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Apr 20,2008 (WeekendEdition)

There are numerous wilderness trails around Keene NH.  The Chesterfield Gorge is just a few minutes drive from the center of town.

It was a perfect day for a hike.  The air temperature was in the high 50s when we headed out.  Most of the snow had melted, but there were still enough on the ground that we had to be mindful of our steps.

The hike to the gorge was less than a mile.  Once there, we were free to climb around the rocks and walk along its edge. 

We carried in two D40s, three lens, and assorted accessories using two Kata bags.  The Kata bags (T-212, W-92) were very comfortable and easy to use during the hike.  We found wearing WaistPack on the hip made it easier to get things in and out.  It also served as a nice resting place for the hand.

We REALLY like the T-212 TorsoPack. The pockets of the T-212 were angled and well positioned, enabling us to quickly retrieve whatever piece of gear we needed. 

We found it quite stable to have the weight of the gear in front.  General ventilation was also good as we did not heat up much even though there was a fair bit of climbing around.

The final piece of gear we would like to mention is the TrekPod.  This hiking pole/tripod is a great piece of gear to have on a hike.  The more we used the TrekPod, the more we appreciated its versatility.  Many of the shots we got on this hike would not be as sharp if it wasn't for the TrekPod.  Go here if you want to check out the original TrekPod review series.

Carolyn spotted an interesting growth of a tree around a large rock. We spent the rest of the hike talking through the various possible scenarios which could have gave rise to this odd formation.  If you have theory, drop us a line...we would love to know your thoughts on how this tree/rock formation came to be.

This hike was a good way to start the day.  We did a longer trek later in the day and learned some interesting things about Carolyn's level of comfort with Wan's wilderness orienteering skills, but that's a story for another day :-) [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


Apr 19,2008 (WeekendEdition)

The weather forecast for the weekend said it was going to be sunny and warm.  We thought it would be a perfect opportunity try out some of our new photo gear.  So we packed things up and headed West to Keene NH. 

Why Keene?  We were here for a Pumpkin Festival many years ago and have always wanted to go back.  As it turned out, we arrived just in time for the Monadnock Earth Festival.

All manners of "green" technologies were on display and demo'ed.  We missed the bow-making session, but did make it in time for the fire-starting how-to. 

A lot of folks in Keene came out for the event.  Of course, not everyone was there for the show-and-tells.  Some were out just for the belly rubs.

We spent some time walking around and worked up a pretty good appetite.  Fortunately for us there were plenty of tasty places to eat in Keene. 

Tomorrow should be another beautiful day weather-wise.  We are planning on hiking a few trails close to town before heading back to Boston.  [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


Apr 18,2008 (FotoFriday)

We got a lot of questions and a few "interesting" comments after we posted the FirstLook of Camera Armor.  Some of the questions we'll address today.  Others we'll tackle next week.  In this post, we will show how to fit the Camera Armor on the Nikon.  We will also show the actual fit of the Camera Armor on the Nikon.

To fit the Camera Armor on the body, the lens must be removed.  Put the body cover on to keep dust from getting on the sensor during the installation. 

Next is to attached the clear LCD cover.  The plastic piece will shift around, but will stay in place once the flexible skin has been installed.

The Camera Armor is very stretchy.  To install, start by sliding it over the top of the body, work it over the knobs, and shift the opening into place.  The fit is tight so don't be afraid to pull things into place.  The lens protector on the other hand just slips on to the rim. 

The protector does not interfere with the focus or zoom functions when installed.  The pop-up flash is also not impeded by the skin in any way.

We are very impressed with the overall fit of the Camera Armor and are eager to see if the buttons are as easy to manipulate under actual use.  We'll be taking the camera out on a hike this weekend and will report back on the Camera Armor's performance in the FirstUse writeup.  [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


Apr 17,2008 (CameraTechThursday)

A few days ago we gave you a quick preview of the Delkin Pop-Up Shade.  The purpose of this accessory is to shield the D40's LCD so it will be more visible under bright light conditions.  Today, we'll give you a more detailed look at what it looks like attached to the D40.

The Delkin Pop-Up Shade is made to integrate with the overall look and function of the camera.  There is a clear shield for the LCD.  The cover is spring-loaded and will stay open when lifted.

The Pop-Up Shade was very simple to install.  All the prep needed was the removal of the rubber cover which covered the viewfinder.  The shade clips over the exposed rim and may be easily removed without tools.

Here are a few views (left, top, right) of the Delkin Shade on the Nikon D40.  Click on any of the images for a closer look.  Note the custom fit of the Shade.  All of the buttons on the left of the LCD are still easily accessible.

The shade may be easily poped up by lifting it from the bottom.  It will add a few inches to the overall length of the camera when extended.

We are impressed with the quality of this Delkin accessory.  The unit is well designed, was to easy install, and looks OEM.  In our FirstUse report, we'll take the camera outside and get some shots to show the difference in the LCD's viewability with and without the Pop-Up Shade.  [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


Apr 16,2008 (WowUsWednesday)

Because of our recent obsession with our new higher resolution Nikon D40 digital camera, we thought this news item from IBM was particularly interesting.  IBM announced a new type of solid state storage mechanism called "racetrack memory."  It has the potential of enabling a 100x increase in storage capacity for the same physical space given today's approaches.

The means an iPod could potentially hold over 3,000 movies or 500,000 songs!  We'll let you figure out how many photos that translate to for something the size of a SD Flash card :-) [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


Apr 15,2008 (ToughSkinTuesday)

Yesterday we gave you a quick look at a few Nikon accessories.  Today, we'll take a closer look at Made Products' protective Camera Armor skin.

The Camera Armor is made from a proprietary silicone that is heat stable to over 400ºF.  The feel is soft, cushiony, and easy to grip.   The details of the molding are very exact.  Click on any of the images for a closer look

Included in the kit is a lens protector and an LCD shield.  Like the skin, the lens protector is made out of silicone.  The LCD shield is custom formed, but out of clear plastic.  It covers the entired LCD panel and the buttons on the left.  The shield must be use with the Camera Armor because it is held in place by the tight fitting skin. 

When the Camera Armor and the LCD shield are in place, all of the buttons on the Nikon D40 should still be accessible.  We'll see when we have the Camera Armor on the camera.  [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


Apr 14,2008 (MoreD40AccessoriesMonday)

The Kata bags are great protection for the Nikon D40 in transit. When it is out of the bag, MADE Products' Camera Armor will protect it against the inevitable bumps and splashes.

These elastomeric silicone shields are custom molded for each specific model.  The kit comes with a one piece shield for the body, a lens guard, and a hard plastic cover for the LCD.

The Camera Armor come in black or smoke color.  The one here is the smoke version.  We thought it would contrast better for showing where it protects the D40.  The black version may blend better with the camera.   We'll show how to install the Camera Armor next week.

Another useful accessory is a "shade" for viewing/reading the LCD when out in bright sunlight.  Delkin Devices makes a snap-on unit which attaches by sliding over the viewfinder.

The Delkin Pop-Up Shade works just like those on a classic Hasselblad camera.  The sides spring out and hold the cover open to form a three-sided shield, making the LCD readable in all conditions.

Delkin Devices also offers a quality Nikon D40 replacement battery with the same specs (1100mAh, charge control, short circuit protection) as the OEM version and comes with a 2 year warranty.  We'll let you know how they hold up under actual use.  [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


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