Hawkesmill Hand-made Camera Messenger Bags

Several months ago Main Street One reviewed the Hawkesmill Camera Messenger bags.  Since that time, and having now used the Sloane Street large bag quite a bit, it can only be said that the bags are better than described.  Yes, better.

The quality of workmanship is simply superb.  And, by chance, Hawkesmill just posted a video showing many facets of the hand-crafting that is done to create these beautiful, yet highly functional, pieces.

I am sure that you can see, while watching the video, the high quality workmanship, the attention to detail.  These are not your run-of-the-mill bags.  They quietly shout their caliber and character.

Do yourself a favor and pop on over to the Hawkesmill website and order one.  You will NOT be disappointed.

As SLR lounge said so well in their quite positive review, “The Jermyn Street and the line it belongs to brings a little extra joy to a casual day out, and is a bit of a statement piece. But instead of stating to the world you’re a ‘photographer hear me roar’, it speaks of you more as an individual…”

As the bags will undoubtedly last a lifetime, they are worth every single penny.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

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.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Windsor Castle – Berkshire County England

Windsor Castle is the Royal Residence of Great Britain’s monarchy and is located in Berkshire County, England. The castle, originally a strategic defensive fortification, has seen numerous rebellions and wars throughout its thousand-year existence, and even went through a period of neglect in the 18th century.

Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle from the street

Situated on more than thirteen acres (five hectares), the castle was originally constructed by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. Windsor is Europe’s longest occupied royal palace, beginning with Henry I, though George I and George II, in the 18th century, paid little attention to the property, preferring others.

Windsor Castle
South Wing of the Upper Ward

Early in the 19th century, George IV was elaborate in renovations of Windsor, spending approximately £300,000 ($503,000), the equivalent of £245 million ($411 million) in 2008,  to thoroughly refine and modernize the structures.

Windsor Castle
A Peak Inside

The royal palace is huge, at over 44,965 square meters (484,000 square feet) with more than 13,000 rooms. At present, there are an estimated 500 people living and working inside Windsor Castle.

Windsor Castle
A View from the Gardens

When visiting anywhere near London, a visit to historically significant Windsor Castle is a must.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Herstmonceux Castle – East Sussex, England

Boasting a fairly colorful history, including standing as an exterior walls-only edifice for well over a century, Herstmonceux Castle’s name derived from very early 12th century owners of a manor house that existed on the site,  Idonea de Herst who married Ingelram de Monceux, a Norman nobleman. At that time, the manor house was called “Herst of the Monceux.”  There is evidence that in 1066 some other structure existed before the manor in this location.Herstmonceux CastleConstruction of the actual castle did not begin until 1441 by Roger Fiennes, a Monceux descendant, who was appointed Treasurer of the Household by King Henry VI.  Unique to Herstmonceux is that brick was not a common material used during that time, as it was not being built as a fortress from which to defend attacks but, rather, as a grand residence.  In the early 18th century the castle was sold to another family and by 1777 it’s existence as a ruin began. 

In 1913, new owners brought Herstmonceux back into life as a residence.  The castle changed hands between various owners until 1946 when it was purchased and turned into the Royal Greenwich Observatory, until it moved in 1988.Herstmonceux CastleThe castle sat vacant until 1992 when it became part of Queen’s University at Kingston (Ontario, Canada) and was known as  Queen’s International Study Centre (ISC), with primarily arts or commerce students.  The name later changed, in 2009, to Bader International Study Centre, after Alfred Bader, the Queen’s alum who first had the idea to turn this castle into a university study center.

Herstmonceux CastleThough gaining entry to the ISC may not occur, the exterior grounds and the outstanding brick structure make it a worthwhile visit.

Over For Now.

Main Street One