by Timothy Rutt
This is our new favorite thing in the entire world: our camera strap.
We believe in using good, high-quality tools for daily work, and as we got back into serious photography, one of the problems we had was finding a camera strap that worked for the way we shoot. We had some ideas: we wanted it wide, like a belt. We don't want to wear the camera around our neck, we want to support it on our shoulder and wear it on our hip like a Sam Browne belt, ready to draw when needed, like a gunfighter. It needed to have a sliding shoulder pad to disperse the weight of the camera and make it easier to carry for a longer period of time. It needed to have a pouch to hold the lens cap, so we wouldn't drop it in a pocket or lose it. And we didn't want a cheesy nylon strap, we wanted something in leather that would get old and scratched and beat-up and look better and richer for the experience, like it had tales to tell.
Something like that couldn't be bought. It had to be made. No, it had to be forged. No, it had to be born. And it had to be born in Altadena.
And it could be. We're fortunate to be friends with Marisol Martinez and Lance Anderson at Altadena's own California Bohemian Leather. They've been making leather goods for a couple of years now, and are getting quite the reputation locally as the go-to place for unique, outstanding, and high-quality belts, and nationally among the ultrarunning community (if you've sweated through 100 miles to earn a brass race buckle, you don't want to put it on some crappy-looking belt). We talked about our ideal camera strap. Fortunately for us, the project excited them, too. We gave them our design ideas, took some measurements, and then we left 'em alone with only the direction to make it beautiful and kick ... well, you know. Kick.
And it does: dark leather with lots of masculine brass rivets and rings, a kind of retro-cowboy look. They had the idea of embossing "Altadena" on the front and back of the strap, to proclaim to the world the place where it was born and the community it serves. Our name is embossed on the lenscap pouch, so nobody else can claim it's theirs, but who would dare to? It is a thing of beauty from two of Altadena's true artists and craftspeople that reflects their love of what they do and the community they call home. We are totally in love with this thing.
It was described on Facebook as "a little bit country and a little bit rock 'n' roll." And so it is. Just like Altadena!
California Bohemian Leather, 2524 El Molino Ave., Altadena (213) 300-7083.