SFO to PDX first time traveler

I’m proud to call San Francisco my home. After 25 years of walking around the streets, mingling with the people, and eating the food, I’d like to think that I’m pretty well-versed in San Franciscan culture, although I’m not entirely sure if San Francisco culture is something you inherit or just pick up. Maybe it oozes off on you after you’ve been here a few years.

…but some days I wake up and I don’t recognize my own city

This isn’t to say that I know what’s going on in my own city though, especially in these current times. Just because I remember and know it in my way as a San Francisco native who has seen his fair share of change doesn’t mean I can describe the huge shift in things right now as they unfold. I’m not even sure what to call it, but some days I wake up and I don’t recognize my own city. Call it what you want – gentrification, entitlement, tech empires rising, the millennial invasionSan Francisco just doesn’t feel the same and it’s pretty confused as to what it wants to become.

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Camera Bag EDC the weight on my back

camera bag every day carry

I’ve done a couple of EDC posts detailing the things I carry. I’m a big fan of being prepared, although I don’t take it quite as far as “preppers” or survivalists. I do, however, take some ideas from them and adapt it to the urban life, or in my case, the weekend warrior lifestyle. I’ve done EDC posts on my range bag (which I keep in the car), Carry Bag, and personal items. As the Coast Guard says, Semper Paratus. Here’s a list detailing the times my gear has come in useful:

  • Someone came into my workplace asking if we had duct tape. We didn’t. I ended up taking some from the mini-roll I had attached to my keychain.
  • I got a flat tire driving home from San Jose to San Francisco one night. I put on my blinkers and pulled over, but could barely see because it was so dark. Thankfully, my range bag was in the truck and I used the crap out of my flashlight.
  • The titanium spork always comes in handy for when take-out places don’t give me utensils and I’m on the move.
  • My Gerber solves everything. The scissors, screwdriver, and pliers are my most used.
  • I use the camping spork on my keychain for all sorts of minor adjustments when I need a flathead screwdriver or for opening bottles. I’ve only used the spork for eating about 3 times and as a fair warning, if you try to take it into a nightclub, they classify it as a weapon.

Now onto my Camera Bag EDC:

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Meike MK-550DL Manual part two

LCD screen and back of the grip

LCD screen and back of the grip

My post from a while back on the Meike MK-550DL Battery Grip is one of the most popular pages on my site. I still stand behind the purchase and the grip has saved me a whole lot of time and also a lot of money. I don’t need to purchase any extras in order to take time-lapses or to do long-exposure photography with exposures longer than 30 seconds. I’ve personally recommended the battery grip to a couple of my friends, although they have yet to jump in and make the purchase. It was hard to find a Meike MK-550DL Manual that made sense.

It’s been over a year since I created and published the first post, so I’ve had a really long time to learn the ins and outs of the grip. I love it and use it exclusively. I keep the grip on my camera when I store it in my bag and I’d say that 99.98% of the time, I have the battery grip attached with two batteries in. The battery life is incredible and I always have two extras in my bag that I can easily swap out.

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Opteka Fisheye

I don’t think I’ve ever gone into lenses at all. I’ve spent so much time talking pictures and all sorts of random things, but I never go into lenses. Honestly though, I don’t really own a wide variety of them; none of which really warrant going into detail about. I have a t2i with the standard kit lens and I also have the 50mm 1.8, 55-250, and the 75-300 Ultrasonic. Aside from the kit lens, I use the 50 and the telephoto most often. I used to carry the 50 all the time, but for normal outings where I need some flexibility, I still use the kit and there aint nothin wrong with that.

I want to talk about the Opteka Fisheye with macro adapter. I bought it shortly after I got my camera, originally just to play with. Eventually, I started incorporating it into my camera bag, not for the fisheye, but for the macro. I picked up the whole thing over at Amazon and it shipped with adapter rings, carry pouch, and caps for both ends of the lens.

I have no complaints. Every once in a while I’ll really want to pull out the Opteka fisheye and put it on my kit lens, but it doesn’t do too much for me. I would look at the pictures taken with the fisheye and call it stylistic, but it doesn’t add much to the photo. The macro adapter unscrews from the fisheye portion and is used as a standalone on the kit lens.

Macro captures images that you can’t really see with your eyes. The textures are magnificent and the magnification really lets you see a whole new dimension. Still, I only play with it every so often. It’s a lot of work to use and time is of the essence when it comes to capturing that shot. A mighty fine investment.



WindmillI took this picture of a windmill with my Minolta SLR and had it developed. Sadly, I kept getting these lines running through my pictures and I don’t know what’s wrong. I’m thinking it’s either a light leak or there’s something actually going on with the screen in the camera. Either way, it turned out ok. I was able to minimize the streaking in Lightroom. Couldn’t do too much about the noise though. I kind of like it that way. It’s the feel of analog.

5 Things I Can’t Live Without

The 5 things I can’t live without, in order of importance:

  1. My boots. 13” Justin cowboy boots, about $100 bucks. They’re my go-to, all-purpose footwear. I’ve been running, hiking, working, and clubbing in them with no crazy foot problems to speak of. Ever since I broke them in, they’ve been comfortable and accessible. I used to wear ropers, but now that I’m used to tall boots, I can’t go back. The 13” boots offer so much more ankle support. They go great with jeans and I wear jeans all the time. I’ve heard that the boots look great underneath boot cut jeans; so much so that they’re my go-to shoes for night-time outings. When the upper is hidden from view, as it should be for men’s boots, I can pass them off for real nice shoes. They’ve since been really worn out. It’s been about 2 years and the daily wear and tear and exposure to sun and dirt has taken its toll on the front part. There’s nothing wrong with the part I hide under my jeans though – that part still looks like new. Unfortunately, the inside built-in sole has worn out a bit. I’ve dealt with it for a few months by getting those $5 gel shoes from Payless. Still, it’s time for me to buy a new pair from Boot Barn or Tractor Supply Co. I’ll probably stick with Justin or try Ariat. I like the idea of having two pairs of boots: one for everyday wear and one for those special occasions.Boots
  2. The Toyota Tacoma is a helluva truck. It’s sturdy, somewhere between a brick and a regular family car. I hardly ever have to drive a lot of people around, so having a 3-seater isn’t much of a problem. The bed is the best thing ever: It’s large enough for me to lie down in, picnic in, or carry a huge load. I moved out my entire apartment and helped my friend move in to hers with just one trip. It’s great having a larger vehicle; it makes it easier to carry all sorts of bulky things. My husky toolbox is basically a smaller version of the trunk. All my tools and emergency equipment stays there. The reason why I can’t live without the Tacoma? It’s trusty. My trusty truck: I travel great distances with it – it’s useful, and I never have any real problems with it.Toyota
  3. The best camera I’ve ever owned to date: the Canon t2i. It’s the camera I carry around all the time. The t2i is just amazing and serves my goals. I’m not a professional, so I don’t need the latest and greatest. I just need something reliable and consistent. I also need my system to be familiar to me. After I got used to the t2i, it was over. Even after a few years, I’m still discovering options I’ve never used. It’s like my trusty sidekick. Paired with MagicLantern, an assortment of lenses, and the contents of my camera bag, I’m ready for everything. Light, portable, and easy to use. If I’m going to upgrade, I’ll go for a full-frame Canon. I love the feel, aesthetics, and user interface of Canon products. Hopefully my familiarity with Canon products will come in useful in the future. I got nothing to complain about – I love the t2i.Canon T2i
  4. My Macbook Pro is the key to everything else. It’s my connection to the rest of the world and  all digital media. I used to have a Windows laptop, but then I got sick of it, so I replaced it with a Mac. I love the feel of the keyboard, the beautiful retina display, and the easy user interface. Don’t want to ramble on about how awesome it is though.Macbook Pro
  5. My knife. Plain and simple.

    Trusty knife

    Trusty knife

I can conquer the world with my boots, truck, camera, Mac, and knife. That’s exactly what I’m going to do.