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Posts Tagged ‘wildlife’

Tamrac Pro Digital Zoom 10

During the last few months I have been using Tamrac’s M.A.S. System (Modular Accessory System) and the Pro Digital Zoom 10 to carry my equipment during photo excursions. The folks that have been following my blog for a while may recall last September I wrote about a mishap I encountered with one of my old Lowepro Street and Field lens cases. For those of you who have recently began to follow my blog here is the short version – while jumping down from a log beside a beaver pond, the velcro fastening system on the Lowepro lens case failed and the case went for a swim in the pond with my Nikon 12-24mm lens inside. I quickly went for a swim in the pond to rescue the lens before it suffered any damage resulting from the dunking.

Fast-forward to this year when the opportunity to become sponsored by Tamrac was presented to me by Gentec International, the supplier to Tamrac products in Canada, I was very eager to try out their M.A.S. System, which stands for Modular Accessory System and their Pro Digital Zoom 10 pack. When the packs arrived I was immediately impressed with the high quality fabric used in their construction. This fabric is called ‘ballistic nylon,’ which is a thick, tough, synthetic nylon material that is very durable. All the zippers have large pull tabs that make opening the packs and lens cases a breeze. I have also noted as I canoe throughout wetlands, when I inadvertently splash water over the packs that the water actually beads on the fabric.

What I love most about modular systems, aside from being able to customize them to your individual needs, is the ability to simply meander about in the field, knowing that everything I need is with me when photographic opportunities are presented. There is no searching for the pack you left laying on the ground while you wandered about or worse, hoping you have time to run back and grab that one piece of gear you need to photograph that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you have been dreaming of. This type of carrying system is also very friendly towards by frequent back problems.

Here is what I love about the Pro Digital Zoom 10 Pack:

  • large flap on top of the pack provides excellent protection from the elements, although not being used to such an extra large flap did take some getting used too but the extra protection this provides my gear in the field is paramount.
  • inside the large flap is a zippered pocket that I often carry my most frequently used filter – a polarizing filter.
  • easily holds my Nikon D800 with the Nikon 80-400mm VR lens attached.
  • I can carry the pack as a shoulder bag or use the built in belt loop to attach the pack to the M.A.S belt.
  • it is compatible with the M.A.S. system allowing me the convenience of changing the accessory packs around to suit the photographic needs day. In the above photo I have fitted the Pro Digital Zoom 10 with the Lens Case Pro 200 and the Lens Case Pro 50. In the Pro 200 case I have housed two small lenses, a 12-24mm and a 18-70mm lens (separated by a piece of foam padding) and in the Pro 50 case I have housed my 105mm micro lens.
  • a large front pocket to house additional items such as cable release, double bubble level, spare battery, and compact flash cards. Note the batteries and flash cards can be stored in Tamrac’s ‘Battery Management System‘ that is also found inside the large front pocket, however, I do prefer to carry my compact flash cards in water tight protective cases.

My personal M.A.S. set-up

In the above photograph (click on the photo to see a larger version that also shows the weeds and clover growing in my lawn :)) is my personal set-up of M.A.S. packs attached to the accessory belt. On longer hikes I will often remove the lens cases from the Pro Digital Zoom 10 and fasten them to this belt. The image above shows the two medium sized Backpack Side Pockets, the Lens Case Pro 100, and the Filter Belt Pack. Here is what goes in these packs:

  • the first Backpack Side Pocket houses my Wimberely Macro Bracket-single arm set-up and my Nikon SB400 Speedlight that I frequently use for my frog photography.
  • the Lens Case Pro 100 will often house an additional lens or other small accessories that I may carry into the field. This all depends on the needs of the day.
  • the second Backpack Side Pocket contains my Better Beamer Flash Extender and my SB600 Speedlight or alternately I will use this pack for my graduated neutral density filters.
  • the Filter Belt Pack is used for various filters such as my 3 & 10 stop Neutral Density filters, Canon 500D close-up filter, and my Singh Ray Warming Polarizing Filter

One small detail of the M.A.S. system that has impressed me most of all is the method by which they are attached to the accessory belt or the Pro Digital Zoom 10 pack – velcro and snaps. Velcro is often the main choice of camera bag manufactures to fasten such accessory items to the main packs, however, Tamrac have taken the time to add durable metal snaps (see the image below) for added security to ensure the accessories do not fall off. I most often find that velcro tends to lose its effectiveness over time but with these metal snaps I feel very confident that the next time I jump over a log alongside a beaver pond I will not be going for an unanticipated swim to retrieve any lens cases from the pond.

Velcro and metal snap buttons found on M.A.S. system accessories

If you are in need of a new modular carrying system for your photographic forays check out the various accessories that are available for the Tamrac M.A.S. system to see if there is a selection of packs and cases available to suit your individual photographic needs.

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Lionfish – Glow 100 preset

A few weeks ago I made a trip to the Toronto Zoo for a fun day of photographing animals from all around the world. While meandering my way around the zoo, I thought that many of these animals would make wonderful subjects for the photoshop plugin Fractalius by Redfield Plugins, so after arriving back at home I immediatelybegan playing around with some of the presets and adjusted the sliders to taste until I came up with this assortment of fractalius renderings. When I use the Fracatlius plugin I always apply it’s effect on a duplicate layer. This is done for two reasons. First it allows my to mask back in the eye(s) so that the filter has no effect on the eye(s) and secondly, I may want to reduce the overall effect of the filter and the easiest way to do so is to reduce the opacity of the layer to which the Fractalius effect is on. Most often I go straight for the ‘Glow 100′ or the ‘Rounded’ presets as these are my favorites to use. I have indicated below each image which preset I selected, however, the effect was achieved by adjusting the sliders to taste. Please note, this fun and addictive plugin is only available for folks using Windows and is available for purchase here.

Hope you enjoy this collection of artistic renderings from my Fractalius addiction and naturally I could not resist the temptation to include a frog image from the zoo too :)

Please take a moment to let me know which is your favorite and why.

Waxy Monkey Treefrog – Rounded preset

Gorilla – Rounded preset

Gaboon Viper – Rounded preset

Meller’s Chameleon – Glow 100 preset

African Penguin – Glow 100 preset

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