Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Peak Design Capture Pro camera clip

These days i seem to have just 2 things in my life, Photography and hiking, The first as its my living and second because in April this year i am walking the Camino De Santiago in Spain, A walk 800km to raise money for Cancer Research, For the last year i have been increasing my hiking distance and gaining some fitness for the walk, I always carry a camera with me and will be documenting the entire journey, Carrying a camera whilst hiking can be a pain, its never really where you want to it be, I have been carrying my Fuji XM1 in a Think Tank Mirrorless 10 bag which attaches to my backpack straps around my waist, Its secure and keeps the camera safe and dry, But it takes a few seconds or more to get to it, A few weeks ago i walked over 60 miles in 5 days just to see how fit i was and if any of my gear needed changing or sorting in anyway, Better to get everything done now than on the trip, I live near a very large lake, One day i was crossing a bridge across the lake when 4 Bald Eagles flew over, Very low and gave me a great view, I fumbled around to get the camera out of the bag and by the time i had adjusted the settings the Eagles where a dot in the distance, Now the camera and lens are small but i could have at the very least got a decent shot of 4 Eagles within a landscape image, When i got home i started to search the internet to find a better solution, I found Peak Design, and their Camera clip system looked just the job, I reached out to them and purchased one of their Capture Pro camera clips along with an extra 'microplate' for my Fuji XM1, Why the Pro? well i also use a large Dslr body so wanted their highest quality product as the Nikon D800E with a 24-70 lens will set you back over $5k,The Capture Pro clip comes with a 'standard' arcaplate which will fit my D800E Dslr, But you have the choice of an Arca style, Manfrotto or Micro plate for small cameras like my Fujifilm, The plates simply screw into the tripod tread on the base of your camera and becomes a quick release if you use it with a tripod or monopod with either an arca type or manfrotto head, Which brings me to another nice feature, the Pro version has a tripod thread on the back so you could use it as a tripod head or monpod head which is a very cool feature, If you take that into account and look at the prices of an Arca swiss type plate from say RRS or Wimberley (around $50) it makes the Capture camera clip excellent value for money,
My first impressions when the package arrived were excellent, Peak Design is a young company but whoever did the packaging design should get a pat on the back, Very nice indeed, infact everything screams quality, I opened the packaging and took the camera clip over, I called my wife over to take a look, The machining is beautiful, the clip feels solid and well made but not overly heavy, I will be using an Osprey Atmos 50 backpack on the walk so i fitted the clip to one of the straps, Now i will say that it was a bit of a fight as the straps are quite thick, I had to really compress the straps so i could screw the 2 retaining screws in, Peak Design do sell longer screws and personally i would have liked to have had both long and short supplied, If i had got the package and then had to order extra screws i would not have been happy , I have the Osprey backpack but i also have a daypack, Camera backpacks and water hydration pack so will need both short and long screws, This would be the ONLY thing i could say in a negative way, Please supply both lengths of screw, Anyway once the clip was in the right place on the strap it was time to test it out, I put the microplate on the Fuji and with a reassuring click it slid straight in, There are 2 buttons on the camera clip, A red one and a black one, Push the red button in and you can slid the camera out of the clip, If you decide to use the clip as a tripod or monopod head then you can screw the black button tight and it locks the camera in so it cannot accidentally fall out-nice,
Since i received the camera clip i have walked over 30 miles, Always with the Fuji attached and have to say its been great, The camera is always easily accessible and ready to use, It does not get in the way and you barely even know its there, One concern i had was that the camera would 'bounce' when you walk and would be annoying, This has proved NOT to be the case, I have only used it with the D800E for a short time but so far no problems even though there is some weight there,
I wanted to know that the camera was really secure so i took the backpack off and left the Fuji attached, I picked the backpack (20lb) up and swung it over my shoulder to put it on and the fuji stayed nicely in place and did not shoot of into the woodland, As i said before when you slide your camera into the clip it gives a nice reassuring 'click', If you are concerned that the camera is a little exposed and there is a chance of rain or you are in a dusty environment you can simply cover it with a zip lock bag or even a shower cap,
Peak design do not just sell the Camera Clip, They also have camera straps and some Go Pro accessories, The Capture Clip is also not just for backpacks, You can attach it to a waist belt or to one of their Pro Pads, Check them out here, I can honestly say that their products are beautifully made and work great,
If you decide to part with some of your hard earned cash and buy some Peak Design products the nice people at Peak Design have told me that my photo and hiking buddies can add 'courtenay' into the promotional code box at checkout and get 10% off (must be over $19.95 and through their website)

Some images of yours truly showing the Capture Pro with both Nikon D800 and 16-35 (Dslr)  and Fujifilm XM1 (Mirrorless) cameras

UPDATE-Well its now April 10th, I have been walking 4+ times a week and covering as much as 21 miles at a time, I am pleased to report back that the Capture Pro camera clip is working great, My camera is always with me and easily accessible, Never in the way and you never really notice its there which is perfect

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


 I have recently been trying various makes and models of insoles, Its been very interesting and slightly frustrating, I now know that you can take a comfortable pair of boots and make them hell on earth and then again you can take a very uncomfortable pair of boots and make them the best thing since sliced bread,
It started a while ago when i thought i was getting plantar fasciitis, I was getting pain in my arch, My foot doctor said it was probably a very tight muscle under the arch and by rolling it over a can for a few nights the pain went-he was right, But i had already purchased a cheap pair of 3/4 insoles designed to help with plantar fasciitis by supporting the arch,
 If you take out an insole from shop bought boots or shoes you will see very little support in the arch area, Infact most insoles are complete rubbish and only there to make your boot/shoe feel good in the store and a place for the manufacturer to have his logo, If you get a chance look at some merrell mix master sneakers, I have a pair and my wife has two pairs, Lovely sneakers, very comfortable and breathable, But the insole is nothing more than thick paper,I instantly had a problem with these as i felt pressure around the area on your heal where the insole meets the shoe side, I have had it many times with different makes, After a while it would cause a blister, I went to Walmart and purchased a pair of Doctor Scholls insoles, It was a gel insole and within 1 minute of fitting- voila instant comfort and all for $10, Totally transformed the shoe.
My wife has been told that she needs orthodontics in all of her shoes, Custom made ones are over $400 so we went to REI and purchased some 'Superfeet' insoles, She was in love straight away and has raved about them ever since, A word of warning, When getting insoles make sure that they fit YOUR feet, Dont just get a size 9 because thats your shoe size, My wife tried many superfeet and the ones that fitted her the best were about 3 sizes bigger than her regular size, Once trimmed and fitted they were great, A couple of weeks ago i walked over 60 miles, All on tarmac due to the weather, At the end of the week my feet were sore and felt bruised, Once again i went to REI and tried the Superfeet insoles, My wife had the Green range but i was advised to go Orange due to slight more spongy insole by the foot pad, I tried on loads and loads of sizes and widths and ended up buying a pair, I have to say that standing on a pair in store and having them in your boot is totally different, In the store they felt ok, Not great just ok, I cut them to size and fitted them, I tried the boot on and there was a pressure point just around my arch/heel, The next day i set out on a trail with a 20lb backpack on, Do not forget i had walked 60+ miles without a problem and distances to over 16 miles, This day after 3 miles i was getting sore so headed back and by the time i was back at the car i i knew i had a small blister, I took them back, I hate to do it as i had cut them but the rep at REI said if they didnt fit to return them.The Superfeet insoles are around $50 so not cheap, I was very dissapointed, I went a purchased a pair of Doctor Scholls Active range insoles at around $20 and had a similar experience, Not as bad as the insoles were more of a gel but still the slight pressure point in the same area, I took these out after 2 outings and now have gone back to the original Salomon insoles which are not bad compared to other original fittings and some times i add the 3/4 insoles for plantar fasciitis just to add some extra support, I have to say that's its been a bit of a journey but your feet need to feel the love, that way you can walk further for longer and not get the dreaded hotspots or blisters, You may wonder what the difference is when buying insoles, Here is a picture of the side of the Superfeet Greens, See the thickness around the heal and the support for the arch,
They are very nicely made and i wish i had more luck with these, Thousands of people love and swear by them but like when buying boots every bodies feet are different and what works for one will not work for the somebody else


Monday, February 3, 2014

Sore feet and unsung Heroes

Last week i set myself a target to walk 60 miles, The furthest i had walked before was 40 miles in a week, I prefer to give myself a target and 60 miles seemed to be realistic, What i was not prepared for was the weather, We had a good amount of snow and with the freezing temperatures the snow stayed around for a few days, This meant that if i wanted to walk it would have to be on roads, I know the Camino De Santiago route has some road sections so i thought that i may as well spend the week walking different routes around my neighborhood, Time is limited so if i wanted to do any distance i would have to walk fast and stops would be kept to a minimum, This is how my week went:

Monday 10.27 miles
Tuesday 10.35 miles
Wednesday Did not walk due to weather
Thursday 16.50 miles
Friday Did not walk due to lack of time
Saturday 10.17 miles
Sunday 13.12 miles
Total 60.41 miles

I felt quite good about the week and it showed that my stamina has increased with the 10 milers being done at a good pace and without breaks, I also dropped a couple of pounds as a bonus, Now i have to say that my feet took quite a pounding on the roads and feel a little 'bruised' but are fine to look at and have zero blisters, the walks ranged from freezing conditions to tee shirts, A good test of my clothing that i ill take on the walk,
Walking on roads for long periods of time can be quite boring, especially if you do the same routes, Last week i used my iphone to supply some music and it really helped ease the time away,

The fundraising is going OK and so far we have around $3300, We had a $300 donation from Beth Ann Chiles who has a blog, Every month she selects a cause and donates money for every comment that she receives, For January so chose to raise funds through her blog for my cause i.e Cancer Research, Beth Ann is a real unsung hero and i would urge you to visit her blog and leave a nice comment to help her cause of the month

Last week my eldest brother Michael was taken into hospital to have a brain tumor removed, That now makes 4 out of 4 brothers who have or are suffering from Cancer, At this time i have been told that the operation was successful but they are keeping him in an induced coma to let the body heal, At the same time my good friend Faye has a daughter going through a similar thing where she has been diagnosed with a tumor to the brain and is awaiting surgery, This alone makes the walk all the more important for me and any funds raised will help people and families going through the hell that we are currently going through, Please keep the donations coming here