ThinkTank TrailScape

ThinkTank TrailScape 18L in my seat on the Airboat

The problem to solve. Carry the Z 9 attached to Z1.4x / Z400f4.5, additional Z 9 w/Z14-24, Z 30 w/Z16-50, shot gun mic, cards, filters in a VERY small bag, waterproof that fits in the seat with me on an Airboat ripping across the swamps of Florida. I turned to the experts, ThinkTank and their newish TrailScape 18L. One zip and my gear is out and ready. One zip and my gear is secure and dry, it’s a thing of beauty. You might look at the bag specs and wonder how a body as tall as the Z 9 can fit in the bag with a lens attached. The TrailScape is designed to also accept a notebook. Don’t include the notebook and there is no problem for the Z 9. Less is truly more and no one does better with less than the brilliant minds at ThinkTank!

The Z50f1.2 – Oh How Sweet It Is!

Z 9 w/Z50f1.2 attached

If you have a need for speed, the Z50f1.2, or just released Z85f1.2 or upcoming Z135f1.2 might just be the ticket. I started with the Z50f1.2 for an upcoming project but I started wanting it when it first came out and I shot with it. While I love the speed (often having to lower the ISO when out in full sun) I desired the very narrow DoF and its isolating abilities more. Its DoF is so narrow than when photographing a person, or a dog like Maggie below, that one eye might be in focus and the other is out by just the slightest tilt of the head. But it’s that ability I need.

The Z50f1.2 is blazingly sharp corner to corner and that’s critical to me when shooting at f1.2. And that’s the only way I shoot with this lens, wide open. If I was going to be closing it down, I would save the funds and go with a slower lens. This incredible sharpness along with narrow DoF requires one to be really attentive to the focus point on the subject and able to move left or right, up or down physically to carry the band of focus where it’s desired to tell the story. The massive focusing ring as well as the focus peaking of Z 9 really facilitates your ability to place the focus exactly where it’s required.

The 50f1.2 is not a small nor light lens. At nearly thirty-nine ounces and with a 82mm filter size (I always have a Nikon NC attached), it’s hefty. I love that size and heft, makes it real easy to handhold and wheel around. It’s a lens I wanted and so happy it turns out I need as the Z50f1.2, oh, how sweet it is!

Maggie captured by Z 9 / Z50f1.2

LensClens – The Juice I’ve Depended on!

I’ve been using “Pink Juice” since 1979 to clean lenses, bodies, computers, and a whole lot more! If you know anything about the photo industry, anything that’s been around that long has to be great! I certainly do which is why I use it to clean EVERYTHING from the leatherette to glass elements and electronic contacts (except my sensor, never my sensor). You can see exactly how I use it here on KelbyOne. And I’m not the only one using Pink Juice, lots and lots of folks use it as well. With this recommendation many head to the LensClens website wondering which of their product is “Pink Juice” as it’s known in the industry and then see the warning and wig out despite my saying I’ve use it for decades. Well, here’s the reason behind the warning as stated by the folks at LensClens.

“Pink Juice” is in fact the same item as Lens Clens #1. Because Lens Clens #1 has chemicals that will attack plastic over time (12-24 hours or longer) we have to protect our self from liability with a cautionary statement because we don’t know how every customer will use it. Our primary business is with industrial based customers, where usage can involve hundreds and thousands of parts. If you take a hard plastic part and soak it in a beaker full of Lens Clens #1 overnight or longer; it will start to pit or corrode the surface of the plastic part just like a beaker full of most cola’s (that ordinary people drink without hesitation) would do. You can use Lens Clens #1 for your camera gear just like Moose Peterson recommends, and either wipe it dry, or let it air dry and you will not experience any problems. When it comes to cleaning and maintaining camera equipment with “Pink Juice” no one has more knowledge or experience than Moose Peterson period.

Lens Clens #1 or “Pink Juice” can be used on any hard non porous surface. If the surface is porous like a soft vinyl fabric covering a chair it will soak into the soft material and remove some of the color so when in doubt use with caution. Hopefully this answers your question and concern. I fully support and endorse anything that Moose Peterson has to say about using “Pink Juice” to keep your camera gear clean, and in the best long term condition possible. Moose is the #1 expert and authority on cleaning and mainlining camera gear in my opinion. Best regards.

So moral of the story, don’t soak your lenses or camera bodies in “Pink Juice” or cola! It’s for cleaning our gear and as far as I’m concerned, it’s the best!

“Toasty Warm!”

IFEART Hand Warmers

These are simply, bloody, brilliant! The IFEART Hand Warmers work, work better than you might ever imagine in fact. I can personally atest that their description for these hand warmers don’t do them justice:

2 IN 1 Split-Type Magnetic Design: Free your hands or share warmth with others, to make this winter warmer and life more convenient.
– Equipped with 10000mAh (5000mAh 2-Pack) rechargeable batteries, One hand warmer can meet the temperature output of more than 7 hours.
– 3 Levels Heat Settings: Choose the most comfortable heat to meet the temperature needs of different people in different scenarios.
– Portable Power Bank: It can charge your mobile phone for 1.5+ times, reduce the trouble of carrying an additional power bank, and make travel more simple

Placing them on the hottest setting, they get uncomfortably hot! On that setting they last for over four hours. I prefer the lowest setting which provides easily ten hours of operation. We (there are a number of us using these now including Sharon) simply place them in the bottom of our jacket pockets and with or without gloves on, it’s a toasty warm space when you insert you hands. This is literally the first set that I can honestly recommend to folks. As my friends like to say when they put their hands in the coat pockets now, “Toasty warm!”

Ice Requires Ice Claws!

Really Right Stuff Ice Claws

I unscrewed the rubber foot which exposed the spike foot on the tripod for the first time and put my tripod down. Bam! The spike ran right into the ice, stopped, and the stability of my tripod with the big glass went from bad to worse as the spike rode the top of the ice. For a number of years, I had homemade “ice feet” that worked but were not great. Then Really Right Stuff came out with their Ice Claws and man, do they work! Snow or ice makes no difference, I have these bad boys attached (never, ever hit your leg with these attached. They will leave a mark!). Why these are superior to spikes IMHO is because they grab to the surface of ice/snow and don’t have to penetrate it like a spike to provide stability. They are like crampons for your tripod and they WORK! Folks have told me they are expensive but they are nothing compared to the gear they are supporting or the money spent to be at that spot that requires them. These are one of the greatest add ons for your tripod I can recommend to you!

Miops Mobile – Just Brilliant!

Miops Mobile mounted on Z 9 (required cable not pictured)

I am a HUGE Miops fan, I love their products! When I saw the RemotePlus Trigger or Miops Mobile come to market, I instantly got one. Just like their products, Miops simply states about the Mobile:

Leave the control of your camera to your Smartphone!
MIOPS RemotePlus is a high-speed smart camera trigger which is controlled by smartphone application. It can be used for remote shooting, timelapse, HDR photography and lightning photography. It enables your DSLR and mirrorless cameras to capture high-speed photos triggered by sound, light or when any objects break the laser beam.

All I can add is, GO GET IT!

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