Virtual Insanity

I took a chance to jump way outside of my technology comfort zone this weekend by spending my Saturday at the LA Virtual Reality show (VRLA). I was working for Samy’s Camera in conjunction with Ricoh to demonstrate and sell the Theta 360° camera. While selling cameras is well within my area of expertise, I’m a complete novice when it comes to video, virtual reality, video games, and things of the sort.

Within an hour of demonstrating the Theta camera I caught on to what is cool about it. It only took watching a couple 360° video clips through a Samsung Gear VR headset and I understood the appeal of Virtual Reality all-around photos and video. I eventually got so on board that I put the Theta on a pole and took it for a walk around the showroom floor. The quality isn’t great, so I took the same walk shooting video on my Canon. Believe it or not, it’s the first time I’ve shot any video on my DSLRs …Ever! 

I didn’t get to sample any of the products on display at the show because I was working the whole time, but I can’t say I can see much value in the VR technology available. I don’t know that it actually solves a problem, I think it only provides entertainment. So far anyway. I fear a future of young people unable to communicate in person, unable to separate fantasy from reality and without the drive to have actual engaging experiences in real life. I dislike that “in real life” is something.

Then again, I was skeptical about digital photography, about video in SLR cameras… but eventually I come around.

 (Photographer: Rebecca Joyce)

Ricoh product manager, TK, demonstrates the Theta 360 camera to a VRLA visitor.


 (Photographer: Rebecca Joyce)

visitors to VRLA sample new products and technology from vendors, such as Reload

My first 5D video:

The Theta 360° video is also on YouTube, I won’t embed it because it doesn’t look right outside of YouTube. The 360° view capabilities are available on the Chrome browser as well as the YouTube mobile app. If you have a VR viewer such as Cardboard or Samsung Gear, I suppose it can be viewed that way, too. Click here for the video.

Stuff I like: Peak Design


I’m not great at writing product reviews, but every once in a while I come across a product that is so well-designed, exciting, fun to use, and/or simply so awesome that I really need to share it.  And that’s exactly what happened with Peak Design.

Peak Design started a few years ago with a Kickstarter campaign for their Capture Clip product. They’ve since grown to have a full line of clip and strap products and will soon have a highly-anticipated (and very sexy!) series of camera bags. I’ve been an admirer of their products since the first Kickstarter days, and jump at every opportunity to show their products to clients. The first items I bought for myself were the Clutch handstrap for my DSLR cameras, and a Cuff wrist strap for my Olympus Micro four thirds camera. Last week I received a care package from my friends at Peak and was so excited that the first thing I had to do was take pictures of them to share.

Peak has designed their camera carrying system around two main components: Their unique Anchors and Plates. Peak’s strap products: the Cuff wrist strap, the Leash lightweight strap, and the Slide shoulder strap attach to the camera via included Anchors that loop through the existing lugs (or “earlobes”) on the camera. Products that require access to the tripod mount of the camera, such as the Capture Clips and the Clutch hand strap, come with the proprietary plate. Peak Design’s plate is compatible with Arca-swiss tripods* and has additional Anchor attachment points. (*the ProPlate is also Manfrotto RC2 compatible)

The construction of these products is outstanding. The plates come with an allen key to tightly secure them to the tripod mount of the camera. Any products that include Anchors also come with at least one spare. The Anchors fit into the Anchor Links at the end of all straps with a very clear “click” sound. To be on the safe side, plates should be checked for tightness often, and Anchors should be checked for fraying. The strap products, Cuff, Leash, and Slide, are made of a heavy duty webbing that resembles a car seatbell, but has a silky smooth finish.

As you can see below, all three of my main cameras are outfitted for quick use with any Peak product. Each camera has a plate (I was sent a Microplate especially for the narrow body of the Olympus EP-5), and at least two Anchors.

The Clutch handstrap has a smooth, non-slip finish and a buckle that makes resizing very simple. Peak Design also sells separate Anchor Links for use with any neck or shoulder strap. Here, I’ve attached them to my favourite (non-peak) strap, the Domke Gripper.

Canon 5D (L) with a ProPlate and a Domke Gripper shoulder strap attached with Anchor Links. Canon 7D (R) with standard plate and Clutch hand strap.

The Capture Pro Clip is made of two very nicely machined metal plates, joined by two bolts at the corners. It swivels open and can be attached to any belt or strap up to about 3 inches wide. It easily goes around the ThinkTank waist belt I use for shooting events, on the straps on my camera and hiking backpacks, and on the straps of my messenger bags. I think it will spend most of the time attached to my everyday messenger bag (below). I think that the clip can handle even the thick straps of serious mountaineering packs, but in case it doesn’t, longer bolts are available on Peak Design’s website. The plates at the bottom of my camera slide very smoothly into the clip and snap in place with a satisfying “click.” There’s a red button that needs to be pressed to pull the camera back out, making it very hard to accidentally knock the camera out. For serious activity, the Leash strap can be configured to be a safety cord in case of Capture Clip failure (which seems very unlikely).

Peak Design Products

The Summit Edition Slide camera strap, in Lassen red. The Capture Pro clip on the strap of the California Edition Timbuk2 messenger bag.

The original Slide strap is black, but Peak Design recently made them available in two colours chosen by fans. Of course I voted for my favourite colour, red, and it was one of the winners. These colour edition straps are called the Summit Edition and are named after two peaks in California: the Lassen volcanic peak (in lava red) and Tallac (in Tahoe blue). The special editions are currently available for pre-order, so I feel super lucky to be one of the first to have one. Thank you, Peak Design people!

Ok, some quick Rebecca trivia:

Choose a correct answer, I am a total sucker for anything:
A. Red
B. Limited Edition
C. Californian
D. All of the above

If you guessed D, you would be correct! I’m as giddy about the red Summit strap as I was the day I went all the way* to Venice Beach to get this awesome California flag Timbuk2 bag. Timbuk2 only made 50 of these bags to be sold at the grand opening of their Venice store. The Capture Clip makes my favourite bag even sexier.

(*All the way means 20 miles, but in LA traffic it amounts to 60-90 minutes of driving)

Peak Design and Timbuk2 Products

The Timbuk2 messenger bag in the limited California Edition, Peak Design’s Capture Pro clip on its strap, and the Summit Edition Slide camera strap.

I can’t exclude my little Olympus camera from the conversation, it’s my every day carry, my hiking and travelling camera, my street companion. I use the Cuff wrist strap to keep my camera from falling should it slip out of my hands while we walk or hike. The buckle is secure, but moves smoothly, making it easy to loosen or tighten around my wrist. The very similar Leash is a longer strap that can be adjusted in length and worn as a neck strap, on one shoulder, or across the chest.

Peak Design Products

Olympus Pen with MicroPlate, Cuff wrist strap, and Leash shoulder strap

Thank you to my new friends at Peak Design for these items that will be put to very good use. I look forward to retiring those swingy straps that move too much and never having to take my tripod plate on or off ever again!

30 Days and 30 Nights of Photography | Fathom Gallery

One of two galleries featuring my work during April is Fathom Gallery, newly relocated to the California Market Center in the downtown garment district. For the Month Of Photography ( they’re going BIG with a group show featuring 30 photographers. Each photographer will have a reception during which we get to display several pieces, all of which are for sale. I am featuring some architecture images as well as a selection from the project, Static.

My reception and solo show will be on Tuesday April 28th, and is open to everyone who wishes to attend. I look forward to meeting new people and sharing my work.

The entire show runs through April 30th. Please come to my reception on the 28th from 4-8pm
110 East 9th Street (Inside the California Market Center, first floor). Los Angeles.

Colorado Street Bridge. Currently on view at Fathom Gallery

Colorado Street Bridge. Currently on view at Fathom Gallery

The Perfect Exposure Gallery | Instagramland LA

During the month of April, I’m fortunate to have two opportunities to share my work. The first of which is the group show Instagramland LA at The Perfect Exposure Gallery in the awesome neighbourhood of Koreatown.
I am very thankful to gallery owner Armando Arorizo and curator Michael Cannon for the invitation to participate in this great show.
The goal of this exhibit is to showcase serious photographers who use Instagram to share their work, and to bring forth some diverse and quality work to be found among the banal nature of social media.

I have four prints hanging in the gallery. They will be on view through April 30th.

Please stop by and see some really great work by some 19 local photographers.
3519 West 6th Street. Los Angeles.

Western Avenue. Selection from Static. Currently on view at The Perfect Exposure Gallery

Western Avenue. Selection from Static. Currently on view at The Perfect Exposure Gallery