Gear, Photography, Review, Technology

Bag Review: Trakke Assynt 17

Both as a photography nut and a regular guy, I’m a sucker for man-bags and backpacks. I currently have an F-Stop Loka UL with a couple of ICUs, two Peli cases, a Billingham Hadley Pro and a Contax/CCS Heritage bag on the photo side. For the manbag I also have a leather manbag from Billy Bags and a Trakke Assynt backpack. I had been using the Hadley as my daily bag but getting older my back can be a bit tetchy so decided to go down the backpack route.

After agonising over assorted Sandqvists I stumbled on the Trakke Assynt on my doorstep in Netil Market’s Outdoor People stall. The Assynt comes in a a few colours, most notable the lovely shade of blue I chose, which contrasts so well with the signature orange interior. It’s Waxed cotton and seems to be well made using steel and wood as well as waxed canvas (more on this later).

I spent my student days wandering around with a waxed canvas fishing bag, which I foolishly gave away to a relative for actual fishing use. Ever since I have loved unstructured canvas bags because of the way they fit to the wearer contents of the bag. The trakke does this but also has a wee bit of padding down the back as there’s a slot for an iPad or (very) small laptop adjacent to wearer’s back.

The main compartment has a drawstring with a beautifully tactile spherical wooden toggle and then the lid is secured by stylishly utilitarian stainless steel buckles. There is also a zippered pocket on the outside of the lid which is well waterproofed and where my headphone and Digital Audio Player usually live. As well as the padded section for the iPad the bag also has a zippered internal pocket which is handy for pens, business cards or a compact camera like my Olympus XA or similar.

It’s not a photographers bag with no padding to the front, however, to load it with photo gear I use Domke wraps, which come in various colours and are invaluable for throwing gear into hand luggage cases when I travel. I have never had damage to lenses this way, but I try to avoid carrying TS-E lenses this way as the tilt mechanism can move.

Now to the reason that, unfortunately I cannot recommend Trakke. It’s a great looking, well designed bag however, unlike the waxed canvas bag of my student days, the Trakke hasn’t worn fantastically well. It rubs against the back and belt towards the base and, in my case, this means it wearing through completely to have a small hole after about 18 months of regular use. I wouldn’t mind so much but this is a premium product at around the £150 mark and should really last much better than this…

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Art, East London, Exhibitions, Hackney Road, Photography

Exhibition: LIP Annual 2018

I have had a couple of images from my ongoing Hackney Road series selected to be shown in this years LIP Annual Exhibition at the Espacio Gallery, Bethnal Green Road. The Exhibition runs from the 2nd to the 7th of October 2018. Opening hours as follows: Tue 2 – Sat 6 October 1-7pm; Sun 7 1-5pm. The Venue is 5 minutes from brick lane, walking east and ten minutes from Shoreditch High Street the 8 & 388 bus routes also run past Espacio.

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Gear, Photography, Review

Half frame fun!

A couple of years back I stumbled on a fun little camera at a car boot, a Konica Eye complete with it’s funky logo which i couldn’t resist. It turned out to be a half frame camera, which was something I’d never tried before so I thought, why not give it a shot. I put a couple of rolls through it but on the second one most of the exposures were ruined because I’d accidentally set the camera to ‘B’ and overexposed everything. This put me off the camera but the idea of getting pairs of images side by side and seeing what the contrasts are remained kind of seductive.

More recently while poking around on eBay I came across a £10 half frame SLR – A modified Yashica FX-3 Super 2000. These Yashicas were popular choices to be modified as ‘Mugshot Cameras’ for police use. I’ve read a bit about ‘mugshot’ cameras since buying it my FX-3 fits quite a bit of what is out there with the following mods;

  • Shutter Speed Fixed to 1/125
  • Mask in the film chamber – this appears to be glued in place and is quite thin, it has therefore bent a little in use.
  • The viewfinder is also masked.
  • The wind on has been re-geared to suit the half frame use.

So, the main down sides of the camera are the fixed shutter speed and the lack of metering, which would be understandable in a fixed studio situation. The positives are as below;

  • The lens is not fixed to the body, which is a huge relief.
  • Even better, the aperture on the mounted lens actuates so I have some exposure control.
  • The self timer mechanism is in place and working – not something I care about but a nice to have.
  • Everything works properly, though the wind on is a bit wobbly, and the cosmetic condition is decent.

The included ML 50/2 was in very good shape and free from fungus – dabbling in the Contax/Yashica system for a few years now I’ve tossed a couple of mouldy ones. All in all a worthwhile £10 . So what was it like in use?
I downloaded a Sunny 16 app to my iPhone and went out to try it. Everything worked well and the cheap Yashica 50/2 on the front proved a very decent performer. Check out the images below…

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Art, Photography, Projects

Little Chef Roadtrip Pt I

I have been doing quite a bit of driving over the las vouple of days. I’ve taken a couple of hundred shots, almost exclusively with my A7r and FE 35/2.8. More on that to come once the files are processed. In the meantime, here is an iPhone food shot.

I stopped at the ‘Heston’ style Markam Moor and enjoyed a surprisingly good Haloumi-Burger…


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Architecture, Interiors, Photography

Work

The montage below is a number of images taken for the HFM architects website of a new office suite we have recently completed. The while space is clad with a translucent panel which gives a lovely airy feel to the space which I tried to capture. The images were taken on a Sony A7r, and using a second hand Canon 24-70 f/4L IS lens which was cheap to buy as it had a small mark on the front element, but which I have found to be absolutely stellar, particularly for it’s class leading low distortion at the 24mm end.

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Architecture, Photography

A Walk on the New Hastings Pier

We visited the revamped and revitalised Hastings Pier on Saturday. This was a rewarding experience as my wife was a trustee for a couple of years and I was a core volunteer. We both contributed to setting up the shop and providing it’s best selling product and my wife was key in appointing the design team via an RIBA run competition, so has a particular interest in how the project has turned out.

We reckon the Architects – dRMM have done as well as they could – Budgetary constrains mean the buildings are not as exciting as originally planned but the results are really good when you are close up to them, with a high standard of detailing. The crucial thing is that, unlike so may of England’s grand piers this one has a future.

A gallery of images;

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