Raspberryfisher's Blog

notes on fishing & travel


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In my last week photography segment, I noted I will often keep a hat, scarf and gloves in my camera bag. Thus, this week’s segue to gloves and mitts..


In winter, I resist adding a winter coat, but I am quick to put on gloves, scarf, hat, and insulated winter pants. I have found with fly fishing in winter I have become very selective on what gloves I wear in everyday use, as many gloves hinder movement and control.

Many gloves and mitts have a palm pad that restricted contact and movement, which I detest, so my selection is based on practical comfort in use.

So what are the five (5) gloves (and mitts) I rely upon when I leave the house? from the tropics to -40C weather. Starting from the left:

  1. Hand knitted woolen mitts with fleece liners, made by my Mother-In-Law. My warmest pair and my favourite.
  2. Hestra 35111 from Sweden over-mitts (size 8) that are used in a combination of the following two gloves. These mitts add an additional protection against water, wet snow and wind.
  3. Helstra 34130 Heavy Merino Wool Liner Glovers warm and yet, I can still operate the camera.
  4. Filson Woolen Fingerless provides the direct contact to allow me to sense the line and the drift of my fly. I have experiment with many gloves, mitts, and these are my gloves for fishing or when direct contact is important. As the knit is not tight, I do find the end fray and need maintenance. This variant is no longer available, and I cannot vouch for their replacement.

Not shown:

  1. TFO Mangrove fingerless sun gloves when we are fishing in the tropics  to protect my hands when I am out in the sun all day.

And scarfs?

As a child I hated scarfs, as they usually made me itchy! but I have since happily adopted old Merino Wool (vintage) scarfs and Cashmere.

My other advise on a scarf, make sure it is long – 120cm minimum.




Written by raspberryfisher

2018/08/11 at 22:35

my Camera bag

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In continuation of my previous blog, here is an update of my everyday Camera bag.

camera bag

First there is no reasonable solution for one bag that does it all, so I have split the contents into three to suit what I am intending to do.

  1. The Base Bag, discussed within this blog
  2. The Tripod Bag, touched upon in this blog
  3. The Filter Bag, to be covered in another post

And if this is of any value, I will add my ratings and any advise that might assist the reader.

The anchor for all decisions

Nikon D600 Camera outfit with

  • Crumpler Wrist Strap – A+
  • RRS L-Plate “Arca-Swiss Like Quick Mount – A
  • Two 32GB Cards, set to overflow – A
  • DK21 Rubber EyeCup – Replacement
  • Two Batteries and  Nikon Battery Charger MH-25

As previously note, I like the Nikon D600 and choose full-frame as I wanted quality optics that were wide. In today’s world, there in-camera enhancements I would have liked – a wide field for spot focus measurements and Bluetooth.

My default settings are ISO 100 -0.3EV in Auto-Aperture with JPEG fine.  I have re-assign the Fn Button to toggle RAW on-off.

I have yet to shoot too many images without clearing the memory that I needed more than 1 card, so the second card is a safety.

Always have two batteries with me, but the charger is likely to packed with other power  accessories.

The Crumpler Wrist provides (much appreciated) security and sometimes relief as I let the camera hang down. It is no longer made, and as I look at the many available wrist straps available, this model continues to be the best.

To fit the RRS Barcket, I remove the Nkon Sensor cover and added a thinfilm protective sheet.

Zeiss Lens

As noted in my last post, focus and depth of field control are very important to me, with consideration for filters, while auto-focus is not. So my goto lens are

  • Zeiss Milvus 18mm – A+
  • Zeiss Distagon 25mm – A+
  • Zeiss Milvux Macro 50mm – A+

And I have no plans to add more.

Please note, the lens hoods are engaged by default.

Cameras Filters

  • B&W Circular Polarizer – 67mm – A
  • Breakthrough ND 10 f-stop – 77mm with 67mm wide adapter – A
  • Breakthrough ND 10 f-stop – 77mm – A

Yes, I do have clear filters, specifically B+W Clear MRC. The polarizer is almost always on the 50mm2, unless low light mandates it to be off. As I am also shooting manual focus, I could have / should have gone with a linear polarizer.

Of course the ND (Neutral Density Filters require a tripod, and I typically keep the polarizer for use on the 50mm only.  If I am going to do a wide-screen polarizer, then I go to my filter bag and pull out the Lee-Filter 105mm polarizer.

I have found the B+W 67-77mm adapter has effectively seized to the filter, so rather than struggle in the field to change out, I have the duplicate.  Also note that at the time of purchasing the 67mm setup, BreakThrough did not offer a 67mm.

And lens cleaning clothes. I clean the sensor at home.

the Tripod

Use for night, macro (in possible), slow (waterfall) et cetera, so it is used when I know I want to do something extraordinary, versus when I am walking the around a city, et cetera.

  • FLM CPS 26 Carbon Travel Tripod, A rating, with :
    • FLM CB-48F Ball-Head – A
    • with a RRS B2-AS-II  using a 3/8″ to 1/4″; adapter secured with Loctite – A
    • with a Nikon wired release – A

My opinions ….

The tripod is small, light and easy to use. I have had previous issues (not with FLM) on screw lock legs, but find the FLM lock work great. The support from Canada with Ari is world class.

If there is an issue (which I have not discuss with Ari), one leg click does not always automatically engaged. Minor, but something I was for.

Given the large format re-use and the associated bed on my Toyo (not an issue with the Sinar), I prefer the RRS Clamp head. Nothing wrong with the clamps from FLM, but I really prefer the clamp.

As such, I have two ball-heads on my tripods and mono-pods, either FLM and RRS. I like the handle layout on the RRS a little better, but this tripod and my smaller Manfrotto have FLMs.  I will discuss the other tripod with my filter bag.

From film, I am use to wire cable releases, but a built in release that can work from any position would be a real upgrade. I have seen recently some releases with amazing stated functionality, but I dislike the aspect it relies on a smart phone to setup and operate.

I also have two monopods, which my be used when flexibility in movement is important, but I want-need to improve stability. The two are:

  • Original – Manfrott 434B
  • Benro MC-91EX with a RRS MonoPod Head.

I like to add, the monopods can also function as a staff, not just for walking, but also for personal security. The Benro was used by Caitlan in here solo travels in the Middle East.

Personal Items – pictured and not

Many are associated with my travels

  • Magnifier – 2,5x (old man eyes) as back-up to my prescription glasses.
  • Comb for hairy beast management
  • Pen – either a Green Uniball  or my White Montegrappa
  • A small notebook
  • Lens cleaning clothes
  • iPhone, Wallet, Passport and my airline ID tags-tockets
  • Ear plugs or NC Bose Phones – A (for fitting my ear)
  • Filson Fingerless gloves and Hat. Once the cool part of autumn arrives, I also often have a scarf on me or in the bag.

and last the bag

Neither bag I use get a rating better than C+!  I alternate between the Peak Design 15″ Messenger, as pictured above and ONA Messenger. In short the benefit and short-falls.

  • Capacity – all bag manufacturers over inflate their bag capacity
  • Dividers – ONA are okay and Peaks are horrible to setup & keep equipment inplace. For PD I use my old inserts from Crumpler (better bag, but too small).
  • Front Pocket for iPhone, Wallet and Passport – ONA okay but Peak fail (use laptop slot). Peak, just add 2″ in depth please.
  • Back Storage for laptop – ONA okay for small, Peak at best a iPad.
  • Rain Protection – ONA is fair and Peak is good
  • Front and Top Access – Ona is fair and Peak is very good
  • Top Strap Carry – ONA is poor and Peak is good

No winner and I keep my eyes for a better answer.


Written by raspberryfisher

2018/08/05 at 21:56

Zeiss Milvus and more

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There are several different formats of art I appreciate – watercolours, print and very much photography. Of the three, it is photography that is a continuous draw.

So yes, I have made the migration to digital, though trying to hang onto to Black+White on film, but this issue is time.

After many years using the Nikon D600 there are a couple of features on the higher end cameras that I would like – wifi interconnectivity and more focus points – that I had no anticipated when I bought the Nikon.

In this journey, I have settle on the Zeiss (prime) Lens as I want the precise manual focus control, but really like the transition from sharp to soft. And of recent, I completed my collection with the purchase of the Milvus.

So a sampling of my images of recent and some old, illustrating what I like to do with my “seeing”. In all cases, I have cropped and reduce the image to 700pixels, but otherwise no other photo-editing.

For those images not in my backyard, I have identify the location.

The Milvus 50mm Macro

From Yesterday, a tree frog on the sheets last night. Here, I keep the depth of field short to put emphasis on the eyes.

frog 1_DSC2976

frog 2_DSC2978

and earlier, showing a sharp image across the sensor, and ability to hold a strong edge.

DSC_7606 Hosta BW

and continuing with black and white and using what the camera and lens can do

BW DWW_0831

and from my initial experiments showing the blend from sharp to soft. The fancy term is describe this is bokeh.  You need to pick which you prefer.  Judy uses the third image as her background on here computer.

f4 c DSC_7075

f8 c DSC_7077

f22 c DSC_7080

and my background?

dragonfly DWW_9033

Zeiss Distagon 25mm

Then there is my 25mm Zeiss lens. In the world of  high end lens, this lens does not get a lot of love, but I picked for its strength of great wide close-in images, which I did in the following pictures.

bes DWW_4122

bes DWW_4134

taj walkin_7264

Of course, India


Hamburg, Germany

stockholm 7 DWW_1406

stockholm 8 DWW_1421

stockholm 4 DWW_1347

Gamla Stan, Stockholm

ireland 3 IMG_0431

South Coast, Ireland

And returning home, the Zeiss Distagon is not a slouch for landscape

bw DWW_0696

But when I look for grand landscapes, I look for wider, so my new acquisition

Zeiss Milvus 18mm

Between storms 3 days ago, which I need to transform to Black & White.

between storm DSC2949

iPhone 6

and then there is the iPhone, which I also maintain is a good landscape camera

2 IMG_3123 1200

St Malo, France

ireland 1IMG_0418

South Coast (Copper Coast), Ireland



Written by raspberryfisher

2018/07/29 at 20:09

Matt or David – Office Lord

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No offense to Chris or Peter, but who is your favourite Time Lord – Matt Smith or David Tenant.  And can you make your decision without considering their companions (Karen G, Alex or Catherine Tate!).

matt 700


With a slight node, given the difficult relationship with River Song and his ability to wear a bow tie, I will let Matt Smith watch over my workspace.


Written by raspberryfisher

2018/07/29 at 02:43

Posted in Work Travel

Marketing and Reliability

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Wow, which would you believe?

  • Traditional Philips Tungsten Longlife Bulb that will provide only 1 1/2 years life
  • The Philips LED light for 10 years.

philips reliability

Sadly, I still have bulbs – tungsten – in use after 13 years in our house, but I have yet to see a LED or Compact Fluorescent last 3 years. Sadly, the current generation seem to fail sooner too.

There are many Youtube clips identifying why LED bulbs fail early (as they race to be cheap). Myself, I rather buy a more expensive bulb that will last me of 10 years of use.


Written by raspberryfisher

2018/07/29 at 02:05

NO to iTunes

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So on my last venture, I decided to confirm how many of my purchased songs cannot be played when I am not on the network – 60+%.

Nearly 2/3 of my purchases are not available on my travels – whether in a plane or remote locations through-out the world.

itunes pain


what a waste, and so the lesson with these arbitrary digital leasing rights from Apple and the publishers ….

.. NO to Apple iTunes

and buy the Media and own the song for you life – whether you are at home, in a place or in the desert is the Middle East.

Yesterday, I bought a CD from Stockholm’s First Aid Kit.

first aid kit

so, I continue to be a consumer of music, but I want to listen to the music on my terms.



Written by raspberryfisher

2018/07/29 at 01:51

Posted in Life in the back, Uncategorized

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Tarpon Reels

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In a previous series of postings, I discussed my thoughts on reels for the intended use. I wrote this series, as I often see passion mixed with industry marketing override solid thought and analysis. Some of my key messages:

  • We over-worry about weight for trout reels, and should focus on something that is interchangeable and flexible, id est, get a reel that allows for multiple spools and should be about to get spools 10 years later.
    • If you are fishing with silk lines, consider a reel that is open with little backing.
  • The industry’s lack of on-going support for spools is sad. I am not a fan of planned obsolesce.
  • For Spey rods, many reels are too light
  • Sealed drags are good in tough conditions – Winter and Salt
  • Large Arbours are good for fish that run long – Steelhead, Bonefish and Tarpon
  • Anti-reverse reels have a real advantage with the drag control on the reel hand side, but they are heavier.

As of recent, as I have begun working with heavy line rods that are light, such as 12wt rods, I have added to expectations for these large reels for saltwater fishing.

  • Weight – please less than 10oz or 280 grams
  • Diameter of 112mm – while larger is better for retrieve, it does increase the momentum-twist the hand feels.
  • Backing that exceed 200m, preferably with 30# Dacron.
  • Open Spool – lets the backing dry.

Without a good flyshop within a days drive of me to allow me to test reels, I have to rely upon datasheets and experience to select a large saltwater reel with a sealed drag that I believe can take the stress.  My (our) choices are ….

Reel weight spool OD backing price
Danielsson L5W 8twelve 229 B 108 A 227
H5D 9thirteen 247 B 108 B 329
H5D 11fourteen 272 C+ 118 A+ 336
Henschel Anti-Reverse 3 306 D+ 98 A+ 540
Henschel Anti-Reverse 4 370 D+ 107 A+ 520
Abel SDS 11/12 282 A+ 115 A+ 1095
Tibor Signature 11-12S 371 B+ 128 A 785
Nautilus Monster 280 A+ 127 A+ 895


  • Reel with the H5Ds are Danielsson
  • Weight is in grams
  • Spool refers to strength and being “open”
  • OD is the Outside diameter of the spool in millimeters
  • Backing refers to the ability to carry 200+m of backing, with B implying you need to consider braid versus dacron.
  • Price is USD as of 2018-07-28

If money was no concern, you and I should look to the Abdel SDS, or a Nautilus Monster.

If money is a concern, look to the Danielsson H5D 9thirteen and if 200m is an absolute, spool on small braid, such as a Cortland Gel-Spun (in Pink too!) or Hatch Premium.

My answer: Danielsson H5D 9thirteen with Cortland Gel-Spun.


Written by raspberryfisher

2018/07/28 at 23:43

Posted in Fly-Fishing, Saltwater

Tagged with