After Brian went to work, I headed out to the store to see what it was like. It was phenomenal! It was so exciting that I forgot to take a photo of the exterior of the store. . . or even the interior, and their employees are so darn nice that I think they would have been fine with my photographing in the store. The store is several floors of every conceivable piece of photographic equipment, and there are workers every 5 feet to help you with your questions--employees who actually seem to know what they are talking about, give advice, and make suggestions, without any kind of "sell" thrown in.
Because I had been trudging all through the city, carrying my camera and several lenses, trying to keep the bag from falling off my shoulders, I really wanted to look at their travel backpacks.
They had rows and rows of backpacks.
And when a salesperson asked me if I needed any assistance, I asked for advice. As it turns out, my Lowepro backpack is a miserable experience for a reason: it's really meant for guys. (Doug has now inherited it from me.)
She showed me this Tamrac and sat on the floor with me, checking to see if all of my equipment would fit nicely in the backpack. Then she demonstrated how to use it.
The backpack has several different ways to access the contents. The outer pocket is perfect for storing my Nook tablet.
The pocket that is on my left, while wearing the backpack, allows ready access to the camera. The salesperson showed me how you undo the front strap across your front, just below your collarbone, slip your arm out of the right strap, and let the bag fall easily forward on your left side to make it easy to grab your camera. The bag is still secured on your left shoulder.
For quick access instead to the lenses, you would use the same process of undoing the front strap, and slip out of the left shouder strap, allowing the bag to fall forward on your right side, while still secure on your right shoulder.
When not wearing the bag, you can access all of the contents through the large front zipper. The blue nylon looking thing on the left in one of the pockets is a rain "jacket" for the camera bag.
The salesperson gave me a slip to take to check out to pull up the bag for me. I went up to the counter to talk to another clerk about lenses and battery grips. This salesperson asked me about my model of camera, and then pulled out a Nikon D300s so that I could test out battery grips on the same camera that I have. He showed me the Zeikos battery grip, and the Nikon battery grip, explained the differences (basically none except price) and showed me how to attach it to a camera.
Then I asked whether it would work on my camera with my Really Right Stuff quick release plate, and he said sure, but checked it out on my own camera. But he also noticed that I had my quick release plate on backwards and fixed it! And he showed me how to set the menu settings in my camera to enable the order of accessing the battery I would prefer (first in camera grip, then in camera body.)
It was a whole personalized photography lesson in the store for me! It was my "dream" hour!
By the way, I'm surprised by how much I'm liking both of these purchases, and how much easier it was to make the purchases "live" rather than obsessing for hours on the internet trying to figure it out. And I don't know that I ever would have figured out that my "perfectly good" Lowepro backpack was definitely a mistake for me and that I should just cut my losses, or that the quick release tripod plate was on backwards on my camera.
I gotta go back!
Next up, the final hour in New York City, and the fear that Dianna would never be allowed to leave! (What's a trip without that final boost of traveling adrenalin?)