Streets Alive 2013 – Time for us to get active again!

Fargo, North Dakota

I decided to post an extra blog entry this week. It’s a two-fold post. First, it’s a photo essay on the Fargo-Moorhead Streets Alive 2013 event. At the end of the post is a review of the Case Logic camera sling I recently purchased. I submit both for your approval (or not.)

When we winter in Arizona, my wife, Lynn, and I keep active at a gym daily, and twice a week, we go hiking somewhere in the beautiful Arizona mountains. Here in North Dakota, we still keep active at a gym, but our hiking options are too few and too far away for us to meet a twice weekly goal.

I noticed while reading the online Sunday paper that the first of two summer Streets Alive events started at 2 PM that very day. Having not participated in one of these before, it became a great venue to not only get some exercise, but to test out a new camera strap/sling I purchased recently. The walk was a great time, the sling is helpful and I like it but I have a couple of reservations.

The cities of Fargo, North Dakota and Moorhead, Minnesota both participated in supporting Streets Alive by closing three miles of city streets and walkways to all motorized traffic. A three mile walk would be easy for us as we are used to at least a 3-mile hike on trails. This walk would be mostly on pavement.

Any type of personal transport is allowed, as long as it is not motorized. On our walk we saw bicycles of many types, standard and recumbent, specialty bikes, custom, ultra tall, even multi-person; roller skates, scooters, and even a couple of Segways. I doubt the riders of the Segways got much exercise, and I supposed technically, they shouldn’t have been on the route as those vehicles are motorized.

Shortly after starting our walk, we saw the first of many demonstration activities planned along the route. Here, in front of our iconic Fargo Theater, there were several gymnastics activities being demonstrated. Everything from tumbling runs to balance beams; floor exercise to high bar; all of them were scaled in size to accommodate the young age of the gymnasts performing.

Of course, vendors of health and fitness related products were invited and in addition to information, some provided water, a mini-massage or other service.

Crossing the Red River into Moorhead, Minnesota was accomplished on a small footbridge located in a joint park area. We crossed back into North Dakota over one of the three major highway bridges that link the two cities. That bridge was closed to automobile and truck traffic for the afternoon.

Goals were set up along 10th Avenue to allow street soccer. Three of the four courts were in use when we walked by.

At the cross streets of the closed roads, volunteer crossing guards ensured safe passage for event participants while providing minimal disruption to drivers needing to traverse the area. This guard entertained herself by making giant bubbles with her bubble wand.

Several local radio stations had their remote vehicles parked, playing music. As we walked by one such radio station setup, we were entertained by a small group of dancers. As you can easily see by the photograph, these folks were in perfect step.

As we rounded the last corner toward our starting point, there was a hula hoop area. Plenty of hoops were available for those who wanted to give the sixty-some year old hobby a try.

The day, dreary and cloudy, threatened rain the entire time. We carried an umbrella just in case. As you can see by the hula hoop photo, the sky was getting darker and darker. As we finished our walk, a light sprinkle started. We made it back to our car without needing the umbrella; however a small shower required me to use the windshield wipers as we left the area.

Besides the exercise, my goal was also to try out a new camera strap I’d purchased. This blog post concludes with a mini-review of the product. In many miles of hiking, I found the camera strap around my neck became not only annoying, but also straining my neck muscles on a longer hike. I would often remove the camera and stow it in my backpack after a couple miles, ensuring that I would miss many photographic opportunities.

A friend of mine told me about the Black Rapid sling. It hangs around one shoulder with the camera resting at the opposite side of your body. This design puts any strain on the shoulder rather than the back of the neck. I stopped in a local photo shop and didn’t see the Black Rapid model, but I saw the Case Logic model. My friend also owned both the Black Rapid and the Case Logic slings. I convinced him he should sell me his Case Logic strap, and that led to today’s test walk.

The camera strap, called the Quick Sling Cross-Body Camera Strap, connects to the camera via the tripod socket. The illustration, lifted from the Case Logic website, demonstrates how to hook it up.

I found the sling to be very comfortable, even with my relatively heavy D-7000 Nikon. My issue with the sore neck muscles will be a thing of the past. There was nothing uncomfortable that developed during our three-mile walk. When I was ready to take a shot, it was easy to grab the camera by the larger end where the battery housing is located (top of the camera in the above photo). The camera slides easily along the strap as I bring it up to look through the viewfinder. The slider never snagged and operated smoothly along the strap every time I used it.

There were, however, a couple of annoyances and a concern about the strap. About half-way through our walk, I noticed a repetitive noise, “shhh-shhh-slap” right by my ear. As I walked, the strap would rise above the shoulder pad slightly, maybe a half-inch or so making a small loop, then it would slide back and snap against the pad. I didn’t take the time to try to adjust it so that the noise would go away. I will work on this, though. After hearing the shhh-shhh-slap every other step I took, it became quite annoying. I suspect an adjustment of the strap will fix the resonance that is causing the problem.

Of greater concern is the tripod connection. Nearing the end of our walk, I pulled the camera up to take a photo. When I let the camera down, I didn’t feel any resistance as the camera reached the bottom of the sling. Looking down, I noticed that the camera had disconnected from the strap. The tripod screw had come loose and worked out. This could easily cause loss or damage to the camera. I carefully retightened the tripod screw. It’s possible I didn’t tighten it enough when I put it in place the first time. I will give it the benefit of the doubt for now.

The last item that might be of concern is the possible loss of a lens hood. I have a security strap on my lens cap, and whether the hood is in place for use, or backward on the lens for stowage, that strap will keep the lens hood from falling off the lens if it should happen to work loose. If you don’t use a secured lens cap, don’t stow the lens hood on the camera. It could fall off and get lost.

Even with these annoyances and concern, I really like the strap. It is so much easier to carry and to keep the camera at the ready. Two thumbs up, 5 stars, or whatever rating you might use, I put it at the top.

John Steiner

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5 thoughts on “Streets Alive 2013 – Time for us to get active again!

    • Another Streets Alive is schedule for sometime in August. Who knows… maybe we’ll rent some bikes and try biking this one. We once rented a side-by-side bike (kinda looked like a buggy). That was fun, but we tipped it over trying to “strong-leg” it up an incline. That wasn’t the smartest thing we did that day.

      • Sounds like my first time on a motorcycle – downhill and circle left in a roundabout (only using one of the brakes) – a mighty unpleasant result.

  1. Nice Post on Fargo. I’m guessing that Fargo is nothing like the Movie that I’ve seen. Looked like it was a very cold, snowy, and windy area during the Winter, but then again, maybe it is.

    I also have the Nikon D7000 which I enjoy using very much. Like you stated, it is a bit on the heavy side to carry around. I mount it on a Monopod, which I find easy to use. I have considered getting one of those camera straps, but just haven’t done it yet. Not so sure if I really need one.

    • Yup, Fargo gets mighty cold in the winter. That’s why Lynn and I head south to Arizona in November and usually stay until April.
      A monopod is also on my list of accessories to purchase. I’ve found for hiking and walking, I much prefer the longer strap that hangs my camera at my side. Walking or hiking with a standard camera strap around my neck becomes uncomfortable quickly and leads to a neck ache in a short order for me.

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