Finding a Camera Bag that Fits Your Off Road Adventures

At one time camera bags weren’t anything special, but as cameras themselves have grown technologically, they now require something much more heavy-duty than a book bag. There are so many choices today, the task of finding the right bag for your camera equipment may actually be a little overwhelming. If you’re not sure where to start, think about the size of your camera, how many lenses and flashes you normally carry with you, the level of comfort you need as well as whether or not you need quick access to change a lens during your general photo session. Also think about the environment in which you normally take pictures. Inside or outside? Covering long distances or only a short distance? For instance, those who take part in wildlife photography need a bag that is particularly comfy and resilient.

One of the most lightweight bags you can get is a waist pack, but this is only a good choice if all you need to carry is your SLR camera, one lens and basic accessories. Because this bag situates your gear on the front of your body, it’s great for easy access, as you are on the move. Shoulder bags are also for those who travel light when taking pictures, and one of the best things about a shoulder bag is that many people won’t even know from the outside it’s a camera bag. You are much less likely to have your gear stolen when it’s in a shoulder bag because of the way it blends in with most general bags people carry.

Because backpack camera bags are the most spacious for multiple lenses, filters and flashes, they appeal to those who need to have a wide variety of gear ready to go when on the job. A wedding photographer, for instance, may do best with this sort of bag due to the way venue, style and desired effect can change drastically from wedding to wedding. Because backpacks hold so much gear, a good one will come with many padded sections to protect each item from clanking against each other. Even amongst backpacks, there is quite a variety. Some come with wheels, and some such as the LowePro Computrekker AW come with a waterproof covering for outdoor expeditions. Even if a backpack camera bag is a little past your budget, remember it’s worth saving up for if it’s the kind of bag your really need to guard your gear.

If a backpack is far too big and a waist pack is far too small, a sling bag will be just right. This one is for the sporty photographer who covers large distances but still needs to be ready for just about anything. The SlingShot 200 AW provides enough room and security for your SLR camera and four lenses. Even though it positions your equipment on your back, you won’t have to miss a step while sliding your gear to your front with this bag. The SlingShot 200 is well padded, but one should still try it on before buying it. Some women photographers find sling bags uncomfortable due to the strap that puts pressure on the center of the chest.

Whatever you do, don’t just order your camera bag online because such and such magazine says it’s currently the top bag preferred by professional photographers. A camera bag is something you need to examine closely and try on before committing financially. While money does have to play a part for most people, don’t let it be the deciding factor. The saying “you get what you pay for” is all too often a truth that is learned the hard way. Like any big purchase, weigh up the decision carefully. Make sure there is a guarantee that will last you long enough to change your mind if it ultimately doesn’t work for you. If you take your time and do your research, you won’t go wrong. For more on off-road adventures and trailers visit Echo 4×4.

Safety for Table Lamps In Your Home

When decorating various rooms in your home, keep in mind table lamps which not only create a tranquil mood when they are switched on but add an attractive touch when they’re not being used as well. Table lamps come in so many different styles, they can enhance any decorative theme from antique to modern. Of course an overhead light will still be needed for when you need to see something in detail, but soft light is easier on the eyes and encourages relaxation and open conversation. The only downside to table lamps is the potential danger they can pose to a family – especially one with young children. Here are a few things you can do to make your end table lamps more secure.

The most common cause of injury due to a lamp is its cord. Not only is it a tripping hazard for everyone, toddlers can easily pull a lamp on top of them when trying to pull themselves up. To make the area safer, install a cord shortener which will enable you to hide the extra cord in a snap cover near the outlet. After that, all you need is to put in a cord channel from the point where the cord meets the wall down to the baseboard and along the wall until it makes a right angle towards the outlet. The purpose here will be three-fold: the cord will be protected, the tripping hazard removed, and the cord concealed within the channel which will give a cleaner look.

Light bulbs, depending on what kind, can also pose a risk. Many of them burn so hot and if exposed, a child’s curiosity could cause him to get badly burned. There are bulbs that burn at a lower temperature such as an energy-saving bulb. These have also grown in popularity because of their eco-friendliness, however, they create a different risk; energy-saving bulbs contain mercury which is highly dangerous if broken – particularly for kids and pregnant women. One just has to weigh up which is less dangerous for his household. If you look hard enough, you may find energy-saving bulbs that have seventy percent less mercury in them, making them much safer for daily use. However, they must still be disposed of properly.

Many people get so carried away when decorating a room that they decide to drape pretty scarves and fabrics over lampshades to get the glow they want, and they have no idea how dangerous this can be until it’s too late. While a lampshade is made to withstand the level of heat a bulb can give off, a scarf isn’t and can quickly catch alight. Simply by choosing the right bulb and shade for your lamp, you can get any effect you want. For example, a dark lampshade will give a dimmer light than a white one. If you want the option of bright light or dim light, choose a lamp with a dimmer. Also, choose a lower wattage bulb for softer light and a higher wattage bulb for bright light.

Now that you know how to safety-proof your lamps, make the most of them. Keep in mind that table lamps can make your home seem bigger than it actually is. By choosing lamps that are similar in shape and size but differ in levels of light, a varied dimension is created in a room that tricks the eye. If you walk through your home, you’ll probably find a corner that is just wasted space. Consider turning it into a reading alcove by bringing in a loveseat with a blanket and extra pillows. A small table and a couple lamps of your choice is all you need to feature a few of your favourite books and create an ambient reading light. Be creative. Remember it’s a cozy corner like this that adds character and makes your house a home. Visit African Furniture Merchants for more articles on furniture

All About Waxing Your Car

One of the biggest misconceptions about car maintenance today is that a wax job is only worth it if your drive a sports car or a luxury car. The truth is that any car will look better and last longer if it is waxed regularly. Besides adding shine, regular waxing will even make washing your car much easier and less frequently needed. This is because wax acts as a barrier to protect paint from bugs, dust, acid rain, sap and anything that else that may stick to your car. Instead of having to scrub these substances off, they will wash off smoothly without hardly any effort at all. Not only that, but your car will also be more protected from body damage. Dents and scratches not only look bad, but they can be extremely expensive to fix. Little stones and rocks that impact your car at high speeds will be much more likely to move smoothly off of a waxed car rather than damage it.

While many wax manufacturers declare a wax job is needed every one to two months, there are many factors to consider when making that decision. For example, a car that is parked in a garage can get away with less frequent wax jobs than a car that is always parked outside. Extreme weather such as snow, wind and heavy rain will take its toll on any vehicle. A car will need more frequent wax jobs in a colder climate. The type of wax also naturally plays a big part as to how long it lasts. For instance, a synthetic wax is said to last as long as a year, but most wax jobs won’t last longer than a few months.

If you’re still not sure, here is a simple test you can use to see if your car is overdue for a wax job. While washing your car, check out how the water sits on the paint. If it mostly forms into beads of water, then your wax job is still protecting your car, however, if the water is mostly forming into large layers, your car is in need of a good wax job. To perform an additional analysis you’ll need terrycloth that is one hundred percent cotton. After your car has been washed and dried, twist the cloth to the right and to the left with a forceful hand. If it makes a screeching sound, then it’s time to wax your car.

If it has been more than six months since your car has been waxed, it’s best to let the professionals do the job. At the right garage, your car can be detailed properly and efficiently. After washing and drying your car, the technicians will apply a harsh polishing paste and follow it up with motorized buffer over every inch of the painted exterior. Keep in mind that not just any garage will do. Ask what kind of wax is used before having it done, and make sure the wax is carnauba based. Many automatic car washes offer a wax spray that is mostly water and will not be worth your trouble. However, it will be much easier to preserve your car’s exterior with regular waxing at home if you get a proper professional job done first.

Waxing your car at home is actually a very simple process. Start by washing your car thoroughly. Because an automatic wash can get rust and filth from other cars washed onto yours, it’s best to wash your car by hand. Then you can take extra attention to get all the blemishes out before the wax goes on. Use a cotton cloth or sponge to apply a thin coating of wax in a shaded area, and only cover a small section of your car’s exterior at a time. This will allow you to take off the excess wax before it dries. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when waxing a car is using a circular motion which can actually show up after the wax dries. Rather wax in straight lines to hide any streaks that may appear. Visit Kia Menlyn for more articles on passenger cars.

How to Choose a Travel Tour Operator

If you’ve been dreaming of an adventure trip, you should consider contacting a travel tour operator. This travel expert will be ready to tailor-make a holiday trip to suit your geographical interests as well as your favourite adventure activities. Whether you imagine yourself snorkeling, hot air ballooning or horseback riding, a travel tour operator will know all the ins and outs of how to organize your dream vacation within the perimeters of your personal budget. The first thing you want to be sure of when hiring a travel tour operator is that they belong to a trustworthy travel association such as the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA) which represents the private sector of the incoming tourism industry of South Africa. By going through a group such as SATSA, not only will you have a peace of mind that the operator can be trusted, but you will save yourself the time of comparing costs, booking transportation and accommodation as well as planning the itinerary.

Being part of a travel association is good but not enough for you to immediately put your vacation planning in the hands of an operator. Spend time researching different operators that a group such as SATSA recommends. Use search engines such as, and create folders on your computer to store information about the tour operators you’re most considering. Nearly one hundred percent of all travel research is now done on the internet, so you certainly won’t have any problems finding what you’re looking for. After your online research is finished, page through some magazines such as National Geographic Traveler which is a great source for tour operators all over the world. Spend an afternoon asking your local travel agent questions, and ask your friends if they recommend any operators for your adventure travel planning.

Before you choose a tour operator, it’s important for you to know the basics of your dream vacation. If you’ve ever made a “bucket list” of place s you want to go and things you want to do, see which ones match up with your intended time of travel. For instance, if your trip has to be in the winter, that won’t be a good time to climb Mount Everest; in fact, it would be fatal. If you’re not traveling alone, write down how many people will be going with you. Write down your budget and all of the details that are non-negotiable. If safety is your first priority, put it in your trip description. This is your chance to make some solid decisions on what your travel experience will be like before you allow the operator to influence your decisions.

Now that you have a pretty good idea of the kind of vacation you want to take, it’s time to approach some of your top travel tour operators to get some answers. Find out how long the operator has been in business, what credentials they have attained and the demographics of those who normally go on their trips. Ask them for an estimate of how much the trip may cost, and find out if they can handle travel insurance for you. If the trip will be physically demanding, does your ability line up with the physical activity on the trip? Also be sure to ask about the guides’ experience. The last thing you want is to spend your dream vacation with a new tour guide who might as well be experiencing it for the first time. Remember to try and uncover anything that could be hidden. Check the terms and conditions, find out about deposits and cancellations, and get clear feedback on what kinds of financial extras may be added to your trip costs such as drinks, tips and meals. Ask for a basic itinerary of each day of the trip to see if it suits your pace. Lastly ask the operator for some references of past clients, so you can contact and hear about their experiences.

After doing proper research on various operators, writing down the non-negotiables of your trip and asking your favourite operators for some specifics, you’re almost ready to make your decision. One of the most important aspects of a company to consider is their customer service. Remember that you could need to reach them quickly if an emergency arises when you’re overseas. How quickly can you get a representative on the phone? If you are going through an automated dialing system for twenty minutes only to leave a message after the beep, you know that tour operator should not be entrusted with your tour. It makes sense to be partial to companies who not only respond to your inquiries promptly but go the extra mile to make the trip exactly how you’ve imagined it. By examining various travel tour operators under these lenses, it will be easy to make your decision. Visit Echo 4×4 for more ideas on adventure holidays!

How to Make Tile Flooring as Good as New

In recent years, tile flooring has become more and more common because of its variety, resourcefulness and durability. When basic maintenance is taken care of, a tile floor can last a lifetime. Regardless of what kind of look you’re going for, a tile floor design can be created to fit what you’ve imagined because there are literally thousands of colors and designs of tiling to choose from. What’s more is that many tiling options can even be coordinated onto your kitchen counter tops, bathroom walls, etc. While tiles are quite easy to keep clean, it is vital to clean them properly and regularly if you want them to last.

The first thing to think about when keeping anything clean is how to prevent it from ever becoming dirty, and this is especially the case for grouting between tiles. Too many people worry about keeping the tiles clean but fail to care for the grouting which actually keeps the tiles in place. Concerning your tiles’ endurance, it’s imperative to get your grouting re-sealed every three or four years – particularly if it’s lightly-coloured. The seal will act as a barrier against dirt and grime which will make it easier to keep the grouting clean without any special attention. Remember to clean the grouting well before applying the seal. As for the tiles, take a few minutes each day to sweep up loose dirt. When dirt has time to accumulate and stick to the floor, it calls for a much deeper cleaning job to remove it; by removing dirt each day, you will save yourself much time and effort in the long run.

In addition to sweeping regularly, it’s important to mop your tiles once a week. It’s important, however, to do your research first on how to clean your specific type of tiles. Otherwise, you could easily damage them. Laminate flooring and ceramic tiles can be mopped without a worry while marble tiles and granite can only be cleaned with water and a cleaner specifically intended for those tiles. The most important thing is to avoid acidic cleaners which can eat away at the tile and grouting surfaces. Rather use something that has a neutral pH. Baking soda, for example, has a pH of 9.0 and is therefore safe for any type of tile.

Cleaning grouting is probably one of the most dreaded chores in the household, but it’s easier than most people think. Create your own grout cleanser by mixing one part water to three parts baking soda. Put some cleanser onto an old toothbrush, and scrub the grouting lines to remove all of the grit and reveal its true color. The baking soda will break down rough dirt within the grouting and protect the tiles at the same time. Grouting is usually designed to match the tiling, so if your tiles are clean but your grouting isn’t, it will show up – especially if the tiles and grouting are pale in color. This is one of those tedious house chores that is well worth the effort. After the grouting is cleaned, it can be sealed and re-sealed every few years.

Contrary to what many people believe, tiles can be stained quite easily by things like coffee or grape juice. Don’t wait on wiping up spills; otherwise, you will need some deep cleaning action to get rid of the stain. The fact that tiles can be wiped up so easily makes them a great option for homeowners with children or those who host big groups of people regularly. Another benefit of tile flooring is that if one of your tiles is broken, it’s much easier to fix than other types of flooring. The tile can simply be replaced, and the area surrounding the tile re-grouted. While tiles are more costly than most other types of flooring, you must remember that they are capable of lasting a lifetime and will add great value to your home. Visit Mel Simmons for more on houses.