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Mardi Gras - Cover up camera labels?
Old 02-04-2011   #1
Mudman
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Mardi Gras - Cover up camera labels?

I'm going to be in New Orleans, and it'll coincide with Mardi Gras lucky enough. I'm planning on bring my d300 and my m6, and I'm wondering if I should get some gaffers tape to cover up the labels on the lenses and bodies. Am I being paranoid? Just curious of others experiences in the city. I'm a country boy.

Thanks,
Eric
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Old 02-04-2011   #2
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Join the Leica Users Group. Several members live in/visit often New Orleans and also partake of Mardi Gras. Ask Chris Williams and Sonny Carter what they do. Have fun.
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Old 02-04-2011   #3
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A waste of time since a camera thief will know what you have in spit of the tape..

If he's a grab and run thief it won't matter either..
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Old 02-04-2011   #4
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I bring my M2 to Mardi Gras every year, never greeked it once. Last year I did drop it though, had to get a new beamsplitter and what not. I can't imagine anyone trying to steal your gear, but I guess it depends on if you're just watching the parades (and where) or if you're doing the whole terrible french quarter thing
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Old 02-04-2011   #5
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Thieves aren't the brightest light bulbs in the ceiling. They know Nikon and Canon. Leica is completely unknown to them.
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Old 02-04-2011   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudman View Post
I'm going to be in New Orleans, and it'll coincide with Mardi Gras lucky enough. I'm planning on bring my d300 and my m6, and I'm wondering if I should get some gaffers tape to cover up the labels on the lenses and bodies. Am I being paranoid? Just curious of others experiences in the city. I'm a country boy.

Thanks,
Eric
I would not worry about, I don't think I've ever covered up my gear with tape down here. It's NOLA, everyone is used to cameras down here.

What I would recommend is to not carry a ton of gear, it's pointless since you're bound to do allot of walking and you won't want the extra weight.

Look us up when you get down here, we usually have a group get together down in the Quarter.

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Old 02-04-2011   #7
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Carry a speed graphic.

As a weapon.

The plus side is that you can take a shot of the attempted thief after wards.

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Real world?

Don't worry about it. You won't be able to stop the ones who really want your camera unless you're stupid enough to be willing to die for it. There is no camera in this world worth your life.

Period.

End of story.
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Old 02-04-2011   #8
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I visit New Orleans often, as I live in Baton Rouge. I have been there in broad daylight, and in the worse part of towns... No problems at all... as far as being in the French Quarter... be careful as it will be packed for Mardi Gras, you could get bumped around so maybe keep the strap around your neck... and as far as thieves... there will be many others with their equipment out, and I have never noticed any tape on dslrs or leicas.

Just have fun and be safe, and you should be fine.
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Old 02-05-2011   #9
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Great Thanks folks! I'll definitely give the NOLA contingent a ring when I'm in town.
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Old 02-05-2011   #10
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Originally Posted by emraphoto View Post
that is a foolhardy misconception. i have spent a LOT of time with boosters and i assure you this is not even remotely on target. often it is a matter of great pride to be able to disseminate between what's what.
Could you explain what you mean by "disseminate"? Did you mean "differentiate" or "discern" or "distinguish" or "tell apart one from the other"?

I particularly don't believe that thieves are bright. They're thieves, they steal, they grab things that aren't secure. What type of intellect is necessary for this task? A minimal one.

I also don't believe there's anything like a "camera thief." Thieves steal, and they'll steal anything, from a Leica to a Lomo or a Diana or a Vivitar. To them, a camera is just an item that may yield a good return when fenced. Some brands may pay better than others, but to be quite honest, I think it's a myth that a Nikon, Canon or Leica will bring them more cash than, say, a Minolta or some other brand.

In short, take your cameras with, don't cover them, no traffic accidents have been attributed to the Leica red dot or the yellow lettering of the Nikon straps. Just be cautious, keep your gear close to you and have a good time.
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Old 02-05-2011   #11
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I particularly don't believe that thieves are bright. They're thieves, they steal, they grab things that aren't secure. What type of intellect is necessary for this task? A minimal one.

I also don't believe there's anything like a "camera thief." Thieves steal, and they'll steal anything, from a Leica to a Lomo or a Diana or a Vivitar. To them, a camera is just an item that may yield a good return when fenced.
Exactly my feelings. Are they going to say, "Nah, just an FSU copy of a IIIa?" Or "I don't think Konica Hexars are worth stealing?" MAYBE not a plastic toy like a Holga, but I'd keep an equal eye on both a Holga and an M9 (and not tape over either of them).

And on a related topic, from http://www.rogerandfrances.com/short...20archive.html, March 10, 2010

Surprisingly many photographers reckon that taping over the logos on their cameras makes them less obtrusive. It is hard to see how. If anything, it must make them more obtrusive, quite apart from making the camera less pleasant to handle and (unless you can find exactly the right sort of tape) forcing you to deal with the unsavoury goo that exudes from the edges of the vast majority of tapes.

After all, very few people pay that much attention to the appearance of a camera, even when it's being pointed at them. Ninety-nine out of a hundred won't notice either way: a camera is a camera is a camera, regardless of what it does or doesn't have written on it. The hundredth will look at the camera; notice the tape; and wonder why on earth it's there. This is what I mean by its being more obtrusive than an untaped camera. Is there something wrong with the camera, so that it needs to be taped together? Is the photographer trying to hide something, and if so, what? Is he ashamed of having an inferior camera? Or is he just a prat?


Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-05-2011   #12
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For the ultimate in tape cover- ups check this link.

http://lifehacker.com/5259519/deter-...ng-your-camera
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Old 02-05-2011   #13
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As a veteran of 23 New Orleans Mardi Gras, I'd be more concerned about being able to find my car after a parade than about my camera. Do you have any idea how many people will be packed onto the parade routes? Especially if you end up on St. Charles Ave or Canal St. A little P&S digi w/ a good flash would be a better idea. There's a lot of jostling and bumping out there. And whatever you do, if you're interested in a trinket on the street, don't bend over to pick it up! Step on it, and THEN reach down and, hopefully, pick it up. I've had people try to grab my ankle and pull my foot off the beads so they could grab them anyway, but at least this way you don't get your hand stomped. Make sure you get off the streets when the cops come and tell everyone it's over, or you'll be out there sweeping the streets during the day and spending the nights in jail for a while. That's their way of getting free clean up help. They round up the stragglers and drunks very quickly. Dress warm, it's really cold w/ the wind coming off the river.

Make sure you get a roast beef po boy and Barq's at Johnny's in the quarter (the bread is all wrong, but the sandwich itself is old school delicious), and the gumbo and bread pudding at Ajax Seafood are as good as anywhere in town, which means better than anyplace on earth.

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Old 02-05-2011   #14
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i'd be a lot more worried about someone barfing on or spilling a hurricane on my camera in those crowds.
i hate crowds, and i don't care for new orleans after nightfall, but if i were to shoot night-time parades, i'd go minimalist with a simple point-and-shoot film/flash cam stuffed with tri-x ...
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Old 02-05-2011   #15
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I wouldn't worry about it. There will be lots of cameras out there. Use common sense, be aware of your surroundings. If someone wants to steal your camera they won't care about the brand per se, they want to see how aware you are of your surroundings...
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Old 02-05-2011   #16
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fair enough, thanks for the thoughts folks. For the Mardi Gras festival itself, I'm not sure how many photos I'll take to be honest. More intersted in the city for the rest of the time I'm there. Thanks for the tips on clothing. I was curious what's like down there. Hit -30 F here in upstate NY the other day.
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Old 02-05-2011   #17
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Thieves.. Bright or not: A number of years ago I lost a number of items from my studio. I had just begun in business and didnít have money for camera insurance or an alarm system at the time. No cameras were taken, only some long lenses and a spot meter. Many expensive pieces of camera gear were left untouched. The thief had a key to the studio door. My studio was within a large building. I was one of 3 occupants. My landlord had keys to my studio in their safe.

One of my landlordís employees got into the safe, and with the keys to my studio, on a Sunday afternoon, entered the main building, and then my studio. He made away with the photo gear. The Pawn Shop Detail of the SFPD recovered one of the lenses and was able to trace it back to the thief, my landlordís employee. The employee had been seen entering the building on the day of the theft. He worked for my landlord as an electronics technician, repairing medical equipment. He wasnít prosecuted for the crime, as he was the son of a US Senator, and his father used his office to have him released.

One of my passed assistants, on one of his first ventures into self-employment landed a job doing some photos for a large (very well known name) engineering company in San Francisco. He was working in a large room full of engineers. He had his equipment, Leica gear, in a bag along with lighting and tripod Etc. He was across this large room taking photos, and returned to his gear to find that several lenses were missing from his camera bag. They were never recovered.

In the above cases, I donít think the thieves were stupid. If I hadnít had a friend at SFPD, the Pawn Shop Detail, would have let my theft sit in a stack with the others done on that day. Some thieves are smart. In both cases, no one went to jail.
But how much difference would it have made if the labels had been taped over?

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-05-2011   #18
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What about us social engineers? I steal things and I go through great lengths to ensure I don't get caught. I spend more time researching and planning then actually carrying out the act. To say I am not bright, well that is just foolish.
Same goes for hackers. They take things that are not secure. But some of the greatest hackers are some of the smartest people. Jail-breaking phones and systems and etc...

PS: Since we are on the subject of de-generalization, a portion of people who get things stolen are because they aren't being bright.
Whoa... what brought that out?

Thieves are not very bright, unless it's to figure out ways to steal other people's stuff. And that's not intellectual power; that's greed. As for those who get things stolen, they're usually known as victims.

Check out Roger's post above. We happen to agree. As long as the OP takes care of his equipment, he'll do fine. No need to "disguise" the gear.
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Old 02-05-2011   #19
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But how much difference would it have made if the labels had been taped over?

Cheers,

R.
Wicked, Roger... simply wicked.

I guess this anecdote proves that thieves are among the best and brightest... which still does not make them intellectual powerhouses to me.
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Old 02-05-2011   #20
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This is what I use for travel. The strap works well and I just add a couple Domke short inserts to the bag.

http://www.pacsafe.com/www/index.php...=detail&id=170
http://pacsafe.com/www/index.php?_ro...=detail&id=132
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Old 02-05-2011   #21
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I think what Luna was alluding to was our military adage: "complacency kills."
If you're not paying attention, someone is going to exploit it. For the most part, vigilance can prevent most theft in those situations so, while they are still victims, their complacency is also culpability in many of these cases.

As far as the tape question goes, I subscribe to the theory that humans are curious creatures that will look at details more than just a brick of color. My M8 is all black and almost never gets noticed but my M9 still had the "M9" and red dot on the front; it gets me into conversations almost every day. Same camera in outward appearance but one elicits a reaction that the other does not.

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Old 02-05-2011   #22
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You're correct Roger, tape was not involved. My point was not to underestimate .. tape or no tape.
Which I most heartily second, as does Phil_F_NM most eloquently, even though he and I disagree (and apparently have had very different experiences) over taping.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-05-2011   #23
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Covering up labels on the D300 isn't going to disguise it anymore than covering up labels on a Landrover will disguise it. It's obviously a big digital SLR.

I think hiding labels on a Leica is almost always pointless. Most people don't know about Leica. Someone who does will recognize the camera in an instant, labeled or not.

In other words, thieves who are just looking for a quick way to score some cash aren't looking for particular brands. Thieves who are looking for particular brands won't be fooled by hiding the name.

Mardi Gras is great. Stunningly crowded in the Quarter, with many, many well-lubricated people. Use common sense and watch your wallet.

Hint: If I was going to steal a camera or pick a pocket, I'd hang out along the parade route and make my move when people leap to catch the beads thrown from the floats.
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Old 02-05-2011   #24
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Covering up labels on the D300 isn't going to disguise it anymore than covering up labels on a Landrover will disguise it. It's obviously a big digital SLR.

I think hiding labels on a Leica is almost always pointless. Most people don't know about Leica. Someone who does will recognize the camera in an instant, labeled or not.

In other words, thieves who are just looking for a quick way to score some cash aren't looking for particular brands. Thieves who are looking for particular brands won't be fooled by hiding the name.

Mardi Gras is great. Stunningly crowded in the Quarter, with many, many well-lubricated people. Use common sense and watch your wallet.

Hint: If I was going to steal a camera or pick a pocket, I'd hang out along the parade route and make my move when people leap to catch the beads thrown from the floats.
Dear Bill,

No, a Land Rover is a big, non-digital...

Sorry, couldn't resist.

But I agree 100% with everything else you wrote.

Cheers,

R. (wearer of chained wallet, believer in neck straps...)
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Old 02-05-2011   #25
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Earning judges beads: what a wonderful tradition.
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Old 02-05-2011   #26
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I'll second Steve M.'s advise to promptly heed the kindly police officer's advise to go home. The sweep starts at midnight on Fat Tuesday. It's worth watching if you happen to be in the Quarter, where some finite portion of the celebrants will be driven away courtesy of the police because they have managed to immobilize themselves.

And beware the hurricanes, spilled on you or consumed by you.

Years ago, in the '70's, I was at a Mardi Gras in February (Brrrrr!). Missed a chance for a great photo: A phalanx of mounted police formed up on a side street just before midnight on Fat Tuesday in the Quarter, preparing to make their sweep through the crowds. In the lead were a male cop and a female cop. Just a few seconds before midnight, they pulled their horses together, embraced, and kissed. Great stuff and I missed it. But, there was that guy in a gorilla suit who rode up the hotel elevator with us...
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Old 02-05-2011   #27
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Dear Bill,

No, a Land Rover is a big, non-digital...

Sorry, couldn't resist.
Roger, I was thinking of your Land Rover when I wrote that. Pictured you hurling it through the back roads of France with lots of black electrical tape strategically placed.
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Old 02-05-2011   #28
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Maybe if you exposed your label from time to time you could get a few beads.
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Old 02-05-2011   #29
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That's not what he meant.
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Old 02-05-2011   #30
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This is easy, if it makes you feel better tape the labels. And with the availability and price of tape these days taping up you labels is not an effort or costly....

I would probably not do it, if I was afraid of thieves, I would just leave the camera at home.
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Old 02-05-2011   #31
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This is easy, if it makes you feel better tape the labels. And with the availability and price of tape these days taping up you labels is not an effort or costly....

I would probably not do it, if I was afraid of thieves, I would just leave the camera at home.
Yep, this is how I feel. I tape over my gear because I like how it looks. Some people like keeping theirs look crystal clear without a scratch, others pride the wear marks from years of use. From the clamoring for all black models of popular cameras that don't initially have one, the all black look is clearly desirable, and some of us don't mind if it was a factory job or courtesy of Mr Gaffer.

I find it also cuts down on people who want to whig out on gear talk. When asked what camera it is, I just say, "I don't know".
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Old 02-05-2011   #32
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In 30+ years of off & on Mardi Gras participation, I had one thing stolen: A large ziplock bag of beads placed on the rail of the truck float we were riding on. That's all folks.
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Old 02-05-2011   #33
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any of the latter would have worked. i swear the iphone will be in the crick before the spring is over.

believe what you wish. i am not one to put a lot of effort into convincing others they are wrong.

what i know from experience is this... 1/ there are "camera thieves". they know a leica from a panasonic. 2/ being a thief does not preclude one from being clever. not a theory, not a rule. something i have learnt.
Thanks for taking the time to explain your words.

About "covering dots," I simply won't wear straps with the camera brand prominently displayed.
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Old 02-05-2011   #34
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I've done my share of traveling; from LA to Montreal to Kentucky and all in between. I guess I got nervous because I found a website put out by NOLA about not having any valuables in sight during Mardi Gras. Being 6'2" and a big man, I doubt anyone will trouble me, but I wanted to see what folks thought on the subject of covering up. Thanks folks, and hopefully the trip is a success and fun. I may end up on assignment while I'm there too, see what happens. The paper is being wishywashy at the moment.
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Old 02-06-2011   #35
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Luna,
When & where in Iraq were you? I was at Camp Fallujah, August 2004- early 2005. I was independent duty combat photo with Seabee battalion 4. I think it's interesting and good to connect with folks who were out there. It always piques my curiosity. Next week I'm interviewing a journalist who was there for the "push" into the city. I haven't seen or talked with him since before that battle.

As for the tape, out in Iraq I had to spray paint the straps black of my issued Nikon gear. Perfect bright yellow thing to aim at.

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Old 02-06-2011   #36
Phil_F_NM
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I grew my hair out for a while. Biggest thing for me was not shaving. Last time a razor touched my face was July 11, 2005, day before I started terminal leave. I've trimmed the beard since but haven't shaved it off. My face has never been happier.

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Old 02-14-2011   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudman View Post
fair enough, thanks for the thoughts folks. For the Mardi Gras festival itself, I'm not sure how many photos I'll take to be honest. More intersted in the city for the rest of the time I'm there. Thanks for the tips on clothing. I was curious what's like down there. Hit -30 F here in upstate NY the other day.
We're in the 60's now. We had a spell of 30 degree weather for about a week which is basically an ice age for us down here.

Crowds for a parade on St Charles/Napoleon Ave are fine, day or night. Shame the news usually just shows dumbasses on Bourbon St and everyone thinks that's what MG is about. Come on down and have a great time!
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Old 02-15-2011   #38
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I am. Just ordered up some more slide film and B&W. Doing 3 trips, 3 weeks on the road (and 2 weather extremes). Hitting up the Central Adirondack Mountains first for landscape, Montreal second for Nuit Blanche, and then off to NOLA. For the Landscape I'm probably going to lug around my DSLR, but for Montreal it'll be my M6 and M3. NOLA I'm undecided; have to find out if I'm working first, but the M6 will be coming at the very least.
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Old 02-15-2011   #39
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Don't bring a camera at all. Bring beads.

When the pretty college girl pulls her shirt up over her head grab her camera and run....
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Old 02-15-2011   #40
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While I'm sure I'll see that, that isn't the reason I'm going to New Orleans. I'm going to experience the city; I'll be there until the 15th.
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