The 'Maru' camera strap !

In the time I've spent capturing images I've gradually developed a gripe with nearly every camera manufacturer with regard to one common thing. Their camera strap! I shot Nikon for a good many years and their straps were average. I've moved on to shooting Fujifilm and the strap that accompanies the XE-2 isn't worth writing home about either. Be it Canon or Leica, the mere fact that great names in this industry are unable to pull this off really bothers me. Let me be honest, my expectations are not very high. All I ask is for something simple yet effective.

The news however is not all that bad, as a handful of artisans out there are going the extra mile in producing some terrific hand made products, including leather straps for cameras. 
Wanting in on this ingenuity I spent countless days going back and forth between a select few products and had finally narrowed it down to a couple, only to be distracted by a random yet vital tweet hours before my purchase. A new contender had emerged, punching well above its weight limit in the process. This begged my attention to the point where I had to read on, only to yield more positives from customers about these creatives and the masterpieces they produced. From there on in giving my money to the guys at 'Maru' was a no-brainer. 

These folk based out of Canada are a real cool bunch. They are super passionate about what they do and treat their customers with nothing but importance and care. Ordering the strap via their website was a breeze, and when I did have a few questions I would be answered to very promptly. They even took the time to send me an image of the completed strap just before it was sent out to be delivered. 

The strap arrived looking cosy, accompanied by a personalised print which I thought was really cool. Breaking open the packaging and holding the strap is something I will always remember. I was blown away and to date still am. Sure it's just a strap, but this is well beyond the ordinary stuff that us photographers have been receiving for years when we buy a camera. This is thing of beauty, crafted to perfection and shown heaps of love. The feel of the leather is beyond awesome and it's super comfy to wear around. They also offer the option of customizing the strap, and to me that totally sealed the deal. Everyone loves something unique and again these guys delivered. I went with the custom latigo strap in red, and couldn't be happier. I'm shooting again in a few hours so I'll leave you with a few images of the strap so you get to see what I'm raving about. Enjoy!

The Return

Most of you now know that I've spent the last ten months shooting a completely different camera. While the experience has been pretty amazing for a number of reasons there have been times when I just couldn't find the time to do more. A while ago my wife and I welcomed our first child into our lives and and quite naturally our priorities were challenged. As a result, this blog has taken a bit of a beating.
However, with the hardest bits behind us (or so we hope) I’m now able to spend some time getting back to what it was I did.  Even though I haven’t blogged in a while I did shoot a whole bunch of images, mostly of our little one and that’s kept me going. One of the things I really missed though was shooting images outdoors.
Just before my blogging took a hiatus I had intended on exploring long exposure photography. Clearly, owning just the camera wasn't going to be enough. A few extra bits and bobs were required in order to hone this new skill. I must tell you though that sourcing those little extras turned out to be quite the rigmarole, but as always with the results I got it was well worth it.

Geared with everything I needed, shooting an image was next. Normally I tend to scout for image worthy locations whenever possible, so when the weather played nice a few weeks ago I knew exactly where to go. 
The initial idea was to shoot the bay with the sky being gradually illuminated by the rising sun, and to render a certain stillness to the moving water. A few test shots however proved barely satisfactory, so I decided to use the sun in its entirety, such that the sky and the foreground would receive its morning glow. While still waiting for the first rays to hit the tip of the mountain I upped the ante and reduced the shutter speed from its original setting to add some movement to the water in the foreground. In the space of a few minutes the entire creative process of the image had changed. The final plan was to have slight movement in the water that would lead to a stagnant pool, with the backdrop of the mountains over which the sun would rise. 
Including many scenarios increased the chances of error but I persisted, knowing that if I timed it right I could walk away with a half decent shot. Just as the first rays appeared I exposed for a full fifteen seconds and was finally rewarded. 

Have yourselves a great year ahead, and as always do drop me a line when you can. I love hearing from you all.