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

White Cliffs of Dover

Located at the narrowest point of the English Channel, between England and the European Continent, the White Cliffs of Dover are chalk cliffs, also containing significant amounts of black flint as well as quartz, that reach a height of 350 feet (106.68 meters) and stretch for approximately 10 miles (16.09 kilometers).

White Cliffs of DoverThe cliffs were formed, along with the Straits of Dover, during ice age flooding, and, historically, have been both a symbolic defensive shield against invasion from the continent, as well as a marker for travelers, generally being the first sight of England as ships made their way across the channel. In fact, on a clear day the cliffs are visible from France.

Dover CastleThe port of Dover, in Kent county, is near the westernmost point of the cliffs, and the medieval masonry Dover Castle, founded in the 12th century, sits atop the cliffs and is the largest castle in England. There is evidence that other forms of defensive structures may have existed on the site from as far back as the Iron Age (1200 BC – 1 BC), possibly earlier.

White Cliffs of DoverThe Victorian era South Foreland Lighthouse, located at St. Margaret’s Bay, can be viewed atop the cliff. The lighthouse has been inactive since 1988 and is currently owned by the National Trust.

White Cliffs of DoverErosion of the chalk cliffs continues to occur (between 2 and 5 cm annually) though there have been times that large chunks of the cliff have fallen into the channel, with the most recent collapse occurring on March 15, 2012.

White Cliffs of DoverThe White Cliffs of Dover are, indeed, a spectacular natural wonder to view, especially when crossing the channel between Dover, England, and Calais, France (or even in your own kayak). The images seen here were captured from the deck of a P&O Ferry when departing from the port of Dover.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

The Chocolate We Love

Chocolate, in virtually any form, has been an addiction for as long as I can remember.

As a child, an untold number of those confectionery bars found their way into my body, along with your standard chocolate cookie, chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream, chocolate milk, etc.

Growing older I became more selective in my appetite for chocolate, and the types thereof, i.e., milk, dark and white chocolate, and the forms it could take.

Chocolate MousseYes, there were still candy bars consumed while developing my choc-lover palette, especially, it seems, when chocolate had been combined with peanut butter (still a fave), but my taste grew the most when discovering the myriad ways my favorite flavor could be formed into incredibly savory cacao desserts, paired with, most often, a cabernet sauvignon or Bordeaux, but also with a fantastic double or triple espresso.

Two of my all-time most cherished choc-desserts are Chocolate Mousse and Flourless Chocolate Cake.

Flourless Chocolate CakeI do not think I will ever tire of tasting these two delicacies from any establishment I visit as I cannot recall a time I have even bitten into one and been disappointed or, worse, gagged (as I have when eating some other desserts I have tired over the years).

Fortunately, it seems, my zeroed-in choc journey will never end, for every Chocolate Mousse does not taste like every other Chocolate Mousse, and every Flourless Choc Cake tastes slightly different from all the others, as there are always slight variations a dessert chef will perform when creating their own version.

The pleasure is in the hunt, the anticipation and, finally, tasting the delectable and highly enjoyable chocolate dessert.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Nikon Nikkor 70-200mm f4G ED VR Lens Review

Preface: This will not be a technical review, such as the ones Ken Rockwell writes, but simply my experience using this excellent lens. If needed, there are ample tech specs at NikonUSA.com.

Nikkor 70-200 f4 Nikon D7000
Nikkor 70-200 f4 with Nikon D7000 DSLR

This lens is fantastic!  I had been debating between this and Nikon’s f/2.8 version and opted to purchase the f4 primarily due to price, but also the very good reviews and recommendations/suggestions from others.  Aside from saving $1,000 over the f/2.8, I have not yet found that I have lost anything in the bargain.  Yes, I realize there may be times when I wish I had the f/2.8 but being able to adjust the ISO on my D7000 that time has not yet come.

Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f4G ED VR
Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f4G ED VR

Images are razor sharp with very little vignetting or distortion and the colors are vibrant.  Yes, vibrant.  When you add that to the weight being about half of the f/2.8, due to no tripod collar and less glass, this lens is one that will be staying with me for a long time to come.  Speaking of the tri-pod collar – the balance without it is such that when I use my Manfrotto 3221W tri-pod with the 804RC2 pan/tilt head it is really a non-issue.  And, as Nikon continues to improve on their already great VR (Vibration Reduction) technology, this f4, with the latest generation VR, really does not need a tri-pod in the vast majority of shots I have taken, or will be taking.  For those times when it is quite dark, yes, I would need the tri-pod, as well as for some video shoots.  But, when you want, or need, to walk around shooting with this lens that reduction in weight (the lens as well as the tri-pod) is totally priceless.

The f/2.8 will produce slightly better bokeh (background blur) in almost all cases but that also depends on circumstances. I have been quite pleased with the results I have achieved thus far.  The construction of the lens seems very good.  Yes, it is mostly plastic, but isn’t almost everything nowadays.  If you don’t accidentally drop it you should be fine.

Close-Up Portrait of a Bridesmaid
Close-Up Portrait of a Bridesmaid

Focusing the f/4 is quite smooth, and fast, and the lens hunts very very little.  That it is only a 67mm lens (as opposed to 77mm size of the f/2.8) will save a little cash on No Density (ND), Ultra Violet (UV) and/or Circular Polarizer (CPL) filters.  I happen to use Hoya filters and they screw on and off effortlessly.  And, like all Nikon lenses, this 70-200mm f/4 attaches to the body in a snap.  For many people, like me, this is an absolutely incredible lens, especially for the price (and weight) difference.  It is highly recommended.

Over For Now.

Main Street One