Stuck on UPStrap

Ever watch a pro or advanced amateur photographer at work? Chances are you’ve noticed that almost all of them share a twitch of sorts. It goes something like this: camera hangs on a strap on their left shoulder… up goes their right hand… grab strap at shoulder… pull up as left shoulder simultaneously rises and left arm juts out a bit to help out… put right hand back down… repeat every 60 seconds.

What I’m referring to here is camera strap slippage (not related to George Castanza’s shrinkage problem, mind you). Camera strap slippage is an especially frustrating affliction for someone like me with sloping shoulders. For decades I have struggled with constantly having to hoist my camera strap back up on my shoulder. In fact, take a look at this collection of straps and this is after I have sold or given away at least a dozen others over the years.

Well, folks, not anymore. About five years ago I discovered UPStrap, manufactured by an interested guy in Florida, Al Stegmeyer (www.upstrap-pro.com). I know it sounds completely stupid, but this strap has changed my photography. A couple of months after buying it my wife noticed that I wasn’t twitching constantly while hiking with my cameras. This is the honest truth; the neck pain that I used to have from keeping my shoulder propped up all day while photographing is gone!

I own three UPStraps now. They’re made of an incredible new-fangled rubber compound with little nubs on it that stick to your shoulder like glue and feel like nothing’s there. I put a camera on my shoulder and forget it. That thing won’t come off even if you accidentally knock into someone. They are a bit pricey, but I haven’t had to replace one yet, and I’m in some pretty difficult locations for equipment, from the Sahara to the Arctic.

What made me think of the UPStrap is a recent email I got from Al, advising me that there was a potential problem with the stitching where the strap attaches to the camera. I was asked to go to their site if I wanted replacements, which I immediately did. In a few days I received a package with replacements and a request from Al to please return the old ones for analysis and credit from his factory.

There are so few people who are committed to excellence in product construction and customer service nowadays. Obviously Al comes to mind, as does Bob Singh of Singh-Ray filters (more on him in a future blog). Once I called Al to discuss a technical issue I faced while photographing on a tripod in moderate wind. I wondered, with all the straps and buckles and snaps he used in his product line, if there might be something he could do to fix the problem. He’d think about it. In three days I received a package in the mail from Al with a solution.

So, do yourself a favor. If you suffer from camera strap slippage, visit the UPStrap website and treat yourself to a great product.

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