Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Have an Epiphanie?

Well, I do. That is to say, a new Epiphanie camera bag! It arrived a couple of days ago, and I am in love. A friend of mine recently brought this awesome line of camera bags to my attention, and as soon as I saw them I knew I just had to have one. It helped that I've been increasingly frustrated with my current bag, a backpack/sling type bag that was awkward to carry and downright annoying to try and change equipment out of on the fly. It also didn't have room for the new flash unit I was coveting. After some discussion with my dearest husband, he said to go ahead and get a new bag as an early birthday gift. Woot!

After much perusing of the different styles available, and reading pretty much every review/blog post about them on the internet, I finally decided on the newest bag, Lyric. I even love the name. In the end, I was most torn between Lola (the original Epiphanie) and Lyric. They share pretty much the same dimensions, with Lola having an 8" deep base compared to Lyric's 4". I was worried Lyric might be too small... but also concerned about Lola being too awkward on my 5'0" self. Also, since Lyric is the newest in the Epiphanie lineup, there just weren't as many reviews out there that showed just what it's capable of. Now that I have it and have used it some, I'm going to add my 2 cents to the blogosphere :)

Right off the bat, I was delighted with the extra care that went into packaging the bag. It came in this branded box that had me grinning from ear to ear with anticipation before even opening it.

Upon opening the box, I came face-to-face with a lovely little epiphany in the form of a quote-on-a-sticker. Just how did they know I already love that quote? And how did they know I'm a knitter? Look at that lovely knitted cowl in the photo! Oh, and a great thank-you card, also.

After reading other reviews and seeing that the bags come in a great zippered dust cover that matches the interior, I was expecting one in grey. Instead, I was happy to see mine was the same gorgeous plum colour as the bag itself.

Of course, once I took it out of the box, my cat, Penny, had to jump in and investigate :)

I have to say, I love absolutely everything about this bag. The exterior leather-like material is sooo soft and supple, you'd swear it was real. Never mind the gorgeous colour. I was torn between plum and slate blue, and I'm really happy with my decision. The braided handle feels good on my shoulder, and even when the bag is packed full it carries the weight very comfortably. Using the included cross-body strap makes it feel almost like I'm not carrying anything at all. With either strap, it's really easy to just reach into the bag and grab whatever I need.

The only "negative" thing I could think of to say is in regards to adjusting the interior, moveable sections. I put negative in quotation marks because it's not really a negative. You would have laughed watching me try to get these dividers into the position I wanted them. The velcro sides are able to stick anywhere in the interior of the bag, which allows for a customized fit for your gear. What that means is that when you try and get the dividers down to the bottom of the bag, they catch and stick everywhere! While it was a bit of a pain getting them where I wanted them, in the end, I'm glad they were so difficult because I know those dividers aren't going anywhere. They're going to stay in place and protect my equipment.

 Hanging out in my snow and ice covered yard!

Great camera bling! This photo also most accurately shows the true plum colour of the bag.

Now the big question: Just how much can this bag hold? Even though Lyric is the "baby" of the family, it can pack a LOT of gear! 
Here's what I can fit in mine: Canon T3i body with 50mm lens attached. Attached camera strap, including wireless remote. 18-55mm kit lens. 100-300mm telephoto lens. Canon Speedlite 430EX II. Fidelity Versapod Pro tripod. Cross body strap. Wristlet (or wallet). Cell phone. iPod Touch.

The rear pocket is big enough to hold both my Kobo Vox tablet, and my Kobo Touch eReader. In interior zippered pocket holds my gray card, lens cleaning solution and cloth. The small front pockets hold spare batteries for camera and flash, filters and SD card case. Sorry for the crummy iPod photo.

Here you can see how it all fits inside. My camera with a lens attached fits sideways into the empty space in the middle, with the attached strap tucked underneath the lens. My wristlet/wallet sits on top, or in the camera space when I have my camera around my neck.

So there you have it, my little review of Epiphanie's Lyric bag!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Oh Baby!

I was recently asked by a good friend if I would take photos for her at her baby shower, and of course I accepted.

 It also gave me an excuse to knit something adorably tiny :-)

The pattern for this sweet little cardigan is called Concentric Stripes and can be found on Ravelry (of course!), and the little hat is the Little Boy Blue Ribbed Baby Hat. Knit with Cascade Eco Duo yarn, which is 50% baby alpaca and 50% merino wool, and is absolutely luscious yarn.

I also broke out my scrapbooking supplies for the first time in a long time, and remembered just how much I love papercrafting. I can't wait to have a dedicated craft room some day, with room to leave my supplies out for easy access/use. For now I took time to make a card to go with my gift.

So, that's how I spent my weekend :) I'm still waiting for my new camera and bag to arrive... the waiting is killing me!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Some new lovelies on their way to me!

Sometimes I think there's nothing more fun than eagerly awaiting parcels in the mail. I've got some doozies on the way right now, and I can barely contain myself waiting for them to arrive.

First up is a biggie. A new camera! Woot! My old camera (Canon Rebel XS) completely fizzled out on me last week, when I went to change out my lens and discovered it suddenly wouldn't recognize any of my lenses. I took it into my local camera shop and they did their best to fix it, but determined it was something wrong with the internal circuitry and would need to be sent into Canon for repair. In their experience it would end up costing me several hundred dollars to have it fixed, so I decided that money would be better spent upgrading :-)

Although I'm a huge fan of supporting local business, I'm purchasing my new camera body online from B&H in the states instead of at my local camera shop this time. I just couldn't pass up the huge savings (almost $400 total for the camera body, external flash unit and 3 year warranty, including accidental damage).

After much back-and-forth between the Rebel T3i and the 60D, I found an excellent side-by-side review of the 2 cameras and decided to go with the T3i. The only differences between the two are that the 60D has a larger body (to accommodate the top LCD screen, mostly) and faster continuous shooting (5.3 vs 3.7fps). I have smaller hands and would prefer a smaller body, anyway, and I can't recall ever using the continuous shooting on any of my DSLR's. So the choice was easy.

*Photos courtesy of B&H Photo.

My other exciting purchase is a gorgeous Lyric camera bag by Epiphanie, in Plum!!! I just can't wait for it to get here. It's one of their newer bags, and I was kind of worried it might be too small, but I was worried the next smallest (the Lola) would be too big on me to carry around while shooting. Because it's newer, it was tough finding many reviews on it online that really showed what it could hold. I'll post my own review once it arrives!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

12 in 2012

So, it seems as though bloggers everywhere are participating in the Day Zero Project, where they create 101 goals they hope to accomplish in the next 1001 days. I love the concept, but honestly don't think I could come up with 101 ideas. So I've decided I'm going to do my own version: 12 in 2012. Twelve things I'd like to accomplish this year.

1. Post on my blogs more consistently. At least 2-3 posts per week between the two

2. Find time and space to get back to scrapbooking

3. Make myself a knitted sweater

4. Reach my weight-loss goal

5. Read at least one good book per month

6. Take a family vacation

7. Pay off our debt (credit card and line of credit), and have a month's expenses in savings

8. Bring my camera with me everywhere I go (and use it every day!)

9. Figure out a system to keep up with the housework

10. Start saving towards our own piece of land

11. Learn how to play the piano

12. Streamline our homeschooling to be more efficient

OK, there you have it. My 12 for 2012.