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Spider Holster System

I’m not your typical product review guy, but when I stumble upon something interesting and ingenious, well… I become a product ambassador! It’s all about the Spider Camera Holster! Now before I go any further, I just want to clarify one thing; I have not been paid or sponsored to write about the Spider Camera Holster.

That being said, should Spider Holster come across this article, they may give me a discount for future products, unfortunately it would be wasted on me since I’ve already bought everything they sell!

Before using the Spider Camera Holster system, I had been using another product called the BlackRapid Camera Straps. I was generally pleased with the product, however there were a few things that really bothered me. It was hard on my back, and the cross straps that support the system were slowly cutting into my throat. I would often have marks on my neck, and after a day of shooting, my wife would think the bride and groom had tried to choke me because I did a poor job! It was time to look at alternatives.

I had heard about the Spider Holster system, and so I switched from BlackRapid to Spider Holster. I’m definitely not someone who buys something because it claims it’s the best or it’s the sexiest, that’s just not me. Well, I like big cars, but that’s not what we are talking about. I decided to give the Spider Holster a spin and an “ultimate test” before I wrote this. The Spider Holster and I traveled the world together! I started my Asian tour and visited many cities and countries. I was speaking at conferences and workshops, exploring the cities, and partying! I traveled to tropical forests and journeyed to the top of the highest mountains. From staying at 5 star hotels, which my spider holster particularly enjoyed, to 2 star budget motels, where we both feared for our lives, there wasn’t a place I didn’t take my Spider Holster.

From the moment you put the Spider Holster on, it just feels like this is where your camera was meant to be. On your hip, the camera is secured, unlike the BlackRapid system. With the Spider Holster you have piece of mind and you don’t have to keep checking to see if the camera is still there. (Which made me nervous on the BlackRapid system).
I’ve used the system and I love it. I’ve compiled a list of reasons which make the Spider Holster system so good and why you should at least give it a try.

Why I love the Spider Holster

1. When climbing a mountain, the spider system is very convenient. The camera is not hanging on the ropes and pulling you back.

2. It’s great when you’re in crowded spaces like at the markets. Having the ability to rotate the camera and move it so that it’s in front of you makes it even more secure and easily accessible.

3. Washroom Approved! Really, really good when you are going to the washroom. You don’t have to take it off. The camera just hangs off your hip. I really loved this since I hate putting my camera on the public washroom floor! If you are a wedding photographer, then you know this is a big advantage!

4. Upscale restaurant? No problem! You are able to sit at the table and keep the camera attached at all times. (Just like in the washroom!)

5. People will look at you, because it looks so cool. Honestly, I feel like a cop! Sometimes I feel like I have a weapon and I’m ready for a quick draw! Unfortunately it’s a Nikon D3s and not a gun, but they are pretty much the same.

6. Running just got easier. You can run with the Spider Holster, although you won’t break records, it is possible. Just remember to lock the holster so your camera doesn’t fall out.

7. Your back will feel better and you won’t be so tired. The weight sits on your hips, not your neck and shoulders.

8. You can attach the tripod quick release plate to it, a very convenient feature.

9. Shooting with your hand high in the sky is now a reality! The BlackRapid system did not make this possible because you are so limited by the length of the straps. When I shoot weddings, this is very handy.

10. It is much easier to sit in the car, and even behind the wheel with the camera still attached. Just rotate the entire belt around your waist.

11. It doesn’t destroy your clothing!

12. One observation I’ve made since using the Spider Holster, is that I’m more willing to take a camera with me no matter where I go. It is just so much easier to put on and so much faster. This alone makes it worth buying.

13. The people at Spider Holster are very friendly, which is always a nice touch.

I still have to try the Spider Holster System with 2 cameras, but for now the 1 camera system is simply superb. Now every time I’m presenting at a convention and demonstrating my lighting techniques, I no longer have to make people wait because I’ll have my camera on my hip ready to go.

Did I mention it makes a beautiful sound when you slide it in?

For more info about Spider Holster system, please visit their website at www.spiderholster.com.

I’ll leave you guys with a series of photos I took during my workshops in South East Asia.

Until next time,

Michael

A majestic view from a Hong Kong sky scraper where my photography workshop was held, 2012 Hong Kong.




Russian Canadian photographer Daria atop a hill in Malaysia, and no that's not a cloud of smoke behind her, those are real clouds!


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Russian Wedding Photography Workshop – My Travel Notes.

I have traveled the world.

Spent a few months in Asia, traveled through Europe, and climbed mountains in South America.  I crisscrossed through a lot of countries and cities, but Russia the country I grew up in was  never on my travel list until recently.

My work and photography have taken me full circle and last winter I was in Russia teaching wedding photography in several cities spanning 20 thousand miles.  I had a wonderful opportunity to recall memories of places I visited before, and those that were strangely unfamiliar.  Although you really have to love Russia to be able to travel in its remote areas.  Sometimes the conditions were not the best,  the lack of sleep,  the bitter cold, and increased probability of food poisoning had its toll.

I know that a lot of photographers love to brag, and would do almost anything to photograph a “destination wedding” or  conduct a workshop.  For me, it’s just a job and I admit that it might be a pretty pleasant one, but still a job.If I really wanted to see a country,  then I  would just buy a ticket and disappear. Thus this trip although a very interesting one, was mostly about work.  I met a lot of wonderful people and made new friends, but I still didn’t really see the country.  I was working after-all!!

This is why I can only show you a few images from my workshops, and I thought it would still be interesting for you to see.  Lots of them are done with a single flash technique.

Alright guys, maybe I lied a bit the job does have its perks.  I just came back from Cozumel where I taught students hailing from a diverse set of countries.  It was organized by a multi-billion dollar company in a multi-million dollar villa,  in one of the most romantic and beautiful places in Cozumel .  Now this was a grandiose vacation/work opportunity,  but still plenty of work had to be done!!  I’ll write more about it in my next blog post feature, for now RUSSIA.

 

This is me arriving in Omsk, a city situated in the  South-East of  Siberia. This hat was a lifesaver since it was a staggering -30 degrees Celsius outside. I think all wedding photographers in Montreal and Canada should wear these hats in the winter months even if your vision might slightly be affected.  The warmth can’t be beat.

 

My 4 star hotel. The heating could not be controlled so I had to open the windows to be able to actually breathe.  However, as I was told later by my students I shouldn’t have done this since the air was very polluted.  As I think of it now, it did smell strange that night,  and reminded me of burnt cookies.  I guess it wasn’t cookies after-all, go figure, I’ve been spoiled by Canadiana!

On my way to the breakfast place I saw a vacant room with red carpet that looked quite interesting.  It appeared to have this look from a modern art museum with an installation by a freakishly perturbed artist.

My jet lag was huge, there as a 13 hour difference.  I woke up very early the next morning. The buildings had some signs of age which is a good thing and beautiful nonetheless.

The signs adhered to the windows of the strange building ironically say ” window frames”.

Everything almost froze in this image. The mighty Irtish river is about to be freeze over with ice, and you cannot help but feel the profound sense of emptiness and moodiness in this image.

The Russians love fur! The words on the bilboard say ” Choose yours”.

The title says Cinematography. This is a mini-movie theatre. From what I understood this is a old historical landmark that cannot be demolished.  However, there is simply not enough time and money to repair everything, since other restoration projects have higher priority in other parts of the city.

And these are the members of the Cinematography “society”.  Once or twice a week they gather together and watch old Soviet movies.  Each of these ladies contributes 50 cents per month to keep this club running. Their pensions are not more than $150 per month.  I wish I could have talked to them more.  I felt like I could have done a documentary about those ladies who were trying to juggle between the modern capitalist society Russian cities have become and the old Soviet ways of thinking that were a part of who these ladies were.

A street vendor.  She was selling hot tea and magnets.  For an extra $2 you could have a cookie.  There was nobody around, and I was the lone chap who bought a cup of tea and a magnet.  Nevertheless she was a charming and almost surreal street vendor, alone and in the cold.

This set of images come from my workshops.  Almost all them were taken with the help of a single flash unit. Usually handheld.  My flash in my left hand and camera in my right.  Wedding photography was never so easy!

Few images above show you how flash was used to make the images more interesting.  Sorry guys no video light here. A video light is no help to you outside of a dark room.

Here you see the before and after. Sometimes you don’t even know where the flash was positioned.  Remember flash shouldn’t be apparent. It should be used so that you don’t know where it was used.  But without it you can’t make the image :))

My students watching me working with models.  The other 16 people standing next to me. All workshops were soldout with over 20 people in each with exception to one city which had 10 participants.

 

 

 


All this is just one single flash. I added a gel for that pleasant warm feeling.  No post here except for the B&W conversion.

Two flashes used for the  images of the groom!

The next set of images were taken on my way back home! I decided to take a train, just like when I was a child with my parents. We took a train to visit my grandparents who lived almost 600 miles away and it took almost 38 hours just to get there.  As you can see the conditions where not the most luxurious but it was OK.  I wanted it, almost craved for it.  I wanted to go back to my childhood and to relive some of those cherished moments.  I guess I’m blessed to have experienced so many different things. Although I might be at a big disadvantage in comparison to my friends who lived all of their lives in Canada or the USA ( I don’t speak the language that well,  and I don’t have a big network of relatives and friends who help me out in everything I do), but I often could say that I’ve experienced much more when it comes to the rest of the world.  I can feel the a hardship throughout my body and in so, can really appreciate the difference in our cultures.  If you asked me, if  I had that chance to start all over again, I probably wouldn’t.  Immigrating to Canada was probably one of the most difficult things I had to do, but also the most rewarding.

They are actually sitting on my bed and playing cards.  It was very tight and with the heat reaching close to 100F, again there was no way to control it and this time around the windows could not be opened. 

Don’t you just love D3s Nikon? This is 10.000 ISO.  Flash is not always the way to go unless you are a Canon user.

It is very common in Russia to sell all sort of food to the passengers on the train. Very often this is the only way the vendors can feed themselves and survive. You can also see the stray dog in the picture.

Going home!! But I’ll come back for more adventures!

 

 

 

 

To see more of my wedding work please visit my website at www.phototerra.com or on my other blog at www.phototerra.com/blogpost.  Next up my Mexico experience in Cozumel.

 

 

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Zabrina - I like the fur hat, and I enjoyed looking at your blog about your flash technique and how cold Russia seem to be. I would like to see this country one day. Hope you get time to rest and reunited with your beautiful family.

pavel ilminov - Wow!!!! Come still!

Kirill - I recognized Nizhniy Novgorod… – my City..))

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Photo of the Day

It was a cloudy day here in Toronto, and we were about to head off to the ceremony. We managed to squeeze in some time just before leaving and had 3 off camera flashes going for this last shot. I took a few frames but this one was the keeper.

Look out for the tech specs and a detailed lighting scenario on my soon-to-be released two volume flash card set. COMING SOON!

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Bojan - i really enjoyed trveling through this images from Russia, reminds me on my home in Serbia.

Bojan - i really enjoyed traveling through this images from Russia, reminds me on my home in Serbia.

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INSPIRATION OF THE DAY

As a photographer, I constantly look for inspiration. After some time it becomes natural and you start to really sink into the artistic side of well-thought out educated photography.

Peter Lindbergh is one of those living photography masters, who continuously re-invents his work. Just when I think he can’t do any better, he does.

I thought I’d share some of his recent work from Vogue Paris with a fashion-wedding-photography spin on it.

—>Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Paris<---

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Phototerra FlashCards!

I’ve been busy stuck in the digital lab with my assistant, working on these soon-to-be released flash cards. The 2 volume set will have loads of lighting info and how-to’s for both beginner and seasoned photographers.

Stay tuned for the official launch!

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