Thursday, January 9, 2014

Heading to CHA Winter 2014

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Tomorrow afternoon I'm boarding a plane and heading off to the Craft and Hobby Association 2014 Mega Show! I'm going on a Press badge again this year, and my main focus during the four day show will be to photograph as many of the new products as possible so I can share them here on the blog. If you have a favorite manufacturer or three (or ten) you'd like to make sure I visit, please leave me a note in the comments- I'll be making a list and want to make sure that I include the coverage that my readers want to see!

Speaking of coverage, it'll be formatted a little differently than in past years. I'll still be posting booth-by-booth here on the blog, but instead of filling your Feedly (or chosen RSS reader) page with tons of photos that you have to scroll past, each post will include a small number- probably 8-12- pictures from a manufacturer's booth along with a link prominently displayed at the top and bottom of the post leading to a Flickr gallery showing every photo that I've uploaded from that booth. You'll still be able to get to all of the pictures easily, it'll just keep things a little neater on the feed side of the blog. I'll also be including all pertinent information including collection names, estimated shipping dates, and any other details in a block of text right at the top of each post so you won't have to search through tons of embedded text to find it.

In addition to a more efficient blogging plan for CHA, my packing plans have also been streamlined and I'm going light! I'm packing four days of clothing, personal items, electronics, and photography gear into two small bags, including this new beauty...

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Not my stuff- I swiped this photo off of the Amazon product page. :)

I normally take my rolling scrapbook tote to CHA to hold snacks, my laptop, and other items I need access to on the show floor, but it's a few years old now and has seen better days. Thanks to some enabling from a friend who said I needed it, the Vert LE from Sherpani has come to live with me. The picture doesn't convey size well, but it's not a big rolling suitcase- it's a laptop sized bag that falls just below my knee when it's standing upright, so it's nice and compact- the perfect size for my laptop + a few days' worth of clothing and toiletries.

My camera bag also got an upgrade, thanks to my awesome parents who gave me the Click Elite Schulter case for Christmas.

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Besides the awesome retro look, this case is the perfect size for my camera, iPad, cell phone, wallet, and either a bottle of water or an extra camera lens. It's a little bigger than a small purse, so it's also nice and compact.

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Also not my stuff. :)

I've also sized-down in the camera department, and this is the first CHA that I won't be toting The Brick- the nickname that Darren semi-affectionately gave to my beloved Nikon D3. I still use the D3 quite often, but my everyday carry camera is now a Nikon Df!

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I admit to first falling in love with the retro vibe on this body (I've already had several people ask me if it's a film camera!), but don't let the looks fool you- it has a D4 sensor crammed inside it and takes awesome photos in crazy low light conditions with ease. 12,800 ISO? Not a problem! It's also Nikon's smallest and lightest full-frame body and is several pounds lighter than my D3. My shoulder is thanking me already.

I've always kept things small in the lens department, and my trusty 35mm f/2 is along for the trip again. I rarely take this lens off of my Df, and, though I'll also be toting a 50mm f/1.4 along as a backup just in case something breaks, it's been my CHA lens of choice since my first show. I learned quickly that a zoom lens is not needed for booth photography at the show, so now I always opt for a lighter prime lens over the weight of a zoom. Plus, this is really just about my favorite lens ever, for everything!
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And now it's back to packing with me! Depending on the quality of the wifi at our hotel I may be able to actually blog from the show, otherwise coverage will commence when I return after the show ends. I'll also be posting to Instagram throughout the show, and you can follow my account here.