peak design everyday messenger bag review…

I will start out and say that this bag is by far the best bag I have ever used….bar none! An enormous amount of thought has gone into its design and its materials as well as the quality. Its not the cheapest out there but it is the best.


The bag is particularly suited to my default travel Olympus Micro 4/3rds kit. I have just about everything I need and there is still room for another lens or two.fullsizerender-6

The back pockets contain a 17″ laptop plus an iPad air2.


Very clever pockets on either side take mobile phones and keys and the one handed clasp system is secure and a pleasure to use. There are numerous very clever pockets which are very usefully placed such as the red pocket below which I use for passports which is accessible from the quick access zipper on top of the bag. As you can see – the divider system is also very flexible and lightweight allowing for lenses to be stacked.

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As you can see here – all this fits into the bag with ease…5 lenses and a body with grip; iPad air2 and a 17″ MacBook pro with power brick; various batteries; carry strap; iPhone; lots of bits and pieces and a set of keys


The one thing I forgot to photograph is a very flexible strap system with various configurations that you can see on the Peak Design website

I am so happy with this bag that I felt compelled to tell you all about it. Don’t even think twice about buying one if you are in the market for a new bag.


Camera Soul….


I am writing this as I constantly get asked questions about my equipment and I hope to shed some light on my obsession. I admit it – I love cameras…period! I love looking at them; touching them and using them. My obsession is is partly aesthetically driven and partly functionally driven but the cameras that I end up having a “relationship” with are the counterintuitive ones. They are not the cameras that you would think a pro photographer would love. They are not the best performing or the highest megapixel count or the ones that other pro’s use either but they have something else….something indescribable…beyond language…a soul… Now I know that sounds a bit ethereal but bear with me…. Every camera I use has a particular purpose and raison d’etre. It serves some professional function and achieves what I want it to achieve to produce a particular piece of work. It does not necessarily follow that I enjoy using it. A Hasselblad or Leaf is great for slow and methodical work in good light that requires a considered approach and gives one the highest megapixels that certain clients require but these are both big systems that dont perform in low light. The Nikon D800 is capable of matching the lower end of the Medium Format systems and adds speed to the equation as well as a decent low light performance. It is good for fast paced studio and location work. The Nikon D4 is great for low light and action shots and low light work. As you can see there are specific purposes for all these cameras that I use. None of them are cameras that I pick up at home or when travelling or even when I am doing some personal work. None of them feel like comfortable cameras that I love to use. So, what is it that I have reached for over the last few years that satisfies my emotive connection with the equipment? Well….it is and has been for a number of years Olympus’s offerings. Olympus fans will not be surprised by this as they are privvy to a secret that all those photographers wedded to other systems aren’t. Olympus cameras just produce better images straight out of camera! There is something about Olympus files that without getting too retro are a bit more film-like and as a result have that “Soul” I was referring to earlier. Olympus has not been the easiest system to love  as I am not sure that Olympus loves its customers as much as its die hard fans love it but Olympus engineers clearly love what they do. They know how to make a camera. They are the Apple of the camera world. The latest Micro Four Thirds offering from Olympus – the OMD EM-1 is a fantastic camera which, due to its size means that I can carry a whole lens system covering all my required focal lengths in a small canvas shoulder bag that weighs less than the D800 with a 70-200 attached. It has a great selection of lenses from Olympus and Panasonic and can be mated through adapters with just about any 35mm lens out there including Leica as well as the fantastic Olympus/Zuiko legacy lenses. The camera is as good as dust and waterproof with certain lenses and is built like a tank. Image quality is superb and in good light competes with larger professional offerings from other manufacturers. It is pretty good in low light and although this is its Achilles heal it is a non issue for me. I have made exhibition prints with the Olympus E1 (Their first digital pro camera – 6mp and terrible low light performance.) I am not going to carry on with this article as I am beginning to sound like a fanboy but you get the picture – excuse the pun. I love using this camera…..

Disclosure: I have not got any connection to Olympus and these opinions are solely mine.

My thoughts on Motion Image Capture



Apologies for taking so long to follow up to my post on what I feel about motion stills and its implications for photography. Well, I have had a bit of time to digest the idea and whilst it would seem on the surface to have the potential to radically affect photography I am now not sure it will have quite as dramatic an effect. I am sure that there will be people that will find it useful and I am not discounting using myself for appropriate jobs. It is a bit of a creativity stifler in the sense that part of the creative vision of a photographer is the pre-visualisation of a shoot and I feel that this would encourage a hit and miss and a “…lets see what we get” approach (which may be good for some but not for me). This series of photographs ( for Bambi Magazine I did recently is a good example of pre-visualising and is probably as close as I have ever got to accomplishing what I had seen in my minds eye before a shoot. If I had shot this series with a motion capture camera I am sure it would have come out completely differently. Sometimes having too much choice is a dangerous thing!
Notwithstanding the creative limitations there are of course lots of technical issues that would stifle the result. Lighting scenes like the ones above would have been extremely difficult with hot lights and probably impossible in the space we were occupying. The size and heat of the lights required and the fact that we were bleeding ambient into the shots would have meant blurry images and very high iso’s. Controlling depth of field is another issue that is a creativity killer. The other thing is the cost of storing vast amounts of moving images and the time required to go throughout them is another impracticality that personally I can do without. The are many more technical reasons why I would choose stills and strobe over hot lights and moving images and I am sure if you give it some thought you will come up with a few yourself?
So, the bottom line for me at least is that I can’t see myself being impacted by this technology to any great degree. I can see its uses for Wedding photographers or for News editorial photographers who are tasked with documenting an event or for some forms of portraiture but for Fashion work it has its limitations. I will be sticking to stills and the flexibility that strobe lights offer for the time being.

Very happy to hear back from anyone who has different thoughts on the subject so please feel free to comment, disagree or email me if you dont want to comment below.