This Week, Next Week, A Request and a Health Tip

It has been a rather busy week here as we are wrapping up the August issue of the magazine. There are some great images inside this one with the Student Portfolio coming from an award winning Vega student, a review on a Canon DSLR and… I think I might be saying to much already but it will be out in the first few days of August so sit tight.

With the flu fighting hopefully drawing to an end we can catch up on all the products and other things we have had to review. Look out for our upcoming review on an Olympus camera, The Samsung Galaxy S II superphone, a book or two and that is just the top of the to do list.

A Call For Readers In South African Cities

We are planning a little project and need your help. We can’t tell you too much right now but in the meantime we would like to hear from photographers in Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, Pretoria and maybe even Nelspruit who feel they know their city well. If you would like to lend us a hand please contact us and tell us briefly about who you are, what photography you enjoy and a link to some of your photos. You can also leave those details in the comments below if you wish.

Put Your Back Into It But Be Careful

Recently I have been alarmed by the number of photographers I know dealing with back problems. As one who has a back issue that plagues me from time to time I know how unpleasant and disruptive it can be.

  • You DO NOT need all of your gear all of the time.

I know it has been a little while since we have held a photo walk – something we will correct soon – but I have been amazed to see the amount of gear some people will bring with to this non paying event. I shudder to think what goes with to their paid for shoots if that is what they are prepared to carry for the personal and fun ones. There is nothing wrong with taking the minimum gear you will NEED. I have been down that road and I can tell you today when I carry just one or two lenses with me I don’t feel and less capable than I did carrying two coffin sized cases with me a few years ago. All lenses, even fixed or prime lenses have zoom capability, its called your feet.

  • Choose You Camera Bag Carefully

I like camera bags. I have also learnt that there are pros and cons to all of them. When it comes to backpacks they have slow access to your gear but they are better for your back – if they have the right support. Don’t skimp on price when so doing gets you a bag that does not feel comfortable on you back. I suggest – where possible – going to a store that will let you put the gear in the bag and wear it for a while to check where the support is etc.

If you prefer an over the shoulder bag then do not load it to the same weight you put on your back. I have come to the conclusion that reason our shoulders get sore is not just from their fatigue, its also to save our backs. Many people switch shoulders keeping the bag on the same side of them simply alternating the strap from going across their chest to not. I saw x-rays once of a photographer’s back where after two decades of carrying heavy bags, his lower spine had begun to curve because he always had his bag on the same side. Alternate which side your bag is on often through a day.

Lastly consider a bag on wheels or even just using your bag to transport your gear and then using something like a Black Rapid strap or B-grip to shoot from with a light, less padded bag as a lens bag. A good example of such a bag is the ShootSac or the Lowepro Exchange Messenger.

So, what I am saying, while its important to put your back into your photography, take care of it.