Monday, April 22, 2019

Lowepro Backpack Review

Ihad the opportunity to review Lowepro’s Flipside 400 AW backpack. I took the backpack on some intense hikes, including Angel's Landing and the Narrows in Zion National Park. To this day, this bag still remains my favorite, years later. 

Trekking for miles on rugged terrain or trails at high elevations for hours on end, weight and stability are a concern for a smaller frame.

 I also want to carry as much of my photography gear with me but still need room for other essentials such as clothing layers, food, water, and first aid and accessories.

The Flipside is a perfect solution for all the above mentioned on a long day hike. 

Multiple-day excursions that include camping overnight, I'll need a combination camera backpack and multi-day backpacks like my Gregory bags with the same suspension and load-bearing sensitivities but with specialized compartments to keep my camera and lenses safe. I need to be able to carry all my gear securely while sharing the same space as a tent and tripod. Lowepro has come up with a brilliant solution. 

The Rover Pro 45L AW.

The Rover Pro 45L AW's fully adjustable suspension system distributes weight well and I'm able to adjust it to my smaller frame. They've also added a breathable trampoline style mesh backing that keeps the back well ventilated. Fully loaded with camera gear, tripod, tent, and camping supplies for 3 days and the pack is comfortable and I remained sure-footed and happy on the trail.

Two modular padded and removable camera cases include: adjustable padded dividers, removable accessory pouch, interior zippered pockets, outer mesh pockets, and webbing grab handles. This accommodates my Canon 5D Mark IV, 70-200mm lens, 16-35mm lens, 24-105mm lens, Singh-Ray filters, Lee filters, batteries, cleaning kit, and all my accessories comfortably in the modular units. I was pleasantly surprised at how many zippered and meshed compartments were available in the camera storage area. I didn't have to leave anything behind.

The modular camera units will take up a large part of the bag capacity, but I was able to still carry 3 sets of clothing (cold weather layers) food for 3 days, Jet stove, fuel, and accessories. The bag has a top-loading design like my conventional backpack but has a front access panel as well.

The side of the pack has a unique and secure tripod holder. For me, this is an area that can drive me nuts. If I feel my tripod moving or swinging at all when I'm hiking, I'll obsess over it. With this system, it doesn't dare move. The legs slide securely in two fixed straps and then a left and right nylon panel covers up the tripod legs and is then buckled and cinched in snugly. The other side of the bag has a zippered hydration system for a 2-liter bag.

The overall look of the bag is rather stylish. It's nicely designed, has ample pockets and zippered storage areas and doesn't scream "Look I'm carrying thousands of dollars' worth of camera gear inside" Attached top lid provides a zippered pocket to keep essentials handy; built-in key clip included for those who need to remember where their keys are.
Zippered storage areas in the waist belt, enough to carry accessible snacks, GPS, cell phone and chap-stick.

The bottom of the Rover Pro holds its 3-in-1 AW (All Weather) cover which doubles as a photographic reflector, and diffuser with an adjustable ring. It fits snugly over the backpack like a shower cap.

Removable Camera Compartment Interior: 14.5 x 15.5 x 31.5 cm (5.71 x 6.10 x 12.40 in) 

External Dimensions: 33.7 x 29.2 x 57.2 cm (13.27 x 11.50 x 22.52 in) 

Fits: Pro DSLR with grip, with attached 24-70mm lens 3-4 extra lenses or flashes Tripod or monopod 2-liter hydration reservoirs Up to a 15" laptop Sleeping pad, small tent, ice axes/trekking poles, and other personal items 

Weighs just barely 6 lbs.

If you’re a backpacking, long trekking, mountain exploring kind of outdoor photographer, and need enough room for both camera gear and technical/overnight gear, this could be the pack that you’re looking for.

Valerie Millett is a freelance photographer and writer.
I started a journal once specifically about singling out the very specific feeling of "JOY" each day and writing it down. 

The journal is all about my dog, Halo.
I just go where things seem interesting and she just goes where I do. 

Sunday, April 14, 2019

A Photographer's Love Letter: The American Southwest

This mysterious land of enchantment—the American Southwest—is a siren song seducing many an explorer, writer, poet, artist and even those seeking healing of the metaphysical kind. It’s an indescribable allure that promises those of a curious nature to provide endless fascination. For those suffering the ills of industrialized urbanization, the open road and vast empty spaces have long inspired romantic notions, uplifted spirits, encouraged self-discovery and delivered an unabashed sense of freedom. You’re entering a realm imbued with a magical charm and a tangible presence of ancient people.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

San Juan Capistrano

 I remember these places even as a kid, it's so Southern California. Quaint little eats tucked into old beachside neighborhoods. It's these iconic images of a place I loved so much as a child and a culture that still resides deep in my psyche that are so enjoyable to photograph. 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Laguna Beach, California

For some reason, I've had this scene in my head for some time and it became a quest to find the vantage point on this trip. Hard to tell but a storm had just cleared and the sun was out with no clouds(a landscape photographers nightmare) but it gave me a chance to get out and tinker around the beach.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Classic West Fork 2018

I've put to thought often,
how it is that
certain locations just resonate so brilliantly
with your own psyche.
When I look at my own images, it's the first thing I see or I don't see. 
This place 
is always full of magic. 

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

The Sonoran Desert: My Backyard

A desert storm is something to be experienced, over and over again. I love the storm seasons, especially the warm monsoons.  Beautiful dramatic backdrops, the sand travels in waves, the lightning strikes, the thunder cracks and rolls  all mixed with fragrant sage, acacias and mesquite for a unique desert bouquet.

Monday, September 17, 2018


Our monsoon season has arrived right on schedule with the Fourth Of July. 

 It's been raining on  and off now for a few days and this morning, I packed my camera backpack in the SUV and just headed out. I wanted to see the Dells saturated and subdued and this morning, under a broody monsoon haze we spied some kayakers.  As always the Dells are spellbinding. One could easily meander around these formations for days. Several years ago, I came here on a "date" to kayak around the Dells and it was a blast but I could've killed for my camera!

Go Halo! You are my girl! 
Canon 5D MarkIV Tamron 150-600mm @ 600mm

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Facebook Unplugged


After almost 10 years on Facebook, I unplugged. 

Published by National Geographic 2019

Several years ago, I wrote a story about my first hiking trip into the Narrows of Zion.  On this particular trip I was fortunate enough to have the hike all to myself in the wee hours of a warm May morning.  It was a rich experience the felt entrancing and humbling to be in a place of such intense beauty.  At times, I'm bathed in the soft canyon bounce light and got lost in the sounds of the Virgin River rambling on by as my legs, my whole body sways with it's rhythm. 

The echos of the canyon wrens keep me company and I just can't stop looking up. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Desert Oasis

Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. 
This is another paradox: what is soft is strong_Lao-Tzu

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Desert Landscapes Rock

“A plant needs to do more than stretch its leaves toward the sun. 
It also needs to send down roots deep into the ground. 
They hold on tightly in the dark,
 out of sight where it is easy to forget about them. 

But it is the fact that a plant can do these two things at once, 

anchoring itself to the earth even as it reaches for the sky, that makes it strong.” 
― Cameron Dokey

Sunrise on the desert landscapes at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum 
This place could easily be addicting! 

Horton Creek Trail

Payson, Arizona

One of my most favorite hikes, especially in the Spring. Head out on the trail early and you wont see another hiker for hours. I like to start on the trail at sunrise and have these amazing pools and run-offs all to myself. 

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Bonsai Rock - Outdoor Photographer - Beth Young

Photo by Beth Young
Bonsai Rock is an iconic feature of Lake Tahoe, a 191-square-mile lake surrounded by a mixed conifer forest and breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada.