Hawkesmill – The Ultimate Photography Messenger Bag

Finding a photography bag that actually caters to a professional (or a very serious enthusiast) has been no easy feat.  It seems even the best of them fall short in one area or another.  Fortunately, Hawkesmill, a new company founded by pro photog Taylor Young, has just launched its commanding and impressive line of handmade bags.

Young, an American residing and working in England, was tired of bags that were missing one or (usually) more essentials that he felt were required to provide what could be termed as the ultimate bag to both carry and protect his equipment.  He set out to produce what a pro really needs.  He has definitely hit the mark, with several options available.

Hawkesmill Jermyn Street Messenger Photo BagRenowned portraiture photographer Felix Kunze was fortunate to acquire one prior to the official launch.  Here is what he said about his bag on Instagram:  “Needless to say, it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with this baby.  I could go on and on about all the details in the water resistant fabric, the perfect design, fast access, security and wonderful craftsmanship, etc, etc. But then you’d just want one.”  His bag is the Hawkesmill Jermyn Street Large Messenger, a deep olive triple layer waterproof canvas with a Lovat Harris Tweed flap, shown above (photo courtesy of Hawkesmill England).

Hawkesmill Sloane Street Large Messenger BagLet us take a closer look at the design and materials, which definitely set these bags far apart from the rest of the pack.  As a note, they are all hand crafted in England.  The canvas is made in Scotland while the tweeds are woven there.

There are bags, such as the Sloane Street Large (pictured above), with black triple layer waterproof canvas and a charcoal Harris Tweed flap, featuring Italian leather straps and accents.  As well, there is the Marlborough Large (below) featuring 18oz Superdry canvas and flap.  Images that follow are all courtesy of Hawkesmill England and Taylor Young Photography.

Hawkesmill MarlboroughRefinements.  Many high-end bags do not have detachable straps.  Pity.  All Hawkesmill  bags come with a rugged and stylish adjustable military-grade webbing strap, with a cushioned shoulder pad, that detaches with ease.  The straps have custom branded nickel trigger hooks with rotating rings.  So, if you detach the strap what is left?  A nicely cushioned and very comfortable hand strap that is securely riveted to a steel bar, running the entire length of the flap.  Rivets are used at all stress points, including the turn lock and the front and shoulder straps.

Hawkesmill InteriorInside, there is a removable insert with room to fit up to a 15″ MacBook along with your needed gear.  Depending on what you decide to tote there are removable Velcro dividers that can be repositioned virtually anywhere.  The insert cradles your precious camera gear and may be removed in the event you decide to utilize it as just an exceptional messenger bag.  I can comfortably stow the following in my Sloane Street Large: Nikon D7100 w/Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 attached; SB-600 SpeedLight in soft case; Nikon D7000 w/Nikkor 70-200 f/4 attached; 2nd SB-600 Speedlight in soft case; Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 in soft pouch; Apple iPad 2 w/Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard.

The back features a flap with a snap containing a removable portfolio organizer, perfect for memory and business cards, passports, and other smaller items.

Hawkesmill OrganizerFor security while on the move or traveling, the nickel and leather buckle system provides peace of mind that your gear will not accidentally fall out.  While on site, the center Italian turn lock can be used for one hand entry while wearing the bag or when it needs to be moved a short distance during your photo shoot.  There are custom branded nickel feet on the bottom to protect the bag from the elements, which are replaceable when worn.  The overall dimensions are 15.7″ wide x 11″ high x 5″ deep (39.88cm x 27.94cm x 12.7cm).

Hawkesmill FeetThe attention to detail is simply phenomenal.  For instance, the gusset folds into the flap, thereby stopping water and dust from entering the bag.

Suffice it to say that no other bag on the market combines all of the precision, features, quality materials and workmanship that make Hawkesmill the absolute tour de force within the photographer’s messenger bag market.  And, when one couples the above with a lifetime warranty against defects you just cannot lose.

Hawkesmill Camera StrapIf you are serious about quality accessories, you may want to check out the camera straps offered by Hawkesmill.  They are crafted with Horween Chromexcel leather and come in either brown or black and for Nikon mount (the Westminster) or Canon mount (the Borough).

They may seem a bit pricey.  However, if it lasts for a lifetime of capturing images, and could possibly even be passed down to the next gen photographer in the family, the annual cost is almost nil.

All of the above, and more, may be seen and ordered at Hawkesmill.

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Agent Carter (Hayley Atwell) at San Diego Comic Con 2014

Many people who have enjoyed Agent Peggy Carter in comics as well as her big screen version (i.e., Captain America: The First Avenger, the Marvel One Shot and Captain America: The Winder Soldier) were excited to hear that there will be a TV series devoted to the character, to be played by the beautiful and talented Hayley Atwell.

Marvel Agent Carter
Marvel’s Agent Peggy Carter – Hayley Atwell

The one unfortunate part of this is that it is only an eight-episode series that will air beginning in January 2015, during the mid-season break of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Regardless, it should be fun to watch Atwell develop the character who will be balancing her post World War II job with SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve) with that of other, more daring, work with Howard Stark (played by Dominic Cooper), the founder of S.H.I.E.L.D.

At the 2014 San Diego Comic Con several members of the Agent Carter creative team, along with Atwell, discussed a bit about the upcoming series.

The above video is from the YouTube site of Flicks And The City, where many other videos may be watched.

Very much looking forward to seeing Agent Carter/Hayley Atwell on the ABC television network.

Over For Now.

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Auto Show Philadelphia 2014

There is a wide array of brand new and soon-to-arrive vehicles available for viewing, as well as some offering test drives, at the 2014 Auto Show Philadelphia, running Feb 8-16, at the city’s massive state-of-the-art downtown convention center.

Rolls Royce
Rolls Royce

While there are many people attending who are intent to find their next auto acquisition, others show up simply to see exotics up-close-and-personal, such as Rolls Royce, Bentley, Lamborghini, Maserati, Aston Martin, or truly fine classics, like a 1914 Ford Model T Runabout or a 1931 Studebaker Roadster.

1931 Studebaker Roadster
1931 Studebaker Roadster

Aside from virtually every motor vehicle manufacturer attending the show to display their beautiful shiny offerings, several of them provide various forms of entertainment, in the form of a test ride or the like. One example is “CampJeep,” where visitors are able to ride a bumpy obstacle course, courtesy of log and steel beams, in a Grand Cherokee, Wrangler Rubicon or Unlimited.


The show offers literally everything available, from absolute luxury to super-smart economy, from sporty to big hog trucks and muscle cars, in a friendly no-sales-pressure atmosphere.

1914 Ford Model T Runabout
1914 Ford Model T Runabout

The eye candy displayed 2014 Auto Show Philadelphia is truly spectacular and well worth the modest entry fee, a portion of which is donated to the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation. Parking costs, however, are another financial matter, but utilizing SEPTA is a good alternative. Complete information is available at Philly Auto Show.

Over For now.

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Kate Upton Does It Again – Sports Illustrated 2013 Swimsuit Cover

The upcoming edition of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit extravaganza will once again feature model Kate Upton, the reigning cover girl.

Selected from a group of 17 contenders, Upton sports a different and more unique look than she did for the 2012 mag (in her quite-revealing red string mini-bikini).  The reason for donning a fur-lined parka for 2013 is due to her photo shoot locale being the Antarctica.

Kate Upton 2013 SI Cover
Kate Upton by Derek Kettella/Sports Illustrated

For the 1st time in its long history, SI sent their models and photographers to all 7 continents for this, the 50th time the sports mag has been presenting curves of a different nature to its sports-minded audience during the winter cold.

As there are undoubtedly swimsuit fans who would rather view both pieces of a bikini, SI will show images of Upton in her white brief 2-piece bathing suit, with at least 1 complete with a penguin in the background. Although technically it was summer in Antarctica during her 10-day December photo gig, the frigid temp (reportedly 35 degrees below) was a far cry from her 2012 cover, shot in Sydney, Australia. Despite the frigid cold, Upton said that Antarctica is “the most beautiful place I’ve ever been,” but recommends keeping your clothes on. A 1 minute 41 second video of Upton being photographed in the icy cold may be seen at SI Kate Upton Intimate.

Kate Upton by Derek Kettella/Sports Illustrated

MORE STATS: This appearance in the annual SI issue marks number 3 for Upton (20 years old, 5’10” tall, 33D-25-36), following her 2012 cover and as the 2011 Rookie of the Year. Upton is the 9th model in the 50 year history* to be featured on the cover 2 times; 4 have been cover model 3 times; Elle Macpherson holds the record as she landed the role 5 times (3 alone and shared with others 2 times); Kathy Ireland lays claim for the most consecutive appearances in the swimsuit issue at 13; the last back-to-back cover with a single model was 3-peater Macpherson in 1986, 1987, and 1988 (Tyra Banks was on the cover back-to-back in 1996 and 1997 but shared the former with Valeria Mazza) ; Christie Brinkley was the 1st and only other 3-peater (1979, 1980, 1981); the most models on a single cover has been 8 in 2006; the 1st issue photographed in more than 1 country was 1989; the 1st issue featuring a “topless” cover model was 2000 with Daniela Pestova.

The formal unveiling of the cover was on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” where Upton was joined by 9 of the other models. SI, of course, was hoping the TV gig would be a surprise for all. However, the cover was leaked Friday and the mag followed with a tweet: “POLAR BARE: @KateUpton in Antarctica is your 2013 SI Swimsuit Cover Model.” The magazine hits newsstands February 12.

* While 2014 will be the “50th Anniversary” (the idea launched on January 20, 1964, as simply a 5-page supplement with 1 model, Babette March),  mathematically the 2013 issue is the 50th time women in bikinis, as well as 1-piece suits, have been a staple for SI. All of the Swimsuit edition covers may be seen, chronologically, at the SI Vault.

Congrats Kate Upton for your Repeat!

Is a 3-peat in her future? As the saying goes, only time will tell.

Over For Now.

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