Think Tank // Urban Disguise 50 Classic (10th Anniversary Edition)

Think Tank Urban Disguise Review

I have just received a new camera bag from the good folks at Think Tank, it's called the Urban Disguise 50 Classic. It has been released as a new limited edition item and i’m glad I have one. Just like all of their products, this is a brilliant and high quality photography bag. The best thing for me is that it’s small and compact, however it still seems to have a lot of space. In testing it out last night, I managed to fit a gripped DSLR with an attached 135mm f/2 lens, along with 4 other lenses & their hoods (50mm f/1.2, 35mm f/1.4, 100mm Macro f/2.8 and a 24mm f/2.8)

It also fits a 15” Apple Macbook Pro comfortably (in a separate padded compartment) and a 10” iPad or tablet! A bit of shuffling around and it seems I can sneak a Canon 600EX Speedilte in there too. I also tested fitting 2 x DSLR’s with attached lenses and it worked a treat, along with a couple other lenses. It comes with the usual removable foam dividers, shoulder straps and a handy rain cover too

This bag looks good, feels good, secures my gear and protects my equipment. It has many little compartments for all your bits and bobs - little pockets everywhere (ideal for passport, wallet, memory cards, phone, charger etc). Being a compact size, it’s also perfect for daily use and all your fundamentals. It will easily fit in the airplane overhead compartments without calling attention as an obvious camera bag

The airport staff seem to be getting very strict nowadays and for anyone who travels a lot, this bag could be the answer. On 2 of my last trips my hand luggage has been weighed, and now with most airlines in NZ lowering their weight limit for hand luggage down to 7kg, it’s only going to become harder to get away with more gear packed in your bag. So I think having a smaller, compact bag is very important

Here are some pics, front and side view, with my iPhone 5 next to it, this gives an idea of the size of this bad boy

If you are after a slightly bigger bag just like this one (to fit a 17” laptop), then checkout the Urban Disguise 60 Classic

It’s fair to say that once again, Think Tank have thought about everything when creating this bag and as far as i’m concerned, they're some of the best camera bags on the planet! They really do create the best carrying solution for your camera gear

Good quality camera bags are essential! This is the 4th Think Tank product I now own, and I know it won’t be the last. The others I have are the Airport Ultralight V2.0, the Airport Takeoff Rolling Bag, and the Retrospective Pinestone Shoulder Bag. I have a feeling i'll be using this one a lot

Think Tank Photo Camera Bags

Klungkung Waterfall, Tukad Unda Dam // Bali, Indonesia

Klungkung Waterfall at Tukad Unda Dam in Bali, Indonesia

I thought I would write about my waterfall photo and the experience I had. A few people have asked about it. One of the questions I get asked is “did you photoshop it”? The answer to that is no. It was created 100% in camera, in one single exposure, and then made into b&w in Lightroom. A photograph like this really doesn’t need any photoshop. In fact, I wouldn't even know what to photoshop! Another question i'm getting asked is about the location. For anyone who is interested, this is in Tukad Unda, a place called Klungkung, in Bali, Indonesia.

The photo won a Gold award at this year’s Epson/NZIPP Iris Photography Awards and I was absolutely thrilled that it did. Since being there, I have seen quite a few different photographs of this place but not many are slow exposures. It just seemed obvious to me to use a longer exposure. After waddling through knee high flowing water, I balanced myself, tripod, camera and lens on a small slippery rock. I tried to frame the image so that it would give the feeling of a smaller person in a larger waterfall

Back in 2012, my brother got married in Candidasa, a beautiful little East coast village in Bali. At the end of our trip, our driver was taking us back to Kuta Airport for our flight back to NZ, and we got lost and had to take a detour to get back on the main road. Boy was I lucky, because on that detour we drove over a bridge and I just happened to look to my right and see this amazing scene that blew my mind

I didn’t say much at the time as the mood on a detour isn't always a good one, and there was no way we could stop either as we had a plane to catch! We continued to drive and I made a mental note to try find this place on my next visit to Bali. I was trying to take note of the road signs or anything that could help me find out where it was, and all I could remember was a sign on a brick wall that read ‘Tukad Unda - KlungKung’. I made a note of it on my phone and never really thought about it again. Until I was back in Bali for my own wedding last year. We had an amazing time and on the last 3 days I felt that I had to spend at least one of the days seeing and photographing something new. When you’ve travelled to Bali at least 5 times, things start to look the same and while it’s never boring, for a photographer you can get tired of photographing beautiful sunsets. I then remembered the scene at Tukad Unda. I gave the name to my legendary driver (Agung) and he did some enquiring on how to get there. So we set off at 4am the next morning from Ubud, and after a tight squeeze through a tiny little road with our Jeep, we arrived at the waterfall. It was still dark and the familiar sound of Bali chickens was echoing through the street. I didn’t mind being early, as I knew that there was only a small gap with the best light and once that sun came up, photographing reflective water would have been about as fun as using a stranger's toothbrush

As things started to lighten up, the little town came alive. It was a beautiful and calm location, with an oddly exciting buzz as I knew I was about to create something awesome. But there was something interesting about it all as I noticed people arriving with their buckets. I sat on a rock and watched locals washing both their clothes and themselves in the flowing water. Many were brushing their teeth and having their daily clean up. I watched kids play while they peed from off the rocks and into the water. It became clear to me that this was everyday routine for these people, and while I thought it was a bit strange and extraordinary, they obviously knew no different

I was lucky enough to have my driver Agung with me, who made it a bit easier when it came to having a conversation with the locals. I met some fascinating and humorous characters. I left pretty stoked with the photographs I got but I couldn't help but wonder what the local people thought of me - frothing at the mouth with the excitement of trying to create some cool photographs, while I pointed my camera and lens at their normal everyday lives

Klungkung Waterfall, Bali, Indonesia

Epson/NZIPP Iris Photography Awards 2014 | Rotorua, New Zealand

NZIPP Iris Photography Awards 2014

Another year of photography awards has come and gone and i’m filled with inspiration and excitement for next year’s awards! This year the NZIPP Epson/Iris Awards were held in Rotorua.

On the first day of judging I got 3 Bronzes in the landscape category and 1 Silver in the travel category. Now I know a bronze is an award, and we should be happy with that, but the truth is that I was a little disappointed in myself. Try and tell other people that and they look at you in disbelief. I know I should be proud, but we set such high standards for ourselves and when we don’t do as well as we want to, it can be a little emotional in many ways. You start to question your ability and it can really play on your mind. Crazy as it sounds

The second day my first print scored GOLD! I was over the moon and it made me feel so good! It was even more meaningful that it was a photograph of my brother and his wife, one which I created on their last visit to New Zealand. This photo was done completely in camera, one experimental slow exposure with multiple flashes

It was time for my next print to be judged, as I watched nervously on the livestream from home - boom, another GOLD! A great discussion from the judges and I was ecstatic

My last print came up and got a Silver and I was once again really stoked

I ended up becoming a finalist for the Portrait Classic Category with 2 Golds and a Silver, something I have never achieved before. I also got awarded my first bar to Fellow of the NZIPP.

But most of all, I have made some awesome friendships with true artists and beautiful people, who I am so grateful to call friends. To me, it’s all about growth, and entering awards is fantastic for that, but networking and friendships are just as important.

I can’t wait to see all the inspiring work next year, bring on Queenstown 2015!

Professional New Zealand Photography Awards