I do not own the copyright on this image.

Arc’Teryx Arro from Berg’s Snowsport Specialists.

As a bag maker myself, choosing a bag for myself from the seemingly endless variety out there in 2016, including looking back over previous years seasons, is an arduous task to say the least. It basically means research and meta research.

The Arc’Teryx Arro 22 bag is not perfect for my needs, but it does fulfill a few of the criteria I required such as a stiff back panel and robust design with robust materials that are tried true and tested.

My need for this pack are as a 2nd version every day pack for essentials, then for work and then for groceries.
I am a documentary filmmaker & I carry a basic two camera interview setup at all times:
I carry two mirrorless cameras with lenses, a Sony PCM-D50 audio recorder and two fistfuls of accessories to make that all go, that lot fits into a Domke F-5Xb which nestles in the bottom of the pack and under that I have cut a 1 inch thick piece of high impact foam to compliment the foam already in the pack’s base -take this into consideration as I talk about what else I put in this bag. Additionally I have an 11″ MacBook Air in an STM sleeve case, two external drives a thimbleful of accessories power and cables. Sometimes Ill even take non folding Sennheiser HD25 headphones.
I also carry a Sirui tabletop tripod and occasionally a full-sized micro tripod (Sirui T025X). All of this fits into my Cilogear 20L Worksack (which truthfully, is probably more like a 16-17L).
With all that in there, I would say the Arro is about 50-60% full. If I need to get groceries on the way home, I can grab the trifecta of veggies, a pound of flesh a small tub of yogurt, butter and a handful of treats from the bulk section, & that will all fit into the main compartment. The “bubble” as I like to call it, is an added bonus on this pack. I believe that 22L is the main compartment size, and the bubble is probably another 6-10L (my dimensional reasoning escapes me here). At the bottom it holds a fist size ziploc with daily essentials. After that a 1L Platypus ‘bag’ of water, lightweight jacket & cap.

What I wasn’t expecting with the Arro 22 is how high the pack rides when on a bike. Even full, it sits higher then I would expect given the strap engineering and location on the back panel. I suspect it’s because it is a narrow long pack. The bottom ridge, I tend to nestle on the top of my jeans belt. This isn’t a major problem for 10 mile round trip rides in Seattle but if I were going on a camping bike trip, I might have to look at other bags I have.

Like I said, it’s a long narrow pack, which makes it good in busy urban environments, and for getting through crowds. The bottom of the bag is wider, so it does hold more than you would think it should.

I’ve already been in a prolonged heavy rainstorm and it kept its contents dry.

The straps are thick, which is not the current thinking on packs today, however, they are very comfortable with load or not. The strap adjusters help to keep the straps present when not in use, so picking up the bag via the top handle and swinging it over your head to put on your back is the easiest I’ve experienced on any pack including my own *flawless* pack designs.. The bag just belongs on your back.

The high density back panel is very sturdy and very comfortable. There is a small hardly discernible curve on the lumbar which makes the pack extremely comfortable (I have scoliosis & it’s still extremely comfortable). There is a removable PVC panel which I have tried with and without, the added weight is a non issue but the benefits of having added rigidity is priceless. The additional hip-panels also contribute to this comfort.
I will say, that in hot weather, you will sweat heavily into the back panel, and I could foresee this as being a problem in hot weather, and the material will soak up sweat like a sponge. I may modify my pack by adding two 2″ disks of foam at the lumbar area to a stand-off position.

As far as Hydration Packs go, well that is kinda weird on this bag. There is a long narrow elastic mesh pocket in the inside of the back panel, but there is no hook to hang it from, so you have to rely on the hydration pack’s own integrity to stay put. I was already using a Hydrapak 2L, which, incidentally is similar to what Arc’Teryx show on their website; a pack with a bridge lock top closure that simply rests on the top of the mesh pocket ~we will see how well that elastic top stands up to use after a year of wrestling..

The side pockets are ‘meh’ really not enough for a water bottle, but fine for whatever you can fit into them. Some is elastic & and loop for a carabiner, and the other has superman grade velcro which holds tight whatever you put into it (we will see how well that is in a year of heavy (ab)use.

I’m surprised I actually had so much to say about this bag, but so far and envisioning 5 years from now, I suspect I will still love this bag. Arc’Teryx are the Apple of backpacks, with astounding functional design backed up by gorgeous aesthetics.

Highly recommended.

I purchased mine at Berg’s who had the lowest price available at the time and really lovely customer service.

Inner Strength On the Streets.

I love and respect all of the people I photograph on the streets. I see you, and I see you in the fragmented moments when you are off guard, unaware, and existing in the space between consciousness and biology.
To my heroes, my street loves; my respect, always.

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I simply cannot get over how robust and powerful this man is. So young and so beaten by life. He lost his leg, something to do with rotting bone from an infected wound.
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A man climbed up to the top of the city center ornamental Sequoia, flanked by a small army of medics, police and fire services, some streets were blocked off for the 25 hour period.
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Ive seen this gentleman, on a daily basis since I have been living here, 12 years. I have watched him slow down and degenerate from a feisty outspoken veteran in full military fatigues, to a feisty challenger of old age. He is the personification of defiance. I dont know him, but I love him for his strength.
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I love the parallel of primal mothering in a modern civic environment.
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She came up to me on the street and showed me the pictures she had taken with her phone. Quite astounding actually. A real sense of aesthetic, indicating a book far larger then its cover conveys.

Visual Acuity

Imagine yourself as a cinematographer, tasked with the job of making iconic scenes with your camera.
The producer is watching you closely, because you are the one who realizes the dream. You are under pressure to make the world wow to your brilliance.

You have to be conscious in the moment, conscious behind the camera, aware and awake to make opportunities for yourself and exploit them further.
Take your time, instead of making one image make 5 or 7. Move around, look at the place you are in, think dimensionally.
Watch the elements as they move, snap the moments as they occur, add your own control factors, manage the scene without interfering in it.

Know your lens, and know what the image will look like  you’ve taken it.

Be conscious in the viewfinder, even if it isn’t at your eye.

Shoot to complement the thoughts in your mind, not the other way around.

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Observations from a Small City on the Edge of a Crumbling Tectonic Economy..

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I’ve lived in Seattle since November 25th 2004, and in that time I have seen some slow changes, lost touch with a lot of people who moved on, disappeared left town etc. It’s really not until 2013 that the physical changes happened in the city that I could start to think I was living in a dynamic place.

I’ve lived in Seattle since November 25th 2004, and in that time I have seen some slow changes, lost touch with a lot of people who moved on, disappeared left town etc. It’s really not until 2013 that the physical changes happened in the city that I could start to think I was living in a dynamic place.

I came to the US with an expectations of grandeur.

I was really surprised when I got to New York, Boston, Chicago, Detroit and DC and was hit in the face with the fact that these were aging cities, and the sense that the people living there, really didn’t have much actual control or say over anything that went on, because democracy got in the way. Id assumed the US was bright shiny and new.
As a European, I had always grown up with places that were maintained and there was a real sense of local pride and everyone was involved in it.

Over the years and traveling around, I’ve seen enough of it to tell me that this country is definitely a continent in decline. A place strangled by conservative values, and disregard for everything except money.

The US is definitely not a place I want to grow old in, and yet, I don’t know where else there is now that hasn’t adopted the same capitalistic values, and with that the utterly destructive nature of that which is held in high regard: individualism.

 

 

Ernst Haas

In sorry to say that it’s only now, 25 years into my career, that I am becoming aware of Ernst Haas. The publicly available repertoire of the man’s photography is immense. His philosophies of remaining independent and never adhering to a dedicated style are self evident.

A quote from the Ernst Haas Estate website affirms to me, now 25 years on, that my personal belief and instinct were correct all along;

“Still, I don’t want to declare there are no highways of fruitful directions. In learning there are. Follow them, use them and forget them. Don’t park. Highways will get you there, but I tell you, don’t ever try to arrive. Arrival is the death of inspiration. Beware of direct inspiration. It leads too quickly to repititions of what inspired you. Beware of too much taste as it leads to sterility. Refine your senses through the great masters of music, painting, and poetry. In short, try indirect inspirations, and everything will come by itself.”

Be aware of forward inspiration, but reverse-engineer everything, think backwards and look for the defining characteristics and recurring foundations in everything. Everything else is just dressing. 

the legacy

“…the act of thinking thoroughly through a scene and preempting a moment to capture it, comes with experience. The experience shows when is the right moment to take the shot. Because the shot is a legacy of that decision…”

Dublin

Marriage Equality Dublin, Ireland
May 22, sees the first referendum for marriage equality in Ireland. While most of the positivity towards it shows in the main cities of Cork and Dublin, opinion is divided in the regional cities and towns.
Family roots
My Aunt Eileen and my father discuss family roots. Skerries north Co. Dublin, Ireland.
Family roots.
My Aunt Eileen and my father discuss family roots. Skerries north Co. Dublin, Ireland.
Family Roots.
My Aunt Eileen and my father discuss family roots. Skerries north Co. Dublin, Ireland.
Family roots.
My Aunt Eileen and my father discuss family roots. Skerries north Co. Dublin, Ireland.
Intercity views, north Co. Dublin
North Co. Dublin from the Dublin to Dundalk train.
Generation Gap.
Generation gaps prevail, Dublin City, Ireland. While Ireland awakens from stern austerity measures put in place by preceding governments the generation gaps appear as many of the immigrants from ireland came back in the mid 2000’s left again during the economic downturn, the economic migrants, many from former eastern bloc states the up the slack.
Cafe Doggy
The dog is part of the family.
Cafe Doggy
Im having a Latte, what would you like?
Yellow man
Retake on an old classic.
The Gull Boy
“They come down from the Pheno” Referring to the Phoenix Park, at one stage Europe’s largest city park. Seagulls plane on the strong winds which funnel up the river Liffey. Dan Kavanagh stands on the Millennium Footbridge linking Temple Bar to Ormond Quay, commanding a flock of majestic gulls, with chunks of biscuit, like a scene from Irish mythology.
The Gull Boy
“They come down from the Pheno” Referring to the Phoenix Park, at one stage Europe’s largest city park. Seagulls plane on the strong winds which funnel up the river Liffey. Dan Kavanagh stands on the Millennium Footbridge linking Temple Bar to Ormond Quay, commanding a flock of majestic gulls, with chunks of biscuit, like a scene from Irish mythology.
To each their own.
To each their own..
Wha..?
Wha…?
Ireland
Henry Street, Dublin, Ireland
Got it at Guineys!
Guiney’s Dublin’s favorite everything store.
After School fun at blackrock baths. Dublin Ireland.
After School fun at blackrock baths. Dublin Ireland.
After School fun at blackrock baths. Dublin Ireland.
After School fun at blackrock baths. Dublin Ireland.
Old town Dún Laoghaire.
Old town Dún Laoghaire.
Old town Dún Laoghaire.
Old town Dún Laoghaire.
Bauler
Takin’ the Bauler for a walk. Old town Dún Laoghaire.

 

From the Archives..

I once had the bright idea of taking pictures of newspapers, periodically while on my travels.
In the US its easy to do this because of these street-side vending machines where the top half of the front page is displayed, and that basically all I need.

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To this day, I find it hard to swallow that the administration of the time were actually lying.

Pop

I’ve been shooting a lot more video recently, video street photography. Figuring it out. It’s a concept that I’ve had for a while and finally got a camera to do it. Purpose built for the job.
I’ve been using 24mm lenses now for about 5 years, always preferring 24mm because it was wide and yet not insane. However today, I took with me two new lenses that I hadn’t used yet, and started the day on the 24 as usual, and saw something that I hung around a bit for, but it wasnt working so I moved on and found something else, and it didn’t work so I moved on again then went and had a cuppa coffee. During coffee I decided it might be a good idea to change to the new 35mm and see how it is. I put it on, went back out to the first spot that didn’t work and looked through the camera and thought what the fuck was I missing earlier? So I put the 24mm back on and there it was, a realization that I can actually see better with 35mm, I can see without having to look through the camera despite “knowing” 24mm and knowing what the image will be like before pressing the button.
These are all good Zeiss optics so the lens quality isn’t an issue. In fact that 24mm is, as 24mm lenses go pretty off the charts as it were.
Anyway, tomorrow I’ll be back on the streets with just the 35mm. Alex Webb told me that he likes how a 35mm lens ‘recedes’ and after this, I have to agree.

Fire & Slate
One of my favorite places to shoot in Seattle. Its a never ending smorgasbord of optical mystery and imagination.