Max Caffeine

Shot a few table top selections using coffee beans and an espresso cup. I used beans instead of brew for something different.  I liked the color and texture and even included a biscotti in one.These are both shot with natural light. The first image is in morning light on a white corning hot plate and the second is evening sun outdoors on a cutting board – a much warmer light.  The low angle of the morning and evening sun enhanced the textures in the images.


Reflected Poms

Recently found some pomegranate fruit in season at the local grocery store. The inner fruited seeds are like jewels so I bought one to experiment with some shooting techniques with studio lighting and with available light.

My first studio setup I decided to experiment with reflections off a black glass plate and include a light from underneath.  In this case I was using all Canon 600EX-RT flash units since the subject was small and they are so quick and easy to use.  Below is a shot of the setup.The results were pretty interesting. I used a red gel below to intensify the color and made many adjustments to the lights as I built a series of shots varying the strobe intensities.  Below are 2 selected images from my tests.These were interesting but my favorites came from natural lighting.  Initially I worked indoors using light coming through the windows on a corning hot plate.I switched focal points from front to center shifting from individuals to clusters of seeds. I then decided to take some shots out on the back deck to get some variety in the background. I used a “plamp” to hold some shrubbery behind the shot for more color and incorporated a crystal shot glass to hold more fruit/color. I shifted focus here as well but can’t really say which I prefer. The bokeh is really pretty and colorful.

I did notice glare on the shot glass from reflections of the walls and incorporated a black foam core “gobo” to eliminate it.  It was also the reason I went for the wood surface to reduce glare experienced using the Corning trivet/hot plate. Basic post processing was done in Lightroom to adjust clarity and exposure.

LowePro Roller Wheel Fix

Just released a video for the repair /replacement of the wheels (LowePro Pro Roller 3 in video). Other models are similar with different means of removing the liner. – I hope this helps:


I just added the kit to my eBay listings here:

Ebay Link:

Joel-Spring-RxDesign_0059.jpgI’ve always been a fan of the LowePro line of products and have a wide variety as you can see by the collection in the photo above.  I’ve had them since I started shooting and some have begun to show the wear and tear of serious use. Recently my LowePro Rollers ( one of the smaller of the line ) had a blow out. The “tread” crumbled off the wheel causing it to gimp along as I pulled it with only one wheel intact. It was also very noisy when rolled along on hard flooring.

In the past the company has been great about simply replacing damaged items that were not the result of abuse.  On this occasion I was informed since the product line has been totally revamped they would be charging $150 to replace this model.

Click here for my DIY LowePro Roller handle repair / fix instructions.

The LowePro service department stated the part was not repairable but it seemed something could be done for it with a little effort.  (The new design does have “user serviceable” wheels)The main issue was the fact the wheel mounting axles were not designed to be removed, a little short sighted on their part.  The wheels were attached by a permanent rivet instead of a screw fastener. Some of the newer models had a clip requiring a special tool for removal (simpler and easier to simply grind away).

Required Tools:
Drill or rotary grinder w/stone
3/16″ Allen wrench / Hex key
7/16″ Open end wrench

Small Hammer
3/16″ pin punch

Parts for each wheel:
1 – 80mm skate wheel with 6mm Sleeve
1 – 1/4-20 x 2″ SS socket cap screw
3 – 1/4″ SS flat washers
1 – 1/4-20 nylon locking nut

After taking out the inner case with dividers the liner (if one present in your model) can be removed. Removal of the original wheels entails grinding off/removing the flared head and finding wheels and bolts to fit.  Wheels turned out to be simple and cheap enough – I located them(80mm replacement wheels for inline skates) on Amazon.  would provide a link but they come and go quickly – simply search for them and pay particular attention to getting sleeves with 6mm diameter holes.

Joel-Spring-RxDesign_0068.jpgA Dremel tool with grinding wheel is often easier than using an electric drill with stone attachment.

Rotary GrinderJoel-Spring-RxDesign_0067.jpg

The 1/4-20 socket head cap screw (2″ long), 1/4″ stainless washers(3) and 1/4-20 stainless stee nylon self locking nut were found at Home Depot / Lowes. These were a major upgrade over the original as they were all stainless steel and the wheels were made for serious usage plus the fact I have 6 more in reserve for my other “rollers.” I found “self locking” type nuts in the hardware bins that were less likely to loosen over time. If you cannot find this type of fastener you may use a longer allen screw (2 1/4″ long) and lock/jam two plain 1/4″-20 nuts against each other to prevent loosening. Add some thread locking cement(loctite) if you want to be safe.


3/16″ Allen / hex key wrench and an 7/16″ open end wrench for installation.

_mg_0827A piece of tape is helpful when placing washers on either side of the wheel.

_mg_2138Clean up grinding debri to keep it from working its way into your gear.

_mg_0823Much better than new!

NOTE: I’ve had several request for a parts kit made up for this repair. Let me know if you think this would be helpful(add a comment). I’m not sure of the price point but I believe $28.50 US would cover parts. I just added the kit to my eBay listings here:

Ebay Link:

_mg_2173Click here for my DIY LowePro Roller handle repair / fix instructions.

Behind the scenes photos –  Using Kessler CineSlider and Pocket Jib gear to make the video: