Peak Design Camera Gear in Kuwait

Post by Mark

Earlier this year I sold all my camera gear, and by all I mean everything from my DSLR and lenses, down to accessories like tripods and carrying bags. I wasn’t using my camera gear much cuz everything was so bulky and so got rid of them. Then last month I realized that I actually did need a camera, I just didn’t want something big so I ended up getting the new Sony A7 III mirrorless camera which I have been loving. I’ve also been slowly rebuilding my camera gear again from scratch and one of the first things I needed to do was get a camera strap and bag.

After doing a lot of research, I ended up with Peak Design for both the strap and bag. Peak Design is a pretty popular brand in the photography world, but I only recently found out about them because of their camera strap. Nearly all the Sony A7 review videos I watched had the circular red anchors (pictured above) and I didn’t understand what they were until I saw one of the reviewers snap his camera strap to it. That’s when I knew I needed that camera strap in my life. With my previous cameras, it was pretty unpractical to keep removing and putting the strap on so I always left it off, but with the Peak Design strap, it’s super easy. I shot the video below to show you how quick it is to snap the strap on and off.

I was going to order the strap online but decided to check and see if it was available locally and turned out AAB World had them. I ended up getting the Peak Design Leash Strap which is one of their thinner ones and while picking it up I also checked out the Peak Design bags.

When I was researching bags one of the things I was looking for was a bag that was at least half decent looking and the Peak Design looked pretty good online but I wasn’t convinced until I saw them in person and tried them out at AAB. I decided to go with their Everyday Sling model since I liked the way the bag looked and the way it’s worn. The Everyday Sling comes in two sizes, the 5L which I thought would be perfect for using when I travel, and the 10L size which I thought would be perfect to use locally when I needed to carry all my camera gear.

Full disclosure, AAB ended up giving me the 10L bag for free so I could review it. I had the choice to choose any of their bags but figured I’d have them give me the 10L so I could then buy the cheaper 5L version myself.

I picked up the bag a few weeks ago but waited to get my camera lenses before I could do a proper write-up, and now that I have most of my lenses, I’m kinda concerned the bag isn’t big enough and maybe I should be looking at their backpacks instead. The biggest issue is with my large 100-400mm lens which is a pretty tight fit heightwise. If you watch the video below you’ll see that I do manage to squeeze in all my lenses including the 100-400mm into the bag. But once I put my MacBook into the bag, then it becomes pretty difficult to zip up. I guess the easy fix is just not to carry my MacBook, but I really wanted a bag I could shove everything into and not worry about space.

One thing I was surprised with was how light the bag felt even though I had all my gear in it. I think that has to do with the way the bag is worn. Unlike a regular messenger bag which presses down on a small point on your shoulder with the weight of the bag being on your side, with the Sling, the weight of the bag is spread over a larger portion of your shoulder with most of the weight carried with the help of your back like a backpack. It’s a hybrid of a backpack and messenger bag and I found it easier to carry the gear without my shoulders starting to hurt. I also think the bag looks great and is really practical. You really should watch the video on the Peak Design website to find out about all the cool features of it since they do a great job of showing them. For example, I can carry my tripod with the Everyday Sling by strapping it to the bottom of the back or I can stack lenses inside the bag by using their “FlexFold” dividers. Peak Design really do think of everything which is why they’re loved by so many photographers.

If you’re interested in Peak Design gear, AAB are the local dealers and their prices are similar to if you order it yourself from the Peak Design website. The Leash strap cost me around KD14 while the Everyday Sling 10L bag sells for KD45. They’re both available on the AAB website [Here]


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New NBK Tower Caught Fire

Post by Mark

If you saw the large cloud of black smoke coming out of the city today, it was from the new under construction NBK tower which caught fire earlier today.

I was watching it from my office window before realizing my car was parked in their lot next door so I went to make sure my car was safe. When I got to my car I remembered I had my new Sony A7 III in the car so I ended up snapping some shots and also posted a bunch of videos on my instagram story.

I think all the workers came out safe and there were some who stayed behind to help the firefighters out by using the emergency fire hoses in the parking lot next door.


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No Cameras Allowed on Green Island

Post by Mark

A few days ago I went to Green Island with my new camera to take some pictures and was stopped on the way in. I had already purchased my entry ticket (1KD btw) and as I was walking in they spotted my camera and told me I couldn’t bring it in. I told them I had a camera on my phone as well but they were ok with that, but that I just couldn’t bring my camera in. I was like ok fine, I went back to the ticket window to return my ticket and get a refund, but I guess that would have been too much of a hassle for the guy because he asked me if I just wanted to take pictures? I told him yes so he then let me in with my camera.

I have no idea why they would be anti-photography, Green Island is a desolate place that has nothing going for it other than it being an interesting place to take some photos. So weird.


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Hello Sony A7 III!

Post by Mark

Earlier this year I sold all my Nikon photography gear because I wasn’t really using them. They were large and heavy so I spent more time using my iPhone and compact but full-frame Sony RX1 camera instead. That setup turned out to be fine for 80% of my needs, but over the past few months, I realized how much of a handicap it was by not owning a DSLR with changeable lenses. So I started looking at compact mirrorless cameras, specifically the Sony A7 series and the newly announced Nikon Z and Canon R series. Mirrorless cameras had similar capabilities as much larger DSLR’s, but they’re a lot more compact. I was kinda leaning towards the Nikon Z mirrorless camera, until I found out that AAB World had recently become official Sony camera dealers. That news made my decision easier, I was getting the Sony A7 III.

Full disclosure, I have a long-standing relationship with AAB World. They’ve been very active with me and the blog over the years and they’ve lent me lenses and camera gear to review whenever I wanted and also hooked me up with discounts. I’m a huge fan.

I’ve had the Sony A7 III for around two weeks and I love it so far. My aim with the A7 III was for it to play two roles, I needed it to be compact when I needed something small and portable, but I also needed a full frame camera I could attach various lenses too˙. The A7 III has fulfilled both those requirements. First thing I did after buying the camera was to get the compact Sony 35mm F/2.8 prime lens for the A7 III. With the 35mm lens, the A7 III was not that much larger than my RX1 (check the picture above).

The second lens I picked up was the Sony 12-24mm F/4 lens and now I’m planning to get the Sony 24-105mm F/4 and Sony 70-200mm F/4 lenses. I’m going with F/4 lenses and not brighter F/2.8 lenses because the F/4 versions are lighter, smaller, cheaper and nearly as good for my needs.

The A7 III feels really great in my hands and I’m loving all its features and capabilities. I can understand why many are calling it the best camera of 2018. I’ll be posting a more comprehensive review after I get the rest of the lenses and shoot some more with the camera. But first impressions, the A7 III is great, it’s so good that I’ve actually decided to sell my Sony RX1, something I told myself I wouldn’t do.

If you’re interested in the A7 III, AAB World are currently out of stock but they should getting another shipment soon. Here are their preorder links on their website:

Sony A7 III (Body only) – KD679
Sony A7 III (Kit including lens) – KD749


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Stairway to the Desert

Post by Mark

Over the weekend I posted the photo above on my story and got a lot of messages asking me what it was and where it was taken. So I decided I’d share the location on the blog in case anybody wants to head to it for a photo shoot.

The stairs to nowhere are located on the side of the highway that leads to Boubyan island. It’s adjacent to a large metal structure which I believe was used for a military parade a few years ago. Because of the metal structure, the stairs are pretty easy to find, if the metal structure is on your right, the stairs are right after it.

If you’re interested in heading out there, here is the location on [Google Maps]


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Kuwait in the 1930s by Alan Villiers

Post by Mark

Alan Villiers (spot him above) was an Australian adventurer who came to Kuwait in the 1930s. He ended up joining the crew of the Kuwaiti dhow ‘Triumph of Righteousness’ and set sail with them, passing through numerous East African and Arabian ports documenting his experience with words and pictures. He eventually published the book “Sons of Sindbad” as well as “Sons of Sindbad: The Photographs”. I only found out about Alan a couple of days ago and was really intrigued by his story especially since I hadn’t heard of him before.

You can find both his books on Amazon [Here] and [Here] but, you can also find some great photos of Kuwait taken by him in the 1930s similar to the ones in this post. The photos are from the National Maritime Museum (Greenwich) and are available to purchase. So if you want to check out Alan’s photos of Kuwait, click [Here]

Supposedly there are still thousands of photos taken by him of Kuwait that need to be digitized.

Update: Supposedly both books are available for sale at the Al Hashemi Marine Museum.


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Tour of The Avenues – Phase 4

Post by Mark

Earlier this morning I was able to tour the new phase of Avenues, Phase 4. The Avenues extension is set to open on February 25th and so they invited the media today to walk around, explore and take photos.

Avenues Phase 4 includes expansions of existing districts like Prestige, Grand Avenue, and The Souk. But, they’ve also added new districts that include Arcadia, The Grand Plaza, The Forum, Electra and The Cinema, as well as a five-star and four-star hotel.

Phase 4 is HUGE, and its beautiful. They’ve basically taken the Grand Avenue indoor-but-looks-like-outdoor-look and built on it. It’s bright, airy and the main street is wide with lots of little alleyways that connect the various districts.

From what I saw there won’t be much open by February 25th other than a bunch of Alshaya brands, but it will still be a great space to wander about and explore.

If you want to check out more pictures of Phase 4 then check out my story on instagram. I’ve archived the story and so it should be up for some time. Check it out @mark248am

Update: I was just informed that February 25th is the target date but they’re still unsure if they’ll open by then. Also I uploaded a bunch of photos in hi-res which you can view [Here]


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Kuwait Stock Exchange by Andreas Gursky

Post by Mark

Yesterday I found out that the popular German large format photographer, Andreas Gursky, had captured two photos of the Kuwait Stock Exchange. The one pictured in this post was auctioned off at Sotheby’s for KD280,000!

His two Kuwait Stock Exchange photos were captured one year apart. The first photo was captured in 2007 and you can view it [Here] while the second photo which is pictured in this post was taken in 2008 and you can view the larger version [Here]


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Kuwait 1985-88

Post by Mark


Kuwait City 1987. Vintage store front.

Mark Lowey (AbuJack), a construction project management professional and an amateur photographer lived in Kuwait between 1985 and 1988. The past few months he’s been scanning and posting some of the pictures he took during his time in Kuwait (and KSA) on his twitter account. I’ve taken a few of his photos along with the captions and shared them here but you can check out more photos on his twitter account @molowey


High technology in 1987?


A man and his dog, Mangaf Beach, Kuwait in 1988.


Shopping in Fahaheel, 1988.


Jack bin Mark and neighbor friends in Mangaf, Kuwait, 1988. (One cool kid has a sling-shot.)


Toshiba power plant at Mina Al-Zoor in southern Kuwait. Under construction in 1985; nearly completed in 1987.


Kids-R-Us, Kuwait City in 1985.


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Do you fly drones?

Post by Mark

With the introduction of compact drones like the DJI Mavic and the super tiny DJI Spark, I’ve recently been considering getting into drone photography myself. They seem super practical to travel with and I could really have taken advantage of one on my trip a couple of weeks back. I’m currently checking with Fajer the Lawyer to see what the latest laws on flying drones in Kuwait are, since I know last year they proposed a bunch of things. Until she gets back to me I figured I’d ask my readers, do you fly drones and if yes, have you run into any issues with cops or people?

Also on a side note, if anybody is bored of their Mavic and wants to sell it, let me know!


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