Spinner Dolphins, Kona Coast, Hawaii, Trip Wellness

Elaine with wild Spinner Dolphins, Kona Coast, Hawaii

I was about 30 feet underwater when I started getting serious about taking pictures. About eight years ago I jumped into scuba diving with my boyfriend, holding his spare camera while working to master my buoyancy and just keep up. About 150 dives later I’m taking my own pictures and we still trade off depending on the location and dive.

Hawaii, Snorkeling Lanai, Trip Wellness

Dave snorkeling on Lanai, Hawaii – Photo: Elaine Masters with Go Pro

As we traveled it became increasingly important to have a lightweight camera that I’d feel safe carrying through crowds whether I was in Rio de Janeiro or Times Square. That’s gotten easier but what I failed at most was keeping care of my cameras. I’d throw my little Nikon Cool Pix in the bottom of my bag, stuff the bag under my airplane seat and trot off at my destination wondering why the shutter started sticking. No camera is going to last long with that abuse.

Now that I’ve graduated to a fantastic Canon SX 590 HS I’m so much happier with the images. I love that zoom lens that can capture the craters on the moon or a bee on a wildflower. Taking care of my camera has become more important than ever.

Tenba Switch choices, trip wellness

Sumo wrestler from the inspired Tenba campaign.

Camera bags: The Tenba Switch 8 and the Lowepro Duffel

It was a real treat to have a chance to test the Tenba Switch 8 Camera Bag. There’s room for 3 to 5 lenses inside but I’ve been using it as a purse/camera bag and pack it with my camera, phone, pens, wallet, notepad, make-up and there’s still room for a few other things. As a travel gal, I need to carry it through a range of urban settings – some more dressy than others.

The Tenba Switch 8 has a cool flap that you can change out easily to five different color/pattern choices. I selected a red leather to switch with black. While it looks somewhat like a camera bag, it’s also compact enough to not call attention to itself.

Boston library, Tenba Switch, Trip Wellness

Taking a break from the chill in the Boston Library.

It’s such a comfortable and carefully thought out bag. The silent magnetic closure keeps the flap down without using noisy Velcro that always wears out anyway. There’s also a snap for extra security. Those features were designed to be quiet!

A zipper on top makes it easy to slide a hand in to grab the camera. The rear padded sleeve can fit an 8-inch tablet. All the zippers work from either direction except that rear sleeve – that’s the only thing I’d change. Inside are a number of small pockets and EVA foam dividers can be customized to fit lenses. The sides of the bag have mesh pockets too. Room for lots of things, as I said.

Tenba mid-flight, Trip Wellness

Mid-flight pictures.

When I get a little more ambitious there are loops on the bottom to carry a tripod, selfie stick or the like with Velcro straps. One of my favorite features is the strap. It’s easy to adjust on two sides so I don’t have to embed a buckle in my shoulder. It also has the absolutely best non-slip feature in the center of the strap. That’s a biggie for me.

Going back to scuba diving,while the Tenba comes with an extra rainproof cover, I wouldn’t take it on a dive or sail boat. That task goes to the bright yellow, waterproof duffle by LowePro. It’s very light weight and has a series of straps and clips attached that I’m only starting to figure out.

Lowepro Waterproof Dufflel, trip wellness

Lowepro Waterproof Dufflel.

The top rolls down three times, then clips for waterproof protection. Inside there’s a removable, padded and adjustable camera case. I’ve pulled it out to use in my carry-on and flattened the duffle under my clothes. The yellow is a bit bright until you think about the bag going in the water. It would be easy to track that yellow bobbing on the surface.

Lowepro duffel inside bag.

Lowepro duffel inside bag

I’m a casual photographer, always will be. Words are more my thing but I love the photo communities of Instagram and Pinterest, and peppering blog posts with images. It’s such a joy to build these virtual, visual records of my life and travels. These two camera bags, the Tenba Switch 8 and the Lowepro, have me covered.

Thanks to the makers of the Tenba Switch 8 for the bag to review. The Lowepro has been in the family since Santa delivered it.