Last fall I got a call from Lowepro asking me to shoot a commercial for a new bag they were introducing, The Photo Sport Pro 30L AW.  I said "sure no problem, I can shoot that for you." They said "no, you don't have to shoot anything, we want you to be the featured photographer that introduces the bag." "Oh", I said, "well I better get a shave and haircut, ha! " Well, the bag released last week and the video above is my "Testimonial Video" on the bag.  A big thanks to Josh Semolik, Canyon Florey and Lite Pro Gear for all of the great shots and making me look as good as I can.  Also a big thanks to Cat Keenan and Nina for coming out and modeling for the shoots!  You guys rock!

Oh, and the Photo Sport Pro is sick!  Get yours at

Tags: backpack camera backpack camera bag gear lowepro mountains photo sport pro 30l aw photography review video video review

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Lowepro Rover Pro Review

Posted By: Rachid | 3 Comments | Permalink
Categories: GearGeneralPhotographyTravel

Northern Lights Above Yurtville - Whitehorse, Yukon

Northern Lights above our camp at Yurtville - Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

I have always wanted to explore the Yukon Territory in Northern Canada.  The Yukon is about the same size as California but only contains 34,000 people.  From abundant wildlife to dramatic landscapes to the Northern Lights, it is a photographer’s paradise.  Several months ago I was lucky enough to receive an assignment that would take me into the heart of this amazing landscape.

One thing I didn’t know existed in the Yukon was world-class mountain biking.  My assignment was to team up with my good friend and fellow Novus Select photographer Trevor Clark for a 10 day video project documenting the lesser known mountain bike trails throughout the territory.

As Trevor and I began planning our trip, the first thing on both of our minds was how we were going to carry all of the photography and video equipment while logging long days on mountain bikes in extremely remote locations.

We let the good folks over at Lowepro know about our dilemma and a couple days later received the not-yet-released Rover Pro 45L AW and the Rover Pro 35L AW.  As soon as we saw the packs it was clear that they were going to be absolutely perfect.

The larger Rover Pro 45L AW that I carried

I carried the larger Rover Pro 45L AW and Trevor took the Rover Pro 35L AW.  Before leaving, we laid out all the photo and video gear we would be carrying (about 50 pounds apiece) to see if we could get everything in the packs.  Not only did we have no problem getting the gear to fit, but there was room to spare for the necessary outdoor gear we would require.

Here is the breakdown.

Camera/video gear that went into my pack (the Rover Pro 45L AW):

  • Nikon D7000
  • Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8
  • Nikon 50mm f/1.8
  • Tokina 12-24mm f/4
  • Nikon TC-14E-II Teleconverter
  • Genius 8 stop ND filter
  • Nikon Circular Polarizing Filter
  • Dynamic Perception Stage One Motorized Slider/Dolly System
  • 2 Flashpoint Carbon Tripods
  • 2 Go Pro Cameras and Mounts
  • Zacuto Z Finder Loop
  • Manfrotto 55 Mag Photo-Movie Head
  • Sennheiser MKE 400 External Mic
  • San Disk Extreme Cards
  • LowePro Memory Wallet 20
  • IPhone

Outdoor Gear

  • Two Liter Camelbak Bladder
  • 2 Tahoe Trail Bars
  • First Ascent down jacket
  • Bennie
  • REI Event Rain Shell
  • Spare Inner Tube
  • Bike Tool
  • Innertube Patch Kit
  • Bike Pump
  • Tire Irons
  • Water Purification Tablets
  • Headlamp

Gear Laid Out

All of this gear made for a heavy load but thankfully Lowepro took this into consideration and equipped the bag with a trampoline-style suspension system that performed beautifully.  Having 50+ pounds strapped to my back during rough 3,500 foot mountain bike descents was a true testament to this bag’s capability.  The bag handled all of the weight with ease and the pack always felt snug on my back.

Aside from the way the pack fit, one of the things I really loved about the Rover Pro was the ability to access all of my camera gear from the front hatch.  This meant not having to unpack and repack all of my outdoor gear every time I wanted to set up a shot.  That, in conjunction with the customizable modular compartment system, created key timesaving elements that allowed me to move faster and maximize my shooting.

The Rover Pro was an essential part of our Yukon mountain bike film project.  It carried all of our gear comfortably and reliably.  In the end it did what a great bag is supposed to do – let us focus on making killer content!

Make sure and check out Trevor Clark’s review on his Rover Pro 35L AW on his blog and take a spin through his website to enjoy all of his fantastic work!

For the full skinny and specs on the new Rover Pro visit the Lowepro website.  They hit the ball out of the park with this one.

Stay tuned for our short film on our incredible experiences mountain biking in the Yukon.  Coming soon!

Tags: backpack canada gear lowepro nikon northern lights photo backpack photography review rover pro rover pro 35l aw rover pro 45l aw whitehorse yukon

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A snowboarder rips down Red Lake Peak in the Lake Tahoe backcountry, CA

Camera: Nikon D3s - Lens: Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 with Nikon 1.4 TC - 1/1600sec f/7.1 ISO 400

I recently ran into a problem shooting skiing and snowboarding this winter.  I needed to get a little closer to the action but the longest lens in my kit is the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8.  There were two options to get the added focal length I desired.  The first and most expensive option was to purchase the Nikon 200-400 f/4 lens for a whopping $7000.  Even as a working pro this would have set my budget back quite a bit.  Added to the budget constraints is the physical size and weight of the lens.  Coming in at roughly 7.5 pounds the lens is heavy and bulky.  When I am shooting skiing and snowboarding I am constantly moving, hiking and snowboarding. Weight and bulk are always large concerns when it comes to gear.  Between the weight, bulk and price tag, the 200-400 just didn’t make a lot of sense.  The solution?  The Nikon TC-14 II 1.4 Auto Focus Teleconverter.

Coming in at a price tag of just under $500 and weighing only 7.5 ouches the 1.4 teleconverter effectively would turn my 70-200 lens into a 98-280mm.  This was just the added length I was looking for to get me a little closer to the action.  I decided not to go with the Nikon 1.7 or 2.0 converters because of the negative reviews I read on each prior to my purchase.  Most people found them to be soft and the extra loss of light from the added length of the teleconverters was unacceptable to me.  I was ok with losing one stop of light with the 1.4 but that was it. So what are the pros and cons of the 1.4 TC attached to a Nikon 70-200 f/2.8?  I’m glad you asked.


  • Getting closer to the action
  • Extremely sharp results – I haven’t noticed any loss in sharpness by adding the 1.4 TC
  • Lightweight, small and easy to carry
  • No noticeable fringing


  • A loss of a stop of light (it changes the maximum aperture of the f/2.8 to f/4)
  • The autofocus is noticeably slower when shooting fast moving subjects.  The TC forces the lens to search more when trying to track a fast moving subject.  This can be overcome by prefocusing your subject and then continuing to shoot the action.  If you simply pick up your camera with the TC attached and quickly try to focus in on a moving subject you will be disappointed.

All in all I am extremely happy with the Nikon TC-14 II 1.4 Auto Focus Teleconverter.  It is a great and relatively cheap fix to adding a little extra focal length to my kit.  While there are a few shortcomings I believe the positives far outweigh the negatives. I would recommend this setup to anyone looking for a cost effective way to increase their focal length and get a little closer to the action.  Happy shooting!

Tags: action advice gear mountains nikon tc-14 ii 1.4 auto focus teleconverter photography review snowboarding winter

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