a smaller camera, this might be a good option. So, you may think you're doing fine with your stock camera strap, but maybe you're not. Maybe you want to look into something else. You've seen some of these other straps which offer some different options and now these belt options which can get the strap off your shoulder completely.
So as you're out shooting, gaining a little more experience, think about some of these other options you've seen. One of them might be right for you.